Music Reviews

Jul 09 2018
Artist: New Tendencies
Title: L5
Format: Tape
Label: Forking Paths Records
Named after a fictional orbital position from a William Gibson novel, “L5” is a strictly sci-fi electronica collection of bleeps, drones, digital sound effects, percussive glitches and atmospheres that sound like imagined internal workings of a variety of futuristic spaceships- some of them elegant, some a little more dystopian.

“Practice”, for example, has a sort of sci-fi-post-steampunk harshness to it, and “Point” has hints of an AI piloting system having a mental breakdown, while the pulsing of “Ultralight” and the confident melodic arpeggios of final track “Stop” are much leisurely and confidence-inducing.

Sometimes sitting on the border between glitchy electronica and sound design, there are occasional moments where it will inch forward into the old-fashioned concept of steady rhythm patterns, in pieces like vaguely proto-techno “Barycenter”- but other sections, like the slightly screechy “Wise”, steer well clear of such structures in favour of something purely environmental.

It’s a quirky and quite single-minded album, but its weirdness is enjoyable and if you’re looking for something just a touch wallpapery on the surface but with textures that reward more intense listening, this is certainly notable.

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