Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #281 - Seams, "Tourist/Sleeper"

Seams is from the UK and lives in Berlin, the irresistible techno city. Is it because the place smells so much of the future? I've not been there in over ten years and it may be the future has slowed down there just as it has folded in on itself most other places; but its techno credentials can't be any coincidence.

The album is a compilation of two EPs. "Tourist" kicks off with "Hung Markets", and I don't really know what that means. Is it a financial metaphor, like a hung parliament? Or is it something you'd see out in the Far East or South America or something? I suppose the title of the EP would suggest the latter. There's some slightly sinister thumb piano going on over a live recording of drums and live commentary, slowed down a pitch or two, for "Carnival". Trippy brooding qualities are therefore encouraged. Jubilant woops becoming yawning roars. More roughly-recorded speech is looped on "Nachtmusik" over crystalline synth chimes that dangle in the air like a chandelier. It's cheery, but rolls around in empty space - not quite reaching anywhere. "Platz" also has some street-drumming running underneath. Perhaps it's that techno city future energy that Seams is trying to harness on this EP. But it seeps out the joins a little. It's a little too domestic and comfortable. Too touristy perhaps?

"Sleeper" starts a little darker with "The Glow", more clautrophobic and studio-bound without the happy wanderings recorded for the first four tracks. The bass pattern is more ominous, and there is no escape through leaky dynamics as earlier. "Potential" should be ripe with lurking energy - and there are little Four Tet speckled dances in the mix, sunshine peeking out from between the leaves. There's a spiralling Orbital feel to the opening of "Punch" that carries on through. It has the most drive of the tracks and I like that. That drive is what techno has more than any other musical genre: it's the music of getting to places of trains and autobahns and fast-motion photography, of human geometry and the cosmological picture in motion. The pace drops to doodling again on "The Long Wait" and it has a real 8-bit feel to it, fuzzy Eighties Atari games console bassline with some tension torquing in and out of the melody. It's a grower not a shower. And a slightly curious title for an album closer, no?

Rating: Doodle Slack out of Split Personality

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