The Eccentronic Research Council – 1612 Underture
1612 Underture is a collaborative concept album about the Lancashire witch trials of 1612, combining experimental electronica with spoken word. Actress Maxine Peake's spoken word contributions are informed and well-written, but often ruin the atmosphere created by the abstract electronic twiddling going on beneath the narrative.
The album's reliance on observational, diary-like narrative and historical fact demands the listener's attention in full, but is too meandering and unfocused to reward that attention with an involving storyline. Perhaps an album of the electronic music, accompanied by a booklet of the lyrical contributions would have worked better – as it stands, the spoken word parts detract from the electronic soundscapes, and vice versa.
They are two incongruent parts that refuse to fit together. In particular, the lack of effects on the vocals make them stick out unpleasantly, limiting the album's appeal to folk historians or spoken word enthusiasts. Unconvincing, and ultimately a tiring, disappointing listen.