Release Date: Oct 29, 2013
Record label: ADA
Genre(s): Electronic, Techno
Australian duo Alex Murray and Mark Smith make "improvisatory techno," but they're not a band in the sense of, say, Elektro Guzzi, who play with live drums and guitars. On much of Syndrome Syndrome, their debut album, Gardland seem to be feeling their way through a dark passage. Their apathy towards structure makes them a perfect fit for NYC dance-not-dance label RVNG Intl., home to Blondes and other sound explorers.
Syndrome Syndrome, the debut LP from techno twosome Gardland, has had more than its fair share of misfortune. Part way through recording the album, Australian beatsmiths Alex Murray and Mark Smith had much of their equipment thieved, forcing them to return to the drawing board and begin again. But, like true troopers, they did, and now bear the fruits of their labour proudly.
The records put out by the New York-based RVNG are often notable for the tight focus behind them. If there's a thread that links the label's eclectic past and present roster—including artists such as Julia Holter, Sun Araw, Stellar Om Source, and Holly Herndon—it's in the clarity of vision they all possess. When an RVNG album arrives, the music on it usually feels fully formed, even if it's part of a musician's earliest output.
New York’s RVNG Intl label seems to have made leftfield house and techno long-players its specialty this year. Maxmillion Dunbar’s blissy House Of Woo and Stellar Om Source’s Joy One Mile were both highly singular love letters to these hardiest of dancefloor perennials. The label’s latest, from Australia’s Gardland, could be said to function as a darker partner piece to Blondes’ Swisher.