Posted on July 09 2020
Art Feynman - Half Price at 3:30
Reviewed by Georgie Hurst
Art Feynman, a.k.a Luke Temple of Here We Go Magic, is a chameleonic artist, melding synth pop with worldbeat, Nigerian highlife, and psychedelia into an eclectic collage of sound in his latest album Half Price at 3:30.
The ambiguous title matches this mysterious alter ego of Temple’s, whose face is obscured in album artwork and promotional images.
The album flitters between the realms of reality and fantasy, the wistful dreams of fame in 'Taking on Hollywood’, rich with textured drums, arpeggiated synths and auto-tuned vocals, meets its tragic counterpart in ‘The Physical Life of Marilyn’; driving kraut rock blends with a tempest of strings and washy synths, drum fills rumbling as Temple’s auto-tuned voice cries “in the glass house up on the hill,” all creating the sense of world mired in noise and artifice.
His more politically charged tracks also contain this dualism, synth-pop ballad ‘China Be Better’ sombrely sings of the ‘madness’ in the global superpower’s ethics: ‘you’ve got to be better’ Temple implores, as the song builds in intensity, synths swell, guitars of various timbres play in counterpoint, and screech over one another into a crescendo. The entirely opposite tone is created in the equally political ‘Not My Guy’, which layers the incendiary language of Trump’s 2016 election campaign (‘Line’m up, send’m out’), over a playful Afrobeat groove.
What makes this album, for me, is Feynman’s ability to contain entire worlds within a single song; his production abilities really shine in their adaptability to such metamorphic songwriting. ‘Emancipate Your Love Life’ demonstrates this perfectly, an Ariel Pink-esque lo-fi love song with all the trimmings. Compare it with the delightfully catchy ‘I’m Gonna Miss Your World,’ - its eclectic layering of textures and synths reminiscent of sound experimentalists like Arthur Russell and Frances Bebey - and you’ll get a sense of this diversity.
My favourite tracks on the album are the final two: ‘Nancy Are You Hiding in Your Work’ and ‘I Can Dream’. The former is off-kilter pop, laden with 8-bit samples and lyrics that don’t take themselves too seriously (“drinking your Listerine like wine”). The latter, a floaty and soporific love song, Temple poetically singing: “The air is warm with a fever, fruit trees are letting their children fall, a summer of labour in a blink is all it takes for the fruit to lay wasted.” This finale perfectly embodies the dreaminess that I feel characterises Half Price at 3:30; even in its dancier and more jubilant moments, there is an uncanniness to the way style is adopted - an aloofness - that seems to be communicated by Temple’s closing refrain in the album’s last song: “I’m here but I’m not here.”
Half Price at 3:30 is out now on Western Vinyl and available to purchase on red vinyl here at Nightfly Records