By: Rich Buley
Wired to Follow | website | facebook | twitter | bandcamp |
Released on April 2, 2015 via Newpath Records
Wired to Follow is the electronic soundscape project of MinionTV’s Stephen Johnston and Barry Fearns, who since 2012 have put the atmospheric Post Rock to one side and focused on recording and releasing a string of experimental EP’s, which have their foundation in minimal Techno, but push the boundaries way beyond the limitations of the dancefloor, out of the club, and up into the night sky. Based on the evidence of their earlier material and this, their debut album, Wired to Follow should soon be seeing a multitude of science fiction soundtrack offers from the world of film and television.
Read, Write, Execute begins in rather discordant fashion with ‘Constructor’, a whirring, industrial synth line being bumped along by a marching kick drum. A tinkling melody and further percussion arrives quickly however, followed by wave upon wave of swirling, other-worldly expressions.
‘Ready for Passengers’ has a pulsing, looping bassline which sounds exactly like a heavily amplified heartbeat, and yet it is expertly and starkly contrasted with ethereal female vocals and a beautiful piano. It makes me think of scenes from recent Alex Garland movie ‘Ex-Machina’, and this track would certainly not be out of place on the Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury soundtrack for the film.
After a minute long wash of ambient minimalism, the first of 2 absolutely stunning pieces of modern Electronica arrives, in the shape of ‘Dealing Lightning with Both Hands’. It builds very slowly, using the same style of ambient drones to set the mood, as Johnston and Fearns gradually introduce a multitude of enveloping, glittering sounds to progress the track. A single, simple piano motif arrives at the 2 minute mark, as the whole thing breaks down and rebuilds, this time fuller and with more purpose, as the beats arrive and morph it into a quite beautiful piece of thought provoking, artful, mid-paced Techno, an updated version of what might be found on classic German labels like Harthouse and Tresor in the mid ‘90s.
‘I Can Almost Hum This Drug’ continues the more up tempo mood, with this time an upfront 4/4 bass drum from the start, and glorious washes of ambient chords and sequenced keys that the likes of Hans Zimmer and Ulrich Schnauss would undoubtedly be proud of. It’s immensely uplifting, and over too soon.
The guitars are taken out of the cupboard for ‘352252800’, a lilting, short-lived acoustic lament, before ‘We May Have Hours, We May Have Days’ sees Wired to Follow in full-on, atmospheric mode, and seemingly attempting to aurally demonstrate what outer space might sound like to the human ears. This track has a lot in common with The Virgance’s album from earlier in the year, liked and reviewed on these here pages.
‘Destructor’ ends the album, and is another minute long excursion into 2 wildly contrasting sounds, with elegant, mournful keys interrupted by industrial rattles and clatter.
One might complain about the running time, with the 8 soundscapes on show here clocking in at a mere 26 minutes or so, but that would be to fundamentally misunderstand what Wired to Follow are about, which is technology, textures and moods, represented in sound. Read, Write, Execute is a most enjoyable, forward-thinking release, and I look forward to hearing more pieces from them in the near future.