Album: Faultline

Your Love Means Everything, Blanco y Negro
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The Independent Culture

The sub-genre known as "intelligent techno" is a dangerous place for musicians to stray. The name alone virtually guarantees a bad time, hinting as it does of synthesiser boffins for whom the basic business of beats and grooves and fun is just too restrictive, and who have accordingly set their sights on more challenging territory.

The sub-genre known as "intelligent techno" is a dangerous place for musicians to stray. The name alone virtually guarantees a bad time, hinting as it does of synthesiser boffins for whom the basic business of beats and grooves and fun is just too restrictive, and who have accordingly set their sights on more challenging territory. The result is so often the electronic equivalent of prog-rock, with slumming classically trained musicians seeking to impress rather than express. Faultline's David Kosten was once a clarinettist with the National Youth Orchestra, and though he avoids intelligent techno's gravest excesses, there's a lingering air of worthiness about Your Love Means Everything that kills much of it. The cinematic strings, vibes and shifting loops of a track such as "Theme For Half Speed" are skilfully manipulated to spooky effect, but there's a coldness that leaves one unmoved. Small wonder, then, that most of the album's emotional impact derives from the guest vocalists – Michael Stipe, Coldplay's Chris Martin, Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne, and Jacob Golden. In Kosten's favour, he's not too hidebound by formal training – the deep synth buzz and cavernous drumbeat of "Sweet Iris", for instance, meet midway between music and machinery – but compared to Super-collider's tremulous techno-soul, Faultline's pompous soundscapes seem strangely impersonal.

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