TBR: 17th January
We spend a lot of time in Scotland here at The Electro Review. Thanks to the great sounds that consistently radiate from the people at Bricolage, there's always something to talk about in Glasgow. This week we sit down, relax, and peel open a fresh and juicy LP from Lying Cat. Resting the legs or not telling the truth? Perhaps you can decide that one, this feline philanthropist of sound production dishes out yet more lo-fidelity and experimental sonic designs. This latest work kicks off a no doubt stunner of a year for many perhaps undervalued but never over-rated music producers like Lying Cat. Named after the online experience where we escape the humdrum of reality by building a new one, maybe for music fans like us the abstract audio experience provides the impetus we need to dream.
It opens with the sound of air passing through fast-vibrating material. Squelchy whistles slurp and blow across other distorted sounds. Could it be mud, sludgy mess and dripping detritus? Then, a quick and clever rhythm breaks free, crafting a neat and catchy line through the matrix. Synthesiser tones curl and shimmer underneath, a bass-line that sings and harmonises rumbles across the stereo aligned wall of sound. The muted drumming ripples with electronic power, held back by the filter of patience no-doubt. New tones emerge, bright and vivid bass notes twang which ride across lines of sunny atmosphere. And The Realisation Came That The Flies Were In Your Mouth reminds me that no-one is immune from need for improvement.
Dust Be Just Ill Leaves (Karm) begins with a slicing tone that whistles in a shrill hum. This is joined by abstract rhythms that start and stop in jittery phrases. The loops eventually build a foundation that becomes a spongy bed for more odd sounding injections of sonic sculpture. Waveform and timing combine in strangely angled disjoints which gradually creep along a wall of potential. Melodic percussion bounces in a scale that fizzes into oblivion before reappearing again alongside other vibratory qualities.
Following on, a shrill feedback wails from distant horizons. This grows and carries a rhythm that starts and stops for a few bars before bringing a bass-line to keep it pegged down. Melodic two tone thumps collide with background wavery atmosphere like a mirage of light and heat. Sonic pitches vibrate and dig down like tunnelling lasers which create steps as they go. Warm tones pan out in rivers of luxurious eeriness while glistening corners flicker and dance as the story unfolds. Candle Cove carries a ghostly ambience which decorates a fusion of beats and oscillating synthesiser.
Cats Under Bureaucratic Arrest begins with a fragmented rhythm. Strange clanking sounds almost like trains connecting carriages splatter against shaky beats. A flow builds across dialling blips and wind-instruments which sing out in party-time phrases of free movement. An electro-jazz compendium of artistic mixing creates a room of uplifting and invigorating rhythmic sounds.
Another layer of creamy melody washes over as the next track begins. Keyboards spill glowing chords that rhyme with tonal drums which bounce and snap in a slow tempo. Groove seeps from the edges of this one, and as the percussion progresses, more fun and intellectual rhythmic phrases unfurl. Crunching sounds fill a sneaky space under the passage of composition as various evolutions then cause a distinctive shift in the generational progression. Extra elements now fill voids previously left for thought and a pressure builds in the form of a droning ray of sunny vibration. Acceptable Corporate Walk In Music sounds delicious and puts me in a dreamy state of mind.
The next number begins with a disparate tone which grows to allow a rhythm to unfold. Bass tones rumble on tubular pipes while other ones thud on electronic vibes. Multiple percussion lines merge in a foray of driving motion. Chimes resonate underneath, a dripping and slurping feel grapples with the walls. Various snaking melodics weave patterns in the weft of the bubbling and viscous mix. The Dull Tedium Of Unwanted Symbiosis Erodes Your Will reminds me of being trapped in a system that only wants us for our compliance.
Goodbye The Host ends this remarkable, fun, and inventive album. It starts with tones that draw lines across vast plains of sonic potential. Harmonising fractals grow like crystals as a rhythm section breaks free. Slicing drums with weird twisted effects smash forward through slushy ice as vibrant tones push ever on. New rhythms break, colliding drums and rolling distortion fizz and crackle as frantic melody snakes around with low-bit synthesiser. A vocal sample with crumbled phonics marks a central point before exploratory synthesiser carries the music forward once again. With a crash of mangled drums and a twist of retro-glycerine, the music culminates in a solar flare of digital energy.
Second Life by Lying Cat is available on Bandcamp
Rowan Blair Colver for The Electro Review.