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forma - Off/On
Forma’s debut was a welcome ray of light in the usually pensive, doom-ridden synth scene, and the trio’s mischievousness is thrown into overdrive on ‘Off/On’. We’ve already established that the band have an enviable collection of real analogue gear, and they put it to great use here building on the templates set out by Giorgio Moroder and John Carpenter back in the late 70s. ‘Off/On’ is far from simplistic retro fetishism however and while the tracks have an eerie quality, there’s a brightness that you’d rarely expect to find on most records of this kind. Maybe it’s a nod to synth pioneer Jean Michelle Jarre (just check ‘FORMA278’) but it sounds like the band are formulating a core sound, something that defies simple characterization. Certainly the percussive backbone sets them apart from their contemporaries – George Bennett is the ‘drummer’ and through liberal use of the TR-707, TR-606 and Alesis HR-16B he manages to come up with a pulsing rhythm section that sounds a million miles away from the established norm. Alongside Mark Dwinell and Sophie Lam’s dedicated Moog abuse we’re presented with a sparkling collection of electronic vignettes, more akin to something you’d trip over on the Minimal Wave label than you might expect to find on Spectrum Spools. Good stuff.