Amateur Radio – Pas Musique (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Okay, we know that this is going to be an odd trip. We know that it isn’t going to be for everyone. We know that it will be sonically adventurous, challenging and like little you have heard before. (Which for me is a fantastic unique selling point anyway.) But, if you get your mind open enough and your ears suitably attuned, you will find that it is also creative, exploratory, full of sonic juxtaposition and built from threads of music that collide as often as they complement. Think of it as the musical equivalent of installation art or as forward-thinking music makers doing a spot of Avant-gardening and you start seeing it from a whole new light.

Charlie’s Lament is a squalling, confusing and dense swirl of digital debris and analogue attacks and comes on as a bit of a shock if you are not ready for it. But that might just be a test, of sorts, because, come out the other side of that and you are greeted with the altogether more songlike Don Cheadle Superhero, a skittering, glitchy, fractious song perhaps but a song nonetheless.

Ancient Scottish Legend might sound like a traditional, finger-in-the-ear folk favourite sung by a pipe-smoking, cable-knit sweater-wearing, beardy guy called Brian in the upstairs room of the Murderer’s Arms on folk music night, but it isn’t. It’s a tense and claustrophobic, motorik machination, an eclectic electronic maelstrom, sounding as if the beat itself is some sort of sonic black hole sucking sounds mercilessly into its bowels. Elderly Women on Black ends things, a cycling siren of razor-sharp sounds and pulsing noise.

Challenging is the word that keeps coming back to mind when listening to Amateur Radio. And why not? Does everything have to have harmony or reason? Is it better to sound the same as what has gone before or to try to write the future? Don’t we need mystery and illogical and impulsive choices in our life? Isn’t great art about adventure? Why am I asking all of these questions?

So it isn’t for everyone. But if you like it, or if it at least provokes a reaction in you, then we should sit down and talk about it over a pint. It’s what Pas Musique would want us to do. Or is it? I really don’t know. And that’s the beauty of it all.

https://alrealonmusique.bandcamp.com/album/amateur-radio-alrn134

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