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EDITORIAL : Review : Mute  

  Mute : Techno Squirrels
Submitted by Lisa Eriksson
(August 30, 2005)

Mute is the debut single from LA-based trance artists Lisa Eriksson and Ryan Harlin, collectively known as Techno Squirrels. Drawing from a diverse pool of influences, Techno Squirrels' first outing adeptly showcases an infectious fusion of artistry and craftsmanship.

The title track is an ethereal masterpiece and it's the strength of Squirrels' songwriting that is so immediately captivating. More brushstrokes than beats, there's a fragile impermanence to "Mute" that seems to draw its inspiration from the works of Claude Monet rather than Paul Oakenfold. Reminiscent of Madonna's 1998 "Drowned World," "Mute" feels at once both dream journal and diary entry. The star of the track is Eriksson's vocal which glides effortlessly over the pair's slick production work, first skimming the glassy surface of the verse then soaring through the sweeping vistas of its chorus.

In contrast, "405" is an almost frantic survivalist rant. Though claustrophobic in its restraint, there's a boiling undercurrent of tension that hurtles the listener along at a dizzying pace. Again, it's the interplay between vocal and instrumentation here that is most charming. Harlin and Eriksson construct a road rage foundation above which Eriksson's melody then grapples for a Zen-like calm.

Also included with the single are two remixes of "Mute." Both The Puff and Johan Afterglow seem most interested in exploring the potential held within the vocal and play freely with its arrangement. The Puff focuses on wrapping club-friendly beats around heavily processed remnants of the original. In turn, Afterglow grounds his take on the track in vibrant colors and hopeful, blip-heavy beats that move the track towards a Cubist reinvention.

Each track on Mute is infused with Techno Squirrels' intrinsic mix of superior production highlighted by youthful vitality. Look forward to an October release from a duo that promises to impress.

Jesse Colin
Amanda Yaste
-Transplant Media

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