Cables, Sliders and Switches: A Listen to Shells By IOE AIE

Tangles of cables, sliders and switches of modular synths wound the friendship of Oxford producers Jeremy Moors, Kit Monteith and James Sharpe tightly emerging as band IOE AIE. Endless late nights of jamming dawned into the realisation that a full album was biding its time to surface from the murky shadows. Although, shadows do suit the unlit detachment from everyday life in debut album Shells: eight techno favoured tracks pound on through their grand mission. Out December 6th, 2021.

Like hazed footage in a film where a character meanders through a basement club in Germany of pipes, grey textures and sweat dripping ceilings to cruising on a freeway under the all-knowing sky. With no purpose, only the moment to be in, the songs fall into a loose concept of a short film featuring the night and its adventure. Stark poetry serpentines through the tracks, with the opener Four Quarters, keys underscore a take on the double meaning of the word saw with a hint of the lads 90s likings, which come out to rave in Divide and the muffled encounter of The Pacific.

The soundscaped beginning of Its Only Ever Autumn In England - where the trio derived its acronym- is where we take a turn on the map. Hypnotic composing braids together as an intimate narrative is told: "I've got photographs to prove I once swam naked with you." Not dressed with a hue of emotion, but soothing and blunt, drawing you into the shallows with the author. Verite Fairytale surges, the intensity rises in an industrial, slow burner and a solid middle of the record.

Patience granted tracks to breathe and find the essence of their meaning. There is a whole load of details and cross-over, and most of all, passion for craft, exhibited in the echo chambered Amado presenting a hint of a tune in an atypical time in the song. Storytelling continues with 18, where what sounds like a nostalgic frolic of an innocent night of youth with a pal bears an unexpected sci-fi angle, questioning what is real? What is perceived? What is true?

Written and produced by the group, following a remix for pals Everything Everything with Black Hyena, there are no rules to where this fits best for your listening pleasure, a musical chameleon ending with a big finish for Cities and Memories. A percussive trip around the globe and the statement that distance does not make the heart grow fonder; it is more, 'Distance makes the heart grow harder.' Coming full circle, an acid house melody and rumbling bass end the trek by three friends wanting only to feed on each other's capabilities and artistic vision as a collective.

Visit Bandcamp: Deluxe double vinyl: 2 x 12” 140gram BLACK vinyl LP record. White Paper Inner Bags / 300GSM Outer Sleeve. Includes unlimited streaming of SHELLS via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

Article by Beverley Knight