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- The Cartography Of Shifting Planes by Cycle ~ 440
8/10 Mike Staff review, 26 April 2012
Oh, I'm enjoying this. Often we have to start our days having to offer our opinions on harsh noise or free jazz or something similarly difficult to stomach, but this cloudy Thursday morning I'm lucky enough to be eased into the day with a hot cup of coffee and this gentle bit of shimmering loveliness from Cycle~ 440. The basic formula is simple enough - a Kevin Penkin tinkles away gracefully on piano accompanied by textured ambience from Sam Gillies's electronics. It starts out with some kind of chopped up backwards chiming sounds which are quite possibly manipulated samples of the piano being played but I'm not sure...then there's more of a grainy, rumbling layered ambience accompanying the tinkles, at some points the electronics take centre stage and there's a weird vocal loop piece 'Aida' that's kind of awkward and discordant, and the tones seem to be gradually manipulated to sound more synthetic...actually I'm finding this one a bit heavy going and am much preferring the sonorous piano-led parts, although I guess the contrast between the soothing and jarring elements is entirely intentional, since the closing piece is pretty dark and fluttery as the electronics take over again. A mixed bag, then...some gentle and relaxing bits, and some more awkward and uncomfortable bits too, but plenty of detail and texture to sink into throughout.
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