Published Feb 20, 2015Irish composer Thomas McConville sure knows how to make an entrance. The Schematic-released how to be a human being is only his debut album under the non-capitalised name of alice, but it has already received support from Plaid, BBC Radio One and Warp Records. This hype is especially astounding when you hear it. Easy listening this is not.
Rather, how to be a human being is like an old Prefuse 73 album that has been re-edited even further down the glitch-hop wormhole. Beats are often inferred rather than heard in the lower frequencies, with tattered samples of saxophone, strings, children's laughter, incomprehensible vocals and more all crunched and scattered with abrasive nuance. It feels like an album caught between realms, between consciousness and dreaming or life slipping into death where the nervous system struggles to retain balance while the brain drifts into a haunting dreamscape. The language is scrambled and the sound seemingly bypasses your ears, channelled telepathically into the listener's brain. Where McConville goes from here is anybody's guess. (Schematic)