cyclic defrost review

my association with cyclic defrost means there's always a chance it's been looked at in a more positive light than it otherwise might have been, but i don't know chris downtown at all, and his review seems quite genuine, as he takes notice of things which haven't been pointed out in the bio and could only have been noticed through active, engaged listening etc. i'm particularly impressed with his take on listening in for static, which is pretty much right on the mark.


The last three years have seen Sydney-based electronic collective Telafonica undergo a few substantial transitions that have delayed the arrival of this second album ‘I Saw This And Thought Of You.’ Following the release of 2005’s debut album ‘Morpheme’, founder members Marcella and David Hughes relocated to London at the beginning of last year, leaving it somewhat in doubt as to whether these seven partially-completed tracks would ever see release at all. While a few tracks have previously made their way out as downloadable e-singles and on compilations such as Feral Media’s ‘Super Shiny Sydney’, the tracks collected here were polished up with additional remixing earlier this year and were apparently chosen because they remain staples in Telafonica’s live sets. Opening track ‘Tape Noise’ provides a cleverly effective and also self-explanatory segue into the rest of this album, with the looped sound of a tape recording of vintage piano keys being rapidly rewound forming the rhythmic backbone around which dry, motorik drum machine beats and icy, forlorn synth pads slide.

‘Blending The Edges’ sees the subtle techno pulse that powers throughout most of this album moving further to the foreground as spidery, minimal beats and muted harmonic pads provide a bed for growling 303s and founder member Adrian Elmer’s weary-sounding, emotive vocals – the entire effect not being dissimilar to Richard Davis’ similarly melancholy outings with Swayzak. ‘Send Away’ meanwhile sees the bass presence becoming more tangible as electro-funk pads and tight, rattling tech-house rhythms lock into place around Marcella Hughes’ vocals, the bleak lyrics (“part of you is dying”) nicely counterpointed by the sense of visceral groove generated by the backing production – indeed, it’s easily the most dancefloor-poised offering here. Elsewhere, closing track ‘Listening In For Static’ represents an extremely close contender for that position however, layering spring-loaded, off-centre house rhythms beneath yelled vocals that could equally be aimed at both ‘underground’ music purists (“I’ve never been hardcore / I’ve never been true to my roots”) and the likes of the neo-rave fixated Modular crew…if it is in fact a riff on The Presets and their ilk, it’s certainly one of the funniest and most effective I’ve heard so far. An excellent second album from Telafonica that manages to be something of a tease at just seven tracks and 33 minutes long.

Chris Downtown / Cyclic Defrost Magazine


Blake said...

very cool

Eliza said...

Perhaps I should listen to this album all the way through - by all accounts it sounds quite good.