So, bloody hell then. It’s an actual review, of an actual thing released this year — released last month in fact, making yours truly giddy with the excitement of having his finger so close to the collective musical pulse. Thanks Spotify, for highlighting this as a recommended release.
Protonica impressed with 2007′s Search, surely an impossible-to-Google album name if ever there was one, and Form Follows Function is a smooth and mature development on their tight sound. According to the blurb, no samplebanks or stock sounds have been used in this album’s creation: everything has been made from scratch, out of a notional commitment to keeping things fresh, to taking music somewhere new.
Nice idea, but do they pull it off?
The first proper track Greece is a textbook lesson in how tight progressive psychedelia should unfold. The layering is impressive, the melodies are understated, and there’s a very expansive, wide-open sound throughout. I’m not sure if this is down to the totally fresh sounds, or if it’s in the mastering, but it’s a delight to the senses whatever it is.
Subground is a deliciously-paced little teddybear of a tune, which is all about a very tasty little break in the middle section. Layers are the order of the day once again, and things get slightly mental and noisy before it all disappears into a little blip of silence. The subsequent run is breathtakingly lovely, although it’s perhaps over a little too quickly.
The remix of Rocky & Ace Ventura’s Serotonin Overdose is decent enough, but it’s a noticeable step down in the excitement stakes. Likewise Motion Control fails to engage: it’s solid, and it’s got a tasty gnarly groove, but it doesn’t live up to the promise set in the first stage of the album.
Their remix of Liquid Soul’s Floating Point absolutely shines, with an incredible amount of energy flickering around the fire here, which makes for a shimmeringly fun track. I’ve had issues with Liquid Soul’s one-handed simplicity since the start and perhaps what they need is some additional mesmerisation from remixers like Protonica to make their tunes properly work.
The album returns to form with two stellar closing tracks. Codes has a great pace, with understated melodies and layers that seem to disappear into each other either side of the break, after which the final section has that glassy-eyed, focus-on-the-sunrise quality about it. And finally, Emerge is a blissfully smooth epic to found things off, with incredibly fluid sounds that hug you and carry you off gently.
All up, I’m impressed. It’s a mature album, with a unique sound — two things I wasn’t expecting to find in 2012. It’s almost as if we’ve moved through a necessary but annoying period of musical plenty, and settling into a less-is-more groove, where stuff like this can shine perfectly. Class.