Music Reviews

Artist: Simon Fisher Turner
Title: Giraffe
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Editions Mego
“Giraffe” is an brief collection (14 tracks, 42 minutes) but with a very ambitious scope. Combining well-travelled personal field recordings (from the UK, Germany, Japan, Portugal and Spain), both atmospheres and up-close actuality described as “life sounds”, with electronic ambiences and heavy processing, makes every piece distinct and unpredictable.

There’s a willful twistiness to it, never letting the listener be complacent. “Clean Page” sounds like a violently drunk man has wandered into a Georgy Lygeti and taken centre stage. It’s followed by “Hope Swims”, a super-soft arrangement of lullaby-esque pure high synth notes that eventually degrades with a sound akin to somebody throwing a broken electric toothbrush down a well. “Burnt In” ends sounding as though it’s about to break into some epic stadium drum’n’bass, but doesn’t. “Move More” is little more than an unpleasant sci-fi security alarm sound, while “Save As” is a mellow arrangement of piano and ambience.

Unfortunately the results do sometimes feel a little stunted. These are short, sharp works with an experimental angst and nothing is truly allowed to breathe for more than a minute or so. The false starts and abrupt turns are engaging but they prevent “Giraffe” from really gelling together as a coherent listen- deliberately it seems, with every mellow moment followed by a jarring one and vice versa. The discipline of “Slight Smile”, with its cut-up spoken-word poem, has a focus that “Giraffe” might have benefitted from sustaining.

While Simon Fisher Turner has a CV that many sound designers could only dream of (working with names ranging from Derek Jarman to The The to David Lynch to Jonathan King), looking specifically and solely at “Giraffe” what you get is an usual and broad bit of atmospheric experimental sound design, but too unfocused to really shine as a full work.

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