karu:16 - Lugano Fell - Slice Repair
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DJFIX + Raves.com (US) - September 2010
Text by Kristofer Upjohn

One thing I find myself mesmerized by on this rich "slice" of experimental ambient is the subtlety of its atmosphere. On the whole, it is absorbing, minimalist textures with a subdued but full-of-space hollow musicality (though beats and notes in any kind of traditional sense are not really the forces at work here); it is inviting - but also forboding. That's makes it even more interesting. There's a certain dark ominousness to the proceedings that mingle electrically with the overall soft ambient drift of the music. From William Orbitish low-keyness (and then some) to glitchy skitters that don't overwhelm, from warbled cut and chopped samples to semi-techy noise hypnotism, "Slice Repair" is a captain of captivation, beautiful and unassumingly lush, but at the same time imbued with a slight sense of darkness and danger. It's a top flight batch of experimental brilliance that fans of abnormal ambient and aural exploration should make haste to consume. (4.5/5)

Westzeit (DE) - September 2010
Text by Klaus Hübner

Westzeit, September 2010

The Milk Factory (UK) - August 2010
Text by themilkman

Lugano Fell is the side project of James Taylor, best known as one half of Swayzak, but this is when the connection ends. While the duo have been dispensing dance floor-friendly tunes for the most part of the last decade and a half, his concern here is entirely different. Three years in the making, Slice Repair, Taylor’s debut solo following a handful of CDR releases, is a record all in clair-obscure undertones and delicate touches where electronics and processed acoustics cross paths to form evocative little sonic ambient tales which, apart for the epic closing piece, often last barely long enough to flourish fully.

In just under fifty minutes, Taylor assembles a rather varied soundtrack here, from the sombre grainy soundscapes of album opener Bleaker, Slope or Hofnah and the contrasted expanses of Caniculaire, Vallory or 47 Easy 47 to the sliced up folk of Preform Naple or Two Hundred Clocks And A Metre. Working from quite a vast palette, built from both processed and unprocessed acoustic elements and electronic components, Taylor occasionally ventures into territories beyond the realm of simple electronic music by placing drones, musique concrete or noise into his sound constructions. Of these experiments, he draws some particularly effective pieces which have a propensity to develop in unexpected fashion, going from moments of subtle understatement to chaotic explosions, arid expanses or intensely organic textures, sometimes in the space of a few minutes. This is however much more controlled than it appears, and nothing is totally left to chance. The progression from pulsating bell-like electronics to dense atmospheric textures and eventually corrosive noise on Caniculaire for instance, all within just over two minutes, is quite fascinating, especially as it happens surprisingly smoothly. There are similarly extensive developments on Preform Naple or Vallory, although, on these, this is done almost in reverse, from an incredibly busy and complex first half to a much more delicate minimal acoustic second half on the former or, on the latter, from the peaceful setting of the first few minutes to denser middle section, then back to much more minimal forms.

The piece de resistance comes at the end of the record. Spanning almost fifteen minutes, Two Hundred Clocks And A Metre sees Taylor slices up acoustic guitar work into tiny particles, which he then repositions in a seemingly melodic series of patterns, but the random character of these and the constant flow of clicks and glitches reveals that, far from being re-assembled in an order remotely close to the original, these patterns actually shape a totally new overall image. The progression is here much more subtle, as Taylor breaks up the piece into smaller sections, all interconnected and similar in appearance, with only shifts in then intensity of the piece marked clearly. Toward the end however, the mood becomes hazier as the acoustic components are progressively swallowed by a dense noisy sound form.

With Lugano Fell, James Taylor intended to escape the club aspect he had been interacting with as part of Swayzak. Whether he was aiming at such a vastly different result is quite unclear, but he has certainly managed to step away from his usual work to create a strong experimental piece of work. (4.4/5)

PlayGround (ES) - August 2010
Text by Javier Blánquez

"Slice Repair" has everything you could ask of a modern ambient album: sounds like ice breaking, birds, and tactile instruments processed through the guts of a laptop doped up with plug-ins, sounds like ceramic and glass, blurred melodies that trace dreamlike features and memories from the past about to come undone in water and salt, which can, in a way, be noted as hypnagogia. It could be material from the first Taylor Dupree, or any artist from the label Spekk, and when it gets faster, it could be an old psychedelic folk track (“Preform Naple”), not far from James Ferraro. Then, where’s the mystery? It’s in the real identity of Lugano Fell, who is none other than James Taylor, founder of the techno group Swayzak. We weren’t aware of this fondness or talent for relaxing, dark music with an eerie cloudy background. There comes a time in life when people prefer to spend the night stretched out in peace, away from overwhelming noise, hardships and inconveniences. We celebrate with fanfare Mr. Swayzak’s exit from the club and his joining together with the brotherhood of the home-bound.

La MagicBox (FR) - August 2010
Text by Denis Z.

Lugano Fell est le projet solo de James Taylor de Swayzak. Ce disque ne va pas manquer de surprendre les fans de la musique Tech House du duo Anglais. Slice repair est à la fois dans la totale continuité de la musique de Swayzak mais aussi son exact opposé : pour Lugano Fell, il n'est absolument plus question de faire danser l'auditeur, toute programmation rythmique a totalement disparu. En même temps, ce que l'on retrouve ici n'est ni plus ni moins que tout l'habillage sonore que réalise Swayzak derrière ses programmations : le second plan qui devient premier. Et libéré du poids Tech House, Taylor se lache, expérimente, peaufine jusqu'à créer des espaces sonores intrigants. Les sons parasites cotoient des samples fantomatiques, des guitares malades visitent des espaces désertés et essayent d'en trouver la sortie.

L'ensemble ressemble souvent à l'exploration angoissante d'un immeuble en ruine (peuplé de monstres ?) où chaque son dessine une atmosphère. Le malaise est d'autant plus fort que Taylor devient aussi maître du temps, se servant d'un enregistreur à bandes pour accélérer sa musique, repartir en arrière et en avant. Le travail de Lugano Fell est totalement hybride entre acoustique et électronique, collage et sophistication extrème, ambiant électronica et musique concrète. Malgré ses bases abstraites, dans cette faculté qu'a Lugano Fell de créer un véritable univers sonore, le résultat est expressif et véhicule des émotions. A vous d'imaginer les images qui vont avec. (7/10)

Dark Entries (BE) - August 2010
Text by Jan Denolet

Je ziet het wel vaker: artiesten die succes hebben binnen een bepaald genre en zich beginnen afvragen of ze ergens anders ook nog goed in zouden zijn. James Taylor van het House-combo Swayzak besloot om het eens als Lugano Fell over een andere boeg te gooien en ging aan de slag met veldopnames, geluidscollages, laptronica en andere zakenn die hij vroeger van horen zeggen kende. Het resultaat klinkt nu eens zinderend, dan weer percusief of op hol geslagen. Een soms bedrieglijke en vaak eclectisch album dat dankzij zijn verscheidenheid overeind blijft. (7/10)

Chain D.L.K. (US) - August 2010
Text by Maurizio Pustianaz

Member of the tech house duo Swayzak, James Taylor, after twelve years spent with that project, wanted to try something totally different, quieter and more detail-focused. Lugano Fell was born for this reason and SLICE REPAIR is their first official release. Divided into ten movements, the album passes from walls of sound to layers of tiny ambient samples mixed with noises and rhythms. Minimal but never sparse, the sound palette creates a cycling effect like a colored top that hits instruments that James puts on the floor. Well, that could be a nice image but the sound is a little more structured than that: you can find alternance of fast forwarded tape sounds, treated samples and also some acoustic instrument creating a surreal soundtrack which time to time could also sound psychedelic. You'll find the sum of it all in the closing fourteen minutes of "Two hundred clocks and a metre", track that sounds like an acoustic version of Glenn Branca guitar orchestrations created with slices of acoustic guitar samples, mixed with concrete noises.

Rockerilla (IT) - July 2010
Text by Roberto Mandolini

Rockerilla, July 2010

Polychromic (FR) - July 2010
Text by CT

Les 10 propositions du projet Lugano Fell sont élaborées par un des membres de Swayzak. James Taylor déploie ici une musique électronique de l'inverse. Hier en duo "dansant", aujourd'hui en solo "cinématique", Slice Repair navigue entre guitare acoustique, ambient, noise, collages, pour nous introduire dans une musique électronique nouvelle, minimale, mais physique.

Electronique.It (IT) - July 2010
Text by Liquid

James Taylor in ferie dal progetto Swayzak si dedica a questo album solista per la sempre interessante Baskaru Records. Un modo per evadere dai ritmi pressanti del duo e dar sfogo al suo lato più intimo e notturno. Dieci brani che sono altrettante texture dal sapore noise, tappeti pero’ a loro modo articolati e ricchi di micro elementi strutturali che donano forma e sostanza al lavoro. Taylor, forte della grande influenza data dalle sonorità dark degli anni ’80 al progetto Swayzak riesce a riversare, seppur in forma estremamente sintetica, un manto melodico che si mantiene stabile, cavalcando così con disinvoltura i drones di chitarra ed i campioni vocali anch’essi impegnati in forma completamente destrutturata.

Slice repair diventa interessante dopo qualche ascolto, ponendosi in una dimensione che suggerisce relax ed è capace di trasportarti attraverso una vena melodica molto struggente ed intensa. Grande attenzione nei dettagli, per un disco che vede a volte straripare gli elementi senza però mai sembrare eccessivo o forzato, Taylor da grande interprete della musica elettronica qual è riesce a dosare bene tutto, regalandoci così un piacevole momento d’ascolto.

Atmosfera / Radio Nacional de España (ES) - July 2010
Text by Atmosfera

Lugano Fell es el proyecto en solitario de James Taylor, fundador del duo de techno house inglés Swayzak. Después de 12 años abanderando el sonidos de Swayzak, Taylor ha dado un giro total a su carrera para adentrarse ahora en algo más tranquilo y detallista. Slice Repair es un álbum que recorre diferentes aspectos dibujando collages sonoros, electrónica ambient experimental o noise. Este primer disco de Lugano Fell ha sido compilado a partir de dos CdR's editados en 2008 y 2009 y masterizado por el guru del ambien experimental Lawrence English.

Vital Weekly (NL) - July 2010
Text by Frans de Waard

So far I reviewed three releases by James Taylor, better known as one half of Swayzak (a tech house duo whose music I don't know), but in his new, solo, guise Lugano Fell. I really liked his first two releases, but then the 3" (reviewed in Vital Weekly 670) didn't do much for me. I noted then that I hoped his Baskaru CD would be better. Still it some water has passed under the bridge before that one was released but here it is. The good thing is: its a great release. But that's hardly a surprise since it was compiled from his two previous CDR releases. And perhaps is the downside, well, at least for me, since I knew these already. Imagine shoegaze music and imagine glitch music. Combine those two, quite odd, ends and there you'll find Lugano Fell. He uses a whole bunch of software and instruments, all listed on the cover, and creates some great music. Lots of acoustic guitar, all heavily chopped up, with lots of plug ins flying about. Its however not a soft album, with careful doodling, but most of the time quite loud and present. Very much along the lines of his first release, rather than his second, me thinks. Like said, this is not the real big surprise, for me that is but let's hope Lugano Fell now reaches a bigger audience, and that it something he deserves.

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