Pimmon: Snaps*Crackles*Pops

Snaps*Crackles*Pops is supposedly Pimmon's 'pop' album. Electronic purists needn't fear, however, as Australian Paul Gough has hardly sold out. His music retains the experimental beauty so well-documented on Assembler, only now infused with pop elements like song structures and beats. Snaps*Crackles*Pops judiciously features these conventionally structured pieces and others in his signature style. The latter pieces impress most of all, as their textural details are more fully exposed and their development more fluid when unconstrained by regulated formats. The opener “No Jazz For Jokers” immediately makes clear that the recording's a radical departure. Suggesting a gathering of Joujouka musicians, African drums march alongside a processional parade of Moroccan woodwinds that bray ceremonial calls while electronics burble underneath. A more conventional breakbeat animates “Over the Black Dot” but, as the drums loop repetitively, waves of shimmer and crackle can be heard below the surface, straining to destabilize the track's foundation. Its rhythmic thrust is obviously the attention-getter, but, comparatively, it's a less adventurous track when compared to those not constricted by 'pop' structures. Pimmon solves the problem on “Frosty Pink” and “The King, the Eye and the Surfboard” by gradually burying the base rhythms, on the former by chattering swarms that evolve into strangulated squawls, on the latter with rolling cycles of scrambled static that eventually overwhelm the underlying pulse. The truly masterful tracks are those which eschew beats, allowing the pieces to float unmoored, such as “Vogel Circuits,” a novel construction of glistening glissandi and flicker, and “RTW: Sound of a Finished Kiss,” whose thrumming waves gradually mutate into a melancholy Fennesz-like blur. In “The Sacred Dance of Mimi Lush,” backward phasing loops hypnotically until it segues into a dizzying concoction of psychedelic swirls. The most impressive construction is the gorgeously textured “In Einem Teich des Treibstoffs.” Over the course of nine mesmerizing minutes, Gough deftly modulates transitions so that the buzzing whirrs and piercing pitches gradually cede to an eerie coda of bleating flicker and ghostly tones. Aside from its glorious textural detail, what most distinguishes the immensely satisfying Snaps*Crackles*Pops is how Pimmon sensitively nurtures the music's development, with pieces evolving almost imperceptibly in meandering, drifting manner.

April 2004