Shaded Monocle – Lit By Talons (Minimal Resource Manipulation)
There’s a wonderfully cartoonish marching rhythm to opening track Breath Of Palms that’s contrasted beautifully by the eerie, erratic and eccentric percussion that surrounds it, occasional wiry shivers of electronica and sustained, unsettling synths. It’s an elegant, strutting track that stomps about at once petulant and primped.
Second track Escape To Summer opens with a dingy, jazz bar sound, piano notes and descending percussion looping, as various sticks and synths scurry about in the sidelines. There are moments here and there where a sudden stab of sound alarms, or there’s a curious noise like someone playing a toy piano. However, it’s a track that’s very content to coast along on one plane without ever experimenting beyond its earliest ideas. Elsewhere 72 Weeks mixes sounds akin to electronic donkey whines and dog barks over a sombre cello and sputtering metronomic blips. Similar animal sounds crop up on the up-tempo State Of Halfway which is initally tied up in piano keys before turning into a minimalist carnival track.
Closing track If All The Insects….. begins with creaking, shuffling movements as if trying to find room in the song for what it wants to do, a melancholy guitar line arrives with muffled vocals thrown in for good mixture. It’s an odd mix, the two styles – the more musical guitar/vocal combo and the avant garde percussion – never finding a middle ground, each one sounds like it’s intruding on the other. The track itself doesn’t seem too sure where to go either and winds up just fading out into nothingness.
An intriguing record with most of the tracks getting off to good starts, but a little lost once they’ve got going.
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