Off World got off to a flying start last year with I, a record released as part of a trilogy of electronic works on Constellation echoing back to their Musique Fragile Series. Featuring avant-folk artist Sandro Perri, the group's record offered beguiling instrumental twists that sounded like vintage coming back to life; the roster appears to have changed here, Perri joined by the likes of labelmate Eric Chenaux as well as Matthew Cooper, Susumu Mukai and others.
Vinyl LP £19.49 CST127LP
180g vinyl LP + poster on Constellation.
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Two years ago I was listening to the Off World room while moving house and let me tell you it was a bad combination. Sandro Perri’s electronic ensemble make music somewhere between motorik and fidgeting, putting the path ahead in plain view before suggesting you consider every other possible crevasse. I was moving from one half-filled box to another in split-second acrobatics, deviating in a kind of broken dance of distress.
Perri’s clean and fantastical sounds as Off World are not dissimilar from his odd, spangly folk works, but the timbres are a massive deviation: using kosmische and vintage electronics with a revolving cast of players, he makes sounds that feel full of alien humors -- jokes we can’t quite get but find funny anyway. Joined by Eluvium’s Matthew Cooper, Lower Dens’ Drew Brown and avant-garde songwriter Eric Chenaux, along with Susumu Mukai and Craig Dunsmuir, this record feels like a hundred different ideas firing off at once, often wrestling in a chrome blank space -- the surrealism of an old wordless cartoon plays in many of these beatless tunes, while the occasional spark of percussion offers an almost songlike quality to songs that are mostly blusterous sound effects and stray chords.
It’s perhaps more fun than the first Off World record, in this sense: the sonic diversity is both maddening and compelling, moving from shrill, incongruent electronic improvisations to segues of prettiness and dropped hints of dance music. In fact the frantic, collage-like movements of this record are enough to keep me poring over it again and again, finding trinkets of sound that feel like they could exist nowhere else. Long may this Off World project continue, if it’s going to be offering us this many possible worlds.
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