Album Review: Strange Pieces - junglegym EP

by Dan Nightingale

Strange Pieces is the new brainchild of Matthew Brand (formerly of Voice of Russia/Dancing with Knives). It's a twisted collection of samples, drones, and vintage digital keyboards. Some crude drumming in “a questionnaire” recalls the Velvet Underground, while haunting vocals and 80's synths hide under piles of glorious reverb. It recalls the best kinds of low budget 80's movies or a Nine Inch Nails record on sleeping pills.

“Bankroll split” chugs in with a very compelling guitar progression which sets the tone for the song, a spooky old west theme or a modern gritty digital opiate dream. It's exactly what you would expect from a man who own's more than one Casio SK-1, and it will highly appeal to all you space garage lovers – the ending of the song sounds like a slightly lighter Bloodhouse tune, plus the addition of much needed sweeping synths sounds.

The song cuts hard and goes quiet for a moment before jumping into the sketchy, Pink Floyd-esq heartbeat drums of “wayward Salvo.” Paranoid voices in your head sound like they're coming from outside your windows, and vocals from the bathroom behind you. It's heavy on the reverb to be sure but it's a stylethat you don't want to sound too clean, lest it remind you of ordinary life in some way. The end of the song stalls a bit but recovers with a nice fade out bassline, making you think something else is due to happen but leaving you anticipating until the infinite fall of the fading synthesizer brings you down.

The EP ends with “nineteen”starting off like a crowd pleasing anthem, almost like a Rich Aucoin song written for a Goth teenage birthday party. Rapidly vibrating synth and feedback laden vocals still can't quite hide the hesitant drumming, but over all the EP shows the ever increasing talent Brand displays for his brand of dreamy, dreary, post-music compositions. It's by no means alone in modern music, harking to the likes of Fuck Buttons or Chad VanGalleen's Black Mold side project, but it's unique in Halifax and unique enough that you should hear it at least once -


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