Wednesday, 28 December 2011

In The Nursery CD: 'Groundloop' (2000)

CD Review of:
(2000, ITN Corp 002/ EFA CD 70122-2

‘Groundloop’ is 43:10mins of intelligent Twenty-First Century widescreen sound-sequencing with a blade-to-flesh sensory edge, as far beyond Philip’s Glassy chill-out as it is above William’s Orbit. The stark acoustic neo-classical precision of “Imparator” leads into subliminal cyber-moods and darker things beyond, through the noirishly morbid Left Bank frigidity of “Qui Mal” and the sophisticated diseased decadence of “Hymn Noir”, to the submerged digital abstraction, glacial strings and beautiful desolation of “Synature”.

ITN are survivors of that same Sheffield-industrial Funk circuit responsible for early incarnations of Moloko (as Chakk) and All-Seeing Eye. But since their formation in 1981 – and their debut mini-album two years later, identical twins Klive and Nigel Humberstone have stayed truer than most to their vision, while extending out way beyond its original confines. Coasting technology’s curve they’ve produced multi-layered cinematic soundscapes fusing ambient to dance, through collaborators as diverse as Andrew Weatherall and occult writer Colin Wilson. Produced experimental album such as ‘Lingua’, exploring the universal language interfacing phonetics to sonics, while naturally extending into film trailers and soundtracks for the likes of CH5’s late-night cult ‘La Femme Nikita’, ‘Rainmaker’, and ‘Random Hearts’ as well as Euro-Arthouse projects, BFI commissions and Optical Music scores for Expressionist silent-movie classics (‘Dr Caligari’).

So while their electro-roots seem still discernible behind the fragments of ripped dialogue on “Displaced” in David Elektrik’s swirling Cabaret Voltairesque “Yashar” drum-programming, or the martial percussion and evocative Spanish voice-overs to “Chronicle”, their conceptual glaze of intense orchestral classicism has now elevated its own unnerving beauty on up to the next level. Lushly symphonic instrumentals get augmented by atmospheric vocals from linguist Dolores Marguerite C, with electro strings on the ‘loop and edit in surround’ title-track, and “Allegory” – which sets poems from the ‘Rubaiyat’ of Omar Khayyam, to exquisitely tragic keyboards. While eastern rhythms insidiously infiltrate your brain in silver shivers, they morph into eye-contact with seductive voice-overs soft enough to break your heart, ‘unborn tomorrows and dead yesterdays / why fret about them if today be sweet?’ ITN is an acid-chilling sweetness. Yet undeniably rich.

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