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Pimmon - Snaps*Crackles*Pops

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Artist: Pimmon

Album: Snaps*Crackles*Pops

Label: Tigerbeat6

Review date: Jan. 8, 2004

For a while there, around the turn of the century, it was almost impossible to turn your head for catching another glimpse of Pimmon’s graceful and exploratory music. Amongst the DSP rattlers and the cattle grazing the post-Mego paddocks, Pimmon’s music bespoke a unique thread, both wistfully naïve and caustically bruising. By 2000’s mercurial Assembler Pimmon was, perhaps, second only to Fennesz as a laptop artist singularly capable of melting the parable of click-and-cut land into music that was, all at once, aesthetically rich and dense, brave and genuinely risky, vicious and deeply romantic, oddly beautiful. As an individual thumbprint, the play and plenitude at the heart of Pimmon’s work shimmered with an opaque grace: not so much an ink-splattered thumb on a police file, more a series of ghostly patterns caught loitering in the grain of icing sugar. Sweet, touched with humanity, yet unusual and slightly out of place.

Pimmon’s interest in pop music has largely been plotted through his output on 7” singles on labels like Bad Jazz and Static Caravan, where the artist is, atypically, freed by temporal constriction. Within the five minute space etched out on each side of vinyl, Pimmon tended to play with melodic loops, scoring them with striations of digital noise, rendering the pop all out of alignment. Nice enough, but Pimmon’s output for these singles seemed slight, unfocused - small and slightly unwieldy blots.

The approach taken for much of the music on Snaps*Crackles*Pops - perhaps Pimmon’s first pop album - is similar to the artist’s earlier dabbling with pop form. Snapping melodic loops into place, Pimmon consequently malforms the repetitions, spilling sulphuric acid over the foundations, alternately sending them out on gilded wings or excoriating their structure with anti-art blurts of mangled noise. That it works where his other, shorter attempts have not quite succeeded is down to two things. One, the expanded canvas of the album format contextualises the pieces. Two, Pimmon’s recent (relative) retirement from public glare appears to have increased his sensitivity to the forms he’s playing with. Thus, tracks such as “Over the Black Dot” and “The King, The Eye and The Surfboard” are Tinguely devices of clatter and collapse - shackled to some theoretical structure, their ‘failures’ and uncertainties render the pieces exciting, risky, and thrilling to watch. The latter track melts down, as if the circuitry itself is juddering to an untimely halt.

Pimmon still works with the lambent flicker of abstracted electronica: two of the best songs on Snaps*Crackles*Pops untether themselves from the rhythmic edifices that surround, and float out on pools of dessicated tonality. “In Einem Teich des Triebstoffs” hums like a benign wasp captured in an Escher tesselation, all unearthed buzzes. And “RTW: Sound of A Finished Kiss” grabs small moments of eternity and leaves them to spin like beautiful, hand-painted plates on a pin, before a shivery, jackfrost melody traces fingertip patterns up your spine. These pieces, which cleave more toward Pimmon’s past, are cast in a different light by that which surrounds them: small lagoons of clear water amidst a cityscape of fantastical and functional structures.

Though it’s doubtless been said before, it’s a truism: the easiest road for Pimmon to travel would have been to repeat the glorious complexities of records like Assembler or Orquestra del Arruruz. Lord knows, he opened up enough space within those records to last lesser artists a lifetime. That Pimmon continually engages with different areas of exploration without losing his idiosyncratic, individual sound is compliment enough.

By Jon Dale

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