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SenjiNiban / The Moth Poets - Live At The River Lounge review

SenjiNiban / The Moth Poets - Live At The River Lounge (Bearsuit Records, 2016)

For starters, the title of this split release is a pun [hint: note the dead crab on the cover]. There aren’t any live tracks here, so you don’t have to wonder if the lack of an audience response begs the question as to whether they were too stunned (or stoned) to work up a “Huzzah!” or two! Niban (KoichiroShigeno to his mum and dad) delivers an aggressive-yet-playful set of electronic beats that sound like there’s a video game playing inside your head. Catchy synths and repetitive riffs will draw listeners to the dancefloor to groove to tracks like ‘Klanpki’, while ‘Atomic Blues’ sounds like Frampton coming alive again through his vocoder. A few loungey cha-chas chase bubbles around the room in the Eastern-flavoured ‘Flowers 2’ and audio experimenters will ponder the ‘Sunnyside Remix’ as it seeks extra-terrestrial life in the nooks and crannies of laptop rock.
     The Moth Poets are the Edinburgh duo of Yo-yo Nielson and Ariel Patterson, the former being half of the Whizz Kid that impressed us a few years back with There’s Conjuring To Be Done. The tracks on tap here are more experimental and ambient than Niban’s, almost feeling like they should each come with their own film to watch while you listen. Titles like ‘The Dazzle Ships’, ‘Ham’s Descent’, and ‘Sniper Alley’ reinforce the cinematic vibe. Fans of DeWolfe and associated library music releases will love it, as will collectors of experimental electronica, wordless vocals (‘Vanda;’), and The Conet Project (‘Right Road, Wrong Path’).

- Jeff Penczak
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