Friday, August 12, 2011

REVIEW// Elliot: Found Sounds

     I was actually sent a link to this record a couple of days ago, but I've only just managed to write this up. Elliot is an Australian who was discovered putting out some pretty nice tracks over on the SoundCloud, and subsequently got a record deal with The Frequency Lab. 'Found Sounds' is his debut release; a thirteen track effort that tumbles over sonic hills, an abstract sky raining melodic beats that cause the electronic soundscapes to fizz and glitch. Running for only twenty minutes, I'd usually bung this in with the EPs, but the email said album, so that's what I'm taking it as. For the most part, this album suffers from the same ugly scar that Nasa's 'Uncommon Color Combinations Vol. 2' did, in that the songs are ended lazily. I mean, you are an electronic artist with almost any sound at your disposal, and a fade-out is the most imaginative thing you can come up with? It wouldn't be that bad if the rest of the album was poor, but it's not! The are some great beats and samples used here, which combine with the almost cinematic quality of the music to create something all too original. Hints of jazz, alien and foreign elements also emerge from the psychedelic fog that clouds and surrounds 'Found Sounds'. It would have been wonderful, had the songs had more definite and finished conclusions. Oh well.
     'Non Being Nor Being' kicks off the album, with its alien croaks bubbling over a prayer and strange reverb-covered narration. 'Warm Jazz Rain' floats under warmer waters, with subtly mixed saxophone and finger-clicks adding to the rich musical soundscape. As it draws to a close, the dusty interference crackles into 'Thundering Plants', which, despite its name, retains a nice melody below the beats and noises. It might be a good time to mention that only one track out of the thirteen here runs over three minutes. A disappointing fade-out from 'Thundering Plants' marks the start of the next track, 'Sun Setting Over Bird Cage'. Said song is split into two parts, giving opportunity for a great transition. Instead, another fade-out is what we're dealt, which, while not scream-to-the-heavens bad, dampened the experience, for me at least. The song is fantastic though. Radio-crackles muffle the voice at the start of part one, before a throbbing, generator sound comes into play. Another deep, possessed voice is mixed through the track, and the end professor states, "The end has begun". The second part is more upbeat, but no less eerie. Tribal drums carry the beat and sonic phenomenon before the half-way tracks, 'Not Another Moniker' and 'I Dream an 8-bit Dream' begin. The latter track in particular, despite it only running for half a minutes, sounds lovely. Rain splatters the cold floor of a futuristic camp while a security robot whirrs, its red eyes flashing in the mist. Love it.
     The start of the second half, 'Who 8 My Bits', sounds decidedly more dancey than the others during the introduction. The experimentation and glitches still tie it into the album as a whole, and it adds that element of variety to the record that's easy to appreciate. 'Unknown-Unitled' is another of my favourite tracks. Its almost soundtrack-like sounds feel epic and grand, and the high notes prevailing the air lend it a mysterious aroma. Another two parter then comes along in the form of 'The Dreams of Men', before the groovy beat of 'KVxd(mod) 5-4' and the alien invasion of 'Transmissions' end 'Found Sounds'. Overall, I guess I did enjoy the atmospheric beats Elliot threw my way, but the endings don't live up to the standard put in place by the majority of the songs. There isn't anything wrong with this album apart from that though, so this is another easy recommendation from me. Head over to Bandcamp to download or stream the album. You can also listen to track nine, 'Unknown-Untitled' below. Sorry for taking so long to get this review written up as well!