In an effort to produce an entirely acoustic recording, James Ginzburg and Paul Purgas, aka electronic duo Emptyset, have produced a mini-album that doesn't do their skills justice. The two Londoners may well stand "at the vanguard of electronic music," as their promotional material announces, but what they've given us here is little more than four attempts to present the same one good idea.
The first couple of tracks, "Skin I" and "Skin II" are fairly compelling, but by the time "Eye I" opens in an all-too-similar vein, playing the same loosely stringed instrument, the novelty has begun to wear. The final track (you guessed it, "Eye II") is quite good — not as intense as the first two, but interesting just the same. The strings produce an intriguing distorted sound that's applied liberally. There's also a nice droning vocal layered underneath, which adds depth.
And yet, it still feels like more of the same.
Emptyset's electronic work is strong, and strikingly dark. Skin may be a bit of an overreach, but at least they tried something different. Here's hoping the next experiment is more successful. (Thrill Jockey)