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scanner - Rockets, Unto the Edges of Edges
Immediately stopping you in your tracks, this new Scanner album for the Bine imprint opens with a track that must count as Robin Rimbaud's most intimate and 'human' sounding composition to date. For one thing it features his vocal debut (albeit a wordless one) in which the renowned conceptual electronica artist plays against melancholic acoustic guitar lines supplied by Michael Gira (of Swans and Angels Of Light fame). The usual landscape of crunchy interference and wayward blips remains present, but the inclusion of such direct and organic music steers us well clear of anything that's come before in the Scanner discography. Next up, 'Pietas Ilulia' continues to dismantle listener expectations, embracing piano and string orchestrations to the same degree as the more familiar digital elements and bitcrushed beats. After this piece, the air of cinematic drama continues with 'Anna Livia Plurabelle', which boasts a vocal from acclaimed soprano Patricia Rozario (best known for her work with John Taverner). Comparable to Max Richter or Johann Johannsson, 'Through Your Window' and 'Broken Faultline' prove to be highly successful exercises in modern classical fusion, weaving the luscious orchestral instrumentation with full-blooded electronic production - and the novelty of 'real' instrumentation shouldn't overshadow the programmed material on offer here; Rimbaud presents a rich tapestry of found voices, environmental recordings and even radar transmissions, making this as accomplished and ambitious a Scanner album as he's ever released.