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The first thing that strikes me about this album between putting the needle on the platter and having a look at the press release is that there don’t seem to be any banjos on it, just field recordings and weird disembodied voices. Then Phil tells me that he thinks this is going to just be an album of field recordings (oh great) and then some weird techno shuffle beat comes in and a hypnotic repeating synth refrain and things turn a bit more interesting and actually quite danceable, with the second track on the side getting a bit more chaotic with a thick layered building scree of bizarro industrial textures.
Okay now I’ve got to the press release and it explains everything pretty clearly: “The music has all been developed from an ever growing collection of field recordings, found sounds, computer generated noises and self made electronic instruments which are continually improvised with and expanded upon to produce the final works. The field recordings have been recorded in London, the south east of England, Yorkshire, various European cities and Sri Lanka using minidisc, mp3 recorder, mini spycam, cassette, microcassette, mobile phone and video cameras.” So there you go.
I’m particularly enjoying the slinky bit of rainswept darkness that opens the second side, ‘Enemies With Get Arms’, with layers of flickering tape hiss giving way to demented buzzing processed electronic bass drones. Sometimes there’s just a female voice talking over the top and it’s reminding me of Meanwhile, Back In Communist Russia..., but the accompaniment to this is so out-there that this comparison is tenuous at best - it is dark music with a depressed Englishwoman chatting in the middle distance though.More seriously, this record mixes dark ambient lo-fi electronics, cold minimal techno beats and lashings of ghostly tape loops with a playful spirit and the occasional irreverent nod to industrial (closer ‘Lion Cheater’ is almost Throbbing Gristle-esque) and bass music to keep things fun and flowing. Much more fun and accessible than I had feared from Phil’s “think it’s just field recordings” comment when we started out.
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