Friday, 21 February 2014

Preview| Strong Suit - Simulation

Nanoloop can be a hard medium to write in. The very nature of its ‘looping’ can lead to lazier producers relying on it. Not to say that many do, there are plenty of examples of Nanoloop users that go above and beyond with the medium (shitbird, GLOOMS, Analog). But here, on his sophomore release ‘Simulation’ written over 6 channels on an iNano, Strong Suit falls into the trap a program based on loops can create: tedious, repetitious, simplicity.

Most of the melodies are atrocious, lacklustre placeholders that act as vehicles for beats or interesting sound design. Whenever Strong Suit finds a good melody, it’s used like a crutch, quickly stamping out all enjoyment with repetition. ‘DFW’ begins with great beats but quickly knocks the life out of itself with dull, pointless replication. ‘Pseudomoprh’ starts well, sounding like old Henry Homesweet mixes via The Prodigy, but then ruins itself with the same faults. ‘Indy’ opens by repeating terribly written, bland phrases. Some of the sound design is great, but the same dreary melody played on different instruments doesn’t class as good song writing. ‘Rhode Trip’ would have been a fantastic lounge jazz interlude if it didn’t stretch itself to the point of breaking with more repetition. Etcetera, etcetera. What this leads to is an album where its 40 minutes could easily be condensed to 10 without losing the breadth of ideas on show.

There are a few positives. The album spikes in quality near the end with the title track and ‘Wesley Pantz’ containing some great moments, from the rolling groove of the former to the trap n horn club-readiness of the latter, if only that watery ‘melodic’ staccato instrument didn’t shit on proceedings. Elsewhere ‘Rigor Mortis’ is quite good too, a modern EDM banger, though it does sound like stock-music written for promos advertising an upcoming ‘urban teen drama’.

Overall, though, this album is appalling and superfluous. Some tracks are so bad they aren’t worth detailing (‘Hootenanny’, ‘Boondoggle’). Simply, 12 tracks is far too long for something so derivative. Lifeless, bland, unoriginal and with only fleeting moments of good sound design or percussion going for it; my first Nanoloop or pure laziness? Decide for yourself I guess. 

Favourite track: Rigor Mortis
Stream or download the album here.

Thanks to Stephan Tul for proofing!