By Conquering Animal Sound
There's a definite air of quiet confidence and clarity of aesthetic at work on 'Kammerspiel,' which is all the more impressive given that this is Conquering Animal Sound's debut long player. The texture is scatter-gunned with bell (and bell-like) interjections, rasps, glitches, organic , almost musique-concrete-y-and-'found'-esque sounds and all manner of bleeps and bloops, but the core of slightly skewed melodies and pop principles is the glue that holds each shard together.
Anneke Kampman's layered vocals sound deceptively nursery-rhyme - only bolstered by the pure, childlike inflection - yet it's as melodies tangent and then re-align into thick, intricate slices that the real complexity and studied brilliance becomes obvious (look to 'Flinch' and 'Giant' for examples).
The fragments of melodic ideas in the wall-to-wall accompaniment of assorted tone colours and snatches of overheard tunes are maybe the most interesting thing, though. It's tapping into a sort of musical version of Escher-like perspective - the more listens, the more layers of sound reveal themselves and the ear is spoilt for choice over which melodic event to tune into. Better still, there's always the feeling that there's a different way of hearing it and the excitement of an apparently innocuous line or fragment suddenly pushing into the foreground makes 'Kammerspiel' a curiously rewarding 'repeat' listening experience.
But it's never a struggle or a musical bombardment, despite its density of sound - James Scott's guitar parts serve to cut through the texture and work with the vocals in adding some overall cohesion to the fractured crackle of the accompaniment.
The lack of slump/filler tracks is impressive, too - each song is a tightly-packed and perfectly formed article on its own terms; 'Wildthings' and 'Crawl' build into beautiful pop hooks, while single 'Bear' (released back in December on Gizeh), 'Ira' and 'Neanderthal' take a slightly sparser, more sinister approach.
There's plenty to get immersed in here, and I'll race you to the next moment of discovering an obscured-but-important loop in the texture!