We Love 003 Flux and Form CDLP

Tracer AMC – Flux & Form – The Big Takeover Review

The Big Takeover, Unknown

Add tracer AMC to the pile of ‘cut-above’ instrumental bands. Inventive,and somehow, truly original sounding melodies? Check. Multi-layered, with intricate, shifting rhythms? Check. An all-in-all amazing sound, one that should be scoring movies? Check. Even the band’s extended-jam tracks, like ‘Catherine Holly’ (which exceeds 10 minutes) are welcome, having enough textural intricacy and chord changes to keep things exciting. Eleven tracks of sustained guitar-bliss.

Posted at 9am on 01/03/05 | Comments Off on Tracer AMC – Flux & Form – The Big Takeover Review read on

Tracer AMC – Flux & Form – Eclectic Honey Review

Eclectic Honey, Michelle Dalton

Tracer AMC’s excellent 7″ on Errol Records a while ago, marked the Belfast band out as one to watch. And seldom has a band matured from EP to album so successfully. It’s a tour de force and yet on occasions Flux and Form is also incredibly understated. Catherine Holly, Copenhagen and Nineteen are all stunning guitar epics that push Tracer AMC’s talent beyond the ten minute mark. Faced with such a mammoth canvas, Jonny Ashe and Michael Kinloch shape their guitars from peak to trough, from fast to slow, and from loud to quiet, creating an expansive ocean of gushing emotion.

But shorter pieces like The Understudy, Charles Street and Anvil Point work just as magnificently; offering a slower-paced breathing space between the intensity of the aforementioned tracks. Blue Thread is beautifully melodic, yet at the same time shifts and swerves itself through a handful of different atmospheres and textures, while the perfectly uncluttered intro of Sleep Trick makes way for some percussion par excellence from Keith Winter. Indeed the inventiveness imbued in Flux and Form is often jaw-droppingly surprising.

Even though Flux and Form clocks in at a rather weighty sixty minutes plus, never once does the listener’s attention wane from the soundscapes and backgrounds that Tracer AMC have sculpted, which is no small feat for a post- rock record made with only a handful of different instruments. Flux and Form brings the old ‘music is the soundtrack to your life’ adage to an entirely new level.

Posted at 9am on 22/04/04 | Comments Off on Tracer AMC – Flux & Form – Eclectic Honey Review read on

Tracer AMC – Flux & Form – Do Something Pretty Review

Do Something Pretty, Mike Diver
A co-release by Bangor’s We Love Records and Bristol’s Errol Records, Tracer AMC’s debut album is one of those all-too-rare releases where finding the right words to convey the feelings experienced during a listen, be it first, second, or, in this writer’s case, ninth time through, is an unrewarding task – ‘Flux And Form’ is simply too damn good. The four-piece weave instrumental masterpieces that seesaw between epic Mogwai-of-old post-rock monsters and bridge-like segments that serve to blend one luscious composition into the next. ‘Catherine Holly’, ‘Some Electric’ and ‘Copenhagen’ are obvious showpieces, but no single track can really stand alone as a representative of ‘Flux And Form’ as a whole, and that’s precisely how you must consume it, or rather, how you should let it consume you; wholly, and all in one mouthful. It’s a rich patchwork of emotionally stirring textures, colours and wordless poetry that moves the listener in a way that contemporary instrumental records rarely can, and subsequently makes this review immediately insignificant. Just listen for yourself, you’ll see.

Do Something Pretty Website

Posted at 9am on 23/03/04 | Comments Off on Tracer AMC – Flux & Form – Do Something Pretty Review read on

Tracer AMC – Flux & Form – The Wire Review

The Wire, Tom Ridge

The debut album from Belfast quartet Tracer AMC is a bridge between sinuous Slint and limpid Television-style guitar rock. Eschewing extremities of volume and experimentation, Tracer AMC opt for a smooth approach, with subtle changes in mood and tempo, enabling them to shift between the aggressive, anthemic and contemplative while maintaining a compulsive momentum. This instrumental music’s grace and strength are most powerfully evident on tracks like the swirling opener “Some Electric”, and the cooly expressive “Catherine Holly” and “Nineteen”, which grow from the chiming interplay of twin guitars to strident peaks of catharis, with the group displaying an impressive mastery of the epic.

The Wire Website

Posted at 9am on 26/02/04 | Comments Off on Tracer AMC – Flux & Form – The Wire Review read on

Tracer AMC – Flux & Form – Bullit Magazine Review

Bullit Magazine, Anthony Dhanendran

By its nature, post-rock is a difficult beast to explain: ‘Well, it’s kind of, layered, multi-textured, orchestral, transcendental’ What’s that? No, there aren’t any vocals, not as such. No, come back, it’s good! It’s all in the progression of the sound, from the humble beginnings of a few notes picked out on a fairly normal-sounding guitar, to the crescendo, when a cathedral of noise, which has been painstakingly built up over several minutes, is hoisted and ceremoniously dropped over the head of the listener.

Temperamentally, ‘Flux And Form’ is a bit happier than your average post-rock album. At least, it is on the surface. Bubbling beneath the waves on several of the tracks are the dark underpinnings of something altogether deeper and more meaningful. On the first listen, Tracer AMC sound just a bit too simplistic, as though they’re merely a standard rock band who’ve forgotten to put the vocal tracks into the final mix. But, and such is the essence of instrumental music, repeated listens will uncover more going on. With more emphasis on standard rock instruments, and less on found noises and glitch sonics, this might be a good introduction for a newcomer to the genre.

Posted at 9am on 25/02/04 | Comments Off on Tracer AMC – Flux & Form – Bullit Magazine Review read on

Tracer AMC – Flux & Form – Alternative Ulster Review

Alternative Ulster, Hack Startling

Amid considerable local interest, Tracer AMC, simultaneously one of our finest and most perplexing acts, have finally committed to the full length album treatment, and on their own terms. A definitive “thesaurus” act, their atypical, vocal-free soundscaping and quiet-loud live epics have been wowing and bewildering audiences for significantly longer and with a more supportive fanbase than the average unsigned band ever achieves. Ever the square peg, these brave fellows have now grasped the nettle and pushed this out to the nations on their own label.

The good news for purists is that their trademark textures never let up from one track to the bittersweet end, with near-identikit drum production, pedal work and technique from song to song. Certainly the dynamics whisper and yell as expected, but even one sympathetic key signature too many can place one track in danger of sinking into another with not much let up or relief. Without due care, minutes of arpeggios, tickled drums and wafting harmonics can flock by almost unheard; the lack of instrumental contrast requires an attention span well beyond the usual “post rock” opus. But while this is decisively not an album for operating heavy machinery to, it’s no crime for a piece of music to ask a little work from its audience. Rewards for perseverance and concentration are delivered in tight performances and ambitious musicianship. By turns playful, sorrowful, languid and furious, their skill as a band is remarkable, and they know each other uncommonly well.

Tracer AMC’s lack of a frontman has been taken for a selling point, hailed as a virtue and damned as a handicap, with a subtle scene buzz that they’d have long since gone national with a capable singer at the centre. Is the right vocalist not capable of making a beautiful sound too? Whether this band’s unconventional dogma is a political mechanism to maintain egocentric stability or, more suitably romantically, a genuine conviction that their course is vocationally, unswervably true, their chosen consistency doesn’t quite stretch across the length of the album unscathed; there is the occasional wanting interval where it feels as though some phantom vocalist has popped out for a fag and left the band playing accompaniment to nothing. Live, of course, this is one of Tracer AMC’s most attractive qualities – space to fill in the blanks and let the mind wander in an almost classical reverie – but without the communion of a Tracer AMC gig, an ear-piercing PA and the affable sight of these earnest blokes veering between sullen strumming and getting medieval on their instruments, the domestic experience needs a little ketchup.

The significance of this release to the local music scene is undeniable, and Tracer AMC are guaranteed extravagant short-term praise for the efforts, whether the result warrants a Palm Sunday or not. Thankfully, despite some points of dissatisfaction and falling slightly short of the mark while gamely attempting to bottle their own peculiar essence, they have created a consistent, challenging and often very beautiful work. Having arguably released the best commercially available local rock record since Screamager (for whatever that is worth), they surely have it within them, if they push past their doctrinal restraints and studio inhibitions, to become truly special and deliver us our first classic album. No pressure.

Posted at 9am on 12/02/04 | Comments Off on Tracer AMC – Flux & Form – Alternative Ulster Review read on

Tracer AMC – Flux & Form – Irish Times Review

Irish Times, Paul McNamee
Influenced heavily by Godspeed and Mogwai, Belfast four-piece Tracer AMC’s brand of instrumental peaks and troughs used to be called post-rock until that became a byword for lazy noodling. And Tracer AMC are anything but lazy. They have toiled for over a year to record this, their debut album, in a succession of bedrooms and front rooms. It’s a precise and exact record, quietly going about its atmospheric business, swooping in and around melodies before dramatically finding its feet – halfway through the lush Catherine Holly, and from the start of the pointed, angry The Understudy. There are perfectly formed violin runs, echoes of Dakota Suite (the melancholic Leeds outfit who released two albums of understated beauty) and shadows of Iceland’s Sigur Ros. It’s a very un-Irish Irish album, resolutely left-field, determinedly out scuffing around music’s edges and several leagues beyond the product of Tracer’s local peers.

Irish Times Website

Posted at 9am on 12/02/04 | Comments Off on Tracer AMC – Flux & Form – Irish Times Review read on

Tracer AMC – Flux & Form – Hotpress Review

Hotpress, Cian Murtagh
Tracer Fire

Before getting down to business I have to admit that I normally reserve a healthy skepticisim when it comes to instrumental groups. They usually strike me as being fascinated with their own self importance and too often tarnish their music with their eagerness to sound interesting or cool. Not so with Tracer AMC. Right from the opening ‘Some Electric’, with the hauntingly beautiful violin of guest perfomer Beth Winter, the Belfast based group deliver their mission statement – prepare to change your preconceptions! Flux and Form is the quartet’s debut album and there’s a refreshing naivety to their work that sees them create swirling melodies and rhythms spinning around well defined guitar phrases. The ensemble remain unpretentious about their work and are too busy creating melodic symphonies to indulge in naval gazing. They’ve been compared to the likes of Mogwai and Tortoise, but listening to the title track and the brilliant ‘Catherine Holly’ it’s groups like Doves or La Rocca that immediately spring to mind. Winter returns to make ‘Blue Thread’ the standout track, as guitar, violin and glockenspiel weave in and out in a careful choreographed dance.



Posted at 9am on 29/01/04 | Comments Off on Tracer AMC – Flux & Form – Hotpress Review read on

Tracer AMC – Flux & Form – BBC ATL Review

BBC Across The Line Website, Stuart Bailie

It’s all about the algebra, baby. It’s about crisp, tightly defined guitar phrases. It’s about the lovely curve of an instrumental track, surging and then falling away, as directed. It’s about the physics of electrical pick-ups, foot pedals, fingers and faders. And ultimately, it’s about the transcendence that happens when all of these factors meet in some wonderful accord, when the music lifts you to some sublime joint where fashion, pretension and the debilitating factors of Ulster rock are all rendered meaningless.

Tracer AMC have some of these moments on their new record. There’s one rather great epiphany that starts around 2:30 on the title track. There’s another on “Catherine Holly” which starts in a rather fussy, self-conscious fashion, and then it turns immense after the seven minute mark and never looks back.

Alex, Jonny, Michael and Keith played some top shows in 2003, increasingly bold and loud. Before that, they seemed to be weighed down by the sum of their influences, by the difficulty of making the idea work in a series of pokey, ill-prepared venues. So here’s the fine proof of it; recorded well, smartly designed, no excuses or apologies strapped to the side.

‘Blue Thread’ gets all chamber music on yo’ ass. The violin makes wise, swirling noises and makes you think of John Cale on the sweeter Velvets tunes. There’s a deal of spatial folk-jazz on ‘Sleep Trick’ which recalls the work of David Pajo during his Papa M phase. And you can be sure that Tracer AMC, with their ocean of left-field fancies, are dabbling in ideas from many unlikely places that we’ll never know of.

They finish off with ‘Nineteen’, another chance to vault the ten minute mark, loaded with melodic curlicues, uncommon time signatures and tremendous ambition. Buy this record, in the name of good flux.


Posted at 9am on 20/01/04 | Comments Off on Tracer AMC – Flux & Form – BBC ATL Review read on