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Essential Album: The Dolls "The Dolls" via Huume Recordings

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What would happen if you fused the heartbreakingly tender, yet distant, organic/electronic sonic patchwork of Herbert's Bodily Functions and the visionary post-rock / jazz fusion exploits of later period Talk Talk with the serene and evocative cinematic compositions of Craig Armstrong and the deep, hypnotic experimental electronic pulses of Finland’s Luomo? You'd get The Dolls. The Dolls is the finely-crafted collaboration between producer Vladislav Delay (aka Luomo), award-winning Scottish composer Craig Armstrong and German electronic vocalist / composer Antye Greie. Released on Delay’s own Huume Recordings imprint, the trio’s impressive self-titled debut is an arty post-modern exercise charting a range of eclectic influences from deconstructed electronic, soulful tech-house, dub, Talk Talk, Bark Psychosis, classic ECM, Dali, Dada and Fluxus. It's a neatly wrapped Orwellian vision summoning Poe, Camus, Virginia Wolfe and Chomsky in one gloriously restrained and refined musical statement. Easily on of the best albums of 2005 and the perfect companion for cold winter nights, the set is draped in the penetratingly stark and warm, minimal electronic textures and piano-based compositions of Delay and Armstrong. Delicate chanteuse Greie breathes life into each song weaving an intricate netherworld littered with vivid existential narratives that are seductive intellectual discourses. Highlights include “Martini Never Dries,” the sumptuous title track, the classic New York early '80s mutant disco / no wave inspired “Night Active,” the hypnotic and effectual "Collect The Blue" (with the luscious refrain "the water seems more blue, than all the skies"), the stargazing epic “Star-Like” and the obtuse “Kukkuu."

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