Trendy Danish label Posh Isolation release this compelling drone record from F.E. Denning, a record that contemplates the contemporary city. Cities of Light’s synths are thus suitably alienating, although there is certainly also something comforting about being held in their droney embrace. Pleasingly ambiguous in sound and concept.
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- Cities of Light by F. E. Denning
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Perhaps a well explored theme is that of urban isolation - the feeling of being so near so many people but connecting with so few that comes from living in the cramped dusty quarters of a modern metropolis. I suppose it’s not as bad a social woe as that depicted in Metropolis, that 1927 film where the peasants live underground feeding the machines their own blood (or something). That aside, Danish droner F. E. Denning correctly decides that noise is a suitable palette to deal with this disordered mental state, his tones throbbing like your eternal alcohol-and-caffeine-induced headache.
As the press release states, it is certainly paranoid, with abrasive textures whirling into a queasy deluge that’s like being stranded on the London end of the M1 at rush hour with nowt but rain to pat you in the back. The machine-like clank of Metropolis is here too, the music being true to the context by toeing the line into industrial noise. In fact, 3rd track ‘Exodus’ hardly has a hint of melody anywhere, an amalgam of whirrs clouded in perpetual fuzz. The City of Light seems to be embodied by the promise of optical warmth, but never delivering the anticipated comfort. Denning finds some sort of solace when he becomes transfixed by seeing ‘No Familiar Faces’ - perhaps its monotone chord points to this mass of nobodys.
By ‘Dissolution’ the intensity is back, life within its confines returning to a noisy blur. It’s a muted scream at a million faces that this guy probably wants to just make friends with and hang out and go to the mall with a hot dog, but can’t because of social convention and all that. Go for it dude, they’re probably bored shitless too. I’m not bored shitless by your musical presence, in fact, this has been pretty immersive. So for all fans of anti-isolation and noise and drone, flip the finger to the crowds and wander with this at night.
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