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- Carnivalesque by Rubens
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10/10 The Milkman Customer review,
As its title leads to think, Carnivalesqueexults with refreshing joie de vivre and enchanting playfulness. Musicflows through its ten tracks like a wild highland stream, jumping fromone to the next with disarming ease.Released on relatively new imprint Herb Recordings, Carnivalesque follows the band?s first appearance on the digital-only compilation Natural Environments, released in the second half of last year, and is Herb?s first CD release. Carnivalesqueresonates with echoes of early Warp-era electronica a la Black Dog,Autechre or B12, sprinklered with essence of mid-seventies Kraftwerk,Cluster and Tangerine Dream, the lot blended into voluptuous swathes ofsynthetic waves and unashamedly upbeat and modern electronica. Rightfrom the opening moments, the pair set the tone with crystallineacoustic guitars layered over crisp electronics on Vertical Hold, and swirling melodies on the uplifting Breaking Into Smile.Within the first ten minutes, Rubens deploy an impressive armada ofsounds and moods, wrapped up in disarmingly simple and confidentpieces, that it is a wonder how they could sustain the pace for longand continue to deliver. Yet, they do, time and again, from the epic Ferris Wheel to the dense sonic clouds of Cayla?s Third and Winter Broth,carving wonderfully evocative melodic themes within translucentelectronic formations, always reaching higher, pushing further,creating dramatic landscapes on which melodies flourish and develop atwill, drum loops grow ever more intricate and dense, sound formationsconstantly change shape and appearance. Even on the more subdued and introvert terrains of pieces such as Giraffe, Blue Belles Burn Slowly or After Now Is Next,Flanagan and MacDermid balance rampant melancholy with impressionisttouches and inspiring arrangements to consolidate the overall mood ofthe record. Carnivalesque is intrinsically organic and warm,with vast cinematic open spaces and more intimate moments alternatingwith insistent regularity, denoting impressive maturity and judgementfrom the band. This is a record made by human beings, for human beings.
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