> Album: Origami Future by Xoom Xoom - SNACK: Music, film, arts and culture magazine for Scotland

Album: Origami Future by Xoom Xoom

In Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ 1986 graphic novel Watchmen, a character purported to be the ‘smartest man in the world’ is shown watching a bank of TV screens, all set to randomly change channel, thereby – so he thinks – giving him an understanding of the tone of the world. This album, from Glasgow musician Andrew McDowell, aka Xoom Xoom, takes the same kind of approach to making music: a kind of selective picking of elements from disparate styles in a dizzying overstimulation of the senses.

From the opening track ‘Xenons’, where an emotinged vocal and moody strings crash into drum and bass breakbeats and a guitar line so hair metal it should come with a can of Elnett, there is a delightful wrongfooting throughout this. Moments that feel like they’re going into a big EDM breakdown instead duck into a gentle acoustic line on the blissfully melancholy ‘Fizz’.

The cinematic, Michael Nyman-esque minimalism of ‘A Dark Bliss’ leads into ‘Just, Everything’ a song that feels at once like a folk song and a stadium rock anthem, but driven by a trip-hop drum loop. The delicate piano balladry of ‘Phoam’ flips into a big choral climax and a solo that Slash wouldn’t feel too silly about blasting outside of a windswept church and ‘BLACK’ flips from r&b into a crunchy industrial break and back again, throwing it all together and then dropping us off with a coda from a folky string quartet.

With this multiplicity of ideas going on, it could lead to a bit of bagginess, but there’s a refreshing brevity to the tracks. The fifteen songs on the album clock in at little over half an hour, some of them not much over a minute long. It’s as if there are so many ideas bursting to be let out that they need to get out of the way as soon as possible to let the next one through. As if by taking a little bit of everything he can somehow divine meaning from chaos: clarity from the overwhelm.

Origami Future is out on 9th May 

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