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Abiku - Left and Right
Monday, December 01 2008 @ 01:00 AM PST
Contributed by: Romain Bonilla

Left and Right

Artist: Abiku United States

Title: Left and Right

Label: Automation Records United States

Genre: Experimental Electronica



01 Enlist 
02 By The Toe 
03 Regency 
04 Merge 
05 Bobby 
06 Star Ring 
07 Dorm 
08 Shark 
09 Pretty Thing
10 Trundle
11 Garble
12 Spoiler Alert
13 Rigging
14 Slow
15 Highest Tree
16 Everything Louder
17 Bruised Ego
18 Rabbit's Foot
19 Merricat
20 Trouble's LadderRight


01 Milestones
02 Commemorate
03 Anticipate
04 Horse Heaven
05 Donkey
06 Daylight
07 Maximize
08 Secret
09 Mimic
10 Restless Legs
11 Glands
12 Organbeat
13 Coverage
14 Kitten
15 Infusion
16 Drive
17 Real Witches
18 The Dog And The Wolf
19 Bramble
20 Wrong
21 Good Weather
22 Water Trust


Abiku, formed in Philadelphia by members Jane and Josh, now a Baltimore-based duo, have been creative the whole way through, even in the process of releasing their album... Or should I say albums! Indeed, Left and Right(or Right and Left, which ever way you like) are twin albums, not too different from each other when it comes to style. Their varied set of influences are quite decently implemented in those two CDs, who, like brother-and-sister, tackle your musical morality to twist it and bend it in some perverse and divine manipulation of sound.

When it comes to influences, one can easily recognize dozens of them throughout only a couple of tracks. In “Dorm”, for example, there is a clear drone/ambient feel that encompasses the surface of the sound waves, relaxing the listener, putting you to sleep, only to later wake you up with more punk influenced tracks such as “Shark”. The industrial and noise influence can be noticed in tracks like “Star Ring”, where the sounds consists of backstage drones accentuated with loud, noisy, almost tribal drum machines. Another influence that pops up throughout the albums is house music and modern techno in a general manner. Now don't expect classic clubbing music from Abiku; they are not the kind of band to play Spencer & Hill type of house. Instead, tracks like “Bobby” or “Merge” have strong house beats backed by keyboards and Jane's strange vocal style, slightly reminding of that of Tobi Vail from Bikini Kill. Tracks like “Pretty Thing” or “Regency” contain electronic blast beats, confirming the grindcore influence claimed on their MySpace page. The funny thing about those tracks is that instead of continuing in a traditional blast beat, the drum machines trip and slip into progressive, chaotic rhythms. When one track ends, you never quite know what to expect from the following track.

The sounds of the album come in myriads and in amazing variety. “Trundle” has quite a video game feeling to it at moments, most likely due to rapidly repeated beep, reminiscent of those times where your character is out of health points. Those sounds allied with the screaming of Jane bring the stressful feeling of the song to a whole new level. The sounds modeled in “Spoiler Alert” are relaxing and waterlike, falling and singing at every movement. “Daylight”, despite having a positive connotation from the title, has actually a dark robotic feel, which shows some sort of irony in the band's train of thought. The mixing is interesting as well, for the vocals are generally pushed to the back of the sounds, with the drum machines having primary exposure to the ears of the listener.

I've listened to those twin albums several times now, and I have to say while the sounds may become more familiar at every listen, it remains a colorfully obscure record, with complex emotions and lack thereof, and intelligent arrangements, musically and rhythmically. If you're looking for a less obnoxious, uniform, repetitive, and more creative, dark, and innovative version of Mindless Self Indulgence, then I'm sure Abiku's Left and Right will work perfectly with your musical personality disorder.


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