THE FOCUS GROUP
Disorientating whispers of the modern otherworld.
Generally, a focus group will end up giving you something bland and beige, a lowest common denominator which nobody particularly loathes but nobody especially loves. Not this Focus Group. StopMotion Happening is an unnerving, fairly bonkers stream of treated electronica and samples which absolutely refuses to do anything conventional. It’s as if wayward ghosts of Italian horror movie soundtracks, the spirit of psychedelia and a spaceship full of pissed-off computers were having an argument, a bunch of bleeps, glitches and whistles to sceptics, but deeply engaging experimentation to those onside. It’s the fifth album from the sometime Broadcast collaborator, graphic artist Julian House, known perhaps primarily for his sleeve designs for everyone from Can and Stereolab to Oasis and Primal Scream. Quoting Marshall McLuhan regarding the sensory over-stimulation of our current world, it hits you with a series of brief, unsettling yet somehow rational sounds and noises. One moment you’re trapped on the set of Play School, the next you’re wrestling with Hal as Stanley Kubrick looks on, stroking his beard. At seven minutes, Medium In The Mirror is by far the longest, most cohesive freaky visitation. Coldly challenging.