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Scatterbrain Electronic

Closer Colder
(Thirsty Ear)

If you were being left threatening phone calls on your answering machine by someone who said they were going to kill you, what would you do? Like any normal person, notifying the police and keeping a constant watch over your shoulder would probably seem like the sound thing to do, but David Kosten (Faultline) went even one step further and saw the beauty in such a situation; he sampled the messages. As it turned out, the person leaving the messages was mad he didn't want to use their vocals for a track. The irony of the situation of course, is that they ended up being used anyway after they were arrested, without their consent.

And that's the story to just one song on Closer Colder, a rather interesting batch of 8 tracks (plus a hidden one for a total of 9) that cut a wide swath through all kinds of different genres and styles. There's drum and bass, there's ambient, there's weird bits of glitch, soundscapes and even live instrumentation. It seems that really anything is fair game for Kosten and although it doesn't necessarily make a super cohesive disc, it sure is an interesting one. Released on the Leaf label last year in the UK, it's now finding it's way to the United States and rightly so.

The disc opens with the dark and claustrophobic track "Awake." With a thick rumble of low-end bass, some grinding noise and some skittering beats, it feels like it's going to collapse in on itself until a cello makes it's way into the mix. The two different sounds of the track sort of duke it out, then find a sort of harmonious middle ground for the rest of the track, sometimes heading into a bit more dissonance while at others moving towards softer moments. The second track "Tiny Consumer" works a broken human voice around some quirky sound effects before launching into moments that feel like tribal jungle. Like the opening track, it touches on a bunch of different sounds, but manages to make them work somehow. The third track "Mute," feels like some sort of futuristic jazz track with a lonely trumpet and a background that ranges from ambient to mutant drum and bass.

The aforementioned track in which Kosten uses answering machine snippets of said stalker (named "Control") is yet another weird hybrid track of rumbling beats and screeching noises, yet it's offset with those odd distorted samples and little bursts of a bassoon. As can be imagined, it starts out fairly quietly before building into a frenzy and then winding down into a pretty little chiming track with strings. The other track that everyone seems to talk about in the reviews is the album titled track "Closer Colder." It's a quiet, piano driven bit of soundscape, but is offset with a sample of Dennis Hopper from Blue Velvet (yes, his most famous line in the movie). It's kind of disconcerting hearing Hopper swear like a madman in the middle of the mellow track, but probably what Kosten was accomplish with it.

The album closes out with the rumbling "Salt" and the repetitive (and probably least effective song on the album) "Partyline Honey" before ending with a hidden, droning track. It's a weird way to end a weird album, but it's also pretty darn effective with it's hodge-podge of sounds. It's kind of like a little less dark version of Third Eye Foundation with organic instrumentation, but even that's not a very good reference point. If you like skewered electronic music, though, it's a fairly safe bet.

Rating: 7.5