Modified Mechanics of This Device

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What's the world to do when Kevin Shields won't give his fans new songs? "Turn to Randall Nieman's Füxa," might be a good answer to the question. Though Nieman might not have the dreamy vocals of Blinda Butcher or inspired engineer Alan Moulder at his disposal, his releases as Füxa are atmospherically on par with My Bloody Valentine's great classics. Sonic textures rule the day, but Nieman consistently incorporates themes from a myriad of musical genres. "Girl" is an epic opening statement, sounding like a cross between Suicide (it's a Suicide cover no less) and Spacemen 3. Sonic Boom's vocals obviously solidify the Spacemen 3 connection, and it really does come across like a 2002 version of Spacemen 3. That's a very good thing indeed. "Bowie Beat" is stunningly gorgeous, its surfaces shimmering with gliding keyboards and electrostatic pulses; it could easily qualify as the very definition of a tone poem. "Willow Run" is simultaneously playful and mournful, suggesting a Nick Drake score for a Peanuts special, as a jazz shuffle is spliced by weeping guitars. Though some listeners might not entirely appreciate extended passages of the album where Nieman explores industrial and natural samples and effects, anyone with a foundation in ambient music à la Brian Eno or the Orb will feel completely at home. Sounds that suggest spaceships taking off and docking, factories stamping out steel beams, electronic heartbeats, racing synth flutes, and haunted moaning nestle snugly alongside gentle beats or tasteful keyboards. The Modified Mechanics of This Device is a solid starting point for anyone interested in space rock, ambient music, or Füxa's consistently inspired albums.

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