USA AAGOO RECORDS AGO051 CD (2012)
I’m being seduced by sound. This is pseudo-Electronic Voice Phenomena, predictably Brian Eno-influenced, translucent, flimsy, field recordings made using the by now familiar technique of amplifying mics so hard they pick up the conversation in a room farther down the hallway, made in an empty, bored moment while on holiday, taken home and augmented in a fairly predictable and inoffensive way with synths and tapes to produce a somnambulant species of music of the mildly distracting type that already overpopulates the marketplace. An example of the kind of inadvertent championing of expensive technology over creative talent that seems so prevalent today.
This, from the aagoo website: Bas Mantel who did the amazing design had this to say “These compositions sound frightening, but at the same time enchanting.” In case you were wondering, the “amazing design” comprises a fairly bland and generic Victorian black and white photograph of a child’s blank, expressionless face, one finger pressed to the her temple overlaid on an uninspiring barely there view through a window background. Pleasant though a lot of the material is, frightening and enchanting are not words I would use. Sorry Bas, I couldn’t disagree with you more.
Rather than being a “frightening” listen, mostly these four tracks strike me as merely a handful of isolated synth pads triggered at length that could I could imagine being used by ambient electronicists on the R&S label back in the early 90’s as beds for the breathing spaces between their techno workouts. Isolated as they are here, the sounds are neither particularly “enchanting” in that they are too unremarkable in their construction and repetitive in their facilitation. I feel I’m being seduced in the same way that television advertising tries to seduce me. Overall, I find myself asking myself the question “but is this enough?” a lot, although if I’m totally honest I’m actually quite enjoying the seduction despite myself.