hands : the soul is quick [ecstatic]
strangely, after all these years trying to promote electronic music i never really intend to actively seek out new electronica very often because, let’s face it there really isn’t anything ‘new’ in those fields. saturation point was reached well over a decade ago when anyone thought they could be richard d. james by pressing a few buttons and slinging out a homespun cd (or on the net in these cloudy times). but, when i read of alex willner’s noise project sounding like ‘boards of canada being played at 16rpm’ or words to that effect, well frankly i was sold. the scottish pairing have constantly been a source of organically wired vigour in this household so digitalist breath was baited and pleasure-dome also high as the soul is quick is not only an actual ‘product’ but released on hand-warming red plastic, limited to 550 copies. without a ludicrous elitist (trendy) vinyl price-tag too i must add. four longish tracks (named after a 19th-century sanatorium in berlin; beelitz-heillstatten) span this wax. pt6 opens, rhythmically machine-like and repetitious bringing back good memories of hearing mika vainio’s (panasonic) metri cd under his ø alias for the first time in the mid 90s… so beautifully simple. here unwinding pitch-switching drones, fathom-deep unrecognisable samples and tones almost morphing into cathedral bells over a train-track percussive. pt7 rides through several rhythms and the wildly slow electronic phases would sure-enough grace any of boc’s heavily rotated excursions. the shortest piece pt10 is almost cut adrift, the rhythm this time buried far below with odd voice samples rising above rippling chords. pt11 closing the set at 13mins 08secs clones previous parts into a myriad of interchangeable expressions. rises in tempo, slight angular downturns all underpinned by the unleashable, yet driving patterned rhythm. detuned, unfocussed, swollen drones amass into a beautiful crawling cacophony which eventually contract and fade to silence. a remarkable 40 something minutes. undoubtedly this album fills the void in boards of canada’s less-than-prolific output but it does have a beating heart, breaking a shell all of its own and offers so much to those interested in electronica, experimental, and possibly even those risk-taking commercial adventurists. alex willner’s own view of his hands creative is ‘a protest record for when you’ve had enough of how the world works. when you find yourself taking inspiration from human decay rather then brighter things’. i must say i too am sick of this unfettered capitalist soul-destroying earth, but I’ll take pleasure and escape in this joyous soundtrack during man’s destruction. just hope we live long enough for his next.
available now on dl