By Wire Happy
'Short Cycles...' is a strange experience, which I must make that clear right now. As Kevin Mottram (aka Wire Happy) kindly points out it was originally intended to be a soundtrack to a game; and I can't decide if that admission was a good one or not pre-listening.
The album (loosely termed) begins in an ambient Orb-esque fashion with thrumming background sounds carrying almost childlike melodies across bleep filled space. Track two is a somewhat jarring experience that ends up being the black sheep of the group, with a strange 80s industrial kind of atmosphere about it.
Unfortunately as the album progresses there is a definite lack of continuity; each track abruptly stopping, short silence, dive into the next. This is lets 'Short Cycles...' down, there is no sense of progression in these tracks. They all begin, some twee melodies bounce around over (at times) formulaic percussion and end all within a maximum of three minutes. After reading its soundtrack roots I cannot escape the fact that I am listening to intentional background music.
It's a shame because there are some excellent ideas hidden away in this jerky offering. At times it sounds like a demo for Music 2000, and at others there are some Aphex Twin inspired moments of brilliance, which sadly are too brief to be memorable. There is a definite charm though, which if you can catch it shines through.
If as Mottram claims there is to be another Wire Happy record, I can only hope that he gives it time to develop, focusing less on brevity and more on the music. Perhaps I am being an unforgiving beast, but this cd is like a kinder egg, hinting at hidden joys yet providing at best, a brief thrill.
While there are some very promising clips on 'Short Cycles...' that, for better or worse, is all they are. When the record comes to its heavily Orb influenced synth conclusion, I'm left wanting something more.
Awkward indie noise-pop