Album Reviews

John Foxx – Tiny Colour Movies

(Metamatic) UK release date: 31 July 2006


This solo album from Ultravox keyboardplayer John Foxx continues his occupation with musicmade by machines, but rather than continue theblustering electronica of an album such as the recentLouis Gordon collaboration Crash And Burn heopts to revisit the ambient territory of CathedralOceans series, with wonderfully soothing results.

Where Crash And Burn was darkly cinematic and hadseveral chaotic vocal tracks, not to mention plenty ofwhite noise, Tiny Colour Movies sheds all unnecessaryinterference, opting instead for single, pure lines ofsynthesized sound and consonant harmonies.

Nor is it in anything approaching a hurry, afeature that links it inescapably with BrianEno‘s brand of ambience. With Foxx previouslycollaborating with and admiring Harold Budd,this is not a huge surprise. Gone are the knife-edgedtextures, the paranoia and the hard hitting drumbeats. This time it comes as something of a shock whendrums are employed at all, and when they are it iswith great economy.

That’s not to suggest either that these tiny moviesare ambient doodling of no consequence. Far from it,as each movie has its own specific plot detailed inthe booklet. This comes from a private viewing thatFoxx has of Arnold Weizcs-Bryant‘s privatecollection of film, a session that transfixed thecomposer and directly inspired the album.

So it proves that Looped Los Angeles, the mosturgent of the fourteen tracks, soundtracks loops ofArthur J Barratt‘s journeys along the freeway,or that the damaged fragments of Frank Sinatraused in the opening track are given pure treble linesthat take their own relaxed path.

Foxx’s aptitude with his instruments has helped himto produce a short album that acts like a headmassage, never asking too much of the listener as itdrifts in and out of consciousness. It would be trulyfascinating to view an accompanying DVD, but there’senough in the booklet and our own imaginations to makeour own tiny colour movies. In this respect Foxx opensmany doors with music of glassy purity, like bathingin a cool stream.


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More on John Foxx
John Foxx – B-Movie (Ballardian Video Neuronica)
John Foxx & Steve D’Agostino – Evidence Of Time Travel
John Foxx And The Maths – Evidence
Interview: John Foxx And The Maths
Interview: John Foxx