ICARUS: All Is For The Best In The Best Of All Possible Worlds (Not Applicable)


Posted on Apr 13th 2010 12:19 am

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Icarus: All Is For The Best In The Best Of All Possible Worlds

All Is For The Best In The Best Of All Possible Worlds
Not Applicable 2010
08 Tracks. 43mins27secs

Live improvisation has been part of British duo Icarus’s work for years now, and this latest offering, recorded during the pair’s European tour in support to Sylt Remixes, released last year, continues to develop this aspect.

The work here seems in part inspired by the insect behaviours filmed by architect-turned filmmaker and visual artist Martin Hampton for the pair’s tour. This transpires predominantly in how Bown and Britton articulate busy soundscapes, stabs of hyperactive rhythms, at times recalling some of their early drum’n’bass work, albeit in much more deconstructed form, and abstract melodies into dense sonic vignettes, especially on pieces such as Husky Offset, Uke ‘Em, On The Sunny Sides Of The Ocean and closing sister track On The Sunny Side Of The Oceans (note the subtle difference in these two titles). The first two are especially hectic and complex, and it is impossible to remain focussed on their various components at once, these soundscapes therefore rapidly becoming impressions more than truly concrete manifestations. This is a trick Icarus have often relied on in the past, and here again, the listener is left confused by these relentless sonic maelstroms. Bown and Britton are craftsmen when it comes to building such condensed and intricate sound formations, and while it is difficult to isolate the various sections of a piece, they collate them with precision and arrange them in very particular ways. The progression observed on the ten-minute epic On The Sunny Sides Of The Ocean, from what sounds like an hybrid between a scream and air being let out of a balloon leading first into the mechanical clinks and clanks of a series of metallic percussions, then, as layers of found sounds and noise are progressively added and percussive sounds begin to step over each other, is truly magnificent. All the way through though, the pace varies quite drastically, ebbing and flowing in relation with the intensity of the various layers of sounds used, and the pair continuously alter the impact of the piece by almost imperceptibly toning it up or down.

On Specters, the mood is somewhat different, drawing on one side from a vast library of glitches, distortions and abrasive textures, and on the other on extremely angular avant-garde piano lines, the latter cascading over the former in seemingly random formations. Eulot, which follows, appears almost gentle in comparison, at least in its first section, a piano surfacing once again in the early part of the piece before withdrawing to clear the ground for much more abstract sine waves to weave their way through increasingly complex rhythmic structures, while elsewhere on the record, echoes of strident jazz experimentations leave a ghostly mark on the record.

All The Best In the Best Off All Possible Worlds is billed as a live record, yet there is no crowd noise to validate this, however, while previous records have had, at least in parts, a bucolic feel, this latest offering is much rawer and never smoothes over enough to feel any other way than industrial and urban. It represents another step forward in the particularly fruitful and creative body of work assembled by Ollie Bown and Sam Britton, one that shows their taste for improvisation under a renewed light.


Icarus | Icarus (MySpace) | Not Applicable

Icarus: Uke ‘Em from Martin Hampton on Vimeo.

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One Response to “ICARUS: All Is For The Best In The Best Of All Possible Worlds (Not Applicable)”

  1. THE 2010 REVIEW | themilkfactoryon 19 Dec 2010 at 8:51 pm

    […] Remember It For You Wholesale (Broken20) 34. JOANNA NEWSOM Have One On Me (Drag City) 35. ICARUS All Is For The Best In The Best Of All Possible Worlds (Not Applicable) 36. ESKMO Eskmo (Ninja Tune) 37. ROOF LIGHT Kirkwood Gaps (Highpoint Lowlife) 38. […]