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Review: FM Fiction's 2014 Recordings
Posted December 30, 2014 by Taylor Peters
WRITTEN BY
Taylor Peters
ON
December 30, 2014

 

 

 

Stumbling robot drums kick off “Blood Dust,” one song of three new ones from FM Fiction, a solo project of Greg Llewellyn from Lowell, Indiana. There’s enviable weight behind the chords that soon enough come in; deep reverb buffets it all. The piece--in fact all three pieces--are textural. There’s melody and harmony, but more than anything, there is timbre and physicality. The synth buzz on the short looping chord progression feels physical, like clippers running up that sensitive spot on the base of your neck. And something about the way those robot drums lope makes each new chord a little surprise, instead of the rhythmic near-inevitability that it is. Push, pull, and so on.  

 

All three tracks recombine sounds that shouldn’t fit together, but “Stones of Time” is the most brazen about it. The chiming midi-guitar melody very nearly chafes against the trance harmony beds, but instead they nuzzle up, the song’s busyness working in its favor. Every part is constantly moving, and so even moments that might otherwise have clashed flit by like sugar rush, setting off in an Oneohtrix Point Never-like direction by repurposing sounds that could’ve--should’ve--been cheesy and unworkable and instead coming back with something that really shakes.

 

“Sunrise Sunset” climbs highest, melodically triumphant, thrumming headlong into disintegration. The other two tracks are simple, made up mostly of one or two parts that repeat, repeat, repeat and then end, but “Sunrise Sunset” goes on down the verse-chorus-verse country road a piece. The bass pulses roundly in a late-night 80s, neon color glinting off the windshield way that seems primed to send a breeze out the speakers and through your high-volume bouffant.  

 

Nothing here sounds earth-shatteringly strange. Nothing here takes jabs at the fundamentals of form. It’s all pretty, relatively, comparatively, simple, and yet none of it will quite slot. No genre tag sticks, and yet it all feels very collected. While the sounds here show off the kitchen-sink capacity of MIDI-programmed audio, the music itself doesn’t come across internally conflicted. It feels, instead, as if it’s all in tight orbit around the massive gravity of an almost-but-not-quite-visible organizing principle.

 

Llewellyn’s description of the recordings says he hasn’t made music for most of this year through the process of getting over some health issues. Based on the back catalog on MFT, and what he references on his Facebook page (especially in light of the fact that he dates his recordings under this banner all the way back to 1991), it’s easy to imagine taking a break like that was frustrating against all the prolificacy.  


Failing that, we can say at least, that the gears seem to have been spinning--these tracks are a year’s worth of collected musical esprit de l’escalier, ingenious configurations packed into deceptively simple, humble corners. That is, if nothing else, what comes off these three little songs: the perpetual volley of filled-to-bursting with spare simplicity. It makes for exciting listening.

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