80s production married to 19th Century poetic influences, simultaneously disengaged and deeply personal, the immediacy of its melodies obscuring ornate arrangements, Ice Choir's debut album Afar revels in the multiple contradictions it presents to listeners. This is a record that sounds like it was tracked thirty years ago in a $5,000-a- day studio: all sheen, synths, compressed guitars and digitally revived vocals yet is as bedroom-and-laptop as any; written and produced on the road and out of suitcases over the past 12 months by Kurt Feldman (and later brought to life via MIDI and an extensive collection of outmoded vintage synthesizers).Indeed, part of its genius is this unyielding commitment to subverting expectations. Rather than engaging in crude revivalism, Afar challenges conventional perceptions of 80s technopop, highlighting its musically progressive and literate roots and re-imagining them to create a startlingly original sound.This makes for an unconventionally diverse album that dips into the palettes of Italo-disco, avant-garde pop, classical music and even smooth R&B while somehow remaining completely, utterly, coherent. Feldman jokes that he originally tried to make something that sounded "equal parts Flyte Tyme, flight school (via SNES Pilotwings) and luck dragon in flight."
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