Boomkat Product Review:
Killer art-skool avant-pop from 1981,sung in made-up languages and dished up for the first time by Concentric Circles - the personal imprint of Freedom To Spend’s Jed Bindeman, following his issue of Carola Baer’s home-brewed synth-pop masterpiece. Kudos to Bindeman for reaching the point, after just a couple of releases, where we're convinced beyond any doubt that everything on this label is gonna be gold.
IXNA is the name of Jay Cloidt and Marina LaPalma’s “imaginary band” who formed at Mills College while studying under David Behrman and Robert Ashley in 1978. Mills College is known for an irreverent approach to composition which has generated some amazing records, evidenced most strongly in playful classics by Behrman and Ashley. It’s not hard to hear how that influence and prism-opening aesthetic has informed ‘Knotpop’, whose confection of Marina’s skillfully pert and dippy vocals with Cloidt’s bubbling basslines, perpendicular FX and off-centre rhythms lend themselves to comparison with other, effortlessly envelope-pushing highlights of that era, from Breadwoman to General Strike and the rotating Eno/Bryne/Hassell axis, thru the hypnotic grooves of Leven Signs or Holger Czukay, and the minimalist tics of impLOG and Ike Yard, not to mention the work of their peers and tutors at Mills.
Using Mill’s all-analogue studio, IXNA minted a a delicious scuzzy, skeletal and wobbly sound that turned a colourful spectrum of styles inside out to find their own odd truth somewhere in the guts of avant-pop-funk-’n-soul. Two of the album’s strangest and most stripped down moments are taken from the duo’s sole release, a 7” in 1981, with ‘Ixna Ne Parolas’ coming off like Gray meets Breadwoman, and ‘Mi Ne Parolas’ tending to a nattier electronic vibe recalling Leven Signs slunky swerve. While they’re well known to diggers, the rest will be a true revelation, with ‘Fun Fun Fun’ clearly meriting the Ike Yard comparison (but jamming with the B-52s?!) while ‘Ridi Ridi’ and ‘Flashlight’ trade in mercurial fusions of quick-stepping percussion and freely expressive vox, and the dreamy peach ‘Galileo’ catches a warm breeze that takes them somewhere between A.C. Marias and General Strike’s balmy dub currents and into puckered noise-pop.