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Tricky – Adrian Thaws

September 17th, 2014
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Say My Name, Say My Name

The titling of Tricky’s 11th album with his birth name, Adrian Thaws, is a move loaded with meaning. He’s been here since the beginning of trip-hop, yet he remains as complex and mysterious as the music he makes in (and based on) that genre. And the name on the marquee isn’t the only prominent thing here that’s somehow a combination of the new, the familiar, and the sublimely interesting. He told the Consequence of Sound website that this album contained his takes on club music and hip-hop. This undersells most of the work on here, suggesting Tricky is merely aping strains of Top 40 music with urban leanings from Kanye to Nicki to even Lorde. Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews

The Bug – Angels & Devils

August 29th, 2014
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Chrysalis Record

Your author hasn’t had much luck with releases from The Bug. The experimental bass music, aggro rap and dancehall backed by Londoner Kevin Martin has long felt too dense to unravel, too relentlessly angry to merely enjoy. Restraint and deliberate action color The Bug’s proper fourth album, Angels & Devils, and for at least half of it there’s the sense a sea change is at hand. Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in Reviews ,

FaltyDL – In the Wild

August 17th, 2014
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Thirtysomething Mutant Ninja Twiddler

Four albums into his catalog, it sounds like New York beatmaker Drew Lustman—the “DL” in FaltyDL—remains vehemently uncommitted to any one electronic subgenre. Rare is the artist who can pull that off and make a cohesive release, and to this point FaltyDL hasn’t been the guy to do it. His latest album, In the Wild, hits closer to that mark, but it switches out listeners’ frustration with an absolute absence of focus for a forced game of hopscotch to try to hit a few more defined points of it. Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in Reviews

Plastikman – EX

July 28th, 2014
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Art for Art’s Sake

Plastikman albums helped define acid techno’s minimal core until Richie Hawtin, the legendary DJ/producer behind the curtain, retired the moniker after the dark, abstract 2003 album Closer. A 2013 multimedia installation was one of a scant few live dates using that name since then, and the only one meriting enough new music to fill an LP. Despite going into the performance claiming this work wasn’t meant for a new album—well, here’s EX. Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in Reviews ,

Cabaret Voltaire – #7885 (Electropunk to Technopop 1978-1985)

July 6th, 2014
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Sensoria Overload

Last year saw the release and our review of Killing Joke’s singles compilation, an awesome volume distilling the band’s influence and skill across multiple genres. Now another foundation act with a hydra-like legacy—Sheffield electronic group Cabaret Voltaire—is out to put a nice little bow on things for their diehards and neophytes alike, collecting singles and favorites on #7885 (Electropunk to Technopop 1978-1985). Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews , ,

The Soft Pink Truth – Why Do the Heathen Rage?

July 2nd, 2014
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Rage Inside the Machine

There are theme bands, there are theme albums, then there are theme albums by theme bands. The Soft Pink Truth is the alter ego of Matmos programmer Drew Daniel, who formed it to answer Matthew Herbert’s challenge to try to make a proper house album. After a debut full of originals and a sophomore release of electronic covers of hardcore and punk, Daniel’s gone back and deeper into the tribute well on Why Do the Heathen Rage?. It uses a clutch of 1980s and 1990s sounds to pay homage to others from the then-nascent genre of black metal. Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in Reviews , ,

Plaid – Reachy Prints

May 23rd, 2014
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EDM, IDM, We All DM

Andy Samberg’s short comedic film for the May 17th episode of Saturday Night Live properly skewered mainstream electronic music, showing why it’s regarded as monotonous and headache-inducing. With live-event fakery, quickly tiresome arrangements and a fanbase that couldn’t care less about the results as long as they get their dance, their date and their molly, “When Will the Bass Drop?” made it obvious there’s no “I” in “EDM” but there’s sure a truckload of “ME.” Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews

Ramona Lisa – Arcadia

May 14th, 2014
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Caroline Tremor Control

There are two competing general visions of a perfect society: Utopia is assumed to be a constructed existence, while Arcadia is pristine wilderness idealized from a region of Greece bearing the same name. With this distinction in mind Caroline Polachek, performing as Ramona Lisa on her solo debut Arcadia, tackles a fascinating sonic question: What does it mean—or feel like—when you try to travel through one world/concept in order to get to the other? Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in Reviews , ,

Laibach – Spectre

March 18th, 2014
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Political Machinery

“You take the front line / I’ll find a good rhyme / Get to it.” So command industrial music pioneers Laibach on “No History” from Spectre, the newest chapter in their complex artistic history. It’s a short stanza with a lot of weight, addressing their music’s role in inspiring breaks from social and political groupthink. Are they—and have they always been—actively fomenting revolution, empty figureheads merely suggesting that to others, or gangster pranksters content to say of an idea, “We’ll just leave this here,” and watching what happens? Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in Reviews

St. Paul & The Broken Bones – Half the City

March 3rd, 2014
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The Greening of America

Soul revivalism has been in full swing (ha!) for years now, a movement with sound ranging from the Daptone Records crew all the way through Cee-Lo Green and Janelle Monae’s redolent updates. The newest entry in the field comes from this Birmingham, Alabama sextet, following up their Bandcamp EP Greetings from St. Paul & The Broken Bones with a formal physical debut, the sadly swaying Half the City. Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in Reviews