Hong Kong in the 60s - Collision/Detection v4 (Front & Follow)
And speaking of Front & Follow...
Another one of their collaborative projects is ongoing, under the Long Division with Remainders (LDWR) moniker. It's called Collision/Detection and consists of invited artists throwing audio clips into a central pot. This resource is then shared around the group for each one to manipulate in their own way. Already this year, we've had EPs in the series from Psychological Strategy Board, West Norwood Cassette Library and The Lord. These three would qualify comfortably under sound art or sound design, occupying experimental, challenging and often intriguing terrain. However, the fourth in the series, from London/Cambridge band Hong Kong in the 60s, is a slightly different kettle of (pop) fish.
Although most of the EP features an undercurrent of electronic static, there are also a couple of beautiful pop songs, vindicating the band's aim "to adapt the more abstract samples to melodic songform, whilst retaining their essential atmosphere". 'Into the forest of eyes' is a semi-spooky little instrumental, muted minor key pads counterpointing with sparkling organs.
The EP highlight, 'Banbury Grove', sets a flute mellotron alongside harmonica (a match made in heaven), before singer Mei Yau introduces a sweet, almost lullaby-like, vocal over a restless drum machine.
It all drifts along very pleasantly - in a manner vaguely reminiscient of the High Llamas, who the band have supported in the past - but it's worth repeated listens to get full value and a fresh perspective on the sound stew. You can get a fine sense of the series as a whole on the soundcloud link below. (Incidentally, a track from the upcoming 5th release in the series, by BLK TAG, is also included there - it's an ominous, brooding, industrial soundtrack to something unthinkable.)