Reviewed by Thomas H Green (telegraph)
The word "ethereal" has been much over-used by music journalists. Yet, since it means variously "light", "celestial" and "airy", there is no better adjective to describe Julian Fane's extraordinary album.
This is all the more unlikely given that the 21-year-old Canadian takes his lead from avant-garde electronica, a sound often inclined towards abrasiveness. Fane's pieces are grounded in glitchy percussion, but great swathes of strings, indecipherable high-pitched vocals and lush sweeping effects form their emotional core.
The Birthday Boys, for instance, wallows deliciously in vast string-laden melancholy and achieves a pristine beauty almost classical in tone.
Occasionally the rhythmic experimentation and crunching drums can be overwhelming, but beyond this, the album is an affecting treat. Fane was a trader on the NASDAQ stock exchange who initially made music to create something conducive to workplace listening. Judging from Special Forces, record company talent scouts would be well advised to start sniffing around the City of London.
- 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