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BUILD BUILDINGS – Ceiling Lights From Street (self-released)

Posted: September 8th, 2008, by Stuart Fowkes

The press release accompanying this album from Build Buildings, the solo project of one Ben Tweel, seems calculated to get Wire reviewers all afroth, cramming in references to sound-colour synaesthesia, musique concrète and treated samples of everything from opening envelopes to desk fan noises. But get past the foregrounding of all the compositional details surrounding the record, and there’s actually something quite beautiful at work here, which I could easily imagine popping up on Sub Rosa or Kompakt. Ceiling Lights From Street, for all its fascination with process and source material, is thankfully not a record that requires you to have a track-by-track here’s-how-they-did-it guide to sample processing to enjoy it.

To fans of Matmos or Fennesz particularly, there’s little here you won’t have heard before, and while in isolation you could say that individual tracks don’t exactly have tunes to whistle in the shower, the record works beautifully as one piece. It doesn’t quite have the melodic edge that made the Fennesz’s Venice album so captivating, but Build Buildings scores big points on the texture front. Tweel builds up buzzing drones from layers of samples brilliantly, and is from that rare group of bleep-fuelled samplers who can make electronica sound warm and human, rather than cold and distant. Couple these comforting, rich layers of sound with skittering drum fills, as on ‘Letter Codes’, and you have a gorgeous record that matches any minimal electronica that will see the light of day this year.

Build Buildings

Stuart Fowkes

Stuart is possibly one of the tallest people you have ever seen. He towers above your puny skyscrapers like Rodan on steroids, his blonde spikes puncturing the atmosphe re like crazed, gelled knives. In real life he is part of the Sunnyvale Noise Sub-element pop outfit, and writes for other websites as well as this one - the cheeky blighter. He favours the noisier end of the musical spectrum, with a fervour which would seem to indicate a dodgy heavy metal past.


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