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Mal — Memory Overflow
((Not on label) no#, 1996, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 1997-05-01

Memory Overflow Cover art

Memory Overflow is a demo from Malcolm Humes, who plays guitars, synth, loops, etc. The disc contains some very rough mixes from the catalog of his recordings throughout an 11-year period from 1985 to 1995. Mal is a composer who is concerned primarily with rhythms (he's a drummer first as I recall). He strictly adheres to the Eno / Cluster minimalist school where less is better and more often required in certain cases. Marimba / mallet playing is the key percussion and counterpoint melodic focal point in most of the songs. The track "Royal Escort Service" is built around an Asian motif with horns. Mal uses small changes in timbre modifications with glassy textures that invokes a 60s pop jazz mood (acid jazz followers take note!). "The Spongy Crawl" is a creepy jazz piece which recalls many of Eno's instrumental pieces or even some Bitches Brew Miles Davis. "Tempestous" is a simple synth ditty where the use of congas creates a drone in a trance-like swirl. "Not Waiting for Any Man" reminds me of Eno's approach using "snake guitars" during his Taking Tiger Mountain phase — a simplistic approach that works well in contrast to the other pieces. "Dr. Science vs. Syncopology" has a great title as well as a dire urgency exhibited from the orchestral backwash and some well placed Frippish guitar splats. The last four cuts are the strongest sequence for the most successful of tracks: merely a symbolic end for a negative fade to black. Memory Overflow could be an easy work to ignore, but the fun lies in the tone created and the nearly obnoxious approach used in execution of the idea.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 12, 1996 releases

Related artist(s): Malcolm Humes

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