The Sheffield based duo of The Only Michael and Soyo have been working together since 2004 and Big Chill Recordings is the label to release their debut album, Earplay.
The core team of Mark Daly (aka Soyo) and Michael Harding (aka The Only Michael) are joined with a quartet of guest vocalists, Sanchita Farruque, Anne Garner, Lisa Palmer and Joanne Terry.
The vocals are sparsely used on the tweleve track album and it’s suitably downtempo and chill. Four of the tracks (‘Hummingbird Highway’, ‘Marquette Party’, ‘Riverbed Road’ and ‘The Closer You Get’) were orginally composed as part of their live soundtrack to David Lynch’s film The Straight Story. ‘Marquette Party’ certainly has a Lynchness to it as has the creepy ‘Starstruck’.
‘Children Of Japan’ and the tracks with live flute work the best, like the title track that was originally commissioned for the ‘Symphony of the Mountains’ project by Living Art and the previously mentioned ‘Riverbed Road’ (more for the throbbing bass on that one).
It’s miles away from label mates Yam Yam but definitely one for Future Loop Foundation fans and the album finishes on a FLF type high “with a hint of dub’ with ‘U For Up D For Down’ and ‘Lie Detector’ (Pssst: I’m told ‘Riverbed Road’ is currently being remixed by Future Loop Foundation under his Santa Cruz identity).
I’m afraid I missed their reinterpretation of Veit Helmer’s dark comedy ‘Tuvalu’ at this year’s Big Chill Festival (that was Saturday night in the Media Mix test but then again, I saw loads of other good stuff, see review HERE) but I won’t be making the same mistake again if they’re in town.
Reviewed: Animat – Earplay (Big Chill Recordings) Cat. No: FACTOR 23 Release date: 8th August 2008
1 Hummingbird Highway (5:03)
2 Deep Space Lament feat. vocals by Sanchita Farruque (6:35)
3 Mirador feat. vocals by Joanne Terry (6:10)
4 Earplay feat. Sanchita Farruque (5:26)
5 Marquette Party (5:49)
6 Riverbed Road feat. Lisa Palmer and flute by Anne Garner (4:30)
7 Starstruck feat. vocal sample by Anne Garner (4:10)
8 Children Of Japan (3:46)
9 Second High feat. Sanchita Farruque and vocal harmony by Joanne Terry (3:18)
10 U For Up D For Down (2:35)
11 Lie Detector feat. vocal harmony by Lisa Palmer(6:40)
12 The Closer You Get (4:09)