Album: JACK MARCHMENT – Who’s Afraid of Iannis Xenakis? (Herb Recordings HERB014)

Jack Marchment - Who's afraid of Iannis XenakisCroydon based Jack Marchment has a number of releases to his credit on the soon to be defunct Benbecula Records. Who’s Afraid of Iannis Xenakis? is his first for Herb. If the title suggests this might be an album of difficult, over-theoretical experiments, then the truth is far from that. This is a collection of electronic music that is rich in melody and texture, even if it often veers well away from the obvious.

Twelve tracks, all clocking it at around four minutes. Marchment keeps things concise, giving pieces room to develop, but not allowing them to settle in any one place for too long. The music is steeped in electronic music history, but not in a rosy-glowed nostalgic way. The melodies are, for the most part, constructed using analogue equipment rather than mouse-click computer programs. This gives an organic warmth to the pieces. Sometimes, such as on “Marinetti”, the music sounds off-pitch and slightly wonky – something that would be a cinch to correct on a laptop if it was perfection you were after.

There are some tracks that are redolent of more contemporary artists. Boards of Canada for one, although that’s more to do with the analogue sound than anything on a musical level. “Recorded” has shades of Aphex Twin’s ambient works, and elsewhere there are echoes of Autechre and even a slight hint of acid on “Maximillian”. More useful reference points, though, would be the work of acts like Cluster, Tangerine Dream, Neu! and early Kraftwerk. There’s even a tune about a cyclist (“Anquetil”)! How very Kraftwerkian. And also an ode to the EMS VCS3 synthesiser, otherwise known as the Putney, a machine that’s still manufactured forty years after its introduction.

This is a collection respectful of, but not in thrall to history. The beats, although never dominant, are far more intricate and complex than anything you could have achieved in the past, and indicate that Marchment is not the electronic equivalent of a Luddite like Billy Childish. With Whose Afraid of Iannis Xenakis? he’s created a collection that’s full of character, and stuffed full of melodies that never sink to banality. It’s a timeless album that will sound as good in 2029 as it does in 2009. It’s out on September 28th.

1 Schult-Abbey 3:39
2 Putney 3:33
3 Albers 3:46
4 Recorded 4:48
5 Marinetti 3:53
6 Countach Sound 4:17
7 Tour Track 4:03
8 Maximillian 3:18
9 Delia Dub 4:46
10 Brabham and Company 4:18
11 Anquetil 3:32
12 Horror Stories and Space Travel 3:17



2 responses to “Album: JACK MARCHMENT – Who’s Afraid of Iannis Xenakis? (Herb Recordings HERB014)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s