Thursday, February 16, 2006


I recently received an email from one of the guys at Expanding Records, the label founded by Benge (Ben Edwards) a few years ago. I did receive one of their releases a few years ago (Benge’s Meme Tunes - reviewed November 2002), and I have been aware of some of their more recent releases since, but never got to hear any of them properly since. So I was pleased they dropped me an email, and I have since received a substantial package containing not only two forthcoming releases (Modern Institute: Excellent Swimmer and Miller + Fiam: Modern Romance), but also four albums they have released recently (Vessel: Resist, Benge: I Am 9, Sovacusa: Centerpoint, and Flotel: Wooden Beard).

Of the forthcoming albums, I’ve only managed to play that of Modern Institute, but it is a superb piece of work. Modern Institute is the project of Teho Teardo (guitar, Rhodes, synths, programming) and Martina Bertoni (cello). Teardo has worked with Nurse With Wounds, Placebo (I like the irony of these two put together), Scorn, Lydia Lunch and Rothko and has also worked on film soundtracks. Bertoni is a classically trained musician who has worked across a wide range of genres and projects.

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Modern Institute: Excellent Swimmer

Excellent Swimmer is a beautiful and delicate piece of work with loads of acoustic textures combined into evocative cinematic compositions. Although the electronic touch is clearly felt all the way through, either via treated sounds or loops, the acoustic elements, especially Martina’s cello, are overwhelmingly leading this record.

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