Grumbling Fur, the band behind The Quietus’ 2013 album of the year, to release next LP on The Quietus‘ label

Grumbling Fur, the band behind The Quietus' 2013 album of the year, to release next LP on The Quietus' label

The words you’re looking for are “cream skimming.” Then again, maybe not. What would you call a festival organized by a webzine to showcase the best-regarded artists in its canon? It’s not like we’re talking about a magazine that regularly features its director’s business associate on its cover, right? Heck, it ain’t even the first mag to start a label of its own. In a perfect world, no one would pay this minutiae any mind. The Quietus is one of the best music magazines out there, and Grumbling Fur are a genuinely interesting electronic music duo whose 2013 Glynnaestra gave Factory Floor a run for their money. So, hey, what the hell do I know. Perhaps there’s nothing weird about Grumbling Fur releasing their new LP, Preternaturals, on a label run by an outlet that’s supposed to assess precisely said products.

These are the cold, hard facts: Grumbling Fur are a London-based duo, formed by Daniel O’Sullivan and Alexander Tucker. Both being veterans of the UK experimental/electronic scene, they started playing together as Grumbling Fur in 2011. Last year’s Glynnaestra, their second album, marked the duo’s breakthrough, on the strength of future-pop-inflected songs where acoustic instruments and digital sound met, taking a quasi-psychedelic hue. Packed with allusions to ancient mysticism, sci-fi, collage compositional techniques, and “modern shamanistic metanarratives,” the album aspired to join a tradition of avant-garde music touched by an “Englishness undercurrent” — as found in Brian Eno’s or This Heat’s work. Come to think of it, this was an LP tailor-made to guarantee Quietus writers would fall head over heels for it.

The Quietus admit as much, claiming they first thought about releasing Grumbling Fur’s new music after declaring Glynnaestra their favorite album of 2013. The collaboration quickly grew from a standalone 12-inch single to a full album. This is The Quietus Phonographic Corporation’s second release, after putting out East India Youth’s debut EP in 2013. Grumbling Fur have described Preternaturals as their “pop album,” something easy to detect in the insanely catchy first cut, “All the Rays.” But fear not, for the LP is no less conceptually heavy for that: keeping Englishness as a key topic, the duo cite the influence of occult painter Austin Osman Spare, New Zealand’s great Alastair Galbraith, Faust, and Ram-era Paul McCartney. Doesn’t that sound deliciously deranged? Screw conflicts of interests. It doesn’t matter if you trust The Quietus’ judgment (like I do) or not; this thing definitely merits a listen.

The album is out August 11 on vinyl, CD, and digital. Listen to “All the Rays” below:

• Grumbling Fur: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Grumbling-Fur/333453336674481
The Quietus: http://thequietus.com

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