The Mark of Excellence


They Shook Hands for Hours

By Eric HillThis debut by Leeds, UK native Paul Elam rolls sixes on all fronts. Attacking the moody glitch-edit field, protecting the periphery of microhouse dance floors, cashing in cards for chamber pop upgrades ― all these risks are rewarded. What's more, rather than a collection of loose ideas, They Shook Hands for Hours manages to combine seemingly contrary energies into a compelling fabric. A microcosm of the album is presented in opener "The Train is a Rainbow," with a Fennesz-inspired hydration of digital noise that coheres midpoint into lurching minimal beats that are still a little damp. His affinity for the Echospace brand of flutter is steered away from empty space by Elam's underpinning of beats ("Document One") or moody keyboards ("They Shook Hands for Hours"). Melodies jitter like gate-caught film loops as generations of dust create halos around the projection. Perhaps not hauntology at its root, but haunted nonetheless.
(Home Assembly)
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