It Just Ain’t Flapping

“It Just Ain’t Flapping” is the second new release from UK label Consumer Waste, alongside the recently reviewed “Flourish” by Nick Hennies. It comes courtesy of VA AA LR, an established trio comprised of London-based Vasco Alves, Adam Asnan, and Louie Rice (no points for guessing how the name of the group was derived). Comprised of eight mostly short tracks, and clocking in at just over 36 minutes, the record is brief and to the point, which actually comes across as somewhat refreshing in an age where the tendency to test the limits of listeners’ endurance is widespread. Succinctness in conveying one’s musical ideas is a skill that is often overlooked in experimental music, but these three aren’t afraid of demonstrating their aptitude in this regard.

Many times here I got the sense that the musicians were having an enormous amount of fun playing with various sound-emitting objects: in the track composed entirely of tap-dancing static pops, for example, or when snippets from a pop song are thrown into the sonic mixing bowl. At other times an impression of intense studiousness prevailed. But perhaps the most interesting moments were the ones where I couldn’t tell whether the trio were serious or joking, such as with the whooping ‘siren’ in the closing piece. At such points the line between earnestness and dry humour became hard, if not impossible to draw — whoever said that art can’t be both serious and entertaining at the same time could do with giving “It Just Ain’t Flapping” a good listen.

What I couldn’t really detect was a sense of three distinct individuals working together, a sort of collaborative to-and-fro, which is perhaps inevitable given how the sounds on the album were made. Or perhaps it stems from my lack of familiarity with these musicians’ previous work; maybe over the course of several recordings and performances a sense of individual technique or style can be discerned. At any rate, this is not so important, and doesn’t detract from a fine, thoughtful, entertaining, meticulous, and fun album — another great addition to the Consumer Waste catalogue.

– Nathan Thomas for Fluid Radio

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