On 'Models', Brummie producer Lee Gamble lets earworms inform a suite of illusory anthems, subliming vulnerable, half-remembered fragments of dream pop, Soundcloud rap and trance in the process. Sung by cybernetic voices in an almost wordless language, his widescreen memories reverberate across the last few decades of pop history, smudging Elizabeth Frazer's surreal poetry into disembodied diva cries and Lil Uzi Vert's abstract, AutoTuned mumbles.
It's a technique that advances the theories behind Gamble's 2012 album 'Diversions 1994-1996', when the producer vaporised interludes and breakdowns from his collection of jungle tapes into ghosted echoes. He surveys and blurs musical history in much the same way here, but swerves sampling completely and isn't in search of passive, ambient euphoria. On 'Models' Gamble instead trains his focus on the synthetic voice, an element that's far more conspicuous. Loose phrases were fed into a series of neural networks which would attempt to mimic them and sing them back, often corrupting them into indecipherable clouds.
Gamble spent two years building vocal systems using various methods, some powered by machine learning and some not; not all the voices on 'Models' are AI, but every voice is completely digital.
Gamble's role was to make sense of the chatter and twist these non-words into tight emotional coils. Extracting the most haunted fragments and using them to sculpt dreamy pop simulacrums, Gamble takes the concept of the pop producer to its logical extreme - examining how intonation and language is engineered to monopolise our attention, his uncomfortably addicting, magical realist inversion of pop plays like a bewitching symphony of earworms.
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