Pocket Universe Primal

Despite the album cover art, which reeks of gothic melodrama, the music contained within is something completely unexpected. The press release explains that Pocket Universe seek to create "scene music” — essentially background music designed to be used to enhance the mood of sensual encounters. That said, the ten tracks included on Primal (the Edmonton-based duo’s follow-up to Into the Abyss) are surprising funky, playful, jazzy and darkly uplifting. There’s no moaning or lamenting to be found here. The arrangements are simple and airy, though a couple tracks suffer noticeably from uneven mixes, in that the drums or a particular instrument dominate to the point of annoyance and all else is virtually lost behind a continuous monotonous sound. Pocket Universe seem to excel when they are experimenting, as such the songs that toy with Eastern influences or include some whispered spoken word or moments where vocals are fashioned almost as another instrument stand out the most. The instrumentation does feel a bit dated at times, hearkening back to the ’80s, whether this was done intentionally or simply as a result of using synthesisers and drum machines is unknown. "Scene Music” certainly has a niche, as this disc is currently being sold in fetish shops throughout North America, as well as at more mainstream retailers — whether it actually increases one’s erotic pleasures is debatable. (Fyrewind)