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Go to the Icarus website  Icarus - Misfits [self-financed - 2002]

"Misfits" is Icarus' fourth release, and is, according to the press-release, "a minimally-arranged mini-LP made with two laptop computers in a vacuum. The artists were not present and neither was the DAT machine". Now what do you expect from that description?

Well, the package is what first attracts attention, quite off track from the standard jewelcase or digipack. A plastic four-panel-something, with a carton sleeve inside (with some info, yes, and the cover) and a cloth sheet to protect the CD. The cover shows a quite pale figure with the headphones of a discman in its nose (?), courtesy of Joji Koyama. Not very ecologically friendly, yet we are not here to protect the environment. We are here to discover new good music, and with this package we can already suspect something different...

And indeed, Icarus' music is quite unique. It floats somewhere between post-jungle and abstract glitchy techno music, and has some clear jazz-influences. Not directly in the music style tough, but more in terms of improvisation and expression. The six tracks, spanning almost 37 minutes, are rhythmically very technical and constantly changing, but the tracks are nevertheless very cohesive because of the 175 bpm split across various boundaries including rhythmic / percussive, melodic / harmonic, tonal / atonal, structured / free, etc. The fourth track "Xot Zoiks" (what's in a name heh?) features some tiny organ sounds as background to the experimental beats, while the big selling point of "Skate Glug" is an improvised clarinet solo for which Ollie Brown and Sam Britton, the names behind Icarus, have had some help from Arun Ghosh.

Those are really the highlights of this release, I'm afraid. "Misfits" lacks something to keep the real interest, now it's just curiosity that will attract potential listeners. And the choice of putting this release out directly through distributors instead of a label and without major concentration on press will not make it easy for these potential listeners to find it. "Misfits" is worth checking out, but don't expect a world-shocking masterpiece.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Justin Faase
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