The first full-length Wauvenfold CD collects three previously released EPs. Firmly entrenched in the "melodic IDM" camp as staked out by artists like Boards of Canada, Aphex Twin, and µ-Ziq, Wauvenfold (Noel Murphy and Tom Hill of London) offer inventive programming and solid tunes. The duo show a preference for distorted, crunchy beats that contrast with the drifting keyboard melodies floating on top, and most of the 14 tracks here offer variations on this template. Wauvenfold even showcase a welcome sense of musical wit, getting playful with the absurdly exaggerated bottom end on the drum'n'bass meets hip-hop homage "Stab." Despite the occasional silly tangent, melodies are Wauvenfold's stock-in-trade, and 3fold has some good ones. "Podunk" is a wispy, playful number tapped out on a dinky keyboard, and even the abrasive nature of the accompanying percussion can't cancel out the piece's delicacy. Even more whimsical is "Pixel Stitched," whose melody seems plucked on some sort of digital music box. "Slighltyoutofocus" is moodier, with a woozy, heavily phased analog keyboard groaning against nimble, skittering percussion. 3fold contains consistently engaging stuff, but Wauvenfold fail to deliver something you haven't heard before. Boards of Canada comparisons are inevitable, though Wauvenfold aren't at that level in terms of melody or atmosphere (few IDM artists are). Still, despite its occasionally derivative nature, 3fold remains a promising debut.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Richardson