With a history of playing with arty types such as Thurston Moore, Yoko Ono and Xiu Xiu you could think that Peptalk would be some kind of noise/art collective. Instead they draw on their love of exotica, dub, electronica and in particular the Bladerunner soundtrack to create their own world of highly original yet highly accessible becalmed soundscapes. 'Islet' is their debut album and will appeal to fans of artists as disparate as Mum, The Slits and Ryuichi Sakamoto.
8/10 Robin Staff review, 10 June 2015
The folks in Peptalk usually hang about with experimental artists who make transgression their first port of call: some of them have played with noise interrogators Thurston Moore and Yoko Ono, others with the nervous ball of artful energy that is Xiu Xiu. Pull them all to the side of the room, though, and their music is tranquil and cautionary, a kind of half-epic ambient pop that exists as a combination of as many different explorative genres as possible.
Drawing from a palette of dub and J-pop and dousing them over a backdrop of droning soundscapes, Peptalk create a sound that’s full of both character and wildlife. ‘Islet’ tinkers with toy instruments but also implements watery field recordings; it uses traditionalist trumpet and also features smacks of slick guitar a la Blood Orange if he were dub-ified. Weirdly, in spite of all this, one of the most fitting comparisons might be Vladislav Delay’s most recent record, ‘Visa’ -- if only because the band can begin certain motifs and then suddenly flip them over like an abstract pancake. It’s coming from an entirely different place, of course, but Peptalk’s interest in dub creates a frenetic and spontaneous sound on these tracks, especially considering the plethora of timbres they’re playing with.
Vocalist Angelica Negron occasionally steps into the atlas that is ‘Islet’ and lends the world its population, singing over foggy sustained arrangements and beats that click into place. It almost feels like she’s narrating a play we’re not supposed to understand, and she adds to the record’s frayed mythos perfectly. Can I call it baroque dub, please? It’s too late.
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- Islet by Peptalk
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