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Paul Elam returns to Home Assembly with a suite of immersive, pulsating, electronic reductions. Shifting arpeggios and minimal beats generate the forward motion, whilst the captivating violin playing of Elaine Reynolds provides the narrative thrust.
"Like a Cobra’s tightly-coiled body, Fieldhead’s constricted synths slither through narrow, maze-like melodies, darting from side to side, attacking with ease. Similar to Washington’s psychopathic American administration, the synths are ready to strike at any moment. Without forewarning. You never know when your time may be up, but the black vacancy of its angry eyes suggest that it’ll be sometime soon…real soon.
These synths are then spat out with the ferocity of blinding venom; venom on the streets, venon in the country. Inside, a sliver of a beat pumps through the chambers of its crimson heart. Synths as sharp as stinging nettles rise up, becoming the primary point of focus for Fieldhead. We’ve All Been Swimming is free from filler, which is like the black death for a record: nothing kills the vibe quicker. Every stacked arpeggio and every minimal beat gets right to the point. Why beat around the bush (no pun intended) and dampen the music’s effectiveness when you can get right down to it? Electronic music can robotically spout the same thing over and over and over again, like Theresa May. Some will say that a slower development is needed to create momentum and tension before the drop, and that’s true, but We’ve All Been Swimming fast-tracks everything, giving it a direct sense of purpose, an uninterrupted current of DC voltage, and that shoots out from the opener ‘Meet Me Somewhere Central’. This is pure electronica, 100% concentrate.
Like some kind of swim tape, sunken tones sit deep in the mix, the beats buried underwater, sounding like quiet heartbeats or barely-there muffles. Violinist Elaine Reynolds joins Paul Elam, and her violin helps to fill out the music, giving it another dimension, widening it. Electronics purr like week-old kittens, and sometimes their woozy notes have been let down by its faulty inner ear, as the drunken, off-balance vibes are barely able to walk in a straight line.
The beats don’t mince their words, either – they say what they have to say, and that’s that. They aren’t regimented as such, but they create military-like formations and the tight rhythms never step out of line. It manages to be playful and it’s still able to develop, despite the beat having to do its mandatory national service. The synths are pure-sounding, slender and meticulous things designed to wage war, demonstrating an enviable accuracy and a sniper-like precision as they go about their military campaigns…as effective as that cobra’s strike. “Ton” shows great dexterity and speed as it zooms around, and “(The Vermont Hotel Lift)” sinks into a creepy, old-school atmosphere reminiscent of Silent Hill; it has the musty odour of an old, dark library, of a long hallway and a sleepless night. It’s a dated sound that is nevertheless still here, something in the range of Pye Corner Audio or Boards of Canada, occupying the winding halls like the ghostly twins in The Shining. Come play with us. Let’s swim together." Fluid Radio