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Man In Formaldehyde - Copper Sulphate Crystals

  by Anthony Dhanendran

published: 29 / 12 / 2003

Man In Formaldehyde - Copper Sulphate Crystals
Label: Pointy Bird
Format: CD


Flawed, "slightly too anonymous" electronica from one man solo project from the Isle of Wight

Is it a sheep? Is it a cow? No, it’s a man… in formaldehyde. This oddly named act turns out in fact to be “one anonymous man, from the Isle of Wight, synth, an acoustic guitar and a computer, producing beautiful, warm, cinematic music,” according to the press release. It certainly sounds like the music of isolation, of those long evenings trapped on the Isle of Wight, with nothing to do but throw another tune on the sequencer. The problem with ‘Copper Sulphate Crystals’ is that it is slightly too anonymous. The vast soundscapes cooked up on these tracks are difficult to negotiate, and with little in the way of aural signposts, it is easy to get lost in the music. Of course, that is, to a certain extent, the point of all ambient and associated music, but in places on ‘Copper Sulphate Crystals’, it is very easy to drift away and find that huge sections of music have passed by. The second track, named A3055, presumably after the Totland-Ryde trunk road on the island, is appropriately long and tortuous, but is at the same time perfectly pleasant. The music only occasionally challenges the listener, such as when the scuzzy drums of the glitch heavy ‘Earthmonster 1’ assault the ears after half an hour of relatively easy listening. Man in Formaldehyde boasts that despite the "loops-a-plenty, there are no samples of other artists' work here. Formaldehyde plunders only his own creations and has developed a very personal sonic palette." That is certainly true, but the palette is perhaps a little too limited in places. And clocking in at a touch over 70 minutes, it is a hard slog to get through and stay focused on throughout. ‘Copper Sulphate Crystals’ is in places both interesting and aesthetic, as on ‘Zero G 100’s and 1,000’s experiment 1’ and ‘…experiment 2’, which recall Vangelis’ 'Blade Runner 'soundtrack, and throughout it evokes feelings of isolation and, occasionally, tantalising romance. But ultimately it doesn’t do enough to engage with the listener, and is somewhat disappointing as a result.

Track Listing:-
1 Copper Sulphate Crystal 1
2 A3055
3 The Sacred Heart of Jesus
4 Birds Spin in Magnetic Milk
5 Earthmonster 1
6 Earthmonster 2
7 Zero G 100's and 1,000's experiment 1
8 Harry's Song
9 Mother's Day
10 Zero G 100's and 1,000's experiment 2
11 Copper Sulphate Crystal 2

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