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We Are Not Really Here – Inkräktare (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

There are many ways of writing music, from the rigid and formulaic to the abstract and fluid. It is at the latter end of the spectrum that you find Inkräktare, an occasional collaboration between Dean Garcia and Mark Wallbridge. It takes a brave man to jot down sonic ideas and musical creations in their most unstructured and scattered form and then just hand them over to someone else and allow them to interpret, evolve, edit, channel and change those ideas into finished pieces but that is exactly the freedom that Mark allows Dean, the trust that he has in him.

The result is music which follows its own rules, there is structure within but it is very unconventional, often fleeting, rather than the more tried and tested arrangements of verses, choruses and middle eights. Enough control to keep things on the right side of chaos, enough freedom to keep the listener guessing, unpredictability meets accessibility, the perfect balance.

And as much as the process which creates the music is a fascinating thing to behold, it is, of course, the end result which is of most interest to the listener, its all about marvelling at the sonic architecture rather than wanting to study the blueprints after all. We Are Not Really Here is an exercise in mood and tone, in filmic musical backdrops and cinematic soundscaping. It is more about the drifting haze and the artful atmospherics than groove and rhythm, though that is not to say that those aren’t found here it is just that they are more anchor points to hold the more fleeting sounds in place rather than the focus of the tracks.

 

And between the disembodied vocal samples and spoken word pieces that lie on top of the music, Rose Berlin (SPC ECO) and Preston Maddox (Bloody Knives and S T F U) add ghostly, half heard voices, deliveries which themselves act like instruments rather than narratives or communication, pushing everything even further into the realms of mystique and mist.

Trying to lift individual tracks to give the reader something to hang their expectations on seems somehow to do the album a disservice as it works better as a complete suite, music to be absorbed by osmosis rather than analysed structurally, sounds which have less to do with the idea of song and more to do with something more primal, more natural, more ethereal…of the world rather than created in it.

Fans of Garcia’s other recent projects, SPC ECO in particular and the more fractured end of 90’s trip-hop will find lots to love here but it also crosses into the realms of avant gardening, not as mad as Pas Musique’s chaotic broken disco sounds yet more instantly accessible than Dave Wesley’s Mayhem Lecture Series. The best music is hard to put into words and even harder to find perfect parallels for. Best you just hit play and make your own mind up.

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