Sam Prekop: The Republic (Thrill Jockey, 2015)

February 8, 2015 at 4:24 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Sam Prekop: The Republic

Sam Prekop: The Republic

Sam Prekop’s earlier solo albums continued in the same indie-rock/post-rock vein as his main band The Sea & Cake, but his 2010 album Old Punch Card was a major shift into the world of modular synth exploration. This album continues that exploration, collecting several short pieces of buzzing and pulsating synthesizer composition, ranging from dark droning to abrasive noise to more rhythmic techno-like tracks. The first 9 tracks are a suite called “The Republic”, but they don’t flow into each other seamlessly, so they can be taken as individual pieces. The first one starts off with a lot of amp buzzing, but then develops into shimmering drone. 2 and 4 are darker interludes, but the others have brighter, more pulsating tones, with 5 stopping in the middle and becoming more serene during its second part. 9 is another dark drone which ends with some loops that sound like harp samples. “Weather Vane” takes the album in an unexpectedly dancey direction, with its bright synth patterns erupting into 4/4 beats. “The Loom” has busy, scattered fractal arpeggios, and “Invisible” is mostly calm until those arpeggios creep in. “A Geometric” is another serene, sparkling piece which sounds like it’s going to burst into dance beats again, but it shys away this time. “Music In Pairs” ends the album with 2 minute of more concentrated, buzzing synth-bass melodies. Even though this isn’t Prekop’s first album in this vein, it’s still so much of a departure from his earlier work that it can still seem like he’s trying out some new toys, possibly as a side project or other diversion. This seems so much more than that, though, as he seems pretty masterful at creating expressive pieces which go into unexpected directions.

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