, December 19th, 2011 11:24
So the jetpacks to get us to and from one place to another, the silver suits and three course meals contained within one handy pill never materialised but at least the music of the future did. Though rock & roll refuses to die despite its many obituaries and supposed wakes, there remains a corner of the creative universe where six strings are a half dozen too many and chords too much of a hassle to master. This isn't necessarily an outright rejection of established forms of music, just a realisation that machines can create just as valid a vernacular.
And so it is that Mink Freud – that's North London producer Sarah Burford to her nearest and dearest – has delivered a debut album that, while moving away from conventional notions of music and melody, luxuriates in aural textures and layers with an almost delicate fragility to create a soundtrack to mood and motion. The harmonised sighs and whispers of opener 'Dr Dre Vs The Seraphim' pretty much set the tone for the unfolding journey contained with the album's running. Indeed, so Zen-like are sounds contained here that they frequently threaten to not exist at all.
Occasionally beatless (see 'Winter Sunrise'), the music is propelled by hypnotic pulses and a sense of tension and drama made all the more compelling by dynamics that rise and fall like lungs breathing in and expelling air. Conversely, when the beats do arrive they're more like shuffles and scrapes that blend with the drones surrounding them.
'Music 4 Martina' is a case in point as it articulates a kind of longing that eventually surrenders to an overriding sensation of bliss. Indeed, this is where Gelatinous' strength lies. Though far from confrontational, Mink Freud's unconventional approach elicits an initial defence mechanism that soon crumbles in the face of melting joy that becomes all pervasive. Indeed, as evidenced by the chilling noir of 'Kentish Town', the sensible response would be to turn and run but repeated visits unveil reams of joy that become impossible to resist.
And yet what make Gelatinous so strong exposes a slight Achilles' heel. The one-paced nature of these nine pieces of music would benefit from a greater sonic palette, but this is a minor caveat. Indeed, one suspects that this is exactly what Mink Freud is aiming for as perceptions of what can and can't be done within this particular framework are toyed with and manipulated. As an initial calling card, Gelatinous promises much for what is likely to follow.