Saturday, 22 June 2013

Dementio13 – Imperial Decimal review

With a musical name that sound suspiciously like a 1963 horror film by a young Francis Ford Coppola, Cardiff based Dementio13 has a further release to add to the collection of sound manipulation based compositions. “Imperial Decimal” utilises the influences heard on previous works and adds into the mix a subtle sense of the hauntalogical.  The opening “Application of Number” in particular gives the listener the slightly disconcerting yet secure sense of their own past, and of memories not quite yet forgotten, but not quite fully remembered. A track such as “Taupe” has qualities that are consoling yet sinister, and conjure up pastoral horror film imagery.   The same can be said for “Known in Hell” which utilises instrumentation and sound qualities that bring to mind half remembered melancholies. There is a sinister, driving element to “Known in Hell” which feeds into a love of repetition based music that is inherent in us all. “Nobutaku”, “The Mains” and “Nought Point Seven” are tender swirling accumulations of electronics and fog, which continue the theme of “unsettling”, whilst “Jester” is a bright and idiosyncratic piece of sound management set to broken beats, producing the rarely heard genre of mutant dance floor music. Fractured passages of incomprehensible speech punctuate “Know Your Place” which otherwise melts along on swathes of keyboard and is somehow reminiscent of an imagined love theme from some late 1960’s or early 1970’s science fiction drama. Subliminal delirious speech and discordant passages feature heavily on “Filed Away” before the hallucination is broken with unyielding percussion.

A track such as “The Data People” features elements and phrases that bring to mind electronic music in the UK in the 1970’s and 1980’s, but not in the sense that these pieces are mere reproductions of that style but more in the sense that they form a tribute to the composers who were producing music at that time with limited amount of resource. “Our Policy on Swearing” begins absurdly with an instructional guide to swear words that are “appropriate” in the workplace; the comedy soon descends into trepidation however, as the words become more unacceptable, and the music that underlies the narrative more disharmonious. Far more than simply a novelty addition as a coda to the main album, “Our Policy on Swearing” is characteristic of how Dementio13 can manipulate mood and outlook within a single piece. “Imperial Decimal” is yet another absorbing collection of compositions and sound sculptures which suggest both the interests and influences of Dementio13.  And one which may, hopefully, encourage the casual listener to follow the lead.

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