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Formication - Icons For A New Religion

Icons For A New Religion is the first proper CD from the Nottingham based duo Alec Bowman and Kingsley Ravenscroft following on from a number of professionally released CD-R recordings on their own imprint. Formication have been around a while garnering much interest with their abstract approach to dark electronica, ranging from the mutated rhythms of Crossing The Sea By Radio, and its satelitte release, Redux, which took their loose electronic compositions into a far more dense and abstract place. The Untitled Wasdale Recordings, a more recent release, placed their ritual sounds into a rural setting, largely due to its acoustic approach and improvised recording in England's Lake District. Icons For A New Religion returns to a pure electronic sound. It's a celestial headfuck of swirling electronics, fragmented rhythms, ritual voices absorbing the influences of seventies electronics, the dense sound explorations of Coil, and the fragmented and clustered rhythms of IDM. It's fair to say that the electronic influence takes precedence and that's why I regard them as a Boards of Canada for dark electronic listeners, swapping the pastoral for the astral. 'Arise or Originate' is a fine example where ritual rhythms merge with distorted cut-up voices, and spacey synths float over a dense electronic undertows. As it progresses more voices are transmitted over radio waves, and the shuffling beats swell into a solid electronic throb. The thunderous, richocheting electronic rhythmic slabs of 'In the Kingdom of the Electronic Eye' quickly evaporate to be replaced with incessant insectoid rhythms beavering furiously over pulsating textures. Here, as on the closing 'Faces of Fire', massed chanting adds to a ritual feel that permeates this and other Formication releases. The liturgical singing on the aforementioned 'Faces of Fire (Introspection)' with its reverberating electronics even recalls Coil. At other times listening to Icons For A New Religion is like astral travel as asteroids, stars and planets gush past in succession.

Their ability to enter alien terrain with psychedelic electronics puts them on a par closer to Cyclobe, rather than with Coil with who they are frequently compared, just as I did earlier on in this review. Either way, Icons For A New Religion is a dense and ornate sound exploration. It's the first Formication release that truly captures their potential. Let it do to your imagination what it did to mine. Recommended. For more information go to or