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Oracle is comprised of Malka Spigel, Colin Newman, and Samy Birnbach, and was formed after Minimal Compact disbanded (both Spigel and Birnbach were members). This album represents a selection of the work the trio produced between 1988 and 1993.

It begins well with the punchy and uptempo Esther II, the heights of which are only really reached again with the rhythmically busy World Gardening, which manages to mash together several genres into a thumping dancefloor tune that mixes East and West with style.

The slower tracks are often handled with less confidence and the lack of diction in some of the narratives renders them obsolete. However, some succeed, such as Questions, with its lumbering beat, warm instrumentation and light chorus.

If its aim really is to be multi-dimesional then the album succeeds with a fairly wide variety of styles and sounds, and the fact that it still sounds fresh several years after its release is testament to its longevity. Although too patchy to be recommended outright, the half dozen or so outstanding tracks combine to make this a fairly good purchase.

Craig Grannell (1998)

Cover artwork