The Focus Group, Elektrik Karousel, 2013

The Focus Group’s new album
“Elektrik Karousel”

May 10 2013
3:00 PM

The Focus Group is the brainchild of Julian House, musician, co-owner of the Ghost Box music label (by whom this record is released) and designer associated with the London-based creative firm Intro. The album Elektrik Karousel (2013) follows in the style of The Focus Group’s previous installment, We Are All Pan’s People (2007)—after a parenthetical collaboration with the cult band Broadcast in 2009, Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age—in imagining the soundtrack of an alternative Great Britain, where the course of time freezes in the late ’70s and goes back and forth to the late ’60s. The compositions strongly rely on a sampling technique in which source material—bucolic ballads, psychedelic music, melodic jazz  and jingles from old-time television shows—metamorphoses into a fractioned soundscape. House has perfected a formula for his aural collages, using elements of the sound library as magical components to evoke Italian Giallo films, old-school British horror movies and Czech surrealism. The music on Elektrik Karousel would normally fall within the definition of “hauntology” hyped by bloggers few years ago, but could also be described as “archive psychedelics”: the artist here is a facilitator for the emergence of the hidden and the latent  in the history of recorded sound. The resulting estrangement comes from an artisanal combination of layers of the familiar. (Francesco Tenaglia)