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thomas leer - parts of a greater hole (2.0)

 

first album from the 80's electro-pop pioneer in a long long long time. his last release was the high art, conceptual, theatrical, experimental pop duo he formed alongside claudia bruken known as 'act', one of the final stages of the glory years of ztt records. following the rejection that the 'act' project suffered, thomas promptly disappeared into the musical ether. that is, until now.

the album was originally available through thomas's website for the hardcore, but has now been picked up by new label on the block karvavena records, adding a few extras and a little remastering along the way (hence the v2.0 in the album title). given the current demands for all things electro you'd be totally justified to expect the album to be song based electro pop style. well i should warn you - this album is a far off relation to anything like that. instead thomas has rediscovered his passion for machine made music by being exposed to the sonic excess by electronica guru's such as future sound of london and the whole solid steel (ninjatunes excellent internet radio show which pushes the boundaries of music in all directions) set up. subsequently, this album is an hour long sound collage in the cut-n-paste style, with most tracks being forged by piecing together disparate sounds, film dialogue, heavy hip hop beats (the superbly titled 'flip hop' and its later reappearance as 'flip not', are a direct descendant of coldcuts hip hop cutups), serene ambience, electronic distortion,  processed instrumentation, often to startling effect.

admittedly, not all of the loops work, as sometime the basis of a track can be a little too tiresome to stretch out for a full 5 minutes, for example the flute and acoustic guitar rff of 'gils song' just doesn't sound right, or the vangelis styled 'bullet train daydream', or 'interlude' all of which drift on a little too far,  luckily though, these few downers are far outweighed by the good, and a lot of this album is very good. the sheer intensity of the sonic overload, spread of styles, the aural chaos on offer keeps the listener involved, because there is a lot to digest and absorb, meaning the album requires several listens to get into. after all, it's not often a track starts off as a klf chillout type of ambience before descending into a guitar trash stomp and then cutting into a mad drum-n-bass section before returning to the calm - all within 2 minutes, the wonderful 'exploramental surgery' !

throughout the album, tracks are splattered generously with found voices from various sources (film and tv), with several themes being revisited giving a conceptual feel to the flow (cell structure, virtual reality, the loss of the hippy ideal, and general paranoia of the modern world), as well adding a level of depth and interest, something which is often missing from this type of thrilling electronica adventure.

lets just hope it's not another 14 years before thomas dives into his machine driven funk, as 'parts of a greater hole' is a seriously impressive album, providing an excellent synopsis of the current state of affairs within modern sampledelica based music, making me suspect that if this record had been picked up by the rather fine warp label, tagged under an unknown pseudonym, i am sure it would be heralded as a new beginning in the art of noise.

 

thomas leer - biography

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