The Focus Group – The Elektrik Karousel (2013)
The Focus Group is the one-man project of British experimental musician Julian House.
Here, he is collaborating once again with Broadcast, following up their joint album, Broadcast and The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age (2009) and the outlook between the two groups seems very similar, as Broadcast released the soundtrack to Berberian Sound Studio, a somewhat experimental soundtrack utilising sound effects to great effect.
Here, the feeling is almost the same. Electrik Karousel reminds me a great deal of my early investigations into the obscure realms of music. I used to raid charity shops (and later the internet) for anything that seemed to be “interesting”. One of the main discoveries was the sound effects releases, particularly of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. These must have been impulsively popular for a time, because there used to be plenty of vinyl records in the charity shops.
And that is the mode for Elektrik Karousel; sampled music and voices is presented in a musique concrete way, reminiscent of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, library music, found sounds and the early electronic music pioneers. Occasionally, a prog influence seems to step in, but that might just be an extraction that I hear. On the whole, it is disorientating; the use of repetition to form a stable basis for the tracks is counterbalanced (or indeed offbalanced) by some of the shifts and that does evoke some kind of demonic carousel.
Overall, I very much enjoyed this album, the off-kilter nature is a good remedy to steadfastly predictable pop music. Individual tracks would not preview the album or do justice to it as a whole experience, so I won’t recommend any.
Spotify link: Focus Group – The Elektrik Karousel