Boomkat Product Review:
Alog stand as one of the key acts on Rune Grammofon's formidable roster, whose relationship with the label stems right back to its earliest years. This fourth album sees a clear advancement in the group's sound, which has previously been largely informed by applying radical laptop treatments to live, acoustic instrumentation. On Amateur this process has been refined to the point where the band's music is less 'electronica' and more steeped in the subtle disciplines of electroacoustic composition. Much of this music is based around instruments found or constructed specifically for this recording. The various members of the group would then set about performing with these instruments, with results inevitably characterised by a sense of naivety and unfamiliarity (hence the title, Amateur). This source material was then put through Alog's array of software patches and digital effects to gently (and sometimes not so gently) coerce new sounds out of their unique instruments. 'Exit Virtuoso' sums up this creative ethos perfectly. Here, Alog manage to construct remarkably beautiful music from the most peculiar timbres without resorting to conventional musicianship. What sounds like a variant of a marimba chimes in alongside harmonious, resonant string plucks while a percussion line sounding as if it was made from someone assembling flat-pack furniture hammers out some deep low-end warmth. It's a gorgeous piece of soundscaping. Elsewhere, 'A Book Of Lightning' is an exploration of bowed drones, 'Son Of King' is a kind of electronic Nordic sea chantey, and 'Bedlam Emblam' is a blustery noise din on a symphonic scale. Uncategorizable, truly wonderful stuff from start to finish, Amateur might just be Alog's finest album to date.