Faster Circuits - Apophenia

Orange Twin
(OTR054: 708527171110)
Release date: 11/30/2017

Apophenia finds Faster Circuits' brain-man Derek Almstead working through the murk and mumble of this sad past half-decade with the clarity you’d expect from this accomplished and variegated instrumentalist/producer. The eight tracks over its 36 minutes wield a generous pop sense whose methodology and melodic genetics find split parentage in Psychedelic New Zealand and, of course, the new traditions of halcyon Athens, Georgia Elephant 6 heyday Almstead helped forge as a member of Olivia Tremor Control, Elf Power, Circulatory System (fill in your desired grocery list), and, veritably, as the late-era staff producer and mastering engineer for that whole crew.


Of course, Almstead’s mixture incorporates tellingly exotic stuff: a becalming trip to Eno’s Green World on the wings of alien synth textures and the lonely here-and-there pulse of an acoustic piano; a wind-blast of the amphetamine time-dust from Conny Plank’s AM-1 mixing console; a visit to the odd salon of Arthur Russell, where art-music, proto-electro dance-pulse and warming chamber pop share a pot of psychedelicized tea; and, at its core, Almstead’s humane, elevated bass chops that call to mind not only Stereolab’s mutant radio-friendly motorik propulsion but a solid pop/R&B footing, a la Pino Palladino or some other Grammy-nominated hotshot.


The record's emotional and textural topography is effectively mapped from track one, moment one: "The Human Comedy" starts with a warm, tape-hiss synth drone, somehow both foreign and comforting at once, and ramps up subtly, element by element — drum pulse, whispered vocal paean, beautiful lyre-like acoustic guitar figure — until it stands as meditation: a melancholy gnostic prayer for peace. Set-ender "R.I.P." does not keen in grief for our losses, but rather takes its time, beginning, as the opener ends, with a near-medieval guitar figure ascending through sad strings and a mallet-heavy Moe Tucker percussion approach until settling finally into a bass-driven piano ballad that recalls Surf’s Up-era Brian Wilson. A quick left turn through the field of herky-jerky electric guitar solos and cold synth-punctures energizes us — effectively instructing us in its remonstrance, above the final deliverance of thrashing drums, to “Just let go; don’t think so much, don’t let it tear you apart.”

01. The Human Comedy 02. Imaginary Numbers 03. Belief (And Think Vertical) 04. Shallow Waves 05. Ambition Eats The Old World 06. Tuning For Accelerated Disappearance 07. Culmination 08. RIP

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