The first of two records made in collaboration between dark synth pop group Poliça and Berlin based chamber orchestra Stargaze. On their first release together they have reinterpreted Steve Reich’s Music For Pieces of Wood from 1973, drawing from its polyrhythmic minimalism growing it into an equally sonically explorative piece utilising a broader palette of sound.
12" £18.49 TRANS297V
Limited single-sided / etched 12" on Transgressive.
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This looks interesting then, huh - a dark synthpop group collaborates with a Berlin chamber orchestra to play the music of Steve Reich, the first of 2 collab records. I guess if Reich can rework Radiohead then anything goes nowadays, and it’s only fair that some bands (that aren’t Sonic Youth, thanks Polica!) come in and mess about with his music.
The back of the sleeve recommends not listening without any background or context other than the music itself, but that’s kinda hard when you’re sat in a chair in front of a big ol’ computer screen to review the damn thing. It also recommends you ‘feel free to help yourself to something that might enhance your mood’, but all i have here is coffee and crisps. Pretty good combo I guess, but chances are you’ll have something better nearby for that, and no doubt there’s also a monolithic terminal glowing near you too; just try to ignore it and let the drums, strings and samplers lull you into a hypnotic trance.
As with all Reich pieces, it moves slowly and almost unnoticeably from each combination of sounds and rhythms to the next, being a mash of polyrhythms at any given moment. So the first half sounds very standard Reich-y, strings, drums, a stuttering voice, etc. All nice and conservatoire-friendly. But eventually the cycles become a bit more regular, and before you know it, Polica take over in full swing, snare hitting, low synth droning as if it were just another day at the pop. The chamber orchestra does join in after a brief broken interlude, violins intertwining with synth-bass donks, sounding very Clint Mansell at the moment. It goes triple time eventually and the drumkit enters again with Channy Leaneagh's buried vocals whispering around it all.
Yes, this is good.
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