Fisk Industries: 77 And Rising (Highpoint Lowlife, 2006)
There’s just something that seems so contradictory (yet brilliant) to me about releasing instrumental electronic music on that antiquated musical medium known as “vinyl records”. What is it about the crackle of vinyl that causes music constructed on computers and transmitted through wires that makes the music sound so inspired and fresh? The ever-inventive UK-based electronic label Highpoint Lowlife has caught on to vinyl’s propensity of causing electronic music to sparkle, and are releasing a 10” EP of eerie soundscapes that are driven by heavy beats and woven together through slight melodies on 77 And Rising, the latest effort by Fisk Industries. Featuring 6 tracks that immediately grab the listener with their expert use of melody fragments and perfect electronic bleeps and synths, 77 And Rising is one of those listens that lends itself to as a soundscape to rain-gazing or night time ruminations. Yet, the record goes beyond this, providing songs that are tightly contrived and which hold the listeners in anticipating what odd little electronic noodle will surface next.
Fisk Industries gets right to work on 77 And Rising with the aptly titled “Reflection”, a thoughtful and almost introspective track of electronic drones and other faded sounds. I say that “Reflection” is ALMOST introspective due to the aggressive and involved beats that permeate through the subtle sounds, giving the song structure and movement. Likewise, the eerie and floating sounds of “Liquid Silver Moments” is fused together by beats that don’t break the dreamy mood, but rather intensifies it. “Moieties (part one)” is by comparison a subtler track, with light beats gently cascading over delicate keyboards and other electronic sounds. “Moieties (part two)” is only a little more structured than its predecessor, and may be the highlight of the record with its gentle beats and plethora of soft electronic sounds that unite to create a contemplative atmosphere. “Close” is the oddball of the bunch, almost sounding like a long-lost electronic experiment of the 1980’s (in a good way, though), with its fractured beat and sparse production. The song subtly builds elements into it ultimately culminating in providing for it a more developed feel. The cold-sounding “Polska” rounds out 77 And Rising. soft minor key drones introduce the song, and before long an intense beat is heard that further darkens the song. After 3 ½ minutes of this largely melody-less track, the beat disappears, leaving the listener with the unnerving drones that sound like a cold winter wind over a barren landscape.
77 And Rising is a perfect collection of tracks to listen to on vinyl. With the depth of the production in the songs, and not to mention the underlying atmosphere that pervades most of the tracks, the sounds used by Fisk Industries are brought to life through the further ambience that only records can bring. The novelty of playing electronic music on vinyl is not what ultimately carries 77 And Rising, though. Interestingly enough, and as a sign of the times perhaps, too, the songs are available for download purchase at a number of sites, too, giving the listener another opportunity to absorb the dense arrangements in settings removed from a record player. However 77 And Rising is listened to, though, the certainty is that Fisk Industries have created a mesmerizing collection of stocky songs that crackle with aesthetic appeal.
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