Formication are a UK duo who have existed since 2004. So far, they have released five CD albums, with the most recent being 'The Eyes of Erodern Riviena' on the Small Doses imprint, from USA, which collects thirteen pieces of pretty abstract electronica baked somewhere in the twilight zone. Parallels with some of the work by Coil, FSOL, Tangerine Dream and Zoviet France have been drawn along the way, but Formication ultimately amount to being a constantly-shifting unit who are enthusiastically dedicated to creating both music and art, yet feel they're still only really scratching at the surface. Outside this, they also enjoy the following: "Mountain exploration, bodies of water, conflagrations, activities, nature, un-nature, wildlife photography, analysis and lights". Their music is inspired by everything they have "seen, heard and done." LTCo is pleased to announce that the new CD by them, 'Icons for a New Religion', was released in May 2007. It comprises eleven tracks that witness Formication diving deeper into their own moonlit waters. More information can be found at their own website: www.theformicarium.com
Review by Tom Sekowski for Gaz-Eta
"Those who survived carried their children into a hopeless time and laboured over the wreckage of their former glories and failed in every attempt to rebuild what was lost. Powers rose and fell and great wars and bloodshed and anger became the way of the world and over the generations the knowledge that those explorers wrought faded into lore and legend until eventually it even left their dreams." Only some of the text on the back side of Formication's latest release. The UK electronic duo obviously love their fairy tales told with a pinch of gore. If they believe in dragons, ghoulies and other monsters, it wouldn't really faze me one bit. We're discussing music, aren't we? From the musical perspective then, the duo of Kingsley Ravenscroft and Alec Bowman play a wide array of instruments. Everything from guitars, piano, drums, djembe, tootling horn make it into the final mix. Resulting outcome is not as scary or gloomy as one may imagine. If anything, I hear a lot of sunlight peering through their sometimes dark demure. The sounds progress in mid tempo, though most of the music is honestly rather slow. But that's what ambient music is supposed to be. One of the highlights is the percussive orgy that occurs during "The Void". With an incessant pool of drowning energy, the duo attack with a perplexing beat that is processed in a quirky way. On a piece like "In the Kingdom of the Electronic Eye", the duo dive head first into the doom and gloom territory. With creepy altered vocals and demonic crawling beats, the piece firmly moves into the nether regions of hell. "The Sufferers" goes a tad lighter and expounds the duo's love for manipulative d'n'b along with their love for the quirky. An excellent release of cinematic music for the mind that will surely get interest levels peaking for lovers of ambient and the more quiet regions.
Review from Ptolmaic Terrascope
After a good handful of well-received CDR albums (including the downloadable ‘Prosperina’ on their Harmful Records imprint, Nottingham-based Formication (either alluding to ‘man on ant’ action or the application of Formica…) step up a rung on the availability front with their ‘Icons For a New Religion’ CD on the ever fascinating Lumberton Trading Company label. Comprised of Alec Bowman and Kingsley Ravenscroft (what a great name! – Ed) who share duties on various guitars, keys and drums, and the more obscure djembe, electron ‘tootling’ horn and ableton, their genuinely disconcerting soundscapes gather strands of darkly glistening electronics and faux orchestral skree which are garnished with skittering, elusive beats and insinuating vocal abstracts. Their surreal chain of dream-inducing pieces are mined from a quintessentially English motherlode which runs in a parallel course to Coil and Cyclob, but never intersects. Ambient musik with a spiked collar and a whiff of paranoia, as ‘Anse or Originate’ or ‘In the Kingdom of the Electronic Eye’ (a possible reference to the UK’s overloaded surveillance culture?) will certainly attest.
Review by Tony Dickie for Compulsion Online
Icons For A New Religion is the first proper CD from the Nottingham based duo Alec Bowman and Kingsley Ravenscroft following on from a number of professionally released CD-R recordings on their own imprint. Formication have been around a while garnering much interest with their abstract approach to dark electronica, ranging from the mutated rhythms of Crossing The Sea By Radio, and its satelitte release, Redux, which took their loose electronic compositions into a far more dense and abstract place. The Untitled Wasdale Recordings, a more recent release, placed their ritual sounds into a rural setting, largely due to its acoustic approach and improvised recording in England's Lake District. Icons For A New Religion returns to a pure electronic sound. It's a celestial headfuck of swirling electronics, fragmented rhythms, ritual voices absorbing the influences of seventies electronics, the dense sound explorations of Coil, and the fragmented and clustered rhythms of IDM. It's fair to say that the electronic influence takes precedence and that's why I regard them as a Boards of Canada for dark electronic listeners, swapping the pastoral for the astral. 'Arise or Originate' is a fine example where ritual rhythms merge with distorted cut-up voices, and spacey synths float over a dense electronic undertows. As it progresses more voices are transmitted over radio waves, and the shuffling beats swell into a solid electronic throb. The thunderous, richocheting electronic rhythmic slabs of 'In the Kingdom of the Electronic Eye' quickly evaporate to be replaced with incessant insectoid rhythms beavering furiously over pulsating textures. Here, as on the closing 'Faces of Fire', massed chanting adds to a ritual feel that permeates this and other Formication releases. The liturgical singing on the aforementioned 'Faces of Fire (Introspection)' with its reverberating electronics even recalls Coil. At other times listening to Icons For A New Religion is like astral travel as asteroids, stars and planets gush past in succession.
Their ability to enter alien terrain with psychedelic electronics puts them on a par closer to Cyclobe, rather than with Coil with who they are frequently compared, just as I did earlier on in this review. Either way, Icons For A New Religion is a dense and ornate sound exploration. It's the first Formication release that truly captures their potential. Let it do to your imagination what it did to mine. Recommended.
Review by Andrea Vercesi for Chain DLK
"Icons for a New Religion" is the new album by Formication after 5 cdr releases on their own Harmful Records. Blending early-Autechre rhythmic obsessions with a thick ritual atmosphere, the Nottingham-based duo create something of fierce originality in their new work. "In the kingdom of the Electronic Eye" is an amazing track where cyclic patterns and whispering voices are worked togheter into the larger, intricate sound matrix. The album highlight is "Faces of Fire", a piece composed by two tracks: the first part ("The Frictionless Continuum") shows a meandering synthwork over a repetitive rhythmic pounding - the second part ("Introspection") starts with a Rapoon like hypnotic pattern then develops with some Coil-esque vocals brimming with increased insistence as the track progresses. So, whether you prefer to call it "rhythmic side of ritual ambient" or "magick dance music" (!!!) this record is nothing less than astonishing. After last year's amazing album by Theme, another excellent record from Brighton's Lumberton Trading.
Review by Frans de Waard for Vital Weekly
The previous releases by Formication came to us in the form of a CDR and MP3 (see Vital Weekly 537 and 560), but here Alec Bowman and Kingsley Ravenscroft present their first real CD, and also the first one they don't release themselves. It sees them however in a similar territory as before. They take their influences as far back as the seventies, Ash Ra Temple and Tangerine Dream, via Throbbing Gristle towards Coil and minimal dance beat music of say Porter Ricks and theambience of Pete Namlook. All of what you can think of as trademarksounds for these bands are present in the music of Formication. It's not music that is crafted together to make a very coherent and well structured time based sound, but it's more music for a mood. A dark, atmospheric mood, with chanting like monks, pseudo tribal rhythms and deep ambient synthesizer patterns. At times too ritualistic for my taste, but that seems to me to be the most essential part of this music. I can enjoy the more musical outings of Formication, but they head for a world that is not my world. It's nice at times, but perhaps not too well spend on me. (FdW)
Review for Gothtronic Gothtronic
Icons for a New Religion is the new album of the electronica sound wizards Alec Bowman and Kingsley Ravenscroft and this one reminds more strongly of the work of Future Sound of London compared to theirprevious materials. The ritual touch in the music also invokes comparisons with Coil as is most obvious in a composition such as 'In The Kingdom of the Electronic Eye' or 'The Dead Underground', while the intricate rhythm structures remind more of the work of Autechre and the ambient spheres of recordings of the well known ambient labels like Apollo or R&S in the 90's. I had to think of the Isolationism cd compiled by David Toop, and released halfway the 90'stoo, while listening to the alienating yet cinematographic music of Formication. Trippy sounds, buried voices, squelched beats, reverb and all sorts of deep drones and otherworldy sounds in compositions like 'Arise or Originate' or 'Nest 4 (A New City)' create a slightly alienating and threatening atmosphere. Caleidoscopic and dark is perhaps the most accurate description. With that you can't deny mentioning Future Sound of London during the times of Lifeforms or Dead Cities. Icons for a New Religion is a worthy full length CD release, while previous materials were released on CDR. Professionally made though, such as the wonderful releases Redux and The Untitled Wasdale Recordings. Yet this new recording seems to bethe most complete Formication release so far. Recommended to the adventurous lover of electronic music.
Review for Machina Magazine
Review for Ox Fanzine