All 3 entries tagged Electronic

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June 03, 2007

So So Modern – Friendly Fires EP

So So Modern

So I said I’d bring something to dance along to for the next NZ installment, and so here are So So Modern. Returning home after a brief sojourn all around the world (including recently London, you capital dwellers), they’ve also recently released a new medium length EP in Friendly Fires. I was introduced to them by the track Skeleton Dance off the recent Real Groove magazine compilation I mentioned in my original post (along with Motocade, I might add). It opened the proceedings with a relatively big, fast, and squelchy bang. Something like the Klaxons by way of One Armed Scissor and then even further back to the ZX Spectrum. But I’d hate to be described in that way, but an even worse description could be to say the vocals are ‘shouty’ (but not annoying), the synths are ‘rubbery’ (or ‘pliable’ or ‘bendy’) and the style is very ‘new rave’. So I’ll let you play the song and disagree completely.

So So Modern

I’d very much like to see them live before I leave NZ, but it might not long before they’ll be back to touring the world (or taking it over) again if their evolution from their early EP material continues any further. From the promise of just bouncing around the room like an idiot, to the colour-coded tracksuits, to the random acts (handing out pinatas, full crowd hugs and starting the gig with a band posing to be them), I’m sure it’d be a gig to be remembered when I come back home.

Coming back to the EP, it does feel very fresh, even in spite of the current contemporaries that could be pointed out. It starts out with an instrumental that doesn’t do much to build excitement (similar to that of a Spectrum loading up) but following Synthgasm the rest of the six tracks each pummel with alternately fierce rhythms, barbershop shout-singing and the rewiring of your head with electronic melody lines. It’s a blinding ride, and The Love Code is a equally blinding finish to a great CD.

From Friendly Fires EP (2007):
So So Modern – Skeleton Dance
So So Modern – The Love Code
[buy]

[So So Modern Homepage] [MySpace]


December 04, 2006

The Knife – Silent Shout

calender4

If there’s one thing which seems to unite all music blogs, and most music fans, it’s the desire to bash the NME. This makes it particularly grating when they manage to get it right, but never fear, there are always other big selling magazines which are spouting rubbish. The Worst Piece Of Music Journalism Of The Year award this year goes to Q Magazine which reckons Silent Shout by Swedish electro geniuses The Knife is “A hideous mess of electro noodling and maddeningly obtuse, tuneless vocals” worth one star out of five. Now everybody is entitled to their own opinion. However Q likes to play it safe. For all its gushing about Radiohead and Pink Floyd, the most typically Q bands are Keane and Coldplay. Safe. Indie. Definitely not the sound of the entire history of electronic music collapsing into a blackhole.

The Knife

Such a shame for Q really that in fact such a collapse sounds as magnificent and wonderous as it does. You really would have to be a technophobe, and an impatient one at that, to give Silent Shout one star. It suggests you have listened to it once, probably not even all the way through.

For those who want a real assessment here it is – Silent Shout takes all the distinctive, overused, overplayed features of electronic music and reimagines it as something beautiful and human. Yes, human. At heart this sounds like a woman (specifically singer Karin Dreijer Andersson) battling a stream of conflicting emotions against some challenging but rewarding music. And some blatant pop.

It takes guts to release the most tricky track on your album as a single, but The Knife took that leap and sent ‘We Share Our Mother’s Health’ out into the world. It is the perfect encapsulation of them. On first listen it’s a noise, a mess, and a disturbing one at that. Any more than one listen, however, is enough to bring out the thrilling rush of the piece, the melody (yes, there is one) and the feeling that it’s not really that disturbing, more a mad rush.

The rest of the album is more accessible, and quite emotional at times. There is an unexpected pathos in many songs, ‘Marble House’ and ‘Forest Families’ in particular should rip out the heart of any listener.

This isn’t about easy listening. This isn’t about trying to appear cool. This is simply pop music as you forgot it could be, challenging, rewarding and real.

Listen to these tracks. I was going to give you ‘Marble House’ but that song is so amazing, so wonderful, so fantastic that I believe you should bloody pay for the privilege of listening to it. Yes, that good.

MP3s Expired

Buy the album, damn you!


July 11, 2006

Thom Yorke – The Eraser, Review

Title:
Rating:
4 out of 5 stars

Thom Yorke

I often wonder about what it would be like if I met Thom Yorke. Here we have someone who has made such a profound impact on music as the lead singer of Radiohead, placing them in an alternative genre of their own with experimental, wonderful sounds that assault the ear drums. I've loved Radiohead since OK, Computer, and I downright wish I'd listened to them more before then, but now I'd have to say they're probably my favourite band. However, if I met Thom Yorke, I think I'd find him quite disturbing.

Of course, this isn't a new feeling. Thom Yorke is probably the main creative force behind Radiohead, and so you could expect a "solo" album to lend much a similar sound, and it shows through. The Eraser would not sound out of place somewhere inbetween Kid A and Amnesiac, not quite getting to the rockier stages of the latter but with a more refined, creeping sound than the former. This is, of course, not a "solo" album, but the result of Thom Yorke sitting for a day with his laptop and a whole bunch of samples from Radiohead's sessions over the past few years and thinking "Yeah, I should probably use this to do something wonderful".

Except Thom Yorke wouldn't think that. He'd think "Fuck Bush", or something.

And yet, this album somehow doesn't reach the eclectic heights of Kid A, and you struggle to put your finger on why. There's something missing that would put this in the As Good As Kid A category, and maybe it is the rest of the band's influence that is shining through. The one thing you wouldn't expect from a Thom Yorke record would be for it to sound nervous, but it does seem that way.

You can't really take each track on its own though, you have to sit back, take a cup of tea in hand and just let it wash over you a bit. Whereas other albums demand to be listened to over again, this begs for background, atmosphere, and if you take it in that way, it's simply wonderful. The first single will be Harrowdown Hill, according to Yorke, but it seems so undignified to remove it away from its home on the album. If you don't have 40 minutes to sit and listen to it all, then I'd say don't start - there's no Everything in its Right Place here to save you.

If you loved Kid A, you'll love this. If you didn't, you won't, but if you're undecided, then don't expect this to be an effortless listen – you have to treat it carefully and give it a chance, and it'll pay you back double when the brilliance shines through.

8 out of 10

The Eraser was released yesterday (10th July), stupid.

Tour Dates

Radiohead are touring at the moment, but if you don't have a ticket, don't expect to get one now…

Radiohead Tour Dates

Buy

The Eraser was released Monday, July 10th in the UK.

Samples
The Eraser MP3 Expired
And It Rained All Night MP3 Expired
Harrowdown Hill MP3 Expired
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