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Pop Ambient

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Click on the cover to access the Expanding Records website  

MODERN INSTITUTE
Excellent Swimmer

ECD23
Expanding Records 2006
13 Tracks. 46mins37secs

Click on the cover to access the Expanding Records website  

MILLER + FIAM
Modern Romance

ECD24
Expanding Records 2006
13 Tracks. 39mins55secs

Buy Excellent Swimmer on line now
Buy Modern Romance on line now

Expanding Records has grown to become the home of beautiful and delicate electronic music in the vein of its mastermind, Benge’s Ben Edwards.

Formed of composer and sound designer Teho Teardo and cellist Martina Bertoni, Modern Institute present, with their debut album, a series of sumptuous and delicate compositions built around the inspired combination of Teardo’s guitars, Rhodes and electronics and Bertoni’s cello. Both Teardo and Bertoni have been involved in film music, and it transpires all the way through Excellent Swimmer. As the album develops, the pair apply wonderful atmospheric textures and constantly refine them into more sumptuous and rich nuances, creating intricate yet extremely accessible and evocative soundscapes and wrapping them around deceptively simple melodic themes. Although the cello brings elements of melancholy to the mix, the general mood of the record is surprisingly uplifting.

As the pace of the album remains resolutely measured and meditative, Modern Institute focus on the complex sound assemblages of each composition and channel just enough pressure for each track to reveal a different relief to the pair’s music while retaining the consistency of the album as a whole. As the pair craft their pastoral compositions and assemble them together into a truly consistent soundtrack, the various aspects of their music become sediment to the whole piece, each layer bringing a new dimension to the piece.

For their debut collaboration, Australian musicians Dave Miller, who released his debut solo album, Mitchells Raccolta on German imprint Background last year, and Harry Hohnen, AKA Fiam, have crafted a rather subtle and diverse collection of electronic tracks. Although their respective solo recordings have seen them take different paths, the pair meet here on common grounds to create a series of intimate compositions, with a wide array of electronic textures and acoustic elements forming the core of their work. Deeply atmospheric and filled with fine melodies and fresh grooves incrusted within intricate constructions, Modern Romance refine their template all the way through, constantly injecting new components and refreshing others by tweaking the musical context of their creations. Far from generating a disparate series of compositions, this approach actually acts as the core-unifying constituent of the thirteen tracks forming the body of this release.

From the delicate first incursion into Tempest In A Teacup, the pair begin to define the atmospheric tone of Modern Romance through a discreet piano line. As they introduce more sonic elements on the following tracks, from gentle brushes and cinematic crackles on Tired Neighbourhood Bird to acoustic guitars on Edge Of Midnight and a mournful treated cello on Slowing To A Stop, Miller and Hohnen etch all sorts of delicate settings and bring them to life with wonderfully simple melodies. Amidst their impressive collection of sound sources, the recurring presence of a piano, in turn smooth, muffled or crystalline, guides the listener from one end of this record to the other.

Fitting perfectly with the particular music ethic of Expanding Records, both Excellent Swimmer and Modern Romance, with their finely detailed soundscapes and beautiful melodies, prove totally compelling and manage to complement each other while remaining very distinctive at the same time. Like two sides of a same coin, these two albums are likely to leave anyone wanting for more.

Excellent Swimmer 4.7/5 / Modern Romance 4.5/5

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Buy Modern Romance on line now

TRACKLIST

Excellent Swimmer
ECM Haircuts
Stairs
Reginetta Della Techno
Munibabe
Not A Word Manni
International Rustic
Flaka
No-Fi Team
Ambientone
Post.Ino
Sign Everyone In Iceland
Two Hours Without Ego
Me Neither

Modern Romance
Tempest In A Teacup
Tired Neighbourhod Bird
Armchair
Edge Of Midnight
Band On The Street
Thousand Francs
Complex Kisses
Wise Coward
Too Often
I Need A Riverboat
Martino's
Slowing To A Stop
Dead Sea

MODERN INSTITUTE Discography
MILLER + FIAM Discography

THE SURFER'S GUIDE TO MODERN INSTITUTE
Theo Teardo

THE SURFER'S GUIDE TO MILLER + FIAM
Expanding Records

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