Icarus is one of the bands that everyone is talking about, but that never gave me the kicks. Like Third Eye Foundation, Icarus combine drum?n?bass with indie rock and improvised bits. ?Sylt? is their fourth or fifth album and came out on the Danish Rump Recordings label. Like their other albums, ?Sylt? certainly has some good moments, but also a lot of senseless messing around. The opening track ?Keet? is a good example. There?s a good sense of melody in it and it has some very atmospheric bits, but all of the backwards playing and not fully fleshed rhythms during the last three minutes are plain and simply boring.
The same goes for much of ?Sylt?. Some of today?s improv and avantgarde music is really quite nice to listen to, but oftentimes it?s the same old, same old strike a chord, strike another chord and play some percussion in the time between the two chords. Icarus have quite a good sense for melody and rhythm, but they seem to deliberately hide it well enough behind a heavy curtain of improv avantgardism. The centre of ?Sylt? are the tracks ?First Inf(e)raence? and ?Second Inf(e)raence?, together making out way more than half of the album?s time. In the first one, it?s only after the ten minute mark that the tune becomes interesting with some warm reed sounds. But even then, Icarus destroy every good idea within a second by hectically adding breaks, glitches, etc. That way it becomes very hard to follow.
?Second Inf(e)raence? is slightly better with its piano beginning and the rather warm sounds just after the ten minute mark. But also here, the rhythms are just too hectic. In the genre, I really prefer someone like Squarepusher who also adds lots of breaks and irregular rhythms, but who knows how to develop a track from A to Z. Maybe their style of playing gives Icarus the ticket into avantgarde circles. But to me it seems like wasted talent. 5/10 -- Stephan Bauer (8 January, 2008)