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  Shoegaze 5G
  Alice Does Computer Music
  Jolt Music  
Release Date:
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The Alice in Alice Does Computer Music is Alice Gerlach, who is a classically trained cellist. She started trying to make more diverse music by using a computer to manipulate the sounds, hence the name of the act. What we have here is an album of electropop with cello.

This is an odd coincidence, but back in April cellist Issei Herr released an album that took the cello and used very subtle electronic manipulation to make it into ambient music, the cello stretched and twisted and mellow and lovely, with some faint samples accompanying it. On Shoegaze 5G the cello is looped and sampled and layered with beats and vocals -- much more manipulation is done than on Herr's Distant Intervals. But the point is that Herr and Gerlach have two different interpretations of bringing the cello into the modern era. Combined with the fact that the records were released a mere four months apart and we have some kind of cello-based zeitgeist thing going on.

Anyway, although Gerlach is a cellist, the cello is not the centerpiece of the music here. Instead, her singing seems to be the core of the songs, making this more pop than classical. And she has a pretty voice, so it really works.

Petals Fall One By One is a barely two-minute song that sets the tone here, as the cello saws and Gerlach speaks lightly.

A picked guitar accompanies the cello and voice on Coiled. It's a cute tune, her voice delicate and light. There is a nice skipping beat that comes in, making the song almost glitchy towards the end.

She really hits her stride with The Sandcastle. The cello saws, her voice is airy and light, and a nice beat comes in, driving the tune along. It is head bopping fun, with a nice synth line, and builds to a real messy conclusion with cello sawing like crazy at the end. This is lovely and well done.

Gerlach's voice is in layers, harmonizing with herself, over the sawing cello in Alien Farmer. This one is more likely to appeal to the classical fans, since the electro elements are kept to a minimum.

So of course, the next song is IDM. Lilypad has glitchy beats, tinkling synths, and voice. This is a dance tune, modern pop style. Listens To Machine Girl Once is a frantic drum n bass tune. She chants over a spastic loop and some moody synths. This is nervous and chaotic.

On Leaves Growing Away From The Sun Gerlach sings a very pretty melody over a clicking beat and swirling synths. It starts slowly, growing from a lethargic pace to a nodding one. Very lovely.

The cello saws a simple riff, or maybe it is looped, on Oil Spill Halo. The beats are a squelchy IDM sound, and synths soar in the front. Gerlach tells a story while the voice aaahs in the background. A short rave-ish interlude called Widow's Peak comes next, then we end the record with Thread. This is another pretty tune. Her voice is looped in several layers of wordless singing, under a vocal line, a steady beat, and some keyboards. It ends the record on a high note.

Ms. Gerlach has crafted a pretty engaging work here. She has a lot of interesting ideas, and the execution is well done. I am curious to see what she does next.

Her modernization of the cello is very different from the work of Issei Herr, but both are worthwhile listening.

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