Author Archive

Aphex Twin – Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2

January 25th, 2015
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Give the Drummer and Pianist Some

Richard D. James exiled his popular Aphex Twin persona into near-silence following the release of Drukqs in 2001. He rose back to electronic music’s surface in 2014, buoyed mostly by the triumphant Syro LP. His newly embraced accessibility and surprising flood of output continues with the EP Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2. It’s the fourth distinct iteration of his sound in the last 12 months, a period that’s been downright revelatory even by Aphex Twin standards. Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in Reviews

Charli XCX – Sucker

January 20th, 2015
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Pop Tootsie

Almost quietly, almost without notice, British singer-songwriter Charlotte Aitchison has landed at the nexus of this decade’s powerful and newly empowered pop. Her second proper album as Charli XCX, Sucker, finds her springboarding off her post as the brains behind Icona Pop’s “I Love It,” delivering anthems in the vein of La Roux and (hopefully) just scratching the surface like Lorde. Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in Reviews

Little Boots – Business Pleasure EP

December 15th, 2014
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Boots on the Throat

“I’m not your girl in the machine/I won’t give up on my daydream”—this isn’t just a line from the title track of Little Boots’ latest EP Business Pleasure, it’s a pretty accurate summation of her career to this point. The English musician is committed to making her electro-pop thing work, yet even having production help from scions of indie-dance (DFA alum Tim Goldsworthy, as well as members of Hot Chip, Simian Mobile Disco, and Hercules & Love Affair) she can’t find the right formula. Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in Reviews

Megafortress – Believer

November 30th, 2014
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False Prophet

Other websites with longer names and larger vocabularies will spill much digital ink on a release like Believer, the first full album from New York musician Bill Gillim performing as Megafortress. There will be discussions of whisper-quiet experimentalism and indie-pop moved into fragile and beautiful new directions. It’s ghostly, it’s spare, it’s dark—but it falls flat. Let’s spare you the gibberish and half-truths; the only thing different here is the level of bravery involved in presenting far too simplistic sounds as the next big thing. Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in Reviews

OK Go – Hungry Ghosts

October 28th, 2014
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That is So Not OK

Let’s be honest for a moment: Would OK Go still be a thing without their videos? This quartet’s music generates the most playfulness and slack-jawed wonder only when they step in front of cameras and lip-synch among choreographed treadmills and loft-sized Rube Goldberg machines. Able to manage one, maybe two tracks with any social media-driven staying power on each of their first four albums, they incorporate today’s technology like a cyborg on fifth album Hungry Ghosts, assembling songs inside a web of studios full of synthesizers and Reason-loaded workstations. Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in Reviews

Underworld – Dubnobasswithmyheadman (Super Deluxe Reissue Edition)

October 15th, 2014
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30,000 Feet Above the Competition

In electronica’s rise through the 1990s, we discovered prolific recluse Aphex Twin, French revolutionaries Daft Punk and really good drugs from The Chemical Brothers. Nine Inch Nails and The Prodigy brought anger to the table, while Moby’s and Fatboy Slim’s music and mixes were as ubiquitous as furniture. The London group Underworld reached their brief yet highest peak with the 1996 use of non-album cut “Born Slippy .NUXX” in Trainspotting. While that track left an indelible mark on both dance and movie music, those in the know probably felt that Underworld and their 1994 LP Dubnobasswithmyheadman had been lost in the shuffle. So what better time to nail down the album’s true place in techno canon than on its 20th anniversary? Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews

Daedelus – The Light Brigade

October 3rd, 2014
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His Story Repeats Itself

After multiple handfuls of albums and singles across some of the great electronica labels of the 21st century, one thing’s for sure about Los Angeles beatmaker Daedelus; nothing about his music feels accidental, especially not the cultural references peppered throughout it. From his pseudonym of Greek myth to his dandy onstage couture, his work suggests anthropomorphic library shelves coming together to form like Voltron and step into the studio. For the second time in his career Daedelus has chosen to base a complete release on a pivotal world event, The Light Brigade being inspired by the Crimean War of 1853–56. Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in Reviews

Aphex Twin – Syro

September 26th, 2014
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We Care Because He Does

Much has been made this year of the strength of music released 20 years ago. In 1994 we saw many legendary “alternative” albums released, yet hidden from nostalgia for the likes of Dookie and Superunknown is acknowledgment of just how important the year was for beats. These were the first days of Nas and Biggie, of Portishead and Outkast. Beck announced his presence with three albums, anchored by the slacker grooves of Mellow Gold and “Loser.” Nine Inch Nails and Trent Reznor rose from the depths with The Downward Spiral, Natural Born Killers, and a memorably muddy set at Woodstock’s 25th anniversary. But 1994’s real winner may have been English electronica madman Richard D. James: He produced two EPs under lesser aliases, made the recently unshelved Caustic Window LP, put together a compilation of early singles and, most importantly, released the groundbreaking Selected Ambient Works Volume II as Aphex Twin. Read more…

By Adam Blyweiss Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews

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 ,