•• Adem @ UCL Bloomsbury Theatre, London, 15 June 2004
•• Published: SoundsXP, June 2004
•• Original article:

Adem Ilhan came quietly to the fore a few years ago with experimental electronic noodlers, Fridge, along with bandmate Kieran Hebden. While Hebden has gone on to focus on his critically acclaimed Four Tet project, it is now Adem striking out on his own for a share of the solo spoils, tonight performing songs from his well-received 'Homesongs' album.

Whereas Four Tet produces understated, sometimes challenging, Aphex Twin-styled electronica, Adem answers his bandmate's so-called folktronica with music that is far more to do with traditional folk music than electronic tomfoolery.

This is a lo-fi modern folk set of straight songs featuring Adem's heartfelt, bittersweet vocals. Playing a selection of acoustic guitar duets, his gentle, subtly moving music owes more to the Kings of Convenience than any cutting edge 'intelligent' dance music. From the touching 'Cut' to the emotive, tear-drenched melancholia of 'Ringing In My Ears', this is music that, while not breaking any new ground, is in turns sad and sorrowful then sweetly uplifting.

Part dressed-down Kenny Everett, part Kermit the Frog, part middle-aged chemistry teacher, Adem strikes up a good rapport with the audience through his softly spoken humour while the music is well suited to the hushed, intimate environment offered by the venue.

For the final track, 'There Will Always Be', the guitars are put to one side in favour of organ and zither, the line 'there will always be room at my table for you', summing up Adem's romantically sentimental tales of the everyday. While certainly not rousing, energetic or awe-inspiring, Adem's sweetly soulful music certainly soothes and relaxes.

Prolonged exposure may prove too sweet and soporific but in small doses this is beautifully constructed modern folk to sit back and warm yourself to. He may not be bending the rules or doing anything particularly new but Adem's music has an emotional charge to it that is strong enough to soften all but the hardest of hearts.

- Ian Roullier, 06/2004
Copyright © Ian Roullier 2004-2014