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Metric Systems is the name of a covert project of over 20 years duration. It has moved across multiple continents, under multiple names. The 8 songs that make up ‘People in the Dark’ were recorded between 2000 and 2016 in various locations across Sydney, Melbourne and New York. The bright-eyed sci-fi fascination of Australia’s Clan Analogue collective intertwines with the more sinister facets of modern technology - echoed voices pepper the album like fragments of a surveillance tape collected by our digital panopticon. A pervasive sense of paranoia and unease winds its way through these 8 tracks that move between techno, downtempo and more abstract strains of electroacoustic experimentation. Fittingly housed in a striking sleeve by American photographer Trevor Paglen, whose MacArthur-winning work revolves around these same themes of omnipresent surveillance and data mining.
‘People in the Dark’ opens with the wordless vocals of “Your Room”, drifting over the unspooling synthesizer sequence that seems to swell and recede from the foreground like the ebb and flow of a lapping tide, lapsing into dreamy ambience before the drums come back in. The smartly programmed drums are the focus of “Chinatown Warehouse”, whose hip-hop swing gives a distinct “nod factor” to the otherwise hazy mechanics of the track. On “Laika”, a 303 line weaves its way across the subdued mid-tempo groove, gently recalling the ambient-acid of Susumu Yokota’s “Ebi” project. The penultimate track, “Stellarwind” starts with a dark, foreboding drone before shining pads arc over like a glimpse of light through the track’s murky darkness, the tension between these two poles moving together as the song unfolds.
This record reflect just a small selection from a large archive of recorded materials. All songs written and produced by Kate Crawford and Bo Daley.