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Fluorescent Grey – Gaseous Opal Orbs

Fluorescent Grey - Gaseous Opal Orbs

CD, Record Label Records, 2008

Combining psychoactive electronica with a love of electroacoustic experimentalism and an unashamely nerdy appreciation for the cutting edge of sound design methodology, Fluorescent Grey isn’t for everyone, and I don’t think he cares. 11-minute opener “Chrono-Synclastic Infundibulum” showcases his multi-faceted approach competently, building gradually from minimalist ambient sounds into a storm of layered beats with a near-breakcore hecticity, but put together with a pleasing lightness of touch and a degree of whimsical humour. This is a track – and indeed an album – on which you find yourself turning the volume down periodically, as it takes you by surprise with another layer or peak.
He’s not afraid to advertise his influences, although not necessarily the musical ones. The deliciously-named “Celtic K-Hole” does what it says on the tin, although in a much more upbeat manner than I expected, while “Ayhuascero Empyreal” builds loop upon loop of manipulated tribal drums into a hallucinogenic initiation circle. Much of the music I get sent these days elicits Nurse With Wound comparisons – I suspect this says more about me than the scene – but this latter track wouldn’t sound far out of place on the seminal “Who Can I Turn To Stereo?”. To be fair, there are so few bands who would mesh elements as disparate as tacky 70’s jazz, digital mimics of found sounds, and rhythmic sample hacking on the same album (or indeed track) that perhaps such parallels are are inevitable.
Unlike many artists sheltering under the ‘experimental’ tag, this guy rarely falls into comfortable predictability, and many of the tracks sound pretty far removed from your intial impressions by the end. Some of the finest moments come at you with surprise dub grooves, but contrived to remind you that no mere mixing desk and and spring reverb could produce such sounds. The overall result is rather jolly, and reminds you that quirky avant-garde music can be fun, and needn’t be listened to on Sennheisers in a darkened room.


— Andrew Clegg

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