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Technology + Teamwork’s fizzling synths, interweaving textures and punchy rhythms are beguiling on their long-awaited debut album We Used To Be Friends. However, at the heart of it all it’s the connection between the group’s two members, Anthony Silvester and Sarah Jones, the friendship the much-traveled duo have managed to maintain for nearly 15 years and a showcase of the slow-burning construction of the electronic world that they’ve surrounded themselves with.
We Used To Be Friends is ultimately the tale of two storied artists in their own right, holding onto each other through personal and career twists and turns, re-locations and broader movements through respective phases of their lives. Silvester and Jones first met and then collaborated as part of biting post-punk five-piece XX Teens in 2008, eventually breaking off to forge their own path together even as the latter’s demand as a drummer grew. Performing with everyone from Hot Chip, Harry Styles and Bloc Party among many others, Jones has been a constant percussive presence across the sphere of alternative UK pop music—she’s also found time for her own solo project Pillow Person and played on records by the likes of Puscifer and Kurt Vile.
Silvester meanwhile has performed in art galleries across Europe including: Fridericianum in Kassel, Kölnischer Kunstverein in Cologne, and Vleeshal in Middelburg, as well as providing sound design and composing work for several art films.
The album bristles with hyperpop modernity. You can hear it in the manipulated vocals most prominently on Big Blue’s disco strut and on Moving Too’s heady mix of pitched up voice and burrowing sub bass. However, the pair also looked to San Francisco and the West Coast synthesis movement of the 60s, Silvester inspired by the likes of Suzanne Ciani and Don Buchla. The plaintive lo-fi and melancholy of Amsterdam incorporates Mutable Instrument’s Marbles by Émilie Gillet which – inspired by Buchla’s own synthesis work – outputs random voltages to give the track an air of unpredictability. It’s something that occurs throughout the album, the duo revelling in the happy accidents that disrupt the flow of their hook-laden pop.