EP Review: Rotary Fifth – ‘Automata’.

Gentle intonations of other worldly sounds. Soft propulsions over ripples in a watercolour sun. A slow and darkened magic seems to seep and kiss-caress every semi-lucid movement as we wade and start to swim… We almost drink in what we hear.

‘Sun Salutations’ sings exactly like it’s title. Drifting words and lingered tones, soft touched hats and lazy cymbals, there’s a hint of 60s folklore hidden deep in woozy strings and an afterglow of romance in the warmly dripping vibes. It’s a wash of easy movements, a trail of breadcrumb melodies, and like thin streams of smoke that rise and clear from incense sticks and cigarettes, it’s gone and disappeared and just the feel and taste remain.

I’ve been looking forward to writing this since I first heard it last December, I don’t know how many times I’ve gotten lost in all the write-up repeat listens.

As harmonies jerk and somehow sooth, we open into ‘Take Your Aim’. And as this seven minute centrepiece of honey coloured danger opens up and falls apart, we cast back to early Goldfrapp, to Virgin Suicides from Air. We tap the awkward electronics of Stereolab and Broadcast, and even touch at hints of Beck at his most abstract and distracted.

Within the mix of heady, earthy sounds that glide on rolling toms, a sharpened buzz of whispering synthlines bring unease to the foreground. There’s a battle listing slowly, between a nature-sized great beauty and a pocket of resistance; as we gather and un-gather, grow complex then loosen up, this song sounds like it’s been spun out from the centre of disorder. Picture networks of streetlights and roadways and noise, they’re just specks of grim and busy amongst the peace and space around them. We’re at the inside looking out, never rushed and never still, just unsettled and uneasy that we can’t quite reach for either. As we lull and twist and jitter through its ever-graceful speed, we sharpen and get tighter, get fraught and almost snap… before resting back on warmer sounds that remind us to be mindful.

And all this flutters by in moments, seven minutes feels like seconds. Ethereal vocals and watery chimes, organ based tones and flutters of feedback, it’s a patient expanse of a movement.

I don’t discount the ‘Whether the Weather’, and it’s more haunting meditation on the themes of lack of worth. But the sharpest show of change comes in the fourth and final track.

‘DFFD23’.  Title meaning and intent unknown (it’s the RGB colour value of red and that’s the only answer Google gave me). We skitter through a rash of drums in a more urgent state than ever, synth sounds clash with backing vocals in this almost instrumental. Clicks and clacks and Telstar sounds, they play a 60s psychedelia, like a vamped, wacked and fuzzed up Josefin Orhn + the Liberation.  We’re playful, almost jazz-bent. And those references to Broadcast come out striking, bright and vibrant. It’s the release of all that patience, all those pent up softly softlies. In this brief one minute something we get to cast off all the waiting and give ourselves entirely to the frantics and distractions. 

I’ve been looking forward to writing this since I first heard it last December. Now it’s here and now it’s ready and I am glad to introduce them.

And P.S. The track order changed since this was sent over to me but the EP still stands just as is…

‘Automata’ is out now on all digital platforms, with highlights as always on Rats On Run Radio.