After a string of EPs and a fleshing out from bedroom curio project to fully fledged studio trio, one might expect MJ Guider’s first album proper to have slightly more heft than the gossamer wisp that permeates much of ‘Precious Systems’: its songs don’t so much start as amble into hazy view, cloaked in reverberations, before dissipating with all the stealth of their arrival. The only disruption to this formula comes on ‘Evencycle’, a ten-minute investigation into short vocal loops and atmospheric fuzz that proves the most arresting moment.

That said, when ‘Precious Systems’ is whirring away, it nonetheless retains a soothing, opiate wooziness, revelling in its distance and intangibility, content in its own abstracted soundworld. The overall effect is to experience the album as a lucid dream: the entire set encourages a nervous dissociation from reality, but refuses ever to drift into pretty, warming sleepscapes, instead holding the mood in a sort of uncanny hinterland. It’s unsettling, hypnotic stuff, not necessarily pleasant but certainly enthralling in the right context.


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