Bogenschutzer: Simple City

There's something a little bit old-fashioned about Simple City, the second album from Bogenschutzer (Melbourne-based electronic composer Matt Archer), but the observation shouldn't be interpreted as a negative critique. Created from electronic and acoustic instruments, the album is a thoroughly well-crafted suite of twelve seamlessly-connected songs. Anything but abrasive, the music flows serenely and, though programmatic titles suggest a journey of sorts betwixt countryside and city, the listener can enjoy the music just as much in the absence of titles. Ambient episodes (“The Arrival”) and lullabies (the Lullatone-like “Little Fruits”) rub shoulders with propulsive (“Another Dream”) and stately settings (“Plucked,” the melancholy “Granted” with its harpsichord accents), with much of it informed by an atmospheric, dub-inflected production style that's as bright as the album's cover illustration. Brimming with glockenspiel, guitar, and keyboard melodies, Archer's material is rich and evocative in detail. Beats rumble through numerous songs too (hip-hop in “Simple City,” a jazz-hip-hop fusion in “Short Ride,” electro-funk spiked by chicken-scratch guitar in “Freeway Design”) but never so aggressively that they overwhelm the material's compositional focus.

July 2007