Maxwell Sterling is a Manchester born soundtrack composer who spent time in LA and composed a piece inspired by being a nanny for rich LA parents. This offers an alternative lucid view of LA via his distinct sonic hauntology. Also of note is the sleeve by legendary Manchester artist Linder (aka Maxwell’s mum).
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Originally a digital release on Memory No. 36 Recordings in 2016, The Death Of Rave have now vinylized Maxwell Sterling's super hi-res sonic picture of the simultaneously decadent and mucky city in which he resides - Los Angeles. It’s clear to hear why this work has been so revered and compared to James Ferraro and Oneohtrix Point Never. This definitely has something of their pioneering Vaporwave work. The sound palette in particular often recalls Daniel Lopatin’s early work, but I guess perhaps that’s down to using classic DX7 and Juno synths.
On opening cut ‘Hollywood Medieval4’ I can visualize turning on the television twenty years from now to see an orchestra of robots playing said tune on classical instruments - creating or sort of future Muzak. There’s several passages that sound strikingly familiar in that sort of hauntological / hypnogogic pop way. I can well imagine the sun warped ‘Your Last Cadeza’ coming out on Not Not Fun or Olde English Spelling Bee a few years back. ‘Synthetic Beach’ has a hyperactive rhythm that recalls Shangaan Electro meets Lorenzo Senni, while ‘Hollywood Medieval Pt II’ is like a glitched up Zomby and Rustie with chopped up Gregorian chants. The record ‘Funeral For A Building’ is a mournful closer, beautifully relaying a sense of sadness beneath the surface of the glamorous city of L.A.
I wasn’t sure about this album on first listen, but upon repeated plays, I have to confess it’s a grower. Edition of 500 copies
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- Hollywood Medieval (2017 Edition) by Maxwell Sterling
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