Review

Duet Emmo

Or So It Seems

Mute • 1983

Was everything weirder in the past? For listeners in 1983, it was probably already pretty odd what Bruce Gilbert and Graham Lewis brought out together with a certain Daniel Miller under the name Duet Emmo. An anagram of »Dome«, this was the name that Gilbert and Lewis gave to their joint project, which bridged a good part of the dormant period of their main band Wire, and »Mute«, the shop that Miller earned his money with after making pop history under the name The Normal with the song »Warm Leatherette«. The result of this encounter, »Or So It Seems«, consists for the most part of instrumental electronic numbers by Gilbert and Lewis that might be described as more or less proto-industrial ambient due to their repetitive, yet at the same time breezily rumbling character. Some numbers have a mysterious atmosphere, especially »Long Sledge«, which at a good 16 minutes is by far the longest track on the album, while others go on monotonously and somewhat inconclusively. Miller remains the real winner, contributing two loop-based Synth-pop etudes, with the title track also being the hit song on the album. The elements consistent throughout are quirky, ranging from the throbbing, barely there beat to the wonky polyphonic synthesisers, all recurring elements that are unchanging, yet always in motion, like a mobile. Add to this Lewis’s straightforward emotional vocals, which sometimes end up a little off-key. It has a very insistent charm, just like »The First Person«. One of the best half-successful records that I know.

Buy at HHV
Duet Emmo
Or So It Seems Colored Vinyl Edition
from 39.99€