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Wunderbugg: Transgraduate

The three piece Seattle based instrumental outfit return with something of a departure in sound following their indie debut, Written in Flesh, and featuring singer Ani Johnson. The sound is Orbital-like techno-pop bedded in with retro 70s style psychedelia. The sound is very positive with an upbeat pace and a melodic symphonic backwash accompanying the songs. The opening song was inspired by the rain in Seattle (they get a lot of it) and is peppered with sweet electronic sounds whereas "Ether" takes a much more gloomy discordant viewpoint with a rich drum and bass off-centre beat and swirling synths.

Eastern imagery abounds in Pandora's box at the start but the song eventually transforms into a pop ditty. Somehow this sounds better without the vocal when it reappears in track 7. "Walla" is a house party piece allegedly tapping into the Ibiza vibe (bit outside my experience though I'm afraid) and rattles along enjoyably with a melodic keyboard motif and layers of synths over the beat track; interesting ending as well. Coachello Veteran has a good mix of floaty sequences and Kitaro-like keyboard stabs. It moves easily into psychedelic traits and utilises a neat techno beat at odds with the vocal line.

"Dream Catcher" starts with a pepper spray of staccato synths and forges through with driving bass and crazy drum rhythms in a techno tour de force with Ani's voice again floating over the top without changing tempo from any of her earlier efforts, seemingly oblivious to the arrangement's pace. It works very effectively however and is perhaps my favourite piece on the album. "Make your move" is a pretty lacklustre song, delivering nothing new from what has gone before but "High Down" is a vibrant instrumental with good development and a couple of catchy riffs as well as intelligent use of effects. The title track's repressed rhythms and time signature variations make it interesting and the closing number, with its ecological message, influenced by the 2008 film, Mirrors is a mournful litany which breaks out impressively into a rich symphonic arrangement.

Overall it's a decent techno-pop album if a tad sterile at times but I'm not sure it fits easily with an audience, perhaps being too sophisticated for the trance scene and too techno and unnatural for the psychedelic/progressive fans.

Track Listing
1. Skin
2. Ether
3. Pandora's Box remix
4. Walla
5. Coachello Veteran
6. Dream catcher
7. Pandora's Box by the sterile symphony
8. Make your move
9. High down
10. Transgraduate
11. Sick wrong world

Added: December 1st 2009
Reviewer: Richard Barnes
Related Link: Band's MySpace Page
Hits: 1142
Language: english

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