AGF/DELAY: Symptoms (BPtich Control)


Posted on May 15th 2009 01:04 am

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AGF/Delay: Symptoms

BPicth Control 2009
12 Tracks. 56mins14secs

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Four years on from their previous outing as an creative couple, Antye ‘AGF’ Greie and her life companion Sasu ‘Vadislav Delay’ Ripatti rekindled their collaborative project and serve another slice of angular space-age pop, where clean cut electronics and dub-infused moods form a warm and vibrant cocoon for AGF’s ice-cool breathy vocals and miniature tales of every day life.

The pair’s first collaborations were documented on Explode, an album released on AGF’s own imprint, and was rapidly followed with a second collaboration, this time between the pair and composer Craig Armstrong, as The Dolls. Since, both have been busy on various solo projects and productions jobs. Symptoms returns to the original AGF/Delay template and give it a new definition. The album kicks off with Get Lost, which originally sounds very close to the mood of Ripatti’s superb Luomo album of last year, but as soon as Greie’s voice pierce through the silky flow of electronics, the mood becomes more enigmatic, and as the melody settles and its hooks become anchored in the brain, hypnotic. This is repeated even more successfully on the next track, Connection, and, later on, on Most Beautiful or the closing In Cycles.

Throughout, Delay provides startlingly dense soundscapes and sharp beats, which, while occasionally close to the disco-tech of his most recent Luomo incarnation, show more restraint and remain, for the most part, set to relatively low tempo. This gives AGF’s voice all the space she requires to outline her pop vignettes, even when her voice is subjected to effects and distortions. When the pace picks up, it rarely does so in any straightforward fashion. Ripatti may occasionally rely on pounding grooves in his own work, but here, beside Downtown Snow and Outbreak, which both bend under the heavy patter of electro funk, Greie is left fighting against abstract rhythms (Generic, Symptoms), or odd time signatures (Congo Hearts, Smileaway). This gives the album a slightly oppressive mood and makes it quite a demanding record.

It takes a while to appreciate the depth and span of Symptoms, repeat listens often reveal new angles and twists. It now seems as if the first AGF/Delay album was just a scrapbook of ideas which, once fully develop, would take on a much more accomplished form. ‘Pop music, so sick, gives us the creeps’ throws AGF on Downtown Snow. If only pop music was giving us the creeps like it does here…


Icon: arrow AGF/Delay | BPitch Control
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