A throwback for fans of Nineties ambient, glitch and general Warp Records output, Secuund is the sophomore effort from Belgian experimentalists Suumhow. Warmer and smoother than the often startling audio assaults of last year’s debut Crash_Reports, it sees the duo branch out into more diverse territory.
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Well Daniel Johnston has died and man, I feel down. I suppose one of the slight remedies is to either listen to DJ himself or listen to something so far removed from his music that you begin to forget all about it. I plumped for the latter. Suumhow are a Belgian duo that temper their glitchy assaults with sweetly mournful IDM melodies. This is a formula that works superbly on their second album, 'Secuund'.
Suumhow manage to make a music as faceless and intimidating as glitch sound warm and wistful. The two essential components in their music, crushed glitchy percussion and big analogue synth pads, redefine each other. Their interactions are a beautiful demonstration of how twisted and brutal arrangements can transform into something wholly comforting.
Allow me to digress briefly. I always imagine that the thing that sings '715 - CRΣΣKS' from Bon Iver's '22, A Million' album is a huge robot that has somehow gained consciousness, a giant dirt-shifting machine that accidentally attains knowledge of the infinite. I feel the same way about the beats on 'Secuund'. Despite how coarse and crude they sound, the way they interact with each other and with the other sonic elements is humanistic. They twist and turn to find space and conform to rhythm, tempo, and meter, despite how evil and irredeemable they sound.
Suumhow make music that is more than the sum of its parts. And this is why, although I tried to forget about Daniel Johnston, as is often the way with his music, it found a way to worm its way back into my brain. Suumhow and Johnston both share a music that is rough-hewn and unpolished, and made human through this.
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