Album Reviews

cliffordandcalix – Lost Foundling

(Aperture) UK release date: 1 March 2010

This labour of love is one of the first releases on Andrea Parker´┐Żs Aperture label, bringing together the fruits of collaborations between Mark Clifford of Seefeel and Mira Calix, made over a five year period.

When Calix and Clifford reconvened recently to finish off their thoughts they discovered a gap between the technology used then and now, so decided to leave the tracks as they were, rather than apply a coat of unsuitable paint to something that was nicely weathered. As a result some of the material has a fragmentary feel to it, with ideas that drift past without being fully captured.

Some have made the grade as fully fledged songs, which means the restrained beauty of Someone Like Me can be enjoyed to the full, the closest either of these artists is likely to get to a fully fledged pop song. Others, like the nagging reassurances of Cket, are loops sketched out on paper, presented in a relatively undeveloped state.

And yet there is an appeal to this intensely intimate night music. When Dream Of You introduces its elastic percussion half way through the feeling is that the music is wrapping itself around you, which also happens with the softly rotating loop that drifts in and out of focus on Beethaven. Both these longer tracks form the album’s core, and its emotional centre also.

Yet the danger of using unrelated fragments in the collection rears its head towards the end, and In Her Room, which is more of a post rock track, sounds oddly out of place with what has gone before. It means that a judicious use of the skip function might be needed to ensure the listener isn’t suddenly jolted out of the mood set by some of the more comforting electronica that has gone before.

Listening to this record is like opening that cupboard under the stairs where you keep all sorts of stuff. It’s a window on the world of Calix and Clifford, with some beautifully rendered jewels and a few unfinished models – some of them barely started. There might be the odd thing that goes out for recycling, but overall you emerge enlightened from the experience.

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cliffordandcalix – Lost Foundling