VA: Spies & Lies
Items and Things

Minus associates Magda, Troy Pierce, and Marc Houle established Items and Things as an outlet for a rather wackier brand of experimental minimalism than is typically heard on their better-known label. Of the three, only Houle appears to contribute to the latest Items and Things 12-inch, with Thrill Cosby, Kasper, and Alexi Delano rounding out the artists involved. Parking themselves midway between through-composed pieces and jams, the four cuts each spin disparate variations on the central theme.

More gleefully spacey than sober, Houle's truly minimal “Extreme” is dominated by a thrumming synth line that ascends octaves like Kong leaping progressively taller buildings, and is goosed by an occasional snare splat and backbeat strut. African percussion situates Thrill Cosby's “Oogity Boogity” at the center of the jungle and then dresses it up with a stomping groove, demented vocals, and groaning stabs. Kasper's “Turn Tricks On The Side,” on the other hand, opts for a nocturnal cityscape where pumping bass lines purr amidst voice snippets and percussive gunfire while a spidery synth figure stretches its legs. Returning to more familiar Minus-styled territory, Delano's “Would You?” pairs its taut motorik skip with Hutter-esque vocal exhalations and twisted synth lines that, strangely, suggest steel drums.

October 2007