Some good old-fashioned idiosyncrasy from Concretism here. For Concrete And Country synthesises much of the Great British oddball lineage - the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Ghost Box Records, Public Service Broadcasting etc. - with a newly-resurfaced Cold War paranoia. It’s the aural equivalent of a day out in Dungeness. The fact that the artwork was done by Richard Littler (the brains behind Scarfolk) only adds to the sense of strangeness.
Staff note from Clinton:
It's literally music for our customers, this. We've done really well with the last two releases but from what we've heard so far this one could be even more down your street. Lots of Boards of Canada references (obviously) but also John Carpenter, nuclear war, and horrible grey buildings. Just like the one we work in.
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- For Concrete and Country by Concretism
We've just been listening to the most Boards of Canada record ever. I mean, when does something go beyond pastiche and into identity theft? Luckily putting the Concretism record on has been a breath of fresh (if dour, grey and monolithic) air. Concretism of course has elements of the Boards of Canada influence but matches it with other synth driven sounds to create a more unique squelch.
The opener here 'Black Special' is an absolute corker, you'll love it. Classic pounding synth work, a melody to kill for and the usual dystopian overtures that mark the music of Chris Sharp as more than just a soundalike. There are enough analogue synth sounds here to fell a horse. On the brilliantly titled 'Unspecified Radiological Incident' this means Kraftwerk-ian bloops and a wandering melody that takes a few listens to give you exact directions of where it's headed.
Like the previous 'Electricity' the aesthetic here is just right and a lot of it sounds like themes to 70's information films. A lot of the time some of this obsession with creating the past for nostalgia nerds gets my goat but I think Concretism handles it well and the key to doing that is great tracks. Like 'Electricity' there's a bunch of them here. 'Waiting, Watching' is particularly resourceful in channeling different kinds of synth sounds without everything becoming samey. It also had a great melody plonked on top which helps.
"Wonky / broken cassette / 70s information program type stuff" said one of our customer reviewers of a previous release and this sums it up. Excellently made though with a fine eye for detail.
9/10 Eric 4th May 2018
Hadn't heard of Concretism until they were mentioned in the weekly newsletter. This album is terrific. So good, I have it both in hi-def digital and the LP. One of the few instances when it's essential to have both. Highly recommended.
8/10 Les 4th May 2018
Being able to remember when public information films were often broadcast meant that on my first listen to Concretism's, For Concrete and Country I had images of black and white footage of a country getting ready for the worst! However we all can sleep safely in our beds because this album is full of heavy synths, dubby beats and understated melody. As a point of reference I would place Concretism alongside Public Service Broadcast/Air but what Concretism is so good at is painting an aural picture of times past/in the future and evoking a sense of authoritarian menace, but never bleak. So, I am not stocking up emergencies supplies for the bunker just yet because I want to keep on listening to this album!
9/10 Lord Lucozade 21st April 2018
Mutually Assured Distraction from this 'Boards of Canada meets John Carpenter, Uptown with Rockers in a Stockpiled Nuclear Bunker', electronic delight.
By the time side one had finished, I'd taken down all our downstairs doors and fashioned a rudimentary Government approved bomb shelter (music can do strange things to you). What the excellent 'For Concrete and Country', won't make you do though, is put on tweeds and a bow tie and turn you into the kind of 'Dr Who Assistant', you wish could have had a giant radioactive maggot inserted where the Tardis don't shine.
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