• Frog Pocket - Gonglot

    Reviewed by Joe Muggs (littledetroit.net)

    Frog Pocket - Gonglot

    Planet Mu have always been SERIOUS about their music. Frowny faced SERIOUS. Indeed I’ve actually been sternly told off in the past by Mr Paradinas for using the wrong terminology for genres (specifically for saying “ragga-gabbaâ€ù instead of “breakcoreâ€ù). Still, this is no bad thing – if electronic music was all wackiness, pisstakes and jolly japes it would be just as boring as if it was miserable and studious all the time, so plenty respect for those flying the flag for the SERIOUS stuff.

    Frog Pocket is serious. Serious guitar harmonic fingerpicking, serious strings, serious folky harps and some serious drum madness. What sets him apart, though, is that it’s often also seriously beautiful and seriously dynamic. Each of these pieces (yus - these are definitely ‘pieces’ rather than just ‘tunes’) develops with an inexorable logic from beginning to end with twists, surprises, demented rushes, noise-white-outs and weightless floating bits. Rarely for an electronic artist who uses a lot of strings, it manages to be dramatic and seriously moody without slipping into any goth/industrial clichés. The drums occasionally veer into AFX / Squarepusher territory (especially on ‘Carac Cyls’ and ‘Hurrah Sapphire Moon!’), but Frog Pocket’s melodic style is so far removed from James & Jenkinson they always stay fresh. Hearing acoustic instruments this well blended with such ludicrously cut up and warped drum sounds is well impressive; they’re actually made to work together, rather than just jamming the acoustic sounds through some glitch madness patch to force them to sound electronic. There’s no forced-ness to the additions of the classical and Celtic touches (indeed Frog Pocket – from Ayr – is trained in many traditional Scottish instruments) The ‘Bach down a WARP rave’ climax of ‘Celebrimbor Tur-Anion’ has to be heard to believed for its ability to fuse styles without being ‘novelty’. A tendency to barking mad ‘alien voice’ synths amidst all this helps pull it back from over-symphonic po-facedness, and overall the whole thing is seriously fun as well as merely serious.