UK’s The Focus Group mine British psychedelia, Italian horror movies and eastern European animation for inspiration, creating an exotic collage of sound that lingers in the past – reminiscences of memories that were never truly were. Despite three albums between 2004 and 2007, they came to wider prominence via 2009’s collaboration with Broadcast, Broadcast and the Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults of The Radio Age (Warp), though have since continued to release some really fascinating collage music where exotic instrumentation, processed samples and fragments of electronics collide often within the same song.
It’s the work of Julian House, co founder and graphic designer of Ghost Box. Stop-Motion Happening With The Focus Groop continues his obsession with woozy fragments of eccentric aged audio memorabilia that could have come from anywhere in the last five decades. Most of his pieces are very short barely over a minute in length, which further adds to the belief that these are sound cues from an obscure slightly demented library record, with eccentric atmospheric musical pieces to be used for all manner of nefarious film, television or radiophonic purposes.
Despite the brevity of the majority of the pieces, House manages to pack in some pretty wacky, at times disparate ingredients. His ability craft these uneasy often quite experimental collages, yet very much evoke a distinct atmospheric world is fascinating. His pieces are almost like trailers for a retro futurist audio feature, somehow distinctively British, yet at the same time exotic acid tinged and slightly mad.
It’s mischievous music for sure. It’s restless, barely staying one spot for a second, a series of themes building an atmosphere before abruptly pulling up stumps and moving on to the next one. It’s peculiar and slightly demented, a cartoonish swirl of exotic grooves, stop start melodies and even odd spoken word.