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Corker/Conboy | In Light Of That Learnt Later (Vertical Form)
If you can get past the crummy nametag, the unwieldy album title and the horrifying sub-shoegaze sleeve art, then you're in for a real treat here. That's if the sounds of Chicago's no-longer-so-underground post-everything crowd butter your crumpet of course. Essentially the work of London-based multi-instrumentalist duo Adrian Corker and Paul Conboy (plus sundry guest percussionists and brass players), 'In Light Of That Learnt Later' is the product of well-observed imitation. Instead of just pilfering with turgid technocratic cynicism, the twosome concentrate on finding the grooves and melodies that the Thrill Jockey brethren sometimes avoid deliberately, fashioning faithful but inspired new constructions in the process. Thus The Luxury Gap and Seedhead are buoyed by the kind of brilliant Brazilian drum beats that might make John McEntire want to swap some of his many tattoos for. The desolate electro-acoustics of Kite make you wonder how Pullman might sound after a bleary-eyed studio session with the Durutti Column and Piano Magic - pretty damn lovely is the answer. Once Or Twice on the other hand, is less Chicago-centric but no less captivating, preferring to nuzzle down with the minimalist electronica of Reading's Isan or London's Ellis Island Sound. But the crowning glory of this collection is the awesome From The Hip. Built from a joyous battery of live and programmed drums, shimmering synths, acoustic guitars and multi-tracked trumpets - this could happily be mistaken for a stunning four-way collaboration between the Chicago Underground Duo, Tortoise, Brokeback and Brian Eno. Misters Corker and Conboy may not be blessed with much originality but their tireless tenacity for re-manipulation and re-invention becomes them time and time again. Pillage away gentlemen.
CWAS #12 - Summer 2003