Friday, 13 June 2014

Holy Goof / Dancer / RaveTape / This Then / RoutineZero - Demo Reviews - NARC Magazine, August Edition

[2014.06.13] Tom Hollingworth, for NARC Magazine.

Holy Goof roll Cinematic Hum along at a gentle canter with a strummed steel-string. A sorrowful vocal slides lyrics over the chords like a hopeless ghost-rider, weighted with experience of the broken-hearted. The production honours the performance perfectly allowing this track to sit comfortably alongside the sounds that have inspired it. This track displays a vulnerable shell with its gently moving vocal and light strumming, whilst the propelling snare and blues inflections assure an inner strength beneath its surface. After riding this song, giving aged advice, the narrator conceives to their reality of youthful errors, sympathetically repeating the line ‘all young lovers do.’

Cut up samples of the track title Tryin, linked with a bass and synth, open Dancer’s ode to effort. A crescendo builds halfway through spilling out into a scratchy euphoria. After introducing the characters of this play, including wondrous wood-block-esque samples, our composer expertly delineates a build-section with flair, off-setting the final release with a disarming precursor. The synth pitching towards the end is stretched slightly like an old tape playing back. This aesthetic against an energised pattern creates the classic combination of euphoria and melancholy. Compacting this track to a radio-edit makes the sections feel rushed. I’m sure this mild criticism would be obsolete in the full-length edition.

The aptly titled Jam Sandwich enters with a short bass motif as atmospheric distant synths crackle and fuzz. Percussion like the flickering of butterfly-wings awakens into a break-beat pattern and the bass develops into model phrases. The piece finds its platform halfway through as an electronic piano, straight from the 90’s, unisons quicker riffs with a solidified tertiary bass-refrain before finally reaching a repeated ascending synth riff which climaxes proceedings. Though much of the baseline is unashamedly oneristic, this spectacle grows in the listener, from the feet to the head, until all is praising in the church of movement.

This Then briefly describe a walk by a church in the first verse of Sierpinski. The narrator, with his rich North-East accent, vaguely hints of a realisation from a painful experience, though what exactly is left indistinct, as the remainder of the track takes us instrumentally through minor motifs whilst a steady programmed beat repeats without distraction. Subtle spring effects in some of the guitar and drum parts add colour to the very basic hooks. The title seemingly references a mathematically satisfying triangle that contains subdivisions of itself. Perhaps the outline described in the lyrics is the outer wall of the subject and as listeners we are asked to imagine the details?

My. Word. #Rare is a hundred Red Bull’s deep, power-marching to a brassy shrine of lust. There is a lot of crude sweat perspiring from RoutineZero’s brash sonnet, from the aggressive vocal delivery to the dismissive categorisation of something the protagonist finds special. With every word of cliched flattery and ham-fisted observation our lyricist seeks to raise positive punches to the sky. The sound uses the angles of Kraut-rock but negates the optimism of that movement by folding the sonics into a commercial format and using them only to carry a song that revels in reducing rare to yeah!

This month’s Demo of the Month is Rave Tape’s measured blend of jazz and rave. Jam Sandwich is perfectly paced in its elevation from glimpses of phrasing to a full-on endorsement of dancing, all supported by tasteful mixing of carefully selected sounds. It is refreshing to have a submission that appreciates the jamming of elements for their own sake without a further motive.

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