The title is a sort of joke, really. You see,
it's called Single, but it really contains 6 songs
and is almost 70 minutes in length. Ha ha ha. Pretty witty if
you think about it. Or maybe not. I am sure that it seemed like
a good idea at the time.
At any rate, Pub are an electronic act with good underground
buzz. Lotsa folk rave about their music, so i thought that i
would test out this newest release. And i am glad i did. See,
i am kind of an insomniac, and thus spend many late nights sitting
at my computer slaving away for you people. And in such a state,
i like to listen to mellowish, vaguely dublike music. It's non-challenging
headphone sounds that calm and lull me into a trance-like writing
Hey, it works for me. Maybe not for other people, but whatever.
The point here is that Pub are exactly the right type of music
for that "late night, can't sleep so i might as well write something"
mood. This album has been added to my roster of similar ambient
artists (see also, Loscil).
Now, i know that serious ambient music is a pretty narrow genre.
Most Minions would be bored to tears by this music, or at least
lulled to sleep. And in some ways that is in fact the point
of this music. Some people don't enjoy that. Good for them.
I do, and i know that at least some of you readers out there
do too. The rest of this review is for you. For everyone else:
this is ambient electronica. It's similar to all the other ambient
electronica i have tried to foist upon you.
Okay. well, as far as ambient goes, this is pretty good. The
sounds are all vaguely defined, which makes the music really
nice and subconscious. There are only 6 tunes, so i'll go over
Pub start off with Lunch, which begins with a field
recording of some Bbritish woman at, i am guessing here, a lunch
stand or lunch room. She is yelling in her British accent, although
it's hard to hear exactly what is said because she is faint,
as if she is standing in the foodcourt yelling, and you are
all the way down in front of Rich's wondering if there is a
coffee shop in the mall. After a bit of her yelling, a wavering
bass tone and a vaguely soundtracky keyboard bit start up. The
song is like the intro to some movie, with that amorphous vocal
tone sort of thing, as if it is meant to accompany a long slow
helicopter shot slowly closing in on the jungle fortress of
the villain, and there is a voice singing in a vaguely "world
music" sense. A decent tune.
After this auspicious (but predictable, given the whole ambient
genre) start, Pub do something of which i wholeheartedly approve.
They bring out some old synth patches, turn on the lava lamp,
and belt out a tune which would not have been out of place on
Tangerine Dream's Phaedra. I love that old krautrock
spacey stuff, and Derail is, to me, a great meditative
tune with strange space sounds, a wash of keyboard drones, and
odd deep bass thumps. It has that whole "moving through deep
space" vibe that early Tangerine Dream captured so well. Man,
i wish more people would do this kind of stuff. So: kudos to
Pub for pulling it off. Well done lads.
Next Pub decide to give the late night headphone listener a
real stereoscopic workout, as Film features a pinging
beat that floats back and forth between the headphones. Don't
stand up too suddenly after listening to this one -- it can
give you vertigo!
After these three tracks (and 34 or so minutes) of minimal
ambience, Pub decide to get a little "busier" with their music.
The result: Cokeshandy. I can't decide whether this title
is a reminder to keep Coke's handy (because by now cotton mouth
has kicked in and the band really needs a drink) or if they
are advocating drinking a Coke Shandy. (A shandy is a hideous
British drink that mixes beer with soda. Can you imagine --
Newcastle Brown Ale and Coca-cola. ICK!). At any rate, this
is a really subtle tune, and very very lovely. It just tinkers
along for 12 minutes or so with strange washes of sound and
deeply buried noises. It builds to a real noisy frenzy in the
middle, and on the whole is a more complex tune than the others
which have come before it. It seems almost Orb-like,
and is very interesting.
Continuing with the relatively frenetic theme, Kamikazi
gets some really interesting echoy percussion going in it. This
is probably my fave on the disc. It really gets a good beat
going and is gets pretty intensive, rhythmically speaking.
And finally, Pub wrap things up with Better Never, which
is a positively restrained 7 minute track. It is barely there
at all, just the slightest whisper at the edge of your earphones,
accompanied by a low drone. It's very minimal, and a perfect
end to this disc.
On the whole i like this. I know that most people won't, but
However, after a few listens, Single really really
reminds me of Triple
Point by Loscil. Actually, now that i think about
it, i believe my fondness for Loscil made some folks on mailing
lists say "if you like that, then check out Pub" so i am not
alone in making this comparison.
But i have been asking myself: if someone played a snippet
and asked me to identify it as being from Pub or from Loscil,
would i be able to tell the difference? Probably not, and i'm
sure that means something. Both artists are very subtle: it
is largely minimal music, with not a lot happening. Apparently
both are riding a sort of zeitgeist of ambience...
So, if you like ambient, check out Pub. If you don't you probably
quit reading a few paragraphs up.... To those of you interested
in this album: good luck! Apparently Ampoule has ZERO distribution
in The States, and your best chance is to lurk on electro mailing
lists and wait for some Brit to be broke and selling off CD's
for "pub money".