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Album Review

Les – “Echo” – [Skrot Up]

Thurston Hunger   4/16/2014   A Library, CD

No, not a French band that forgot their full name, Les
is the Russian word for a forest, and this is a duo
of Mi Croevkhas and Eugenie Galochkin. Repetitive
electronics typically at the forefront of the first
few pieces, the opening number has a gentle jackhammer
through to your limbic system. It reminds me of reverse
mixes where that “noise” is up front and you have to
listen past it to hear the more interesting variations
at play. It’s like being in a building with an alarm
going off, but you stop and hear some angels playing
keyboards on a floor above, do you leave or stay? Can
you make the industrial insistence vanish. By track three
it dies down from the initial drilling pattern to settle
into an oscilloscope slide through static, almost like
a hearing disease or a loose wire, but beneath it
the drifting downtempo electronics cascade nicely.
On #4, “Teaser” we get a monotonic robotnik voice,
perhaps speaking to an empty factory? I could not quite
pull the words, but #5 has a sonic birthmark with a
speaker reciting Gorbachev’s name pacing left and
right, again the static interference is present, but
dialed back, mixed with slow techno tropical imitations.
More processed spoken slovee follow on the ochen
intesting #6, the foreground noise has vanished but
the songs are just as puzzling. It’s a big world, but
this track made me wonder if Post-Materialists and
Les have crossed paths and wires in Moscow. “Echo”
revives the staticky noise but like Pan Sonic makes
it the rhythm track, while a synth orchestra swells
around it and eventually engulfs it and the piece
becomes a kind of an homage in Curved Air to Terry
Riley. The last track is the most forest-like, with
electric winds wooshing through a nice vanishing
point (with a door closing) for a fine release.
-Thurston Hunger

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