Friday 7 February 2014

Dementio13/Various – “VTOL” album review

Dementio13 (Paul Foster) has now built up a reputation for releasing some truly innovative album projects that encompass the qualities of Krautrock, ambient electronica and pop culture, and pieces them together to create some unnervingly sophisticated music. “VTOL” on first hearing is, thankfully, no exception. This time, however, a number of collaborators have been drafted in to provide further assets to the release. “Creased” which opens the album, and “A Shallow Grave”, are slightly reminiscent of chip tune, or 8-bit music, and harks back to a day when computer games generated music was far simpler and less refined. The chip tune feel carries on into “Finish Line” which is the first of three collaborations with Juanita Alvarez as Nita Disaster. Cold, unadulterated lines of dialogue combine to build up a futuristic urban landscape, whilst the instrumentation augments the abrasive atmosphere. “Pollution”, also featuring Nita Disaster, creates a similar sense of anxiety but somehow manages to cloak it in approachable swathes of electronic beats, whilst “These Days” has a futuristic jazz undercurrent which matures into music more delicate and affable.
 Douglas Deep (Steve Kelly) lends “Stelian” a no less desolate edge whilst incorporating frantic chip tune beats and demented vocal samples to create an uneasy amalgamation of sounds. “Genes” featuring James Reichelt as Alone and Dementio13 has a twisted “Aphex Twin” feel to it which gradually builds up the momentum and lavishness over its’ six minutes into something quite majestic. The album is not without its tongue in its own cheek in places however as can be seen on “Alcohol”, a collaboration with Snippet (Johnno Casson), and which features delightfully memorable electronic lines surrounding morsels of booze related lyrics and vocal samples. Pixieguts (Marie Craven) collaborates on “Rodeo Days” which progressively builds in intensity through skittish electronica and intimate vocal narrative. Here we have that sense of anxiety and melancholy that is becoming a feature throughout “VTOL”, and which gives is an almost ultramodern fascination. This futuristic ambience is further evidenced in “Self Doubting Thomas” featuring Ian Thistlethwaite. Deadpan vocals over anxious beats create a tension which looks to the future in a way that is common in the twenty first century, not as a utopia and something to be proud of, but as a dystopia and something to be distrustful of.
“Theme Four” seems perfectly placed near the end of the album as the subtle, elusive ukelele bass, fretless bass and guitar lines of Alun Vaughan weave through hopeful beats and lead carefully into the ominous but oddly optimistic “Bondage Bus”. It is a dramatic ending to an album that is peppered with a disparate number of collaborations, which, through thoughtful production and track listing, form a high-tech narrative, which can almost, to these ears, be thought of as urban film music for the twenty second century. 


  1. what's your contact information to send promos? thanks!

    1. Hi
      I'm on Twitter @MrToolan or my e-mail is . Look forward to hearing from you!