Reviewed by sheikh ahmed (absorb.org)
decal are one of the few acts delivering quality electronic music out of ireland. nonetheless, we here at absorb are familiar with them through their sterling work in the electro department. they also appeared on the 2 lone swordsmen remix album 'further reminders'. but whereas electro and techno have prided themselves on being music that contains rhythms that are, as quincy jones once put it "nailed down with spikes". this album moves away from those aforementioned territories that decal previously occupied and into something much more interesting. adapting more, dare i say it, organic attributes, they've incorporated vocals and guitars to the electronic mix to create a work of startling beauty and originality. (unfair) comparisons will be made to 'geogaddi', the latest opus by the boards of canada, but i'm gonna stick my neck out here and say that this is the better album.
obvious differences are decal's less reliance on any form of a beat, with most tracks lacking any real percussion to speak of. that's not to say there's no rhythm. the gorgeous drift of 'somewhere worth living' almost lull you to a gentle rock, the accentuated guitar pickings offset against the flat acidic squelches. but nothing prepares you for the melancholic pleading of 'waiting (all along)', where alan kelly's vocals coupled with the synth heavy chords make it sound like an updated vangelis track. i'll leave it up to you to decide whether that's a recommendation or not.
'slowly''s live stitled percussion and slight melodies are endearing enough. 'plan a' and it's looped and layered guitars are driven further into the abyss by a terrific buzzing bassline. highlight of the album though is the apocalyptic drone of 'juggernaut', which can only be best described as the sound of an ice-cream van being trapped in the seventh circle of hell. ace!
after listening to this solidly for a week its clear that the we've only just managed to scratch the surface of this work. we found ourselves irregularly hearing new things. they may be small and last for just a second, but it's this attention to detail and the wonderful atmosphere created that make this such a success. sounds to accompany you on your next journey.
- Various - The Cosmic Forces Of Mu
- Venetian Snares - Defluxion
- Venetian Snares & Speedranch - Making Orange Things
- Joseph Nothing - Dummy Variations
- Hrvatski - Swarm & Dither
- Mu Allstars - Criminal
- Hellfish & Producer - Constant Mutation (Mixed)
- Leafcutter John - Microcontact
- Nicole Elmer - Beef Bouilion
- Tim Tetlow - Beauty Walks A Razor's Edge
- Phthalocyanine - 25 Tracks Fer 1 Track
- Leafcutter John - Concourse E.E.P.
- Luke Vibert - '95-'99
- Jega - Geometry
- Capitol K - Roadeater E.P.
- Kid Spatula - Full Sunken Breaks
- Jega & Kid Spatula - Unity Gain / Hard Love
- Capitol K - Sounds Of The Empire
- Slag Boom Van Loon - So Soon
- Tusken Raiders - The Motorbike Track
- Slag Boom Van Loon - Slag Boom Van Loon
- Jega - Spectrum
- Horse Opera - 3 Cornered Room
- Capitol K - Island Row