Electronic sludge sounds like an oxymoron to me. In my mind, ‘sludge’ implies at least some kind of distortion filled amplifier which is most likely the conduit for a guitar or bass. The term ‘psychedelic’ however has definitely been broadened to encompass the electronic world by such great artists as Aphex Twin, Ourobonic Plague and the underground movement of illegal psych-festivals and ‘bush doofs’. I am intrigued by the genre of ‘psychedelic sludge’ that Fancy Face define themselves by; what is it? how does it make me feel? does it work as a genre title for an electronic/computer driven project?
The four songs comprising this EP flip by pretty quickly and quite enjoyably so, too. It is readily apparent that I am listening to a sample-based project most likely recorded on a home recording setup and purely instrumental in construct. The flow of each song is driven for the most part by the insertion and removal of various samples with the occasional longer guitar phrase invoking a more ‘live’ sense to the arrangement. The number of people involved in the project is unknown, it could be one, five…no idea.
Regardless of these contributing factors, at the end of every recording a piece of music just becomes an audio wave. The content of that wave and the feelings it triggers on contact with the human ear are still the primary qualitative result for any artist. The Fancy Face EP involves audio sounds, frequencies and arrangement which is actually very tasteful and beautifully engineered. The title, Music for Driving, is completely apt as these songs support a mental state or train of thought without eradicating the listener’s internal flow. This is actually the sign of a well-executed instrumental project as it allows the listener to remain with a rumination without being dragged out into the psyche of the person performing or the ‘message’ they are trying to convey.
The major advantage a product like this has is its audio cleanliness and ambience control. The sounds are all relatively high fidelity and this makes for a very absorbing listening experience. However it does juxtapose the sound of the recording directly against every form of ‘sludge’ I have ever encountered. The trippy feel as the listener wanders down the Fancy Face highway could certainly be defined as ‘psychedelic’ though. So I’m giving the project a 50% accuracy rating on its genre-fication.
This EP is available for free download from the project’s bandcamp site and is certainly a worthy addition to any instrumental playlist you have on your music device. As for more information about the constituents of Fancy Face, whether they will ever be revealed, tour or emerge from the location of these recordings…well, maybe this review will trigger something of the sort!
Written by Scott Andrews