When Ben Crook - one third of spectral electronic trio Eaux - describes his group's songs as "never finished, just abandoned" he's describing a creative process that burrows its way down and down until each track has to be wrenched away from their originator's hands, given the sheer amount of avenues that the three-piece manage to open up during conception. However Eaux's debut LP Plastics, out on ATP Recordings, also has the feel of abandonment to it, in the sense that to listen to it is to come across some long-lost gem, an unknown discovery amidst a box of records, an electronic album where influences past and present cancel each other out in stasis to create an album that exists in a timeless era.
Formed in London in early 2012, Crook, alongside Sian Ahern and Stephen Warrington, centre their foreboding towers of shadowed sound around the hypnotic release and repetition of techno; however, although Plastics does display minimalist tendencies, the group never allow their rhythmic patterns to become static, a heavily analogue approach to everything they do putting a very human face to this machine-made music.
Much of Plastics has evolved from live jams, the group holing themselves up in a personal rehearsal and studio space so that ideas form and bounce off each other. Having all come from more orthodox band set-ups, they found a freedom in experimenting with comparatively unfamiliar electronic technology, their limited knowledge of their tools meaning they could approach them with very little baggage. Ahern's vocal is another key element to the group's sound, offering a softer-edged, higher range than much of the simmering murmurs and oscillations rising and falling below her. Though aerial, sweeping through the likes of the Broadcast-esque ‘Movers and Shakers' and flowering above the pulsating after-dark drone disco of ‘Peace Makes Plenty', her voice largely works as another layer amidst what's a darkened but rich tapestry, an ethos of equality driving the group, all roles on a level with each other.
So it is that Eaux's music feels like it's trying to reach out from that clutter and acceleration of technology, tracks like ‘Evoke' pushing hard to find space away from their synthetic frequencies. Plastics, like its name suggests, is a collection of moulded, shaped forms; the result of collective electrical process. It's an album that takes in the bigger picture, with each component unable to do without any of the others.