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Doll Creature

David Toop & Max Eastley

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Album Review

The second quarter of 2004 brought an outburst of publications from David Toop. This collaboration with Max Eastley came out almost at the same time as his duet with Akio Suzuki (Breath-Taking, on Confront) and his book-plus-compilation album Haunted Weather. Breath-Taking is an extremely quiet, evanescent live date, while Doll Creature is much more engrossing and generous. Eastley and Toop use a large variety of sound-makers, from computer treatments to sound sculptures and automatons, from flutes and guitars to "organic matter" and "insectoids." The range of instruments is typical of electro-acoustic improvisation, but the duo's music is busier, denser, and more varied than what you would expect from, say, Keith Rowe or Günter Müller, bringing it closer to a form of live electro-acoustic composition. It is better to ignore the instrumentation altogether and simply dive in and let yourself be carried by these beautifully crafted pieces. The sense of listening to something thoroughly composed prevails, although this doesn't mean the music sounds stiff or lacks spontaneity. But Eastley and Toop are very precise in tailoring specific sound worlds and sewing them together. Considering the tools used and the level of abstraction found in the music, the album is surprisingly warm-sounding and kind on the listener, avoiding harsh outbursts or awkward silences to offer a consistently absorbing assemblage of sounds. Toop's story about a doll creature and its misadventures provides a narrative actually gloomier than the work of music it is associated with. Highly recommended. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Biography

Born: 1949 in London, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s

Although British writer and composer David Toop's recorded output has included everything from experimental rock and jazz to musique concrete, the bulk of his solo and recent collaborative works have been in the vein of experimental ambient. Better known perhaps as a journalist and music historiographer, Toop is the author of a pair of widely hailed books — Rap Attack and Ocean of Sound (both Serpents Tail) — as well as a contributing editor and columnist for U.K. experimental music magazine...
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Doll Creature, David Toop
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