Having struck a chord with their debut single earlier this year, it appears as though Populette are taking their warm reception in the only sensible way: As a cue to get weirder. "Populus" is the safe choice on this release, a useful slab of seedy machine funk that brings to mind both the glossy sheen of Jimmy Edgar's production and Luke Vibert's playful analog noodling. It's a relatively full bodied work-out on its own, but when compared to the scope and intensity of the other two tracks, its functional role is largely overshadowed.
"Populace" is the real draw, but it carries with it a kind of Pandora's box effect. It's capable of bringing about a sea change in the evening, but if unleashed prematurely, it could also spell disaster (or, at the very least, an exodus to the bar). In the right environment, however, the initial build serves as a masterful way to build tension by stacking layers of dissonant tones amidst crashing sub-bass, swirling it together until it all boils over with nervous energy. Here the duo employ their cracked sensibility to maximum effect, tucking devious little samples (rippling steel? a squawking loon?) in hopes of eliciting sideways glances and mental second guessing.
In contrast, Gavin Russom's remix serves as a stone-faced retelling. Rather than competing with the original, he goes on a solitary pilgrimage into the outlands. This time, we begin with a somber lead over ominous drones and cinematic flourishes. However, instead of twitchy paranoia, we get the Wizard's homespun textures, and the resulting arpeggios make the extended midsection a characteristically dream-like affair. About eight minutes in, the lead begins sounding again, like a prophecy come to light. Once signaled, the other layers wind their way back down into a single source, and the stream is slowly filtered into a raw, flickering pulse. This last beacon of sound remains suspended for nearly a minute, ticking in perfect time before finally flaring out, a stark but fitting end to this sweeping cosmic elegy.
- Published /
Fri / 29 Oct 2010
- Words /