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Crommie; Daniel: Animosity

If there's one thing that the extensive and slowly but surely being reissued catalogue of Daniel Crommie isn't, its narrow. In fact it's harder to imagine a broader spectrum to draw from, with at different times the results being overtly Progressive, funkily Folk like, almost Jazzy, Medieval and in the case of this 1988 release, and now bandcamp only reissued, Animosity, electronic. Crommie himself is a skilled multi-instrument musician, taking in mandolin, balalaika, flutes and synthesizers (amongst others), as well as a gifted songwriter and producer. Animosity found him bouncing ideas against on-off collaborator Jamie Haggerty, the pair utilising samplers, tapes, drum machines and synths (alongside dulcimer and wind instruments) to create sparse, remote, other worldly journeys.

More an exploration of electronic beats than a vehicle for melody or hooks, Animosity possibly shows its age far more obviously than much of the Crommie canon, yet while the sounds are unashamedly 80s (has any other era aged so obviously?), there is still a lot of ground covered. That said if drum machines and samplers scare you, then this isn't the Crommie for you (I'd suggest Skybridge or Between The Darkness And The Dawn as good starting points), for often they are the complete basis of what's going on here. "Snake Oil" sounds oddly Oriental in style, "(sex) Walkie Talkie", dare I say it comes across like music from Miami Vice on heat, "Concrete" like a less organic Discipline era King Crimson with hand percussion. Yes it's that eclectic, which when you consider that for long stretches there's often little more than busy beats, ambient sound and samples going on, is quite impressive.

"There Once Was A City" hits home like a less exuberant and decidedly down in the mouth OMD, until the spoken vocal which utilises words written by Peire Cardenal in the 13th century adds an eerie and remote atmosphere. However "Still Life" is the album's shock moment, the quiet, almost ambient ringing chimes overtly opposed to the modern (for the time) electronics found elsewhere, its slow beautiful sprawl genuinely ear catching, beautiful, out of place and wonderful.

Animosity is a challenging album and one which it can at times be difficult to stick with, its stand offishness a real force that can prove overwhelming. Those with a fascination for 80s electronic that isn't commercial will find much to engage, those not will feel on the outside looking in, until "Still Life" reveals its brooding beauty.

Not the most accessible release from Daniel Crommie and one that hasn't aged quite so well, yet there's worth and interest (and a gem) here if you can stay the course.

Track Listing
1. There Once Was A City
2. Red Sandstone Cliffs
3. Concrete
4. Horror Of Horrors
5. Jump Barrier
6. (sex) Walkie Talkie
7. Snake Oil
8. Vertical Ocean
9. Still Life
10. Birdhouse Metropolis

Added: June 22nd 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Animosity on bandcamp
Hits: 1844
Language: english

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