Her Space Holiday : Manic Expressive

US downtempo with occasional flashes of greatness...

Marc Bianchi is not as other men. Unless, due to some unfortunate freak, all

those men are Moby. First off, he swapped Californian hardcore outfit Mohinder

for a life of song-based electronic contemplation. Then he decided to record under

the name Her Space Holiday. Stranger still, when he was putting together this

year’s remix album, ‘Ambidextrous’, he didn’t approach, say, Masters At Work but
Elastica and well-known ‘floor filler Bright Eyes.

On that evidence ‘Manic Expressive’ should be either a) a work of unhinged

genius or b) unbearably pretentious. Unfortunately, it’s neither. Instead, it’s

a rather mousey, introspective record, awash with the wishy-washy sounds of

shoegazing, and yet not without its precise, audacious moments.

‘The Ringing In My Ears’, one the album’s most composed songs, flourishes

magnificently at the end, a rush of drum ‘n’ bass beats, swirling strings and

glorious tangential trumpet. Similarly, ‘Key Stroke’ – glacial, winking lights,

worthy of Schneider TM – and the spoken-samples and Paris-Texas ambient washes

of ‘Spectator Sport’ have a palpable spark.

Too often though, Bianchi’s excellent toiling strings are mere intros to

lethargic songs, wherein he’s just another doleful, navel-gazing American with a

washed-out voice and a few Tortoise albums. While Autechre play quietly on a

transistor radio in the next room.

There’s something here, but it’s unlikely to really flourish until Bianchi uses

bolder colours on a bigger canvas.

Tony Naylor