Reviewed by: Brian Roser
In April, James Ford and Jas Shaw took one modular synthesizer each to Pioneertown, California and recorded this album live. They did, of course brush it up in the studio later but the original recording was live. It’s a bit difficult to review Whorl. Much of it, especially the first two tracks, aren’t even music. I don’t mean that as an insult or judgement on their musical abilities. There is no real beat, rhythm, or themes, rather it is an experiment with sound itself. There is no tune that you can hum, but the sounds evoke powerful images: the tap of rain on glass or rising to the surface from a scuba dive where the world of water meets the world of sky.
Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but while it is very experimental, I respect what they are doing. The later tracks are more traditional techno. One problem I have with a lot of techno, which does show up in the track “Sun Dogs” is that the beat gets too repetitive. Then again there are other tracks like “Hynick Jerk” which starts out with a steady heartbeat rhythm only to be replaced by asymmetric synth sounds, so the repetition is more limited than other techno albums. Also without any lyrics, they are free to name the tracks whatever the hell they want. My favorites are “Dandelion Spheres” and “Jam Side Up.”
I remember once in talking about the Emmys, one commentator discussed the problems in choosing a winner for the Outstanding Reality Program category. I mean, how are you supposed to compare Mythbusters to Keeping Up With the Kardashians? So how am I supposed to give this album a rating? How do you rate music to something that isn’t completely music, but still has merit? I guess all I can say is you should try it out for yourself and draw your own conclusions.
Rating: No Comment