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Amstrong — Sprinkler
(Clearspot EFA CD 05413 P, 1999, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2001-03-01

Sprinkler Cover art

Amstrong hail from Copenhagen, and are often compared to massive Attack and Portishead, but I don’t hear much of that. Their sound is a strange mixture of very artificial and organic, with samples of guitar distortion forming the basis for several songs, and rhythm provided by looped drums, often heavily distorted. Techno-ish synthesizers make occasional appearances, but given the un-techno setting, they become just another part of the arranged noise. I suppose describing the music as “arranged noise” would give the impression that the sound is harsh or abrasive, but Amstrong is actually rather pleasant to listen to much of the time (though I admit Burt Bacharach fans would probably disagree). A singer named Marie Louise provides some melody and structure otherwise lacking, with a voice similar to Lou Rhodes of Lamb, though not quite as jazzy or affected. Moods range from lazy to fairly intense, and never sink into any semblance of disco – four-on-the-floor dance grooves are conspicuously absent. I even hear a hint of psychedelia, courtesy of a bit of wah-wah and some echoed vocals, but maybe I’m taking that too far. This band is truly unique and it’s very difficult to put into words any idea what the net effect of the sound is.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 21, 1999 releases

Related artist(s): Amstrong

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