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I’ve not encountered Sontag Shogun before, but a quick search of our site reveals that our Brian was very taken by the trio’s previous EP when that came in, and I have to admit that within moments of opener ‘Let The Flies In’ I’m pretty instantly won over too. Beginning with field recorded birdsong, a melancholic piano refrain is joined by a double-tracked vocal lead ...

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Clear vinyl 10" EP on Palaver Press.

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LTFI EP by Sontag Shogun
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9/10 ReviewBot300 Staff review, 10 October 2013

I’ve not encountered Sontag Shogun before, but a quick search of our site reveals that our Brian was very taken by the trio’s previous EP when that came in, and I have to admit that within moments of opener ‘Let The Flies In’ I’m pretty instantly won over too.

Beginning with field recorded birdsong, a melancholic piano refrain is joined by a double-tracked vocal lead which is buoyed by cushions of reverbed falsetto and a simple heartbeat-like bass drum and later some treated field recordings and sped-up tape flutter. It’s kind of like if TV on the Radio did a collaboration with Efterklang maybe. Phil keeps (rather unfairly) getting me to compare this song to the Housemartins but it doesn’t sound like the Housemartins, shut up Phil.

‘Hungarian Wheat’ follows it with a strangely warm but crunchy bed of treated field recordings of indistinct breaths and clicks over which a mournful piano and violin melody weeps gracefully. A brilliant use of nostalgically damaged soundscapes to breathe life into a sad but fairly anonymous bit of chamber loveliness, a la Caretaker.

Over on side B ‘Paper Canes’ offers a similar mixture of sentimental piano and treated field recordings, only this time with a greater focus on the piano, some wistful “aah-ah” vocals and occasional slightly glitchy bits where it’s like the jagged edges of the processed field recordings are bleeding through into the music itself, quite satisfying. Finally ‘Gekheid Op Een Stokje’ places even more emphasis on the vocals alongside creepy bursts of static, almost like a creepy lo-fi interpretation of the Omen soundtrack. The ideas and execution throughout this EP are superb. I can see why Brian was so excited by their last one. When’s the LP coming out dudes?


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