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Updated: Nov 15, 2023

A double delight from The Resonance Association and Daniel Vincent’s project with electronic musician Howard Gardner and vocalist Max Rael. “Chemistry” is “an eclectic blend of electronic vignettes that peer through the lens of medication, neurochemistry, cosmetics, identity and trauma, the chemical effect on consensus-reality, and the role of nature vs nurture regarding mental health and society.” Intriguingly complex concepts: I wouldn’t expect anything less. Influences cited include COIL, CLUSTER, NINE INCH NAILS, NURSE WITH WOUND and THROBBING GRISTLE. Analog, digital and virtual synthesisers, sampled acoustic and classical instruments are used – sound interesting, then read on!

It is hard to think of a more imaginative and creative pair than Daniel and Howard. But they are much more than that: the messages contained within these pieces are potent and explicit, Max performing the role of narrator in a matter-of- fact kind of way.

Medication and cosmetics go under the microscope on the title track, ‘Goodbye to the Cloud People’ and ‘All is Vanity’. It might be a little short on melody at times, but a haunting piano motif provides the backdrop for ‘Theme from a Problematic Era’:  “mistrust of governments, of each other and ourselves; mistrust of doctors, of teachers, all experts, of patriarchal power structures, feminism, all systems of belief or thought, of leaders, followers, independent thinkers, intelligence, emotion, of what it is to be human”; philosophising in music is an all too rare think as ‘pop’ artists bury their heads in the sand, put a gloss on everything, captivated by their own insular relationships and self-obsession – these are my words; you see they have got me thinking. Dystopian Britain is framed within a sci-fi context on the chilling ‘Bread to the Ducks’ (“scarcity economics, capitalism and the factory farming of animals”) and ‘Eel Tank’ (“the existential horror of being trapped in unfulfilling meaningless work”). The longest piece ‘Time to Go (Another Mirror)’ is mostly instrumental and close to groups like Neu or perhaps Tangerine Dream in its incessant ‘motorik’ beat and synthesised ear worms. Another piece with a great ‘hook’ occurs earlier on ‘Black River Falls’ and concerns the fight of an individual to reclaim his humanity: it continues the narrative from the “A Comforting Uncertainty”, their award-winning video on You Tube (recommended viewing).

My next step is to discover what I have missed on Decommissioned Forests’ two previous albums “Forestry” (2019) and “Industry” (2022): I suggest that you join me.

Meanwhile, there is a latest album from THE RESONANCE ASSOCIATION which one Bandcamp enthusiast described as their best ever. This one has guitars and bass, heard to great effect on the 7-minute opener ‘Force Majeure’ and will have more appeal to rockers perhaps than “Chemistry”; it shows a different side to Daniel's music in conjunction with Dominic Hemy, but no less inventive as the driving beat of the instrumental opening track reveals. The motoric beats and synthesisers are back in force on ‘Invocation’; ‘The State of Things’ is a very atmospheric and thoughtful ambient piece, a pause for reflection perhaps with heavy guitar echo. ‘Some Kind’ contains some ‘chat’ in the background, chiming guitar cutting in near the end; this one reminded me very much of SLOWDIVE; ‘Trip Hazard’ is back to the synths and beats with a nice ‘choral’ section. Fast forward to longest track ‘Space Time Politics’, an urgent, intoxicating maelstrom with a coruscating guitar break before a more pastoral second part. “Choose Euphoria” shows a very different side to the men from Croydon’s music, but is equally tantalising.

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