Wednesday 3 December 2014

Review: MadTarot & John Hadrian-Oak – 'Still Orphans'

'Still Orphans'

London's MadTarot & John Hadrian-Oak second EP outing 'Still Orphans' is one of those rare delights that takes you somewhat by surprise. Experimental and cinematic are terms that are thrown around quite readily today, but this is one of those times where the artists actually live up to the description. Blending industrial, dark ambient, post-rock and classical the duo present a series of infectious instrumentals that despite their heavily experimental slant are ultimately very accessible.

It can be likened to a cross between The Soft Moon, Fraunhoffer Diffraction and Zola Jesus with a quite pronounced witch-house leaning. But it brings so much more to the table and has a more high-end avant garde feel to it. Songs such as 'The Inner Workings Of An Infinite Man', 'Butchers Hook' and 'The Black Queen's Love Creation' definitely have a grander and more bombastic flavour with their heavy use of classical sounds. While 'The Russian Equivalent', 'Soul Black', and 'Still Living', despite their underground and hazy experimental qualities, are somewhat more dance-friendly and accessible.

The EP has a wonderfully dark and ambient atmosphere that recalls the higher quality witch-house production as well as the soundtrack work of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. It elegantly balances that desire to throw out the rule book with actually creating something that people will listen too.

This may only be the second EP from MadTarot & John Hadrian-Oak but it should make people sit-up and take notice. There is a lot of talent simmering away quietly here that deserves recognition, and fans of avant-garde, experimental, ambient and epic electronics will easily find something to get their teeth into here. It would be very interesting to see how a full-length release, or even an audio-visual collaboration would pan-out in the future. Either way, this is a project to keep an eye on.  

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