Monday, 30 November 2009

Pluramon - Render Bandits

Pluramon is Markus Schmickler, and this is the second Pluramon album, from 1998, on Mille Plateaux. Schmickler was an early pioneer of of a fairly even mix of acoustic instruments and electronics - the kind of mix and sound palette which Four Tet had subsequent success with.
Most tracks proceed with a head nodding groove played on an acoustic kit, with layers of guitars both spangly and fuzzy; along with bass and an assortment of keyboards, drones and more abstract electronic burblings. Occasionally the grooves retreat, like on 'Flicker', or the end section of 'Formant', and the album fits perfectly with the label - sounding very much like Snd, and the digi/glitch sound the label is synonymous with. These moments provide a nice contrast, but the album is best when the heavy grooves chunter along. When 'Gloop' hits its stride and sucks you into the wake of the stomping groove, loads of distorted, edited and messed up sounds are smeared across the pummelling rhythm.
Like much of my favourite music, this harks back to the more groove-laden German music of the 70s (especially later Can), but the detailed digital processing and editing keep it modern and forward looking at the same time ( as well as trippy). The predominance of acoustic intruments, especially guitar, maintains the warm fuzzy sound envelope and rich harmonics.
Previous album Pick Up Canyon and remix project Bit Sand Riders are also excellent, and Pluramon has gone in a more shoegaze-oriented direction with recent albums reams Top Rock and The Monstrous Surplus, both of which are decent, and feature more vocals.


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