Album Review: Filfla - Flip Tap

22 May 2012 | 6:42 pm | Bob Baker Fish

Whilst Flip Tap is an inspired burst of sugary electronic pop, it’s also equally strange and inventive.

Ten songs in 20 minutes sounds like a dare, but it's not. It's an ongoing series by Brisbane label Someone Good, an opportunity to “capture the essence of avant-pop songwriting” without all the messy distracting stuff like duration. With ten tracks on Flip Tap, ideas appear quickly and are dispatched economically before moving on to the next track. Yet it doesn't feel rushed or like the music hasn't truly been explored or allowed to breathe. Each piece feels like it's been taken to its logical conclusion, it's just that conclusion is rarely above two minutes.

Filfla is the new project of Keiichi Sugimoto, a Japanese composer behind the likes of FourColor, Minamo and Fonica. He specialises in sweet, somewhat gentle, intimate electronics, focusing in upon the melodic and harmonic gestures in the music. It's this fascination that gives his music a childlike sense of wonder. Sugimoto's multicoloured brew is made up of skittering electro funk, clipped fragmented vocals and minimal folktronic bursts of red cordial-inspired hyperactivity. The artificial nature of the music is celebrated. It barely feels like it was made by a human or even for humans. Even the vocals are so devoid of humanity, both in terms of timbre and the way they are layered, that they serve to alienate. That is except for WST-EST, which comes like a Japanese version of Icelandic popsters Mum, with some of the only actual singing on the album – as opposed to cut up fragments of voice. It's possibly the most pop moment on Flip Tap, an album that draws to mind the likes of Lemon Jelly and Warp mainstays Plaid, however feels much slighter, more minimal, and in a sense more immediate than the aforementioned artists.

Don't be fooled by the duration or the sweetness. Whilst Flip Tap is an inspired burst of sugary electronic pop, it's also equally strange and inventive.