(New Album Review) Helm- Olympic Mess

Helm is Luke Younger, an experimental musician from Britain whose work certainly follows in the footsteps of English pioneers of mind-manifesting electronic and electro-acoustic sounds such as David and Vikki Jackman, Gilbert and Lewis, and Andrew Chalk. The title of his new album of electronic music from PAN records, Olympic Mess, is fitting, given its baffling and admirable sonic scope. Even when held up against the light with the lo-fi outsider minimalism of Younger’s startlingly original 2011 release CryptographyOlympic Mess doesn’t look too similar to anything else around.

Olympic Mess is inner-space cartography that’s been molded by long and weird days and nights spent trying to make sense of an increasingly atomized world. The spacious and chilly tone of Olympic Mess shows the influence of dub techno, and often gives the feeling of the individual drowned in an urban landscape. Moreover, only-superficially-inexplicable details like the uncomfortably intimate spoken-word piece “Strawberry Chapstick” and the numerous field recordings incorporated into the album continually thrust us back into awareness of the silence and strangeness of our place in reality. Where the hell have we ended up and why has the disconnect between mundane life and our cultural avatars become so heightened? Younger has taken us on a trip that should not be forgotten…

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