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Best of 2022

Better Corners

Modern Dance Gold, Vol. 1 (LP)

Label: The state51 Conspiracy

Format: LP

Genre: Experimental

Out of stock

From the UK based imprint, The state51 Conspiracy, comes, “Modern Dance Gold, Vol. 1”, the debut LP by Better Corners, a brand-new project from Valentina Magaletti, Sarah Register, and Matthew Simms. Harnessing a vast range of sound sources, it's a visionary expanse of abstract textures and tonalities that steadily defies any association with genre - incorporating elements of industrial music, post-punk, dance music, noise, and new age into its incredibly ambitious two sides.

Tip! ** gimmick cover ** Despite all of the pitfalls, difficulties, and losses that the last few years has presented, artists and musicians have managed to find new and remarkable ways to adapt, create, and survive. As the world reawakens and we return to some form of “normalcy”, many of the artefacts of these efforts are beginning to emerge, offering a sense of hope as we move forward. One of the most striking of these is an album by a brand-new project from Valentina Magaletti, Sarah Register, and Matthew Simms, flying under the banner of Better Corners. Their first release, “Modern Dance Gold, Vol. 1” - a beautifully produced LP issued by The state51 Conspiracy - is a visionary expanse of abstract textures and tonalities that was recorded remotely across the great distances, creating a stunning debut from the craziest of circumstances and odds.

Better Corners is something of a super group. Increasingly making her mark as a solo performer and composer, the drummer and percussionist, Valentina Magaletti, has been turning heads for years as a member of Tomaga, Holy Tongue, UUUU, and Vanishing Twin. Sarah Register first emerged during the late 2000s as a member of Talk Normal, but has dedicated most of her efforts in recent years to mastering and engineering, where she has become regarded as one of the best in the field. Matthew Simms, similarly, has been at it for more than a decade, first entering the public eye as a member of It Hugs Back, before joining the legendary post-punk outfit Wire, and working within a number of ensembles, including UUUU with Magaletti. It’s worth noting, that UUUU’s lone full length, issued by Editions Mego in 2017, was mastered by Register, joining up the dots.

The group’s debut LP, “Modern Dance Gold, Vol. 1”, beyond its striking artistic merit, doubles as a statement of perseverance against the odds and challenges presented by the global pandemic. Recorded remotely by the trio across the distances between the UK and the US, between March and December 2021, it captures a remarkable, virtual adventure forged by the trio that evolved for the better part of a year.

Fittingly, “Modern Dance Gold, Vol. 1” unfolds like a dystopian soundscape from some unknown future, built and blended from fragmented references from dozens of musical touchstones, all unified by blankets of brittle ambience. At points, the industrial, experimental abstractions of Nurse With Wound come to mind, before being sideswiped by the group as they push forward with nods to everything from post-punk, dance music, harsh noise, and new age. The result - sprawling across eight tracks - culminates as a multifaceted form of sonic assemblage, that feel undaunted by the circumstances within which they were formed.

Driven by a spine of Magaletti’s brilliant work behind the drums and on vibes, Register and Simms rise and fall against each other with interventions on prepared piano, flute, various objects, synths, and vocals to produce one of the most prescient and hopeful gestures to come out of these dark times. Absolutely stunning from start to finish, “Modern Dance Gold, Vol. 1” is one of those debuts that leaves you waiting on bated breath for what the band might produce next. Issued as a lovely vinyl edition coming in a gimmick cover by The state51 Conspiracy, it’s hard to recommend this one enough.

Details
Cat. number: CONGA1LP
Year: 2022