Dusted Reviews

Land of the Loops / Buckminster Fuzeboard - Split CD

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Land of the Loops / Buckminster Fuzeboard

Album: Split CD

Label: Unhip

Review date: Oct. 18, 2004

Here comes a release to test everybody’s memory. While both acts on this split EP received a modest amount of attention in the late 1990s, neither Alan Sutherland (Land of the Loops) nor Dave Fuller (Buckminster Fuzeboard) has released anything within the last four years. An odd interval of time – not a layoff of sufficient length for this project to be a true “comeback” for either participant, but just long enough for electronic music to have moved on.

Sutherland’s two releases on Up Records – 1996’s Bundle of Joy and 2000’s Puttering About a Small Land - were like electronica primers for indie rock fans. Transliterating “emo” into electronica is a lazy cop-out – I’ve rarely encountered anything in the genre as disingenuous and manipulative as standard-issue emo – but saying that this work borders on emo at least conveys the unabashed tunefulness of Sutherland’s work. Less collections and manipulations of interesting sounds than beat-heavy songs (honest-to-goodness songs) that sounded pretty good on headphones, Sutherland further burnished his rock credentials with vocal appearances from Beat Happening’s Heather Lewis and Japanese singer-songwriter Takako Minekawa. His contributions to this EP lack complete lead vocals, but otherwise Sutherland doesn’t deviate too much from his previous two releases. The music seemingly consists of a blend of synthesizer presets laid over a hip-hop beat; the one prominent sample – a snippet of Bollywood vocals on the opening “Sippy Cup” – was an unfortunate choice, as the creative potential for vocals sampled and presented again without little or no modification runs out pretty much instantly. The second track, the comparably named “Tippy Cup,” fares better. Like much of Sutherland’s work, though, it’s good not in the same way as so much work done in the same genre (often dryly described as “challenging” or “interesting”) but rather because he’s found a particularly good preset and keeps looping it in. Kind of like an indie rock record.

Dave Fuller hasn’t released an album since 1998’s How to Make C60 BR24 in Under an Hour, although this EP is apparently a sneak preview of a new album, also to be released on Unhip Records. Although he, like Sutherland, seems to be striving for plain sight melodies above all else, he’s a little more prone to constructing pieces out of multiple samples – little instrumentation, although it sounds like he’s fond of backwards instruments – and so his contributions do a slightly better job of approximating laptop music’s aura of chilly intellectualism. Both “Chest Expander” and “3 Frogs” suffer from a tendency toward repetition; “3 Frogs” even seems to exhibit a binary “first this, and now that” structure of two movements that are superficially related, but not otherwise developed or tied together except for their continuous succession of one another. There are few places for a piece such as that to go. Still, given that his work seems structured for minute-to-minute comparisons rather than overall coherence, I found parts of it addictive. At the very least this serves as a good advance for the upcoming full-length.

Does this release come four years too late? No, not really. There’s certainly a niche for this kind of super-melodic electronic music, and once people remember the names on this EP, they can remember why they listened a few years back.

By Tom Zimpleman

Read More

View all articles by Tom Zimpleman

Find out more about Unhip

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.