The first full-length from Goodiepal (Kristian Vester) is a combination of new material and previously released but hard to find singles. Despite the wide range of moods, textures, and sounds (Vester combines various keyboard manipulations with an array of wind and string instruments) recorded at different times and places over a period of several years, the result is a tight album that feels unified and whole. The feel throughout is relatively chaotic and unpredictable, but Vester prefers to limit his explorations to the length of the standard pop song, meaning Narc Beacon never grows tedious. Several tracks seem to reflect Vester's love of video gaming. "Stomp Naffer" and "Carl Bergstrom-Nielsen Cut," for example, would both make a fine accompaniment to the intensely colored two-dimensional world of Super Mario Brothers. These slight but enjoyable tunes are overshadowed by Vester's more ambitious experiments. With an almost unbearably sad atmosphere, the two tracks entitled "Flap Nipper" find Vester layering various wind instruments to sound like a lonely foghorn from another world, and then cutting and rearranging the tones to disorienting effect. "My Robotic Skills Have Failed" is a stunning piece of a cappella vocoder, complete with shifting harmonies and a canon-like structure. And "Icon Dub" is a shimmering piece of electronic ballroom music, with swirling textures and a simple flute melody. Narc Beacon is an unusual collection of left-field tracks that takes many listens to fully appreciate.
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