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The 1990s was an amazingly creative time for dance music. The number of genres spawned over that decade is mind-boggling - house, breakbeat, lounge, drum & bass, hardcore, happy house, techno, ambient and more all surfaced, in some corners infiltrating mainstream music and in others taking experimentation to new levels.
It is from this golden era that Amongst the Pigeons has taken its influences, and these influences really shine through on new album ‘Those Stolen Moments’. According to the press release accompanying the album, it has been 7 years since the last ATP album and 5 years since they said they would not be making any more music, but things have changed, pretty much by accident in July 2018 while producer/performer Daniel Parsons was in Perch, his local coffee shop.
While working on his laptop he started recording some of the ‘clinking’ in the background and very quickly turned it into a beat. Upon returning home and going to his ‘shedio’ the song was fully fleshed and became ‘Perching’; the first new ATP song since 2014. Perching is indeed a very interesting tune. Imagine that you’re in a coffee shop yourself but in an altered state of consciousness, this would form the perfect soundtrack. Quirky and almost filmic, it’s quite trippy.
There was no intention at this stage for Daniel to continue writing but the ideas kept on coming, albeit encumbered by the challenges of having to juggle a full-time job (including a 4 hour daily commute), spending time with a young family and doing all the other tasks that seem to engulf our daily lives. The efforts to try and harness these ideas within time constraints inspired the album title ‘Those Stolen Moments’.
Perhaps the most obvious influence on the album is Orbital, particularly on tracks like Inflight Entertainment, the 25th Hour, and Water into Whiskey, but there’s also a nod to a number of other artists, such as Juan Atkins, Model 500, Autechre, Future Sound of London, Carl Craig, Slam, B12 and the Black Dog. Beautiful Negative Space for example could have found its way onto a Black Dog album, At Any Opportunity wouldn’t be out of place on a Slam album and Thinking is Addictive, which features a speech from Eckhart Tolle about humans needing to be mindful, sounds like it could have been written by Model 500.
That’s not to say however that these tunes are carbon copies of the artists that have influenced them. The benefit of creating music influenced by an era is that you can avoid some of the mistakes made, and Those Stolen Moments does this well by keeping its 9 songs brief and to the point, and adding its own unique style to the mix. At a mere 27 minutes long, the album flies by, with almost every track around the 3-minute mark, and there is minimal reliance on 4/4 beats.
In many ways Those Stolen Moments is a celebration of the best bits of 90s dance music, avoiding its excesses and using inventive beats and creative sounds to great effect. ATP wear their influences with pride too, judging by the video to 25th Hour, which features footage of ravers from the 90’s. Anyone who remembers picking up instructions from a designated petrol station to find the location of the rave, arriving at said rave with immense anticipation before dancing the night away, might want to give that a watch!
Those Stolen Moments is released on 15th November.