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As befits a band named Sculpture, the electronic compositions on Membrane Pop are musical monuments. Melodic monoliths gifted from mysterious sources like the huge structures that are scattered throughout (and prove central to) man's history in 2001: A Space Odyssey. A cursory listen to this album will provide nothing, but listen closer, press your ear right up against its pulsating exterior and hear something futuristic, absurd and playful.

The world of science fiction is an obvious point of reference for Sculpture's debut record. Laser like synthesisers ping around the aural space like wayward shots reflected off the stainless steel interior of a lunar base. The beats on offer are the rhythmic recreation of console controls, blinking and bleeping feedback and error messages. Yet there is something of the past in these recordings. The duo, musician Dan Hayhurst and animator Reuben Sutherland, used a combination of digital and analog approaches for creating the sounds on Membrane Pop, with techniques like tape manipulation, sampling, algorithmic programming and improvisation. All of which harks back to the early influencers of electronic composition - artists like Iannis Xenakis, Kraftwerk and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

The haunting intro to 'Hackle Scam Populator' could easily have been used as part of the soundtrack to a classic episode of Doctor Who, but the remainder of the track takes us in a far more glitchy direction with a deep beat that bounces along under all manner of scrambled sounds. 'Multi-Faith Capsule' which opens with a chorus of blinking electronics uses a skittish beat that initially recalls Potishead's 'Machine Gun' but is manipulated and distorted so as to become unrecognisable. Above all this is a whistling synthesiser and the sound of unspooling tape, as though the duo are desperately trying to rewind proceedings and save the beat that always seems on the verge of escaping their grasp.

That seems to be common throughout Membrane Pop this idea of electronic music as a tangible, living organism that Sculpture attempt to control over 11 tracks. Listening to tracks like 'Dance of Oblate Spheriods' with its bubbling synthesiser, I was reminded of the novel Solaris by Stanislaw Lem, in which a team of scientists seek to understand the undulating ocean of a distant planet, that reveals itself to be a sentient being.

Most of the songs here eschew ideas of progression and structure, there's little in the way of hooks and only one track, 'Polymorphic Operator', contains anything close to a danceable groove. That groove being a futuristic dub, the like of which I can imagine being blasted out of hovering speaker stacks at the Notting Hill Carnival - in the year 3000. Instead the record serves as a form of expression. The tools and techniques of electronic music are here, but they are reworked into something almost unrecognisable.

Sculpture's work on this record is to be admired, but it remains to be seen what impact this has on electronic music. As an artistic endeavour it generally succeeds, the music is evocative and there's a sense of child-like wonder at the assortment of sounds the duo have managed to create, but musically it all feels a little too loose. Perhaps I'm wrong to judge them on the latter criteria. Whilst I certainly felt like someone lost in a world of strange, unconventional sounds, there was something deeply exciting about that. It was like being transported back to my childhood, to the first time I saw an episode of Doctor Who (classic series recorded onto VHS) and how amazed I'd been by the sights and sounds on offer. That sense of nostalgia - and that isn't meant in the sense of this album feeling 'retro', far from it - provided the true hook. Through mangling the familiar and unfamiliar together, Sculpture have provided an album that managed to raise more questions than answers. Membrane Pop has weighed heavy on my mind since I first listened to it and I still feel no closer to unlocking its secrets.

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