The Lighter Side of Concrete by The Twelve Hour Foundation

A violent concoction of samples made from everyday objects he has lying around the house, Jez Butler’s new album The Lighter Side of Concrete will treat you to a childlike curious investigation into the relations between sound and music. His first solo album, all the songs were recorded on the same day they were written, lending the album a spontaneous and creative feel.

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REVIEWS

The Lighter Side of Concrete by The Twelve Hour Foundation
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7/10 Laurie 19 November 2014

Well, Jez Butler, the lighter side of concrete depends on where you’re standing. Maybe that’s the point, maybe people always seem to find themselves staring at the dark shadowy edge, so he’s lending you a hand really, showing you an unseen world.

Smartassery gets you nowhere so lets get back on track - from the use of found sounds and recorded household objects, we can guess that ‘concrete’ is referring to the musique concrete of Pierre Schaeffer and the San Francisco Tape Music Center. A lot of objects are tapped giving a fun, playful xylophone effect, displaying a ‘lighter side’ quite far removed from the murky genre. What’s more, the childlike BBC Radiophonic-influenced melodies take this towards the ludicrous - some of these tunes could be on the soundtrack of an old PS1 game. Despite the overbearing cheeziness, every sound is well recorded and layered, all the more impressive considering that most of these were recorded the same day that they were written. This is what makes the percussive insistency of tracks like ‘Bakerlike’ so listenable, each clack more rewarding than the last.

The more you listen, the more bonkers you feel. It’s the sound of cabin fever being put through the digital audio mangler, the madness of being cooped up indoors. But it is from these extremes of environment or feeling that brilliance is born, even if it takes the form of a merry go round chock full of manic clowns. Too many clowns is bad for the soul though, and they just pile up over the course of The Lighter Side of Concrete adding more silliness every time.

Musique concrete has always been the reserve of learned wizards living in bomb shelter studios, and has always needed a fun geezer to paint it with pastiche. Concrete does have a lighter side after all.




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