LP | 2016 | EU | Original (Where To Now?)
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Release:2016 / EU – Original
Genre:Electronic / Dance, Klassik
U has always displayed an unironic conformity to his own absolutely genuine / occasionally challenging ideal as to what a release should entail. After a series of predominantly, and (in the most loving sense) maybe begrudgingly, dance floor oriented EPs, ‘Vienna Orchestra’ is a long overdue insight into his core fascination as a musician; making complex and intriguing experimental pieces that belie the humble mode of their creation - recording from vinyl records and manipulating the audio on old school samplers. This LP is an insight into scores of hours of twiddling with loops and sequences to create music far removed from its source material (dusty classical records acquired on a trip to Vienna). This is a dense, blunted world, which holds the sound of a musician indulging their own ear’s obsessions and insatiable curiosity. The record’s opening is reminiscent of Walter Schumann’s ‘Night of the Hunter’ soundtrack in its deeply unsettling, creeping feel. The droning high strings in the background prick your ears while, in the foreground, oddly syncopated staccato stabs provide the loping, lurching feel. You could be forgiven for momentarily comparing this to some kind of oddball, Deep Puddle Dynamics-esque excursion… but then the fun begins. Throughout the record, the most consistently striking element is U’s masterful ability to, with the use of relatively simple EQs, filters and basic effects, turn familiar and fairly orthodox sounds into futuristic and daring electronic experimentalism. Forceful strings become ethereal and strange in their timbre, long, drawn-out notes are oscillated to create warped riffs or motifs and the imperfections of the physical format are treated as an essential aspect of the soundscapes he creates (more on this later). His isolation of contemporary rhythms in the source material displays an impeccable musical ear. Moments of the album sound like beatless grime or techno - not in a “YO kidz, Shakespeare was the original rapper!” kind of way - but in the startling, often illuminating fashion they summon connections between styles of the past and present. It’s also fascinating and joyful to hear, in this context, the early rave producers’ technique of pitching one chord or note across several pads / keys to create increments of the scale that shouldn’t really exist. No doubt this would discombobulate a classical purist to the point of distraction but it is a constant delight to hear this fairly un-musical production technique applied within a tuneful, meticulous and unfamiliar paradigm.