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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Constant Light - Mag - Amplitude [Second Language Records - 2011]

Second Language Records presents Mag - Amplitude by sonic experimentalists Constant Light. The Australian duo of Sasha Margolis and James Dean present a follow up to their well received Observations/1. If you can imagine taking Krautrock cranked through the grinder of the early 80’s Manchester scene, then brighten it up with some contemporary synth pop/dream pop (ala Stereolab), add a pinch of noise and you might begin to approximate the Constant Light sound.

The opening track on Mag - Amplitude “I/O” starts with a strong bass line that layers with repetitive synth pulses and warm keys that drone on for nearly the entirety of this 10 minute track. There’s something oddly familiar with this jam. Strangely this track reminds me of Joy Division’s “Atmosphere” if you bumped up the speed and tempo and made it cheerier and uplifting rather than somber. “Factory Floor” follows in the opening track’s synthy goodness, offering another 10 minutes of drum machine beats and shifting futuristic keyboards colliding with fuzzed out guitar. The penultimate track “Ice Glass” is a 2 minute jam of what sounds like an electronic harpsichord.

The first three tracks are only, but a prelude to the epic 3 part opus “Dreams of Dreams Denied I-III.” After listening to the first 3 synth heavy tracks, I was taken back a bit by the near acoustic jam on part I. Electro acoustic guitar, harmonica, sorta vocals, live drums, all shrouded in an airy atmosphere carry through to part II. Part II is a 5 minute shoe-gazey fuzz pop jam and then we come full circle to more familiar territory with part III. Part III closes things out on happier tidings with an ambient synth jam. I can almost imagine the duo jamming out to this track with perma grin in some smoky little club, just transfixed by the tunes they’re filling the atmosphere with.

I have to admit while I wasn’t initially enamored by Mag - Amplitude, they won me over by disc’s end. It’s a nice mixture of familiar sounds, that’s surprisingly refreshing. Another fine showing by this Australian duo that got me hook, line, and sinker.

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

Hal Harmon
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