Artist: Uniform Motion
Label: Aahhh Records
Time: 8 tracks / 33 mins
I've never reviewed an act before that was half-musician, half graphic designer, let alone one that is also half-English and half-French. So I'll half-inch some text from the band's web site by way of explanation:
"The graphical half of the band, Renaud Forestié, does not play a musical instrument. He's a graphic designer. His comic books have been published by the likes of CFSL, Warum and Chocolat Jeunesse and his website www.reuno.net is a popular destination in the illustration world."
The musical half, Andrew Richards sings, plays guitar with half the strings missing (well, two actually) and presumably harmonises with his own falsetto.
Late in 2008, they released an 'episode' on their web site every few weeks that included a song, a video and a comic strip - hence the involvement of a graphic artist. Forestié became a part of the 'band' when he started to sketch real-time illustrations on laptop to accompany the songs on stage, while Richards was building up soundscapes with vocals, guitar, Loop Station and voicebox.
When finally released in physical form, the package included a CD, video and 54-page comic book.
Life is the follow-up and my copy has music, but none of the canvas prints that come with bought copies, so I can only cover half the product. (The website is well worth a visit though, with some highly appealing images, entertaining video and streamable songs).
The music lies in the Iron
and Wine / early Jars of Clay / Sufjan Stevens / quiet Fleet Foxes category:
chilled, ambient, acoustic songs with harmonies and darker abstract lyrics.
Musically, "Saving up for Sundays" is well ahead of the rest and worth
downloading. It's the only track that is likely to find its way into your
memory. A few others are strong, but just as many are light clouds that
pass their shadows over the fields and then dissolve over the horizon.
It's the frailty of the organic harmonies that can let down the project.
They are ambitious and unpredictable, adding real mood and depth, but sometimes
struggle with evenness and pitch.