Ochre

A Midsummer Nice Dream

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Beginning his career as one of a thousand amateur producers uploading their electronic music en-mass to the internet, Chris Leary began to move ahead of the pack when he won an online remix contest for Rephlex artists Global Goon. From there, a mix of singles, compilation appearances and an EP for Repeat Music raised his status to the point where a debut album was imminent. A Midsummer Nice Dream is that album, and it delivers on all of the promise of Leary's previous work. Amply influenced by Autechre, Boards of Canada and the rest of the IDM ringmasters, Midsummer paints in detailed strokes lacing chiming melodies through an intricate system of squelching percussion that spins like the precision pieces of a Swiss watch. "REM Sleep Research" has nothing to do with the band on initial listening, although the baroque synthesizer swirls could be the digital translation of the group's more cinematic-'90s hits. "Involution" opens with a speaking analog line not too far removed from the seminal talking Moog from Close Encounters of the Third Kind while "Sticklebrick Symphony" removes the otherwise persistent tiny drums rhythms, at least for the song's first-half, and replaces them with the chiming melodies of an electronic harpsichord. Even better, the latter-half of the song begins to lurch in the only unexpected rhythmic change-up this album has to offer. At a precise hour in length, A Midsummer Nice Dream becomes a bit too predictable. But for the many fans of mid-'90s experimentation who have been alienated by the over-use of DSP tomfoolery in current IDM, this might be just the relief they are looking for.

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