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Ensemble Economique / Heroin In Tahiti No Highway / Black Vacation
9/10 Mike Staff review, 06 June 2013
I have right here the new split between Ensemble Economique (aka Starving Weirdos’ Brian Pyle) and Heroin In Tahiti, who are a new name to me but apparently had an acclaimed album out last year. From what I’d previously heard by Ensemble Economique I was expecting his side to be quite synth heavy but actually it’s a murky tropical post-punk thing like Dirty Beaches jamming with Fabio Frizzi - opener ‘I Light My Cigarette, I See YOU There’ has cold echoing guitar underpinned with a burbling exotic rhythm for a smoky tropical mystery. ‘NO Highway’ and ‘Desir, DESIRE’ bring the synths in more but still with the coldly buzzing guitar tones and hypnotically puttering rhythms. By the end of the latter the synths have really come to the fore for some ace Decimus-meets-John Carpenter chills. Superb.
Over on Heroin in Tahiti’s side is a five-parter called ‘Black Vacation’ which seems to be a bit of a concept piece - it opens on ‘Departing’ with samples of airport announcements and glacial synth drones, then on ‘Welcome To Paradise Island’ there’s birdsong and then a tropical melody on a distant, wibbly Morricone-esque surfy guitar comes in accompanied by hypnotic layered rhythms. This reverie is disturbed by ‘At The Edge of the Jungle’ with a shuffling tribal funk groove dark blasts of reverbed bassy synth (or is it a tuba?), then some jazzy brass and woodwind tones come in while all the while birds and crickets chirrup away...there’s so much going on that it’s quite dizzying at times and it really does give the feeling, as much as a record can, of going on a mysterious tropical adventure.
‘Whispers from the Quicksand’ has lots of hissing static and descending synth drones, decaying into a mush of music box chimes and distant rumbles before closer ‘Blood Before Dawn’ brings back that surf guitar alongside a spooky mechanical beat and more distant synth swirling, kind of like Plantagenet 3 but with strange Sun Araw-ish dubby touches...towards the end it’s kind of like Ela Orleans only with horror movie screams and scythingly loud Link Wray guitar swoops. Mindblowing stuff on both sides, then. Very highly recommended!
9/10 Roni Customer review, 28th July 2013
Truly, truly a superb album. I won't be able to do it justice through mere words alone but your reviewer has it pretty much spot on.
It's like some kind of tropical musical adventure. Jam packed with all of the influences you treasure, the sounds your soul craves and lashings of lovely, lovely drugs.
Put it this way. If you've ever looked out at an ocean (a proper ocean, not a mere sea) and wondered what would happen if you were to just walk out into it and keep on walking then this album is basically the aural equivalent of that. I imagine.
Anti-holiday music. Or, perfect summer music for those who prefer their summers not to be soundtracked by the likes of those Jamie Oliver twats down the road from me playing Daft Punk and Franz Ferdinand all day long. You can shove your Sainsburys-inspired barbecues up your arseholes...I have Heroin In Tahiti!
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