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Si Schroeder Reviews:
- IRISH TIMES
It doesn't take very long to cop that you're in the presence of something rather special here. Irish electronica may be populated by a large and prolific gallery of enthusiastic producers and players, but few have yet demonstrated the wherewithal and musical smarts to pull off any kind of grand statement or big splash. Until now. You're ready to give Simon Kenny a standing ovation even before the second track on this beautiful, beguiling, dreamy album has finished.
Once half of hugely derivative Dublin indie act Schroeder's Cat, Kenny's new sonic adventures are far more interesting because he's working from so many different sketches. Instead of simply going along with the current electronic pop flow, Kenny seeks to make full use of all the music he can hear whirring around in his head. For instance, you can hear echoes of indie tweeness on Eyes-Wide, but this is soon blanketed by a bubbling sweep of see-sawing electronics. Elsewhere, Kenny's fondness for psychedelia and folk cause some fascinating shapes to develop, especially on Duck and C4.
Of the many gems here, the one you'll return to again and again may well be Lavendermist, a track that builds from a haunting drone into the most ecstatic swinger in town, complete with flutes and whistles. Doughty, confident and ambitious, Coping Mechanisms is an album you really must hear.
With the mystery surrounding him/them/it, Si Schroeder could well be our very own Gnarls Barkley. That there is a connection with Schroedersound and Schroeder's Cat is clear, but from there on in it all gets a little murky. There is talk of a six foot hairy biped in his 30's, as well as references to brainchilds, sampling machines and the like...Not that any of this matters because Coping Mechanismsis such an astonishing record. In many ways it's very Dublin, and more specifically, very Trust Me I'm A Thief. But the important thing is this: if you thought you had it up to here with mumbling singer songwriter types, think again. Coping Mechanisms effectively rewrites the book.
Sound wise, its a
tour de force, layer upon layer of subtle beats, feedback drenched guitars
and haunting samples going into creating a noise that is at once quirky
and baroque. A much overused phrase it may be, but this really is a beautiful
experience. Slovakian orchestras criss-cross under African vocals, Sonic
Youth style art rock is laced with Simon & Garfunkel melodies. As
strategem go, it is
That Si Schroeder remains an underground phenomenon is astounding. Thing is, Coping Mechanisms has the potential to go where David Kitt, Jape, The Jimmy Cake and the rest have gone before and, whisper it quietly, eclipse the lot of them. Just you wait.......
Hands in the air, I'm not a huge fan of electronica, finding it full of beautifu moments and sounds but oddly devoid of vocal melodies and a soul that makes me return. I'm sure that a catchy vocal isn't really the point when the artist is creating this kind of record, but for me it's the difference between the Sydney Opera House & Ayres Rock; both are stunning formations, but its the rock that i'd return to again and again.
Si Schroeder is a Dublin based artist who kicked around in post-punk ambient noise groups in the nineties with some some credibility and on coping mechanisms he's brought a huge amount of disparate influences to bear on an album that moulds the conventional blips and bleeps into a structured pop package with superb results. His sampling is never less than interesting and texturally the album is a multi-layered, multi-faceted smorgasboard of cleverly blended sounds that soothe and chill, while Schroeder's tender wistful vocals provide the icing on the cake. Aside from the antiquated gramaphone static that tends to be utilised somewhere along the way in most electronica records Schroeder's songwriting templates definitly smack of a love of the past, pitched somewhere betwen His Masters Voice recordings and Stockhausen to mid-sixties folkadelic and Radioheads Amnesiac.
Put your headphones on, sit back and enjoy the flight as The Reluctant Aviator takes off on a barrage of detuned sounds that wrestle for airspace with backward looped Eastern European choirs before his industrial/shoegazing influences peak out from the growling bass riffs of the gravity-defying Lavendarmist. C4 deploys a waltz like rhythm to underpin a tune that imagines Nick Cave and The Flaming Lips crooning endless choruses with a drunken horn section to a tear sodden audience, before ending up to the theme tune to the Electric Picnic. Eyes-Wide is this millennium's Oh Superman, brilliantly executed. The album isn't without its superflous moments, but the overall standard is very high in all departments.
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