Review of Northern [12k1037]

The Wire (UK)

Taylor Deupree , sound artist and founder of the 12k label, primly claims that architecture, modern furniture, and interior design are among the biggest influences on his minimalist electronic, but here’s no sign of the mass production or soullessness that the quote might imply. W/its plastic sinewave tones and melodic orbits, Northern is like a more sculpted version of Oval’s warm, hazy soundworld. But the warped continuum of Markus Popp’s music is replaced with a more tactile sense of time and space. “A Dead Yellow Carpet” moves as gracefully as ripples from a pebble in a like, with a sublimely slow oscillation b/w minor and maj keys. The upper register notes are almost felt rather than heard, barely audible tones suggesting changes of light or shade rather than simply melodies.

The airy, tranquil ambience is always achieved w/a minimum of musical strokes, and even if Northern is simply a series of laptop sketches, it’s satisfying precisely b/c you can trace the effect of each and every musical line and angle. It’s the kind of album you could curl up and sleep in, which, for a musician-cum-interior designer, must be about as high a compliment as can be paid. – Derek Walmsley.

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