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- AeXE by Silver Pyre
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You know, we got this album pushed at us with the legendary comment "Think The Fall meets Autechre". Even the phrase had me shaking my head in disbelief. That sounds fucking awful doesn't it? The most unholy of Mancunian collaborations but then again there was that Von Sudenfed thing which was amazing with Mouse on Mars but then, hey, they're almost as eccentric as Smith is!
Now, let me say this loud and clear, this sounds vaguely, maybe, in places, reminiscent of 'Amber'/'Tri Repetae' -era AE but the singer's style bears absolutely no resemblance to MES whatsoever. Someone has obviously cocked an ear at the black sheep of a track 'Calendar' and made a very idle comparison. His voice is actually often inquisitive, soft, and tender with a gentle dreamy Richard Youngs/Arthur Russell vibe but also a slight Chris Hood/Epic45 English earthiness in there. On a few he comes over more strident yet wistful. Like he's dreamed these lyrics up walking his dog in some misty West Country woods at 6am.
Musically it's a fascinating, organic sprawl of restrained but densely layered and rhythmical electronic pop pastoralism that reflects the mystical, ancient feel and lay of the land around Gary Fawle's Somerset birthplace. Definitely one of the year’s first genuinely fresh and exciting releases as it implicitly references so many classic bands and electronic artists from all across the experimental indie spectrum. However, it still shines brilliantly with a powerful charm all of its own. I'd say if you love cult albums such as 'Valley of the Ultrahits' by Richard Youngs, 'Hex' by Bark Psychosis, 'Cold House' by Hood or imagined how so much better 'North' by Darkstar could have been?
Also think along the lines of a more electronic take on old Scots parochial tribal folksters Long Fin Killie mingling with Thom Yorke's 'Eraser' or Bracken's 'We Know About the Need' then you'll maybe get a scratch closer to appreciating the lush, ever-evolving dreamscapes this album evokes. It's not an album I could break down song-by-song that easily, although these are strongly individual, wondrously constructed pieces with a real yearning heart and soul, all segued and produced beautifully to create a mesmerising, warm and involving journey. One last loose comparison would be the contemporary German thinkers such as Tarwater, To Rococo Rot and Kriedler but 'AEXE' is its own quietly dignified British creature and will give many folk a lot of comfort this bleak winter. An incredibly lovely, thought-provoking and distinctive work indeed from this feller, built with assistance from his friend Tom Bugs.
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