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INTERNATIONAL PEOPLES GANG
Action Painting

EM:T0006
Em:t Records 2006
13 Tracks. 56mins52secs

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vWhat can one truly expect of a record that starts with someone singing ‘Felling groovy, oh yeah’? In the case of International Peoples Gang’s Action Painting, this is not so much a statement of intent as a simple evocation, an idea amongst others.

Formed around the nucleus of Martyn Watson and Ric Peet, International Peoples Gang, which takes its name from lyrics of David Bowie’s Panic In Detroit, from Aladdin Sane, first appeared nearly fifteen years ago with tracks published on various compilations and a first self titled album released in 1995 on the first instance of Em:t. Although the pair have continued to work together, notably producing the 2001 album Draw from the late singer songwriter Matthew Jay. Since, the pair have been working on a variety of projects, yet Action Painting is only there second full-length album.

Apparently based on Jackson Pollock’s approach to art, Watson and Peet use the concept of sound as primary material for their compositions, assemble them in meaningful pieces and reaching for a somewhat eclectic yet accessible frame. It would be wrong to dismiss the deceptively simple pop-infused melodies as anything more than predictable lounge electronica. If the surface music can appear to lack challenge, on closer listen, each one of the thirteen tracks presented here reveal multitude of fine layers which seem to constantly interact with each other, altering the tone of a piece through minute touches. Whether it is via a delicate guitar melody, sweeping string works or quirky vocal samples, IPG constantly surprise and intrigue without ever appearing to do so.

The album opens with the gentle and summery This One and sets the tone for the rest of the record. Stretch may seems like a simple extension of a same concept, yet IPG discreetly introduce new elements and already set out to alter their original template, a move which is further reinforced on the shimmering and dubby AC Harmonics. Here, IPG use the cinematic aspect of their work to impressive effect. Later, they engage the vocal talent of Anne Pepiri on Fireworks and Katty Heath on the closing Stop to accentuate the slight melancholic twist of these compositions, while Myopic or Polite State feed on factual statements applied on factual found sounds. This constant shift of tone, from laidback evocative pieces to playful collages, give this album its radiant feel and actually deflects the focus of the listener from the actual effort required to achieve such light-hearted result.

4.3/5

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TRACKLIST

This One
Stretch
AC Harmonics
Myopic
Waiting Room
That Time Already?
Fireworks
Polite State
Shimmer
Mornin
Interval #7
Granny Takes A Trip
Stop

INTERNATIONAL PEOPLES GANG Discography

THE SURFER'S GUIDE TO INTERNATIONAL PEOPLES GANG
Em:t Records

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