This split is the second proper release of Falling to Pieces Records. LEECHhead I'm already familiar with through the label's first promo tape, but Ultra BonBon is a new name to me. Both solo-projects present ten minutes of somewhat lo-fi electronics with a dash of poppiness and noise.
"Void" gives the split a rather calm kickoff. A hissing synth-loop meets grainy and slightly metallic distortion, going on slowly with minimal changes. It's a simple and intriquing tune, but ends up sounding intro-like. The following song "lifeless" is rather poppy. The song is based on a simple synth-melody that's backed by programmed percussions and atmospheric ambience, all done with lo-fi sounds that give the song its charisma. The song has the feel of an arriving dusk, but the harsher and sturdier sounds give in an industrial touch. The last song, "FEED," is driven by high-pitch screeching throughout its time unleashed. This sharp sound is accompanied by loops of lo-fi-synths and minimal programmed percussions a'la the song "Lifeless," but the ear-ripping sound gives it a lot darker and inhumane feel. The track has an abrupt cut-off end. It's a bit tacky choice, but made me want to rewind the tape to better focus on what it actually holds.
These three songs present LEECHhead in a more flattering way than the aforementioned promo tape did. The lo-fi-soundscape is charismatic and "warm," and makes the songs sound more original. The ten-minute length allows the songs enough time to develop and experiment, but forces the project to give a more one-sided and less experimental image of itself than would be possible in, say, double the side's length. But who knows, maybe it's also one of the things that made LEECHhead's songs sound more matured and unified than before. They form a big picture. Still, I'm expecting to hear more originality, bolder experiments and more detailed songs that would last longer in listening.
7 / 10
Ultra BonBon delivers two songs with a very different feel. "Psychedelic Prom Dress" opens up with some noisy analogue synth-improvisations, which are soon pushed back by a simple and strong synth-melody with a twisted, slightly accordion-like sound. The analogue improvisation carries on in the background for the song's length, constantly being kept "in the leash" so that it doesn't get to dominate the track. It's an intriguing, calm tune with tasty details and an experimental feel. The follow-up "Bright Daze" revolves around a looped piano synth-melody that's backed by stretched, muffled and vibrating vocal-manipulations and heavily flanged synth-notes. It's an even calmer tune than its predecessor, and relies more on subtle detail.
I would've expected more memorability from Ultra BonBon, as such heavy reliance on atmosphere doesn't make enough of an impression in ten minutes. Nonetheless, the songs are good and and have seemingly been made by a capable artist. I'm slightly curious to hear more music from him, but I'm not fully impressed. Maybe I would've been if the split had been longer.
7+ / 10
The split holds two capable underground electro-projects that aren't afraid to do their own thing and experiment, even when it means they won't be fonded by a wide audience. I'm glad to note that the label's stepped up with the j-card paper's quality, so the split looks pretty good as well, although it doesn't hold any info on the artists. The tape sides weren't marked either, but in this case it wasn't that big a deal as they could be told apart by the amount of tracks on each side.