Monday, May 17, 2010

Mini CD Reviews

I have so busy with traveling to and attending the Coachella Music Festival, visiting London, and also starting a new job that I have let a lot of great cds I've been listening to fall off the map. I wanted to review each of them separately and in depth, however, I am just so far behind and the list is starting to get out of hand. So, to make up for that, here is a down and dirty review for several cds that I have been listening to and mostly enjoying.

These New Puritans
9.8 out of 10

This really should get a full review as it is my favorite cd of the year so far, but hey ho. Their first cd was a Fall-esque angular guitar attack, while Hidden is a militaristic, symphonic electronic suite. It combines raw, brutal power with disarmingly haunting delicacy. Not quite in sound but in execution, it reminds me of Talk Talk's landmark Spirit of Eden; an album that will be talked about for years to come. This cd fascinates me more than any I have heard in awhile. Pure and utter genius.

7 out of 10

You never know what Liars are going to do from album to album. From their debut of amazing dance punk, through bizarre sojourns with German mysticism and witchcraft, delightful vacations of motorik and fuzzed out JAMC bliss, you can never say they are conventional. So what do they do with Sisterworld? They get their chemistry sets out and mix them all together. My friend Matthew said he was bored by it, but I feel there are some good tracks on it. It is a good collusion of their various styles so far, but something definitely held me back from full out love. I was hoping for something more original. Avoid the extra cd of remixes as they are pretty pointless.

Plastic Beach
8.2 out of 10

By far their best and most cohesive work; the sound of a real "band." Furthermore, they put on a kick-ass live show at Coachella this year. For once, the cd works as a collective whole and not just a bunch of singles surrounded by supporting filler. To be honest, the first two cds have one or two better tracks, but I usually skip over the other songs to get to them. With Plastic Beach I listen through the whole thing.

6.8 out of 10

I want to adore this cd. All of the elements are there; beautiful melodies, echoes of past dance music trends, sunny beats. But for some reason it just never gels into something more than spot the influence. The pacing of the cd is horrible too with the opening slog of three songs barely making it through their first run on my iPod. Once the middle section arrives it becomes a hint of what could have been; a beautiful updating of past trends in dance music. The touchstone for this cd would be Screamadelica, which walked that tightrope so finely and succeeded on every level. I might revisit this later on to see if my opinion has changed, but for now it is a firmly etched mere like.

Body Talk Pt. 1
6 out of 10

Another cd I want to love, as her last cd Robyn was a total non-guilty pleasure. This is the first cd in a planned three cd set, but it only makes me wonder if she should have waited and, with a more critical ear, gotten rid of the tripe and stuck with the cream of the crop. There are several key tracks, such as the gorgeously lonely "Dancing On My Own," and the deliciously silly "Fembot." But the whole cd feels like a set of tracks that don't go together, as if she were clearing out her harddrive. There is even a repeat of the Royksopp track "The Girl and the Robot." I come to expect a lot from Robyn and this almost completely misses the mark.

8 out of 10

Yes Autechre can be difficult for difficult's sake, but what other IDM act of the last 10+ years has been so consistently brilliant? After last year's return to form Quaristice, I wasn't expecting to hear a new cd from these boys in a while, however, Oversteps was released and again stretches the boundaries of what synthesizers, samplers and drum machines can do. While not everything works on Oversteps, it is by far their most consistent release since Tri Repetaee++.

Four Tet
There Is Love In You
8.5 out of 10

Along with Black Noise from Pantha Du Prince, Four Tet's There Is Love In You is one of the best electronic releases of the year. Endlessly inventive and gorgeously executed, it is a warmer and more delicate yin to Burial's Untrue yang. Both use cut up vocal fragments to accentuate their themes, however, while Burial uses his to emphasize loneliness and isolation, Four Tet broadens his canvas to provide uplift and peace.

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