randomNumber: Modern Ambivalence
Moamoo/Art Union

Just as he did in his 2006 Highpoint Lowlife release Golden Acre Sleeps, randomNumber (aka Matt Robson) again carries the torch for emotive electronica on Modern Ambivalence, his debut outing on the Japanese imprint Moamoo. Robson's been honing his craft and style for a good many years now (he even once drummed in the band Hood) and the new material finds him striking a satisfying balance between intricate drum patterning, rich melody-making, and dense sound design. Robson's ultra-detailed, even old-school approach to sound design gets its perhaps best workout during the title track's seven minute mix of squelched beat-wrangling, synth snarl, and cascading piano ripples. Suggesting at times a loping jaunt down a carnival's midway, “Sion Everywhere” lets agitated beats scurry while simulated cellos see-saw and do battle with K.L. Moore's vocalizing. Her voice also surfaces to good effect in “Silver Shadow Follows You” where it's chopped and strewn across the track's spicy stutter-funk. In “Double Slow Thinking” and “Patternewton Haiku Society,” b eats skitter, rumble, and pop like Autechrean spawn. Whether by accident or design, a Japanese feel occasionally surfaces, such as during the understatedly stately “Line Copse Long” and sparkling “Silver Shadow Follows You.” Robson's poised attack shows his randomNumber style to be anything but timid.

February 2008