Review: Oppressed By The Line – Kiku

Fresh from last year’s well-received ‘Soft Focus’ album, Oppressed By The Line (or Jon Thompson to give him his real name) has wasted little time in releasing the follow-up as well as managing his own Drifting Falling label. For his latest venture, Thompson used an excursion to Japan as the inspiration for the songs. ‘Kiku’ is the result and it’s a nocturnal delight expressed via the medium of shoegaze and electronica.

After the optimistic but mysterious ‘Mountain Mist’, the self-explanatory ‘Sunset From The 16th Floor’ twinkles and dazzles via its dreamy tune. Meanwhile, ‘Paper Cranes’ is the clearest indicator yet of Thompson’s love for Morr Music; there’s a definite link between this track and the Teutonic melodicism offered by the artists on that label. To draw on another comparison, the wistful, melancholic ‘One Thousand Red Stars’ reminded me of The Occasional Keepers. Finally, ‘Shinkansen’ sources found sounds from the titular bullet train. Its melody is closer to ‘Neon Lights’ than ‘Autobahn’ but it’s a model of metronomic efficiency nonetheless.

Also included on the CD are two fine remixes, with Winterlight adding further layers of gorgeousness to ‘Sunset From The 16th Floor’. All in all, it’s another good album from Thompson and one which keeps up the interest with its variations in pace, samples and atmosphere.

Web Sites:
Oppressed By The Line Official Site
Drifting Falling Label and Shop Site

Further Listening:
Styrofoam, Weevil, Ulrich Schnauss, The Wake, The Occasional Keepers, Kraftwerk


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