Saturday, March 3, 2012

Alpha Strategy / Projekt Stinka split – Muck (Ownness, 2011)

Alpha Strategy / Projekt Stinka split – Muck
Ownness 2011

First two tracks off this split are by Alpha Strategy who is Rory Hinchey from Canada. The first song, Append and Divide, starts things off with some groovy drum set rhythms and oscillating synths wavering and modulating. I like the use of the synths droning along to this grooviness. Reminds of the Monks kinda. Its got this 60s garage rock vibe going on. Second track, titled O Tar Pilous Devout, starts off with a drum machine this time, slower but still pretty dancy. Some retro synths that sound like spaceship computers at work modulating up and down. I love the layers of different synth sounds mixed with the groovy (yet calm) rhythm section consisting of a bass and the drum machine. It makes for quite a unique sound. It is pretty rare to hear such a nice combination of synth noise and rhythm. And the vocals top things off: Hinchey kind of sounds like a gentler Nick Cave from the Birthday Party. When I listen to two songs a few times, it’s a good sign!

The next two tracks feature Projekt Stinka, who is an accordion player named Hana Lundiaková from the Czech Republic. First track, Nosohltan, utilizes some accordion folk melodies that sound pretty influenced by traditional styles, perhaps Czech. The vocals are also in Czech (I think). They evoke this kind of passionate, nostalgic emotion that I commonly identify with Russian women vocals. In the background there is also some electric guitar striking some gentle back-up chords, but very subtly. The guitar has this strange western/slightly surf vibe yet it somehow works pretty well. The second track, Okřižky, starts off a bit on the more rhythmic side for the accordion. The vocals begin in a sort of monotone, spoken word fashion but gradually enter such a beautifully sung melody. At this point, it’s hard not to fall in love with Lundiaková and her voice! Listening to lyrics sung in a foreign language, the aesthetic sounds of the language itself I think are really important. It is also significant to note that this music is firmly rooted in a specific geographical sense of location. It’s not often I get the urge to listen to more Czech music.

An odd pairing here featuring two musicians quite stylistically different, but both manage to succeed in their own way. Who knew I could write so much about four songs? Recommended.

12” EP/Digital available here:

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