Sneaking out on Rush Hour at the fag-end of last year the Will and Florian EP arrived with virtually no fanfare but a year’s worth of great material by both of the contributing artists to live up to. Collaborations always have an inherent risk, a danger of visions being diluted by the other. Sometimes though, as is the case here, that can perhaps be a benefit, enabling two artists to meet on common ground. In this case some grit and a few kinks have been injected into Florian Kupfer’s normally languid and dusty tones by the presence of Willie Burns. Burns himself sees his typically laconic and free-wheeling style straightened out slightly.
The result is an uneven record that never quite feels as strong as either artists solo work but nevertheless provides more than a few moments of real grace. Ranging between down-mood, synth led exploratory pieces and more fire infused material, Will and Florian has the feel of an experiment left to run on its own to see what comes. There is maybe a tendency towards the slightly overindulgent, but that is quite possibly me being a bit harsh. It is probably truer to say that there is a sense of two artists who enjoy each others work bouncing ideas between them for no other reason than fun.
The deeper tracks that form the core of the mini album, like I Think That’s How Roaches Sound or Sound And Reptilians are slow drifters. With debts to unsettling experimentalism and 80s synth explorations respectively they layer sounds and ideas on the back of careful arrangement but are never entirely realised, both lacking an obvious emotional heart. Pierce Through The Soul is better; ghostly and sombre, it unwinds into a dark drama played out under naked winter trees.
The two tracks that bookend the record, Hanging Lights and Worked Out are more lively. Worked Out is a trippy breakbeat infused anthem that wraps itself in the day-glo colours of early nineties rave whilst cutting the tempo to a minimum. The result, indistinct and dreamlike, is like the flare of a memory.
Hanging Lights, though is a deep jacking number that channels a similar sort of trancey yet insistent energy as prime Joey Anderson whilst adding a grizzled electro murk to the mix. It’s faster than the other tracks but not really harder. Fuzzy kicks and scuzzed up cowbells provide a stomp for the discordant, melancholy piano – itself scratched and faded. It’s a real grower, taking its time to burrow itself into your head. It would be worth the price of admission alone if Pierce Through The Soul hadn’t already sweetened the deal.
As a first step there is more than enough here to suggest Burns and Kupfer might have the beginnings of a fruitful sonic relationship, especially should they invest future work with the same depth of shared vision as they have with Hanging Lights and Pierce Through The Soul. While you probably couldn’t consider Will And Florian an essential purchase when compared to either artists solo material, there are still enough ideas here to warrant a closer look. A patchy but interesting release from a nascent partnership with real promise.