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Sketches for Albinos – fireworks and the dead city radio (mini50)

Three stars

Matthew Collings has become a quietly ubiquitous presence in Edinburgh's off-piste electronische live diaspora over the last couple of years. This latest release in the composer and sound artist's Sketches for Albinos guise was forged and recorded during snatched moments during time spent in Iceland, and comes on 12” vinyl with a photographic book.

The seven tracks make for a curiously domestic-sounding affair, with the treated guitar and breathy, just-out-of-bed vocal of the opening 'I Have So Many Things I've Always Wanted' seemingly pulsed along by trolls playing a toy orchestra. The crudely cut-n'-pasted drum clatter of 'I Think We Grew Again' comes on like a lo-fi John Barry and a frosty rather than chilled take on The Orb's 'Little Fluffy Clouds'

Beyond the drone, snatches of conversations dip in and out of view, A woman describes herself opening the door and stepping into the sunshine. Toddlers sing some far off nursery rhyme. A man shares a dream as one might huddled round the sofa talking rubbish with friends. A woman's voice says how she doesn't feel loved. Earlier, the same voice says how she's “recording everything” before putting the 'phone down. It's private stuff, as though the listener is eavesdropping in through the rear window on aural snapshots of things normally hidden from view.

Opaque and ornate titles hint at after-hours narratives in pitch-black retreats with only the embers of something or someone for company. 'February With The Wolves And Angels' squints into the middle distance, even as a stern voice comes on like an Icelandic sat-nav. The woozily melancholy piano of 'The Sailor in the City is Buying Up Time', the the drum skitters of 'She Drew A Pentagon' and the acoustic fuzz of 'Piani Fingers' recalls the DIY primitivism of late This Heat bassist Gareth Williams' post-band Flaming Tunes project. 'Submerged Cathedrals' breathes in the extended space rock drones of Windy & Carl or Randall Nieman's recently revived Fuxa project conjured out from the FX box gloop, with every click and hiss preserved in glacial bliss.

The List, March 2014 


ends

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