Sontag Shogun – Absent Warrior, Abandoned Battlefield (Palaver Music)

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Over five modest tracks Sontag Shogun, trio of Ian (piano), Jess (electronics) and Jeremy (electronics, tapes), offer a scrappy selection of electroacoustic collages and semi-ambient mood pieces. From Jess and Jeremy we get howling wind, traffic din and circuit buzz (‘Hungarian Wheat’), Darth Vader gasps and proggy arcade blare (‘Chorgan’) and the jostle of cutlery and bike spokes (‘Paper Cranes’). Ian accompanies with a pleasant and restricted palette of chords and pithy arpeggios that glide over the electronics like a tipsy ice skater, avoiding the clichéd treacle of too many Sakamoto-inspired ivory tinklers. Everything seems loosely improvised, with their greatest moment their loosest, the slurred crawl of ‘Musk Oxes’ (great name too). The gently whining electronics allows Ian to tiptoe clumsily on the upper treble, all players revelling in an awkward weightlessness.

Joshua Meggitt

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