Review: Vortice Group – Vortice Group (Anahuac Editions, Feb 1)

The ambling tracks that comprise Vortice Group’s self-titled debut release are constructed with a framework of loose drum machine loops that stumble and stutter underneath flowing melds of acoustic instruments, distorted spoken word, and samples. Rhythmic elements in such fluid, abstract music are difficult to get right, and it’s refreshing that this mysterious quartet treats their lurching percussion cells as just another component in these diverse and surreal collages. The four tracks on side one are mainly focused meditations on single ideas, with the band allowing each to progress through very subtle alterations. “Wind Rises From Somewheres” sets the scene with its flimsy synth bloops and delay-blanketed clips of metallic clattering, occasionally allowing these respirating textures to interlock with the spidery drum machine sample. The remaining three continue to experiment with similar sounds, and even though they are documented as separate tracks the side feels like a single entity that seems to slowly and beautifully decay. From the derelict ruins of the whimsical first half comes the much more withdrawn and immaterial second side, its formless forays into droning woodwinds and conversational improvisation bisected by a stretch of unaccompanied field recording that captures the tape’s atmosphere well with muffled clunks and gritty analog hiss. Vortice Group is an evasive debut effort that defies classification, and would be greatly enjoyed by fans of acts like Good Area, Parlours, and The Shadow Ring.

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