Boomkat Product Review:
Pastiche has been rife in recent years, and in 2011 things really came to a head – which makes this latest from Bryan Pyle’s Ensemble Economique project so darned refreshing. A collision of gloomy electronics and reclaimed 80s stock sounds, ‘Crossing the Pass, By Torchlight’ does the impossible and dips headfirst into the kind of retro movie fetishism Not Not Fun have made their calling card without a hint of irony or pastiche. I suppose we should have guessed from Pyle’s last outing (the phenomenal slasher tribute ‘Psychical’) that he was capable of distancing himself from his peers, and this latest full-length pushes ever further into Pyle’s nuanced soundscapes. Muted drum machines, plastic-coated FM synthesizers and the kind of pedal reverbs you only find in Guitar Center for ten bucks are repurposed without even a hint of the kind of hypnagogic fetishism popularized by James Ferraro et al. Rather Pyle’s sounds become even more eerie for their strange familiarity, and like the suburban setting of Lynch’s ‘Blue Velvet’ you have the sense of something ominous hiding behind the preset brass stabs and marching band rhythms. It’s hard to place your finger on exactly why ‘Crossing the Pass, by Torchlight’ works so well – but even this late into the year it’s got to rank as one of the more successful electronic records we’ve heard in 2011, and there’s hardly an arpeggio in sight. Yet more proof that Dekorder is one of the most underrated imprints out there.
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