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  Fat Cat Split Series # 15  
  Fat Cat  
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Let me just start off by stating that this is not an easy album to find. Fat Cat is a smallish UK label, so you will have to look pretty hard to track down a copy of this release here in The States. So why should you expend the effort?

Well, quite honestly, this is some of the most intersting avantegarde electronic music that i have heard in quite some time. This is really wierd and strangely beautiful music. If you like IDM or laptoptronica in general, then this is something you really need to try and check out.

It's a 12" (all good electronica should be on vinyl, really), and Fennesz does one side while Main does the other, and none of the songs (3 to a side) have titles. I know Fennesz by reputation as an innovator in the laptop field, but i have never really heard of Main before. However, both have some interesting ideas.

Fennesz's music is glitch to the extreme: subtle washes of keyboardy texture wander under skittering beats. There are dozens of folks doing this kind of stuff (see: Electric Birds, Jetone, or Christian Kleine for a sampling of some recent reviews in this genre), but Fennesz seems to be among the best. His music is almost ambient, and his keyboardy textures are as lush as Boards of Canada in their prime. His music builds a strange tension, it's not quite relaxing, it doesn't totally fit into the background, yet it seems to evade consciousness. It is like a half heard song -- you can't quite make out the melody, but you can tell it's a good one. And, it seems to me, that is precisely the point of IDM.

Anyway, i really like the third of the Fennesz tracks -- it's a lovely little number with some great keyboard work. A fine example of the genre.

Side 2 of the release brings 3 tracks by the mysterious Main. The most obvious comparison point for their music is Coil: this is sludgy industrial electronic noise that it vaguely disturbing. It's the soundtrack to a documentary about the invasion of Earth as composed by an alien musician conqueror. Or maybe field recordings from the huge space factories of the future, in lonely orbit near Jupiter. Or the soundtrack to Tron's nighmares. It is dark, vivid, uneasy, and exceedingly well done. I am not so much into this kind of stuff, but i do think that Main do it well.

So there you go. This is a fascinating release from the underground of electronica. It's not exactly like anything that you have heard before, but the reference points (IDM on side A, industrial noise on side B) are close enough to allow the listener an entry point into the strange worlds described herein. I know that this isn't for most people, but if i have piqued your curiosity, trust me and go try and find a copy.

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