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East India Youth — Total Strife Forever (2014)

 East India Youth — Total Strife Forever (2014)

East India Youth — Total Strife Forever
Location: Bournemouth, England
Album release: January 13, 2014
Record Label: Stolen
Duration:     51:06
01 Glitter Recession     4:20
02 Total Strife Forever I     6:35
03 Dripping Down     4:11
04 Hinterland     6:17
05 Heaven, How Long     6:10
06 Total Strife Forever II     2:55
07 Looking for Someone     4:16
08 Midnight Koto     3:14
09 Total Strife Forever III     4:41
10 Song for a Granular Piano     4:02
11 Total Strife Forever IV     4:25
by Martyn Young | 8 January 2014 | ****½
♦  Total Strife Forever, the first LP by Bournemouth born sonic experimentalist William Doyle who records under the evocative name of East India Youth, is the sort of debut album that could only really be made in the polymorphous, wildly creative musical times in which we now inhabit.
♦  Doyle is something of an auteur and thinks nothing of combining different musical forms and styles and warping them into something quite unique. In bygone decades, the music of East India Youth would be neatly boxed away and filed under a category of experimental or ambient electronica or, even worse, derided as unlistenable self- indulgence. Instead, in 2014 it should be heralded as a significant work from one of the UK’s finest new talents.
♦  Total Strife Forever is the result of a number of Doyle’s musical influences fermenting, bubbling and reacting against and with each other to create music that is richly beguiling and challenging, yet imbued with a strong heartfelt quality and sublime beauty. From the Foals referencing title that perhaps is a relic of Doyle’s time in a self-fronted trad indie rock band, East India Youth is a composite of Doyle’s varied musical upbringing. Doyle cites the classical works of Shostakovich and the pioneering electronic experimentalism of Brian Eno as prime influences as well as a number of electronic techno producers like London duo Raime. All these sounds and styles make up Total Strife Forever tied together with Doyle’s sense of questing sonic adventure and immaculate musicianship.
♦  The album is centred around four different pieces of music that make up the title track and compose its core. Beginning with the foreboding, swarming portent of Total Strife Forever 1 the instrumental pieces traverse from abrasive humming drones via beatific, tranquil choral interludes to impossibly beautiful and inspiring neo-classical ornate works, as on the deeply impressive Total Strife Forever III and the final, equally moving, closing part IV.
♦  The four instrumental versions of the title track form the framework around which Doyle weaves increasingly bewitching patters as the music veers from moments of sublime euphoria as on the glorious glittering crescendo of Heaven How Long to incredibly intense industrial techno as best exemplified in the stunning punishing attack of the relentless Hinterland, the album’s undoubted highlight. It takes talent to master both melodic electronic pop and uncompromising grinding techno all on the one album.
♦  Where Total Strife Forever truly excels is in Doyle’s exemplary use of texture. It is an album that constantly surprises and leaves you on edge. Yet nothing sounds forced or laboured. A masterstroke is Doyle’s sparse use of vocals. His own voice is lovely and pure, but he largely eschews using it save for a few key moments. When he does, it provides an extra degree of emotion that turns gently self-loathing pieces like Dripping Down and Looking For Someone into emotional gut punches. The latter track is indeed heart stopping as Doyle lays his emotions bare proclaiming, “You think I feel nothing, you don’t know how wrong you are.”
♦  There are comparisons that can be made between the work of East India Youth and James Blake, if not strictly in sound but certainly in approach. Both are fearless, ambitious, young English producers and both are seeking to warp traditional song structures into an unclassifiable form of weirded out experimental pop. Yet, while James Blake came good on his Mercury prize winning second album, William Doyle as East India Youth has delivered a stunningly exquisite work on his very first go. Fortaken: http://www.musicomh.com/

♦  East India Youth — is actually one young man. William Doyle, a 22-year-old multi-instrumentalist from Bournemouth, who cut his teeth in an indie group called Doyle & The Fourfathers while still a teenager. Their demo was rinsed by Marc Riley on BBC 6 Music and they completed a couple of tours with the Undertones, but the frontman was already growing tired of the band format and frustrated with the slow progress of the group. The music that he then created was an original mixture of dark Detroit techno, lo-fi psychedelic noise rock, deeply romantic Pet Shop Boys-esque synth pop and ramshackle avant-electronica. Naming himself East India Youth after the location of his flat in London’s Docklands, he set about pressing the demo CD into the hands of wandering journalists, including John Doran, founder of The Quietus: ” I’d always said that I’d cut my own head off using nail clippers before we started a record label. Therefore I’m probably more surprised than anyone to be asking you to lend your ears to the ‘Hostel’ EP on The Quietus Phonographic Corporation.”

East India Youth — Total Strife Forever (2014)



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