[sic]
...And Rabbits Named Friday
ROYK
2002
B-

being enveloped and engaged in a discomforting and, at times, scary world of sound is precisely Jen Morris’ point. Coming from Montreal, however, it was never a thought that this would be the music emanating from my speakers. Known for a healthy improvisational and minimal techno scene, Montreal has become one of the hottest centers for musical export in recent memory. With an entire compilation devoted to the city’s techno producers, Mille Plateux solidified the rising nature of the city’s producers, which is being fulfilled very well by the first full length by Afuken. So, an odd displacement comes out of listening to [sic]. One expects her to reproduce the sounds of now, to perhaps even be an unmitigated knock off of the highly talented producers that are already ensconced in the city.


But nothing could be further from the truth. [sic] not only refuses to copy their sound, going so far as to state on her website that, “To be honest, I’m not a big fan of a lot of the minimal tech-house out right now. There’s this one sound that almost everybody uses. It’s like ‘waaooow.’” While it may not be the best auditory approximation of the signature house sound effect that nearly all producers use, one gets the point that [sic] finds it stale enough that such territory does not need to be retread by her. What [sic] does retain that is currently in vogue in Montreal, is the improvisational aspect of some the best music coming out of the city, music made by Sam Shalabi and Set Fire To Flames.


And that’s what makes this- [sic]’s first full length release- so interesting. Most electronic records suffer from the obviousness of its programming and the contstraints that go along with that. [sic]’s music contains an organic nature not found in many of the more atmospheric abstract ambient work out here. She keeps the atmosphere and organic very high in the mix, without losing the fact that surprise is her greatest ally in the process. And, most importantly, process is always seems to be discarded in favor of happy accident and willful self-conscious abstraction.


As stated before, the album is one generated mainly by atmosphere. Not unlike a headier, louder, and more abstract version of Selected Ambient Works Volume II, ...And Rabbits Named Friday succeeds in creating the same sort of world created just for the listener by the creator. Waves of sound move back and forth within space and time, sometimes only occurring once, sometimes repeating seemingly ad infinitum. The delay effect is used early and often throughout the proceedings, but avoids being gimmicky. The use of rhythm is usually absent, in favor of floating bass and bubbling sine waves.


The highlights of the album, though, are the songs that do include noticeable percussion. “Dogs of Manduria” contains a panned keyboard line that struggles in a few different permutations to assert itself against muffled bass hits. It eventually unravels into a smaller version of itself, unable to maintain its freakish distorted quality to the end of the song- but eventually mutates into something just as fascinating due to the stereo effects that [sic] attaches to it.


“Royk” is the other obvious highlight, with the inclusion of an almost junglistic percussion that threatens to implode on itself at anytime. Sandwiched within the beats is a simple melodic construction trapped until the sound of a laughing creature raises up through the mix to take over for a few moments. Hidden beneath at all times, though, is the maniacal programmed percussion offering an interesting respite from the textural pieces that have gone before it.


Overall, ...And Rabbits Named Friday succeeds because of its consistency of tone. The constant world that is suggested by the same sorts of sounds used by [sic] creates a world that is not unlike Posthuman’s sonic universe. Scary, frightening, and all together engaging. While not a masterpiece of any sort, [sic]’s first full length is a very promising work that bodes very well for the future of Montreal music and her music.


Reviewed by: Todd Burns
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01
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