Take a second and think about what country music means to you – plaids shirts, outrageous Stetsons and of course amazing song titles such as these beauties, is what country music is to me – ‘Get Your Tongue Out Of My Mouth ‘Cause I’m Kissing You Goodbye’, ‘I Flushed You From The Toilets Of My Heart’ and ‘I’m Just A Bug On The Windshield Of Life’. However, there’s something lost in translation with Vision Fortune’s second LP and first for ATP Recordings – it goes by the name of ‘Country Music’ but there’s no ‘yippee-ki-yay’ or hoe-down in sight with the pair’s minimalist, drone heavy electronica. In actual fact, the album borrows its moniker from the locale of where the record was created in the idyllic, yet remote Tuscan countryside in an expansive villa complex.
The pair’s adopted environment has certainly left a thumb print on their sophomore release. A feeling of isolation and restriction bleeds into ‘Country Music’ – each song is beyond skeletal, just a clipped beat or a blunted percussion strike punctures vapour-like synth patterns. Where the LP’s sonic personality anchors on a mechanical pivot, delivering chilling swathes of drone, the tracks work well as pure instrumentals, there’s the notion ‘Country Music’ could soundtrack a macabre police drama in the same guise as Luther, thanks to an eerie personality lurking in the shadows amongst the blips and whirring metallic sounds. However when vocals are laid on top of the already minimal, monotony of Vision Fortune’s latest LP, aurally the album is hampered making the experience oppressive and kind of dreary. Vocals are almost too much for ‘Country Music’ with a sound so sparse, adding an extra ingredient to the mix feels like overkill.
There’s a clinical nature to be found here, not just sonically but in song titles too ‘Stalker’, ‘Cleanliness’ and ‘Habitat’ illustrate the machine-like tendency at the heart of Vision Fortune. If you were to extract the lifeblood out of ‘Hidden’-era These New Puritans and Portishead – you’d find the desolate husk of ‘Country Music’ rattling like a discarded tin can in the alleyway of life – that could almost be a country song.
Word and Thoughts of Adam Williams