“Iconography” – Collarbones

Not many artists can claim to have pushed the boundaries of sound so far that genres have to be stretched, redefined in order to accommodate them. Collarbones, however, have managed this with their debut release, Iconography, which heralded in a new era in music production from its moment of conception. While other musicians have become wary of the Internet, Travis Cook and Marcus Whale have used it as their main channel for collaboration, not only forming their ‘music-making relationship’ online but creating songs by sharing samples, loops and sounds which were then molded together. The product is a distinctive soundscape that celebrates its digital origins and transports the listener into a instantly recognisable yet unexplored world.

Although it may have been pieced together bit by bit, Iconography’s experimental nature means that it is best listened to in its 11-track entirety, with the soft melodic beginning of ‘Don Juan’ being a stark contrast to the heaviness and distortion of ‘Snatch’. It is also an album that demands the listener’s full attention – strangely reminiscent of the joys experienced by those listening to the very first gramophone recording, albeit in a strongly digital age. The mix of vocals and sampled beats and loops is displayed at its finest in ‘Id’, where the soothing melody and recurring beats provide not so much a contrast to each other but a stirring blend – a sort of lullaby for the digital world, a city that never sleeps.
Iconography can, at first, be a little difficult to begin to comprehend, especially for those who are new to thinking about music as something that can be put together, piece by piece. However, further listening is well worth it, as Collarbones not only challenges the processes in which music can be created, but the preconceived notions of the listener as well.
– Cassandra Wright
(The Hoist, 7-8pm weekdays on SYN)