dirtybeaches

This is the fifth album from nomadic sonic magpie Alex Zhang Hungtai – an unconventional musical tapestry weaved from samples, lost sounds and electronics. Weighing in at a hefty hour and a quarter, it’s billed as a double album and Zhang has clearly been unafraid to give himself the room to realise his vision. There are moments of immersive power here – ‘Night Walk’ is a sprawling, echoing tunnel of a song, while the relentless groove of ‘I Dream In Neon’ sits under indistinct vocals that sound like they’re sung through a loudhailer from the bottom of a well. But the squally bleeps of ‘Woman’ do nothing but shred the nerve endings. This is not a record you can listen to lightly; it demands your full attention and sometimes it’s difficult to tell whether you’re actually enjoying it. It is undeniably compelling, though, and often hypnotic. We should be glad that there are artists such as Dirty Beaches out there, standing on the fringes, operating outside the bounds of convention.

Read all of our new album reviews here, in Loud And Quiet 48, out now


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