Room of Wires
Plague of People
Release date: April 13, 2021
By: Mike Whyte
Room of Wires attracted my attention for one big reason. This is a duo who formed in 2013, have recorded 2 albums, as well as numerous EP:s together – so far so normal. They are from the UK, and make electronic music – again, not really different to the norm. No, the thing I found fascinating is they have never met. Prefering to utilise the isolationist abilities that technology brings these days, they take the idea of social networks and file-sharing to the extreme. This socially-distanced act are perfect for a review in these times I feel.
The album opens with the atmosphere-creating title track, which brings smoky sounds into a mildly downtempo beatscape. There’s a lot going on, beats on one level, white noise screeches on another, effected vocal snatches on another, yet it drifts between layers of the mix, revealing more and more as you listen to it. It is evident that they love creating atmosphere to develop tracks around – a lot of the tracks start blissfully ambient before bringing in either samples, key lines, or a mixture of all. “Harshlands” follows this pattern almost to the letter, and develops quite a nice laid-back vibe along with it.
I’m not surprised Room of Wires have managed to secure varied soundtrack work already in their music career; their music at times lends itself naturally to this. “Alcohole” has a sunlight-breaking-at-the-end-of-a-rave opening to it, before allowing jelly-beats and acid squiggles to jitter their way across the track. Not bad, but there’s better here if you dig deeper. “Crystal Shaol” brings a Blade Runner vibe at the beginning, before turning into a fidgety little dancey bleep techno number. This is the side of them I really like: a little playful, yet very tuneful. As is, “Dust Map”, which takes playful top lines and lays them over a pummeling bass and rhythm section, creating a slightly unsettling listening experience.
“Euphoricore” pleases me a lot. The opening sounds like some drunken YouTuber trying to explain how to cheat at a particular 8-bit game, before a drum-machine comes along, kicks his ass out of there and unleashes a lovely semi-Kraftwerk like track into your ear drums. “Scenic Route” is solid also, and in some way reminds me of old Black Dog stuff, though with added muffled conversations breaking out throughout the track. I wasn’t too much of a fan of “You Pluckers” – the short orchestral stabs didn’t seem to fit with the slow nature of the track for me, maybe taking it out and letting the great closer “Silent Lines” finish one track earlier might have been a better option.
To finish: “Block Hammer”. This track surprised me a lot, and made me admire more what Room of Wires are doing. I really wasn’t expecting the sonic changes at first, and how intricate the track is in general. When you think that these people have never met, and yet can make such intricate, interesting music – I love it!
I am interested to know how they work together, what the dynamic is, who does what? Probably the reason I have all of these questions is because I am attracted to their music – I feel you should be too.