Ian Holloway & Darren Tate - Wet Rat Year (CDr Quiet World)
Broody deep tones begin, setting us in familiar territory with skittering beeps and subdued wacked-out guitar somewhere in there. What's impressive is the sheer pristine nature of the lower tones. Wide, expansive. Track 4 (none of them have titles) begins impressively with its hints at primitive electronics that gradually get morphed by effects into something that strongly resembles some of Sonic Boom's electronic work. Bubbly underwater skittering and all that. Oh, speaking of munchkins, Darren's cover art is worth seeing. A painting of 2 little rats having a chat. Awwww.
Pity then that the rest of the album is rather pointless. Fuzzed out ambience made with analogue gizmos. They lack any weight or presence. With Ian's background with Ora and Monos, and Tate's work with, well, everyone in Colin Potter's circle of adorable munchkins, you'd think they wouldn't resort to the Autopilot button but I guess we all need a break now and again. It's appropriate that it ends on a high note though, with detuned radios and collaged lo-fi blut. Now if only they had the nerve to make a full album like that.
Limited to 100 copies. HM