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The Modified Mechanics Of This Device

The Modified Mechanics Of This Device
(Antenna Records)

After starting out with the group Windy and Carl in the mid-90's Randall Nieman decided to go seperate ways and started another spacerock outift in the form of Füxa. A few other members joined this new group and together they put out 3 different albums on the Mind Expansion label. Eventually, those other members left to pursue other interests as well, and it was Nieman back by his lonesome all over again. After taking a bit of time off, he's back again, with perhaps his most varied album to-date. After working with members of groups like Mogwai, Spectrum, and The Telescopes on a soundtrack for a Playstation Pro Golf game, perhaps some different styles have rubbed off and into the mix.

Sure, those who've heard Füxa before and enjoyed their blend of electronic, spaced-out goodness with most likely enjoy this album as well, but there are definitely other things creeping into the overall sound. The disc opens with the cheap drum machine beats and buzzing keyboards of "Girl," which is a collaboration with Sonic Boom of Spaceman 3 and sounds like something very nearly to what that group would release as he also adds his sleepy vocals. The lo-fi atmosphere continues with the track "Opel," as a low end rumble churns below radio static and samples of spoken conversation buried in the mix.

The album continues in a fairly similar vein for the next couple tracks, as "Kids Toy" is a short, interlude track, while "Sitar/Tone" is nothing more than the title states, stripping things down to only two sound sources. It's around the middle of the disc that some other styles start creeping in, and it actually helps to give the album a lot more life. "Bowie Beat" keeps the drifting atmospherics in the mix, but adds a nice downtempo programmed beat to move things along. After the very minimal "Bzzz," the album comes back with "Willow Run," a downright breezy little jazzy guitar track that sounds like it could have come from Sam Prekop's Self-Titled release.

From there out, the album mainly lapses back into drone/spacerock land, and while there are definite highlights (the minimal electronic programming of the short "Kid Bits" and excellent pastoral instrumental of "Sky High"), many of the tracks just drift along without really offering anything new. With such a variety of sounds, the release will appeal to both listeners who liked the dronescapes and ones who enjoy the more songlike material, but it will also have each group wishing there was more of the particular style they enjoy. In the end, it's still a pretty darn good release, it's just a bit frustrating at times.

Rating: 6.5