Album Reviews

Walls – Walls

(Kompakt) UK release date: 10 May 2010

Walls - Walls A quick look at Walls’ CV suggests they ought to be ones to watch in the field of electronica, despite their differing backgrounds as members of Allez Allez and Banjo Or Freakout.

Initially a brief remix venture, the duo of Sam Willis and Alessio Nataliza discovered they had much in common musically, so made it a permanent venture – and have gone on to remix fellow techno luminaries The Field and Pantha Du Prince. So how does their original work together measure up, on a first full length record?

Extremely well, as it happens. Clearly the two have been well versed in the annals of Krautrock, as well as taking in the odd Brian Eno album on the side. For this is beautifully orchestrated music with a touch of weirdness about its edges – a good weirdness, you understand. This makes it difficult to fully predict what might happen next, despite the music’s overall ambience. The only complaint here is in the length of the album, over in a little less time than the listener might ideally like.

Occasionally the ambience is threatened with a sense of foreboding, as in A Virus Waits!, which disturbs the largely amiable stroll of the first two tracks with less comfortable strands of electronica. From then on it’s back to widescreen sound, however, with textures the listener can indulge in fully on headphones. Diving into the full sounds of Soft Cover People and Cyclopean Remains is a rewarding experience, with the largely consonant harmonies drifting through the consciousness like a relaxing head massage.

Walls of course are about much more than sheer relaxation, and present an almost orchestral mastery of the studio in some of their bigger and more ambitiously weighted tracks. It’s to be hoped we hear a lot more of them, both in remix and original guise, as they could well be taking ambient electronica on a journey that it seldom takes with this winning combination of studio mastery and horizontal vibes.

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