Mr Fogg - Eleven

Mr Fogg, Reading’s kookiest pop prodigy, has graced us with a follow-up to his euphoric 2010 debut. Having cleared his pathways somewhat gingerly in round one, it’s gratifying to now hear Mr Fogg re-tramping them with the oomph Moving Parts lacked. This is a man, perhaps, now feeling his weight in the world.

Although Eleven isn’t a shocker, it’s far from prosaic. Coloured with crisp, fresh material and freeze-dried with Icelandic producer Valgier Sigurosson’s trademark winteriness, this is an impressive album that goes deeper than many of its hook-reliant electropop contemporaries. The sophistication that balanced Moving Parts so deftly on the art/pop see-saw has now taken centre stage. This balance puts Fogg’s music right where it wants to be – a place where expectations are met and simultaneously resisted, where a record can be both accessible and surprising. Shouldn’t that be the end goal of all pop music?

Typical of most electronic music, phrases are articulated fairly mechanically, and yet often their centre of balance feels strangely lopsided. The beats are also a little topsy-turvy, and hearing them convulse behind Fogg’s glum spider-web of a voice, it’s not difficult to be reminded of Radiohead.

Another similarity to the squiffy-eyed Oxford lads is Fogg’s appetite for diverse electronic influences. Contemporary Berlin sound (especially the B Pitch Control roster), as well as some classic Warp Records oddities provide a fascinating, (albeit not original) palette of sounds which Fogg moulds into a deep, dynamically bursting collage. Eleven’s emotional complexity and depth of expression is, unlike most pop music, less about individual timbres and more about the collective communication between them – maybe its these typically orchestral tactics that provide the album’s high brow sheen. 

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