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O.lamm Snow Party Review

Album. Released 2002.  

BBC Review

...should charm the pants off even the most jaded of experimental techno fans.

Olli Siebelt 2002

Having first caught our attention with the wonderfully spacey Sturnin 7" and his captivating "Harmony Twitchell" track on last years Variable Access compilation, Olivier Lamm has been one of our favourite French musicians of late, and we've been anxiously awaiting his debut full length with bated breath.

Finally released this month, Snow Party follows up his trademark sound, living in a strange netherworld between full on glitched out digital noise and more accessible forms of ambient electronic music. Yet, unlike his previous efforts, Lamm seems to have pulled out all the stops on this one, increasing his musical density ten fold but never forgetting about the actual song.

Olivier Lamm calls this his first 'pop album' and although I think you'll find this is a lot more Autechre than it is Aerosmith, he's not quite wrong. Like a hyperactive child, he darts back and forth between snippets of the recognisable and the dissonant with incredible ease. From looped car alarms and telephone rings to snippets of The Beach Boys and The Flaming Lips, Lamm does know a good melody when he hears one.

Just check out what's going on in "Guitar Innovator": the track kicks off with multiple layers of timestretched noise and glitched samples, when out of nowhere a beautiful ambient piano bed suddenly kicks in. Just when that is about build to a climax, the piano disappears, only to be replaced by a filtered techno pop song which then kicks back into a classical mode before glitching out into complete abstraction again.

Yet even the more dissonant parts of his music work brilliantly; just listen to the modified acoustic guitar sample on "Mason & Dixon" which has been chopped to bits, but still manages to retain a lovely little melody.

We've been championing this label for a while now and one of the things we like so much about these French mavericks is their ability to keep their audience guessing, no matter how seemingly recognisable the release. While they do put out some of the most experimental glitchy type music that would make people like Autechre and Oval proud, the label has a good ear for releases that work on many different levels, not just the rarified worlds of microsound and glitch.

Snow Party is a captivating and simply joyous work of experimental electronic music which should charm the pants off even the most jaded of experimental techno fans. Why just listen to laptops crunch when you can hear them sing ?

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