Release Date: Feb 26, 2013
Record label: Smalltown Supersound
Genre(s): Electronic, Techno, Pop/Rock, Indie Electronic, Minimal Techno
Pearl Necklace is the Brooklyn-based duo Bryce Hackford and Frank Lyon, assisted on several tracks here by Alexis Georgopoulos, also known as Arp. Between them they've honed ten songs that feel by turns home-brewed, custom-built, organically created and template-averse. Soft Opening is a worthy addition to a cottage industry of misshapen, modified electronica in the age-old traditions of groups like Cluster that unassumingly sounds like nothing you've ever heard before.Clocking in at a total of about 32 minutes, the album never feels like it's outstaying its welcome.
With its abundance of samples and playful approach, Pearl Necklace's debut album, Soft Opening, often feels more akin to bedroom electronica than the minimal techno that it's been deemed. Bryce Hackford and Frank Lyon mined library music, forgotten disco albums, and, in the case of "Why Toto?," an Ingmar Bergman film, for the decidedly quirky sounds that populate these tracks. The duo's fondness for musical repurposing reflects a strong Matmos/Herbert influence, although their samples tend to provide textural decoration rather than song structures (a notable exception, however, is the bouncy standout "Doorbell").
It's probably with good reason that you don't see a lot of features on minimal electronic albums. For music that thrives on subtlety and nuance, too many cooks in the kitchen can often muddle what otherwise requires just clarity and finesse. So it's with skepticism that we approach Brooklyn's Bryce Hackford and Frank Lyon, who record little assemblages of synthesizer, field recordings, and loops, almost all of questionable fidelity, as Pearl Necklace.
While some electronic music is crafted to be adored by pulsating crowds with their hands in the air, there are other, darker strains that ache for the backdrop of an empty room. Echoing and loop-heavy, Pearl Necklace’s debut full-length, Soft Opening, is the music of isolation, not collective experience and jubilance. The album contains layers of synthesizers and beats that sound like they were performed on rusty water pipes.