Electronics that point to about a hundred different spots on a map and claim that they all mark the spot; that's the sound Donald Fraser musters up on the bombastic Locomotion, his new collection of skittering manoeuvres for Mordant Music. A remix of the piece comes from the label's tape loopy bossman, as well as a rework from Fraser himself.
7/10 Laurie Staff review, 06 February 2015
Now this is a strange relic - an old electroacoustic railway experiment from 1975, performed by folk bedrock Steeleye Span and decimated via a tape machine or synth or two. “Station Master” Donald Fraser definitely has ambition and an adoration of trains, and/or the noises they make. He’s got a point, some of the old Northern Rail tin cans up here in Yorkshire make some great music on their journey out to the moors. But rather than simply recording the journey towards a nice day out, Donald has hijacked the musical status quo of the time to recreate the sensation of accelerated motion.
I think that there are guitars and maybe some drums buried in there, joined by a flute in the second ‘we’ve reached max speed’ section. The instruments are mostly fluttered beyond recognition by some filter or other, occasionally being shoved through a reverb or flanger when Fraser gets phased out. You definitely can’t place it at all during the early moments, as everything is so pitched down that it sounds closer to the engines propelling the hypothetical metal beast forwards. It’s an interesting experiment, and chances are you’ve never heard electrolkacoustrain before either.
Side B brings it back to the 21st century, with all its modern gizmos and ridiculous stylistic fragmentation. Mordant Music label boss Ian Hicks steps in with his tape machine to repurpose this ghostly audio relic almost to danceable, industrial krautrock territory. There’s a hilarious “gyeah” sound that loops throughout amongst a variety of bleeps which would probably send the modern day clubber into a 3am headcave. Donald has other ideas on BB, using his own, more subtle looping techniques to create a minimal electroacoustic noise composition that in my eyes surpasses the original, featuring several reductions of the original material smattered between the left and right speakers. “This is how it’s done, boss”. One for the experimental folks for sure.
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