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Karen Gwyer
Needs Continuum
No Pain In Pop
Catalogue Number
Release Date
February 25, 2013

This album features in the top ten albums of 2013

Karen Gwyer’s immaculate debut album ‘Needs Continuum’ once again shows No Pain In Pop’s uncanny ability to dig up unknown gems from an introverted underground. The record sounds little like anything else released in 2013, with feather light percussion lending the album a singular sense of atmosphere in a year which was dominated by rough-edged, pounding club music.

‘Pikku-Kokki’ is a sensuous and delicate house number, with beautifully judged bongo rolls offsetting whispered vocals and beds of wide synth chords, while ‘Jajja Uses Ancestral Spirits’ conveys a sense of serenity and bubbling rhythm through choice analogue elements. The crisp claps on ‘Some Of My Favourite Lotions’ recall the likes of Steve Summers but Gwyer’s record is more cerebral than club music, allowing the listener to take in subtle textural changes and shadings rather than simply encouraging them to move.

On the beatless cuts, ‘Needs Continuum’ is most persuasive, with ‘Waukon’ channelling Popol Vuh’s synthetic pastoralism and ‘Lentil’ a slow-burning beauty with occasional bursts of Roland brass and the producer’s vocals. Album closer ‘Part B’ pulls off this ambience with a serene poignancy fitting for a commanding album and recalling the best of Motion Sickness of Time Travel and recent My Bloody Valentine; company not to be sniffed at.

Karen Gwyer

No Pain In Pop

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Albums of the Year 2013

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