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MMMF – In The Lab

MMMF - In The Lab

CD/free download, self-released, 2008

Hailing from Rome, this budding Italian project (formed late 2007) has apparently garnered attention over the past year via the Web, both on MySpace and Italian webradio. The trio’s first body of work, “In the Lab”, is self-released, available as a promo EP and free download. MMMF characterizes itself as “never boring or foreseeable”, and its musical methodology is something of an electronic melting pot, filled with sharp layering.
Quirky and looping, the six tracks on “In the Lab” are best described as playful, IDM-styled electronics with an acid dash of ominous flavor. A common thread is the music’s immanent motion; even slower-paced tracks contain a certain kinetic effect. Translate this into a walking theme (or running, skipping, or shuffling – any activity on legs will do) and “In the Lab” feels as if MMMF is painting a small suite of pictures, fitting music to a cast of imagined, cartoonish personas, each moving in a predisposed manner. “The Cripple” is the best (and obvious) example: its disjointed, sauntering beat, machine vocalizations and wavering pitch climbing down the scale combine to create a funky ambulatory progress, each layer complementing the next. “Screamhead” accomplishes something similar, though it depicts some wired-in cyber-junkie. With melodic piano and alien pacing, strange sounds gradually push the track into a hard house/breaks passage while unleashing the presumed digitized scream-effects. “Clappin’ Lips” is accented by handclaps, but can be forgiven the cliché for the deep, dark energy it weaves through several distinct movements, arguably making it the best of the group.
If this sounds a bit conventional and whimsical, it’s because “In the Lab” seems to be just that – superficially simple tracks with titles to match. “Intro” has jazzy ambience and mellifluous horns, “Clappin’ Lips” smacks and breathes, “Screamhead” thumps and shrieks and “The Cripple” totters along, but the crowning comic book achievement is “Escape”. A stealth-charged thriller for undercover agents, it jumps straight from the panels of a classic spy intrigue. Impressive, though this is why MMMF founders, failing to strike a lasting spark. “In the Lab” is theme music, admittedly imaginative, but mundane as well. These aren’t songs to which many listeners are likely to return, despite the initial wacky IDM fun. “Sea of Sins (S.O.S.)” wraps things up with a magical forest fairyland, replete with chimes and chirping birds, interrupted by a glitch – perhaps an idiosyncratic attempt at humor, but also a rather useless gesture on an already fleeting trial run.


— Dutton Hauhart

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