June 18, 2024

Forma – “Semblance” – minimalists eschew formalities. Less is more…..

KRANKY          20th July 2008

Forma are a Brooklyn trio who like exploring, who like experimenting. They like polyrhythms, texture and variations on repetition. Mixing vocals, synthesizers, piano, sax, drums and flute; the band are their own orchestra. After 5 years together they are trying to be more direct and exacting and this is quite precise.

The opening track makes me think of Steve Reich. Classically minimalist repeated micro patterns moving at different paces criss-cross. The next track has sequenced patterns leading to a slight touch of Kraftwerk. Underneath the pattern-work, simple bass figures maintain the shape of things. Drums cycle along above rising synthesizer sounds and meandering. Quirky bumps and twerks appear. Spoken words pop up on the theme of consciousness. Elsewhere; slow and spacey rolling patterns and dreaming synths make shapes leading up to the speedy little closing coda.

The shapes and patterns are hypnotic and involving, making for a simultaneously cerebral and physical experience. Forma are influenced by minimalism but not restricted. Formal experimentation at the very accessible end of the spectrum.

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