A little while ago I reviewed the title track from this EP – ‘I’m Alice’ – which was released as a single. That was a wonderful thing and promised much for the three remaining tracks on the EP.
‘I’m Alice’ is an eclectic mix of electro-pop, jazz and way out strangeness, but there’s a depth beyond the strangeness. For this is a sonic representation of something – an actual syndrome – Alice in Wonderland syndrome. Augustin explains ‘“As a kid I used to get strange visual and perceptual distortions while awake in bed. My limbs and head appeared and felt to grow enormous or contract to a tiny size. I also got loads of sparkly TV snow fx when I tried to close my eyes. I thought it was just my daft brain but a few years ago I found out it is actually a thing. Never happens now though”.
Once you know what the song is about it all makes musical sense; the warped, elastic sounds, the fantastic soundscape it evokes. The combination of subject and music is fabulously compelling. You are drawn into the soundscape and the deeper you go the more there is to discover. Surprising sounds emerge, jazzy sections juxtapose electro-dance, sudden shifts in feel that throw you in different directions.
‘Make Up Your Mind (You Will Never)’ is built around an insistent bass riff but has a strange but compelling rhythm. This is dance music; in fact it’s so much a dance track with the repeating keys, drop-outs and vocals that provide yet another rhythm that I could describe it as meta-dance. This is until the most wonderful trumpet solo – by Danny Gough – comes in. This just isn’t your usual dance thing.
‘Lover And A Fighter’ returns to the strangeness of ‘I’m Alice’. Sounds dart out at you, electro-beat is juxtaposed with afro-beat jazziness. There are periods of calmness that surprise and delight. But you see you can dance to this, it has the most wonderful tune that is carried through the track. It’s actually much more earwormy than you might at first think; it has this quality of stalking you, and finally lodging it self into your head.
The EP closer ‘Ariane’ is a sonic dreamscape. You are falling into the layers and layers of beautiful sounds that waft and drift around you. At its heart it’s a ballad but it’s been warped and stretched and put through something that mutated it into this soundscape. This, my friends, is beautiful – musically and sonically.
This EP is special. It’s the sound of a musician who is pushing the envelope with creative juices flowing like crazy. But it never crosses over the line of experimentation for the sake of experimentation. Every sound is there for a reason. This is undoubtedly clever music but it is music with soul, heart and feeling. This, my friends, is lovely wonderful music that you need to hear.
Augustin is from Bradford and has played with Gurgles, Mucky Sailor, Henry Parker, Nope and many others as well as performing as Lord Adonis, and remixing as Tomorrow’s Dad. He has recently been co-producing Saint Etienne’s latest album. He’s performed improv sound and noise, solo and with others at Bradford’s Threadfest, Fundada Festival in Halifax, Vespertine Festival in York and the launch of the Doctor Who exhibition at the National Science and Media Museum with jazz pianist Matthew Bourne and baritone guitarist Andy Abbott.
He has written theme and incidental music for lots of TV shows, a number of films and hosted a BBC6music show. He has also remixed bands including Bearcraft, Printed Circuit, Cowtown and Lark.
Recently Augustin has been working on new material with Saint Etienne and playing with improv trio Nostril.
He’s also finishing a new Gurgles LP.