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Charlie's Family

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Album Review

As the official soundtrack of Jim van Bebber's movie of the same name, Charlie's Family sees Download in an interesting place. The chaotic, provocative, and experimental flavor of electronica that Download engineer now supports another picture, rather than building its own. The results are solid. Download's aggressive knob-tweaking and cut-up flavor capture a dark threat throughout Charlie's Family, overlaid at times with a collection of movie samples that are sheared, molded, and distorted through any number of effects. Download's disjointed technique is obvious throughout, but there is only enough of it happening to build a mood. "Fill Her" paints a fractured picture with distant analog tweaks and reverberated percussions that double until they form a constant rumble in the background. "Catblower"'s removed bleeps, snares, and twisted vocal samples plant the seeds of delicate imbalance as the track slowly degenerates. The theme throughout is of disquiet and how loud this disquiet is — murmuring uncomfortable darkness through to the manic collections of noises competing to be heard. There is no doubt that Download have expertly captured a clutch of moods in Charlie's Family. There hasn't been the scope for the act to flex the full range of their talents, but this release is a good example of what Download would sound like as an ambient act. Fans of the overt Download chaos may be disappointed by the diminished nature of this in Charlie's Family, but that is not the point of this release. Better to sit in a still room and let this darkness wash over you.

Biography

Formed: 1995 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Cana

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s

As industrial and industrial-metal made great inroads on the mainstream charts during the late '90s, many early pioneers continued to record with little fanfare but a large amount of creativity, even if the astounding leaps in technology had largely altered their sound since the heyday of the 1980s. Download was originally begun by Skinny Puppy's cEvin Key and Rudolph Dwayne Goettel in 1995 as a side project from their rapidly disintegrating full-time interest. Also a part of Download were Skinny...
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