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Boomkat Product Review:
The duo behind Bowie’s ‘Blackstar’ cover art - Anil Aykan & Jonathan Barnbrook aka London/Istanbul’s Fragile Self - debut their musical project with a fine exploration of synth-pop minimalism inspired by ideas about psychology.
Forged as a method to better know themselves, Fragile Self’s eponymous debut salvo is a tautly bound part of their gesamtkunstwerk of sound, image, and live performance. A natural evolution of their visual output, the music is economically sound and crisply defined by jagged lines of rhythm and a sparring tonal palette that forms the framework for the human colour and touch of Anil’s vocals.
Over its 10 songs Anil sternly but deftly channels the ghosts of European cold wave minimalism with subtly shrouded processing that never quite fully reveal her personality, leaving illusive room for intrigue and interpretation that’s also mirrored in the album cover art and the catalogue of “thematic apperception test” of TAT images contained therein (TAT is a projective psychological test gauging the subject’s narrative response to ambiguous pictures of people).
With careful measures of coldwave modesty and puckered melody, the album offers an intriguing collection of bittersweet songs that should resonate in varying ways with lovers of original, late ‘70s/early ‘80s sounds ranging from Die Tödliche Doris to John Foxx and The Normal.