One of the finest harvesters of talents, Mike Paradinas is once again working his magic and bringing some fresh and creative blood into his roster. Portsmouth-based Christopher Reeves, or The Gasman as he likes to be called, is the most recent recruit from Planet Mu. Expanding seriously on the possibilities offered by the laptop computer to musicians over recent years, Reeves presents a rather interesting and slightly disturbing record.
Said to build his music from old classical tape reels with a computer bought from Dixon’s, Reeves weaves orchestral and anarchic electronic elements into beautiful and strangely fascinating pieces, relentlessly juxtaposing genres. Refusing categorisation, Reeves stick to jumping from one mood to another with remarkable constancy. Taking his inspiration from a wide range of sources, it is difficult to pinpoint where Reeves comes from, and it serves his purpose incredibly well. The album opens with the dark rumblings of processed string work and choirs interrupted by the fracas of atmospheric noises and screams on Horses On Ice, setting the tone for the bleaker side of Remedial. Ajax, that follows, entertains a more open and somewhat traditional electronic atmosphere, close to some of Black Dog’s early recordings, yet threatening orchestral spikes lurk in the background, keeping the chirpy melody on its toes. If Derbac or Trill appear more straightforward, and Pyloric verges on the playful, with its approach to rhythmic section reminiscent of Aphex Twin or Venetian Snares, Krona, which follows reinforces the murkier side of Reeves's musical persona. Despite some interesting excursions into more conventional territories, Remedial remains unsettling, dark and atmospheric. His approach might not be entirely original – some might be tempted to draw hasty comparisons with the likes of Murcof or Aphex Twin – yet the result is by all means personal. Ostensibly adapting some elements of the technique applied by electro-acoustic composers to the more sterile environment of his computer, Reeves manages to remain firmly focused on the organic aspect of his raw material. The sonic deconstruction is not total, far from it. If Reeves processes his sounds comprehensively, he retains the melodic nature of his sources, enabling his compositions to develop in multiple directions at once. Complex and abstract, yet reasonably accessible and cohesive, the great majority of the seventeen tracks forming the body of his debut release prove fundamentally captivating. Influences are far less important than direction here, and Reeves seems to unashamedly turn his back on restrictive features to give his music context and purpose. The only drawback of this approach is that Remedial end up feeling slightly patchy at times, as if the multiple focus were spreading just a little bit too far, but it is rarely clearly noticeable and doesn’t affect the overall result in any way. Remedial remains a strong collection of clever electronica that can have you both dancing and reflecting to.
Typical of the stance taken by Mike Paradinas with the releases of is label over the last few years, Remedial showcases the incredibly diverse work of yet another prodigy of the laptop generation and proves to be a decidedly fine piece of work. Alternating challenging compositions and playful experiments, Christopher Reeves proves to be one of the most interesting recent additions to the label.
- Eskmo - Let Them Sing
- Ikonika - Smuck
- Geiom & Shortstuff - No Hand Signals
- Starkey - OK Luv
- Raffertie - 7th Dimension
- Ceephax Acid Crew - United Acid Emirates
- Kuedo - Dream Sequence E.P.
- Starkey - Ephemeral Exhibits
- Neil Landstrumm - Lord For £39
- Distance - Repercussions
- Last Step - 1961
- Mrs Jynx - The Standoffish Cat
- Venetian Snares - My Downfall (Original Soundtrack)
- Meat Beat Manifesto - Autoimmune
- iTAL tEK - Cyclical
- Mary Anne Hobbs - Evangeline
- Venetian Snares - Miss Balaton
- Various Production & Virus Syndicate - Apollo/Neva Argue
- Sunken Foal - Fermented Condiments
- Sunken Foal - Fallen Arches
- Venetian Snares - Detrimentalist
- The Gasman - Superlife
- Eero Johannes - Eero Johannes
- Virus Syndicate - Sick Pay