June 19, 2009
The latest album from New York City based artist Moby was, according to its press, inspired by a speech by David Lynch, which characterized “creativity for its own sake” as “a beautiful, wonderful thing.” The result, Wait For Me, recorded in Moby’s home studio, is a work of sustained, mostly quiet beauty, instrumental for the most part, but featuring some vocals, mostly female, though Moby himself sings on “Mistake.” Listeners looking for dance tracks like “Feeling So Real” or “Bodyrock” will be disappointed, but fans of Moby’s ambient and moodier music in general will enjoy Wait For Me quite a lot. What lyrics there are tend towards the somber, sometimes borderline melodramatic, as with “Hope Is Gone,” but in general the album holds together very well. Wait For Me isn’t really much of a groundbreaking release, but it is easily Moby’s most satisfying work in some time. Standout cuts: “Pale Horses,” “Shot In The Back Of The Head,” “Scream Pilots” and “jltf.”
March 5, 2009
The fourth and possibly final* album from Chicago based electronic band Telefon Tel Aviv (Charles Cooper and Joshua Eustis) is a intensely moody collection of music, recalling work by contemporaries M83 and Boards of Canada, as well as Freur, Yaz, the Cocteau Twins and New Order. The ten tracks included here are richly atmospheric and sometimes densely layered, with whispery vocals that drift in and out of the mix. The album is so low key at times that it may lose some less patient listeners, but in general, I found this to be a pretty compelling, highly listenable record, with moments of real and haunting beauty. If you’re a fan of any of the above artists, or of electronic music in general, then I very much recommend Immolate Yourself to you. Standout cuts: “Your Mouth,” “Stay Away From Being Maybe,” “You Are The Worst Thing In The World” and “Immolate Yourself.”
*Shortly before the release of this album, Charles Cooper died at the age of 31.
June 25, 2008
The new album from Icelandic band Sigur Rós starts out on an unexpectedly sunny note, with “Gobbledigook” and “Inní mér syngur vitleysingur,” which, the first track (and first single) in particular, have a much poppier sound than I’ve ever heard from them. The rest of the album has a similarly lighter feel overall, and contains moments of quiet, sometimes melancholy beauty that can sometimes culminate in epic symphonic codas, as on tracks like “Festival” and “Ára Bátur,” the latter track done with a full orchestra and choir. Like M83’s recent release, Saturdays = Youth, Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust (translated by the band as “with a buzz in our ears we play endlessly”) seems a paean to youth and possibility, here symbolized by the promise of the summer season. It’s a beautiful album, poppy without being sweet or sentimental, epic without being melodramatic, a soundtrack to the summer you always hoped you would have. Highly recommended.
April 15, 2008
Antibes, France based M83’s new album, Saturdays = Youth is an ambitious, sweeping paean to youth, with all its attendant happiness, sadness, excesses and grand gestures, all self-seriousness, drama, sexuality, naiveté, and idealism intact. The music sounds like a collaboration between My Bloody Valentine, the Jesus and Mary Chain and the Cocteau Twins, shimmering guitar pop on an epic scale with ambient and often decidedly 80’s style electronic flourishes. It’s a lovely, often joyous work with moments of sweetness that border on the syrupy, but never quite cross over. Saturdays = Youth ends on an appropriately introspective note with the 11 minute ambient piece, “Midnight Souls Still Remain.” Standout cuts: “Kim & Jessie,” “Graveyard Girls,” “Couleurs” and “We Own The Sky.”