|Urban Mantras||ADOR409: 1998|
|When I Sleep...||1:05|
dream dreeeeeam (gg)
If the lean rhythmic programming, freshly derived from suburbanized hiphop and (post)industrialized electro, somewhat resembles that of Amber-era Autechre, the obscure sonic substance wafting through this album is so alien to our reality - frayed material reconstituted from pulped voices and mundane noise - that it could only have been torn from the fabric infrastructure of the bleariest dreams. As befits a record titled "Urban Mantras," Richard Gallon sequences his uncluttered rhythms and sounds in a cyclical fashion, cultivating these turbid, hallucinatory and surprisingly full textures from minimalist means. All "found" sounds have been subjected to considerable dilation and perfusion, distorting them to mimic the ill-defined phantasms of hypnagogic semi-consciousness. Rhythm acts as your sole anchor in this waking-dreamstate, beginning with a pleasurable surrender to the irresistible tidal pull of sleepiness on "Drift." Urban Mantras plays like the episodic streaming of one dream into another, cavorting through atmospheres of innermost peace and trespassing upon those shadier psychogeographies inhabited by our Freudian demons, hulking fears and lingering regrets. At its splintering climax, wherein the fantastic illusions of a profound dreaming are riven by the harsh intrusion of waking awareness, Gallon leaves us with a realistic feeling of disquiet. We are awakened, yes, but the call is too sudden and the unreconciled experiences of the past hour, now just indistinct memories fading faster by the moment, continue to haunt long after the passage from sleep to waking has been consummated.
- Spring 1998 (Robert H King)
On a recent trip to London I was fortunate enough to meet visual artist, website coordinator and sound designer Richard Gallon. He was in the middle of preparing some of his new work for a show at a London exhibition space and upon leading me into his Kings Cross apartment I was confronted with large sheets of photographic paper attached to practically every surface in the front room, all in varying stages of development. Gallon is obsessed with expanding and exploiting the minutiae of his surroundings both audio and visual and his latest visual project centres around creating a negative (in the photographic sense) of chosen sites or objects and rebuilding these within another location. A strangely captivating construct that leaves you feeling uneasy and disorientated. "Urban Mantras" has that same effect on the listener as Gallon's soundwork is an attempt to capture the state of mind between sleep and waking, subtle ambient tones and textures punched through with sharp stabs of electronic breakbeats. We've all woken up at some point and had to lie still for a few moments to reorientate ourselves within our surroundings and Richard manages perfectly to capture this feeling here, just as you're relaxed with the soothing calm, half buried tape loops and analog bullroarer swirls of 'Shimmer' a disembodied voice utters an incoherent phrase in your ear leading you into the menacing sub terra drum loops of 'Call Sign' with itís undertow of a lone childs chant. "Urban Mantras" is a very fluid virtual narrative reminiscent of Aphex Twin's more tenebrous atmospherics which is mirrored well in the 12 page photographic documentation that accompanies the CD. Blurred imagery, ghost like doorways and hazy horizons lead you through a night in the mind of Gallon, low frequency pulse loops, strains of electronic insect drones and claustrophobic rhythms steadily speeding up as on 'Fragile' which somehow captures that waking moment when you know you've had an uneasy night and hastily try to recall your minds wanderings before they're gone forever. A soundtrack for your own sleep experiments.
Wire - April 98 (Tim Owen)
Funkturm's Richard Gallon spikes the familiar lope and clatter of industrialism with running electronic interference. He knows how to introduce disquieting elements into his music - not to recall the listenerís wandering attention, but to focus it all the more sharply. This knowledge seems practically arcane, familiar to few alchemists at the headphonic Techno/Electronica interface. He also allows his tracks time to expand at an organic pace, yet he doesn't prolong their lives past their natural span. The prevailing mood is of spartan claustrophobia, for punters with an awareness of the dark side of the psyche.
Magazine 14-28 Feb 98
The ubiquitous electronica/breakbeat combination appears again on this minimal yet inspiring release. The cd comes with a 12 page booklet of 'a visual interpretation of each track' ... man. (sic)
Circus - July/Aug 98(Axel Claeys)
Flemish Deze twee, al lang aangekondige, releases op het avontuurlijke D.O.R.-label zijn een buitenbeentje in de allesoverheersende dictatuur van de danscultuur. . . . De musiek van Funkturm is minimaler van aard. Vaak vertrekt Richard Gallon vanuit een bizarre loop en bouwt hij rustig een repetitief ritme op. Eens de ritmes annwezig zijn voegt Gallon ongemerkt en op repetitieve wijze geluiden toe. Die evolutie gebeurt vrij traag maar door de goed uitgebalanceerde totaal- sound blijft de verveling beperkt. 'The CD is an evocation of the state between waking and sleep' staat er in de bio te lezen, en daarmee lijkt alles gezegd.
Oct-Dec 98 (Jan Willem Broek) Flemish
Het D.O.R. -label brengt vaak electronische muziek uit, die ver boven de middelmaat uitstijgt. . . . Ook Richard Gallon doet het goed op 'Urban Mantras' van zijn project Funkturm. Hij serveert intelligentetechno met subtiele breakbeats, merkwaardige geluiden, knappe ritmes en vervormde stemmen. De nummers, waarvan een desorienterende werking uitgaat, zijn geschikt voor de dansvloer in je dromen waar je zwevend danst. Spooky en Autechre meets The X-files of zoiets. Narcotiserend hoogstandje!