Wed 9th January 2013
Mender is one man, drummer of Alright The Captain Ashley West-Mullen.
What normally happens when you let a drummer go solo? Erm, Phil Collins, but I'm not here to cast terrible clichés like horrible barbed hooks.
What we have here is a ethereal, relaxed EP with a chilled, blissed out feel that sounds both hoods-up cool and melancholy at the same time.
Equal parts Kid A electronica, Iwasacubscout-esque emotional honesty and Boards of Canada soundscapes, it spreads out like a rather beguiling frost and keeps providing the chills.
The excellent My Steed Is A Fucking Unicorn has a Joy Division-style emptiness to its percussion that melts into a kind of stilted drum and bass pattern reminiscent of 6Music current luvvies Grimes. There's a menacing undertone to everything that appeals to the introvert in me. I kind of want to stick my headphones in and go for a long walk on an industrial estate with it.
Serene Purpose has a glitchy toybox sound to it, almost like the viewed-through-a-prism soundtrack of Chris Morris's Jam. All disembodied and digitally-smeared vocal samples set to cool trip-hop beats and accompanied by pleasant, soft tones that feel like laying back on one of those huge white bedspreads you tend to see on Andrex adverts.
She's Got Velvet Organs sounds like a Sega Dreamcast RPG from around 2000, all floaty incidental tones and clicking beats that are surrounded by digital panpipe and world music-ish instruments. All very nice but perhaps a mis-step as this one sounds a little dated.
Thankfullly closer The Amerta Movement sounds like Four Tet circa Rounds gone slightly cityscape and dark. Acoustics and swirling codas of samples wash around in a bowl that includes shimmering static, an insistent beeping and enough compression to cause a headache. It even goes a bit Aphex at the end too. Thoroughly good stuff, varied enough to keep your interest but not so manic it will turn people off. If yu've not listened to electronica in a while, give Mender a chance to remind you of how good it is.