Factories – Operator’s Service Handbook (Monkey Records) CD REVIEW

THIS SIX-SONG EP from a Christchurch-based duo (Matt Ragg and Sean Bennetts) is like a cut-price version of Boards Of Canada or some other practitioner of late ‘90s IDM (intelligent dance music).
There’s clearly talent here, and they work the genre with some finesse, slicing and dicing voice samples and distressing and bending sonic elements pleasingly out of shape.
Yeah, it’s charming enough, but really, Monkey Records would have been better to advise Factories to keep evolving for a while yet before unleashing their genius on the world.
It all just sounds rather cheap and boxy, and this kind of music differentiates itself just as much with the attention paid to mixing and mastering as much the skills displayed in its actual creation. While it’s nice to hear some pseudo-Emerson-style synth that could be buzzing in from some ‘70s prog-rock album, it sounds like these guys are still trying to come to terms with how to control the sounds it’s emitting. (If it’s a computer-simulated synth, then the problem becomes even more perplexing).
Next time, maybe? GARY STEEL
Music = 3/5
Sound = 2.5/5

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