Providing an accurate review of Fake Fish Distribution is technically impossible. For their ninth album, Icarus have decided to show us how clever they can be by producing an album that exists in 1000 uniquely different forms. The copy that I am listening to now will be different from the copy that you own, which will in turn be different from the copy your friend owns. Fake Fish Distributionis partly intended to make us think about the idea of ownership in relation to music. It could be seen as a dig at the current fetishisation of vinyl, and the fact that people treat them as unique artefacts to be collected and preserved, rather than a format on which to listen to music (you need to look no further than the newly introduced vinyl secetion at John Lewis). If people clamour to buy the most limited edition of an album, then why not go a step further and offer them a completely unique, one off version; one that no-one else will be able to own? It’s certainly an interesting concept. Luckily for Icarus, Fake Fish Distributionisn’t just a case of them showing off at how smart they can be – it’s also very good.
As you would expect from such a conceptual piece, Fake Fish Distributionis more of a deconstruction of electronic music than anything else. Parts come and go, almost at random. Drum and bass loops are taken apart and put back together, sometimes backwards, sometimes forwards. Field recordings are coupled with soundscapes and washes of synths. Something that sounds like a playing card in a bicycle spoke appears at least twice. At times, Fake Fish Distribution sounds like a train stuttering to a halt, or a box of nails being dropped onto concrete. Yet at other points, it sounds like a highbrow take on future garage.
Fake Fish Distribution is a lot of different things all at once. It’s a statement, an art piece, an avant-garde electronic record. It is random loops upon random loops. It is a chaotic record. Despite this, it’s actually pretty good – just don’t play it to your parents. There are no hooks and Fake Fish Distribution gives the impression that instead of writing an album Icarus has just collapsed in on themselves, imploding in a mess of samples and loops, and some very clever software engineering. It’s just a shame they couldn’t think of a better title.
- David Pottnegrine