The Fun Years

Life-Size Psychoses | Barge
By DAVID DAY  |  May 29, 2007
3.0 3.0 Stars
Isaac Sparks (right) of the Fun Years with Geoff Mullen

In experimental music, there are constructs of noise and dissonance and there are landscapes of ambient textures. The Fun Years (a/k/a un-Lockedgrooved Ben Recht and fellow Bostonian Isaac Sparks) belong to the second group. With softly disintegrating turntable loops and simply strummed guitar, the duo aim for an oscillating sense of calm, never static, but never jarring, either. Four of the five tracks clock in at more than 10 minutes, so each simple groove gets to develop at its optimum pace. The album’s fulcrum, a four-minute song obliquely titled “D>>2”, breathes with metallic sighs. Recht is an accomplished electronic musician, but his way with a guitar has a gentle human touch, and Sparks lets his turntable crackle with all the imperfections of the format. The result is a kind of Sunday-afternoon porch album that can live with you, not an avant-garde piece meant to be played in the presence of the correct company. The wavering tracks never break (each track flows into the next), so you may not even know that one song has begun and another ended. That’s not to say this album is for everyone — Recht’s doom-like touches on “Softly As Stilts” are a bit hair-raising. But like other drone-ambient artists, the Fun Years may have a broader audience than their avant-garde label might lead you to think.
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