Iamamiwhoami’s pretensions border on the unparalleled, considering the duo’s history of shrouding themselves in enigma, clever PR stunts and the artsy symbolism of their videos.
Next up on the list: a second record released as a prequel to the first. Press release-induced nausea aside, this merely refers to the fact that this collection of songs was released online before the first record. This leads one to pause mid-derisive scoff and reconsider. And once reconsidered and taken for what it is, bounty, like 2012’s kin, is actually quite good.
A collection of tracks and accompanying videos, bounty is both atmospheric and tense; tension that is expertly broken with a well-placed, dancefloor-rupturing beat. When listened to/watched as a multimedia package, the results are stunning - the throbbing basslines and ghostly vocals working excellently with the eerie, dark sexuality of the films that, although on occasion tedious, are well directed and shot. Despite this, the record stands up well on its own; it often feels that it doesn’t need footage of suspect white liquids stored in jam jars to accompany it. The record is as such both exhilarating and exasperating: some tracks outstay their welcome and others finish before you want to bloody well let them. Curiouser and curiouser…
The tracks are reasonably straightforward in that they tend to be either immediate, dancefloor-designed bangers or slow burning, vulnerable laments. The latter grouping of songs tend to be on the rambling, directionless side of things, with ‘U-I’ particularly reminiscent of dated fantasy soundtracks; incredibly eerie and evocative, but ultimately unsatisfying and irritating. Nonetheless, the production here lends itself very well to such ethereal melodrama, with each instrument/effect having a particularly indistinct resonance. Similarly, opener ‘B’ is guilty of similar meandering - the computerised vocals and tense piano doing little else aside from raising the tension for the subsequent track.
But when that track gets going, it was worth the preceding one. ‘O’ (the majority of the tracks here spell out BOUNTY, by the way), lays on the tension further still from its predecessor before a irresitable, industrial beat kicks in and bounty really starts to get enjoyable. This track is somewhat more understated than some of the other ‘bigger’ tunes on this record, however it is by far the best; unmistakably Scandinavian and achingly cool, with neither two aspects capable of surviving without the other.
Pretentious or not, there is no denying iamamiwhoami’s creative flair. Again they have taken the steps of creating an audio-visual project is not only very good as a whole, but is equally solid in its composite parts. A rare feat. It may be somewhat on the lofty, artistic side, but bounty manages somehow to avoid ostentation; it is largely elegant, grounded and rewarding. Let’s just hope it was supposed to be.
7Jon Clark's Score