Artist: Niamh Starkey
Title: Fuzzy Piano
Keywords: Ambient, DIY, Experimental, Soundtrack
Reviewer: Alex Spalding
That moment when you’re searching through Bandcamp for some random experimental music and instead find something that blows your socks away, so you have to find another pair of socks… then, you come back to the computer, but it’s been a couple minutes and you forgot already, and you look down at the screen and realize it was not the socks but your mind that had been blown.
Well, whatever that stuff was I just said, it’s what this album we’re gonna be listening to tonight is like. Our brainsocks will be blowing in the gale sounds approaching, so brace yourselves by chaining your brains and socks to something stable, like maybe a horse.
Here we go, first track is called ‘A Frightful Reception’! There’s some static sizzling, a sharp breakbeat with a snare that really snaps at you. I hear some gritty sax, sort of free harmonic arrangements. Very simple but effective, and a voice enters from out of a radio, followed by some bluesy jazz scales. Blasts of harsh white noise blare in, I hear a thumping…
… we go straight into ‘My Research’, which could be from out of some 1950’s science lab experiment on nuclear physics or brain/sock synergy. There’s a voice and warm guitar, obscure organ keys. It’s a brief track, but leads us further on toward…
… ‘To Demonstrate Madness’! The radionic voice floats around in the mix with spacy reverb. The instrumentation feels very heavy, dark, difficult to make out, like a dirge produced by cavernous production on a number of sounds occupying similar hertz bands. There’s a reed pipe key happening, the space of the mix is shrill and telephonic at times, but strangely vast and dubby.
Next up is ‘Hill End Bad Reception’, which feels like an ambient Eno signal passed through a shortwave-band radio broadcast, at once tiny and large, and very nice! As it moves, the atmospheres seem to switch mood, bright contemplation to dark unease. It’s really beautiful, and dreamy. I love the guitar here. This is probably my favourite of the works presented on this short album. In a way, it conjures in places for me an idea of haunted hotel music.
‘Holy Girl’ reminds me, with the title, of an AIR lyric from ‘Run’, which is strange because I was just listening to that album again earlier. It begins with some heavy dense distortion, a voice. Despite the frequency damage, the chords make their way through.
All in all, a very short and sweet bit of sound. Not sure where my socks landed this time, but if you find them around, you can just keep them, I guess. Consider it a memento, or something, of this occasion. As always, I suggest taking awhile to check this music out and support the artist any way you can! They appear to have a pretty single out as well as another work we may review in future. Here’s a link: