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Spies Under Von Magnet Influence – Suvmi

Spies Under Von Magnet Influence - Suvmi

CD, Cinetiks, 2006

These days, everything says it “cinematic.” The way things are going, it won’t be long before my Mum describes herself as the “score to an invisible movie.” Most of the time it just means the artist has botched together some half-baked album full of atmosphere, some dreadful faux-orchestral sounds, and little else.
And so enters “Suvmi”, full-length collaboration between Spies and Von Magnet, proclaiming itself an “experience” and asking the listener to, you guessed it, “picture out your own movie.” Luckily, “Suvmi” avoids clichés and, in truth, possesses a unique sound that need not hide behind such over-used tags.
From the get-go, this release borders on the unclassifiable – a melting pot of chilled, dubby electronics, ethnic rhythms, flamenco guitars and indie-grime. Like Death in Vegas battling the Gypsy Kings with a smattering of This Morn’ Omina and Nine Inch Nails. Each song sounds totally different for the others yet they all share the same atmosphere and general, very broad, sonic palette. What’s more, most of the songs operate in two parts – the first half forming a complete track before the second half explores one or more elements from the first half along a new tangent.
“Morirme” is all chugging rhythms underscored with deep strings and Spanish vocals before it strips to the beats, bringing in a new string section and choral stabs. This segues neatly into the short, atmospheric “Do The Magnet”, a droning, menacing track of deep bass sounds with tiny twinkling blips floating over it.
Next up, the sexy, hypnotic “Under Influence” – all eastern rhythms with breathy French vocals and dirty guitar spiralling over it all. A pause and the eastern influences fall away to be replaced with a more typical drumkit recalling Death in Vegas’ “Contino Sessions” era. This gives way to the upbeat “Catalys”, the closest thing on this record to normal industrial with NIN-esque, buzzsaw guitars and abrasive rhythms vying with the distorted female vocals. It’s like the Quake soundtrack meets Offbeat-era Klinik.
This leads to “Buddha-Like”, the album’s most excruciating moment. A stripped down, predominantly vocal number hampered by cod-mysticism (“one day my guru showed me…”) and a painful voice that works when, as in, “Morirme”, it is kept in the mix with the other instruments but otherwise recalls a fat, French, strangled cat. The female singer similarly damages the funky flamenco-based “Fragments of Ice.”
Overall, this is a strong and unique release that is worthy of attention. I can think of very few releases as varied, consistent and unclassifiable as this. Most recommended to fans of This Morn’ Omina who wish they’d explore more ethnic sounds and diversify their sound.


— Christopher Fry

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