Synaesthesia - the mixing of the senses. Tasting textures, seeing sound. Normally the...
...preserve of a select few or the result of a date with LSD or psychedelic mushrooms, but now available to everyone courtesy of the International Peoples Gang and their new album, Action Painting.
Taking Jackson Pollock's approach to art into their own medium, Nottingham's Martyn Watson and Ric Peet use concepts of sound as their material, throwing them at blank spaces and watching abstract images and audio-visual beauty take shape. The result combines warm, organic dub soudscapes with classical stylings, elements of folk with fuzzed guitars, manipulation of language with electronic experimentation.This anything goes approach fits with the original concept behind the group. The International Peoples Gang (inspired by a lyric from David Bowie's Panic In Detroit) which one is born into; a kind of collective consciousness. Action Painting takes that further - now there isn't a sound, an instrument, a style of music that isn't welcome.
It's clear the decade since their startling debut on the original em:t imprint has been put to good useUnder the IPG banner, they have been releasing tracks on compilations while leaving their mark on a number of other artists work. Martyn signed the late great singer, songwriter Matthew Jay and together with Ric produced his critically acclaimed 2001 album Draw, while IPG were also responsible for a number of outstanding remixes, such as Beth Orton (for a track on The Other Side Of Daybreak compilation).
Martyn has never stopped writing, while Ric has been touring the world in his role as engineer and producer, most recently taking UK upstarts Amusement Parks On Fire to the States and around the European festival circuit. Most recently, IPG played the Bestival, providing the soundtrack for a field converted into a huge moving art installation alongside XFM's Nick Luscombe. What would become Action Painting began to take shape three years ago. And, as one would expect from something nurtured over that time, the album, like the magnolia flower, slowly reveals its beauty, taking time to unveil its hidden depths. Often warm and comforting, there is an air of menace and the unexpected.
Action Painting might invite you take a seat in the most welcoming of armchairs, but it's not above making the walls melt and the floor come alive around you. 'It's a little trip. As simple as that' says Martyn. 'But the gloves are off. We don't need to subscribe to the Stalinist Year Zero that was there in this form of electronic music at the time we released our debut.'The result is a mixture of symphonies within a symphony (that time already?, mornin!), twisted reality interludes (myopic, polite state) and moments of tender pleasure (stretch, stop), IPG's latest is as much an album of ideas as a piece of music.