Subarachnoid Space

Sado-Technical Exercise

From 7th March 2016, the latest release by Brighton project Map 71 which is the duo of ranting poet Lisa Jayne with the low-key electropop noise of Andy Pyne. Sado-Technical Exercise (FOOLPROOF PROJECTS PRJ045) is the third release we’ve noted from this pair and their first full-length; I’d say it’s about their most successful outing to date, evidence that the duo have found a successful way to work together without getting in each other’s way.

I have in the past grumbled about the balance of the mix which seemed to privilege Pyne’s pulsations over the voice of Jayne, but there’s plenty of instances here showing they are working hard to overcome this niggling detail. On tracks like ‘4PM IG1’, there’s even a species of dynamism at work; instead of spewing out her text in a non-stop stream that pays no attention to the musical backdrop, Lisa Jayne punctuates it so that her phrases land either side of Pyne’s beat, resulting in an exciting tension. I’m aware that you could probably say the same about any underground rap record released in the wake of Cypress Hill in the 1990s, but it’s always encouraging when musicians find a method – arriving at it intuitively – that works effectively and in their favour. Lisa Jayne is not a rapper of course, more like a punkified story-teller who brings back pained and haunted images of life on the street in her impenetrable symbol-laden free verse. Andy Pyne keeps evolving new and inventive ways to restate the electrop beat thing, leaving more gaps and without having to assault the listener with mindless blasts of airless Techno nonsense.

Other signs of their technical evolution: Lisa Payne is now using echo effect to boost her voice on some tracks, and overdubs on others, whereas before it seemed the plan was give us the unadorned truth of her confrontational vocalising with no studio enhancement (“a woman wearing no makeup”, as I described it previously). These developments are welcome. No enclosed booklet of text and images this time, but Lisa’s bold images of a spider – a frightening image which crops up at least once in the songs here – are used as cover art. The spider and the fly story is a simple motif used here to express darker meanings of entrapment and manipulation in relationships and life. Very good.

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