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- Weird Universe by Unicorn Hard-On
8/10 Mike Staff review, 12 September 2013
I’ll be honest with you, I picked this record out of the review pile for two reasons. Firstly it’s on the ever-consistent Spectrum Spools so it’s bound to be full of high quality retro-futurist synth fun, but second and more importantly I couldn’t resist finding out what an artist calling themselves Unicorn Hard-On actually sounded like. It’s true you won’t get far if your music isn’t great, but pick a particularly outlandish name and people will check you out just for curiosity’s sake, you mark my words.
After doing my homework I have discovered that Unicorn Hard-On is the pseudonym of Valerie Martino, and she has been bubbling around the US underground for an entire decade now, although this is her first full-length release. It’s incredibly fresh and modern-sounding, though. Stumbling hard house rhythms mix with anarchic modular squiggles and hypnotic bleep-loops for a dancefloor filling hypno party which brings to mind Factory Floor minus the live percussion and vocals, just thudding mechanical beats and synths ridden hard.
Most importantly though there’s a warmth and personality to all the washes and wibble and twinkles which is unmistakably human, from the Eric Copeland acid of the opener to some more Sun Araw-ish tinkering in ‘Night Diamond’, making this an album which you’ll keep reaching for at the end of the night when your half-cut mates come round to keep the party alive. Really good stuff, not just a clever name.
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