Or so it Seems
Duet Emmo finds Mute boss Daniel Miller and Lewis and Gilbert of Dome in cahoots and, as you might expect, the album is a sometimes unharmoneous, but sometimes inspired clash of Dome's noise-led experimentation and Miller's synth-pop leanings.
It is with the pop-oriented tracks that the release really hits its highs, especially with the beautiful Or so it Seems. The combination of repeating tinky-pop tunelets and riffs, squelchy burbling noises and haunting vocals, is both infectious and timeless. Similarly engaging is the drastic reworking of Linasixup from Dome 1, now called The First Person and sounding like a bizarre mix of Dome rhythms, sweet, yet sombre voices and, oddly enough, the theme to Doctor Who...
Of course, the atypical Dome fan is not to be left wanting. Along with the relentless beat of Hill Of Men that marks the introduction to the album, and the vaguely ethnic rumblings of A.N.C., one finds the epic Long Sledge. This slowly building stew of metallic rhythms, background clattering and claustrophobic space, lasts for nearly 17 minutes, slowly giving way to layered washes of texture and industrial sound loops.
Apart from a few pieces that rely on the technology of the time (the very Mute-pop outro, Heart of Hearts springs to mind here) this release manages to transcend the decades, often sounding as fresh and original now as it must have done back in 1983. Dedicated Dome listeners or fans of Mute's output will probably note that Duet Emmo is something of a pick'n'mix, but you'll find most of the album is worth listening to.
Craig Grannell (March, 2000)