Quartersized - Questions - Singles - Reviews - Soundblab

Quartersized - Questions

by Rich Morris Rating:7 Release Date:2011-01-24

The sixth EP from electro-industrial artist Quartersized, aka Ian Proudfoot, is mostly dense as Victorian fog, a primordial soup incubating tense dub, eviscerating white noise, malevolent breaks and old-skool sampledelica. The new sounds here come from the introduction of live guitars and bass and even a spot of Theremin, apparently provided by the beguilingly named Lithuanian Lady Boys.

First track 'Questions' mixes Massive Attack style paranoid dub with creeping electronica chills. It's effectively well produced but it's probably the EP's least interesting track, stalking after its own tail without much variation. It also highlights the fact that Proudfoot's choice of samples don't always work in his music's favour. Across this EP, the snatches of dialogue sometimes feel forced in, as if to give the music a little extra narrative, something it doesn't really need as it's often compelling enough in its own right.

Second track 'Scare Anyone' is a case in point; a juddering soundscape full of pinging, springing beats and curdled choral voices, it's like some dream marriage between Aphex Twin abrasiveness and Brian Eno beauty. However, the sampled American voice declaring that, "We don't want to scare your children" just serves to somehow cheapen the intensity of the music, to puncture it's credibility a little. On 'Desire', on the other hand , the sampled vocals work to great effect. The track has a great mid-90s Bristolian feel - it could be the backdrop to a classic Tricky rant - while the cut-up interjections of some cheesy house diva bring a note of perverse surreality to proceedings, making the music a weirdly sensual delight. 'I Had to Laugh', which rounds off the EP, is more upbeat and cheeky than the rest, full of disembodied laughter and squelchy, playful bass.

On the evidence of Questions, Proudfoot should cut back on the samples and let his music speak for itself. It's doing a very good job of that already.

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