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Space-Dementia




United States

#351 | Posted: 06/28/2019 17:34 | Post subject: Reply with quote
June 28, 2019
Splazsh
by Actress
There's tons of great ideas on this album but it's way too long. A lot of these songs are over 5 minutes long and it just gets tiring, especially when the mix pushes these songs to the max in terms of density and loudness. But, again, there most songs are built on a really cool idea that unfortunately just gets repeated for 5 minutes. "Hubble" is probably the coolest idea on here, it's just too bad the track is 8 minutes long, but "Lost" is great too, "Always Human" sounds like a song that would play in Sephora (which is a good thing), "Maze" is interesting but idle enough to make it sorta pass off as an ambient track. If each song on here was 2 to 3 minutes long or if the songs progressed a little more, introducing new ideas, changing their sound halfway through, etc, then this would be a fantastic album. But the way it stands, it's an album full of cool ideas that aren't worth exploring for as long as Actress does. I think I'll still check out his next album, though, because I've heard that one's better and it's worth sitting through an hour of this stuff to get five or six really cool ideas.

Amber by Autechre
I've been meaning to listen to a full album from these guys for over a year. I remember listening to "feed1" off elseq1 last summer and thinking it was one of the coolest things I had ever heard, how it really opened the genre of electronic music up to so many things, so ever since then I've been meaning to check out more of their material and see how they got to that point. And it's clear that they started off a lot more straightforward. This is an album that sounds similar to what Aphex Twin and other ambient techno artists were doing in the 90s. I would say this album could be a bit shorter, though, because a lot of the tracks start to sort of melt into each other as you progress through the album. The opener, "Foil", is probably the best song on here, with its incredibly minimal chord progression and beat just sort of making their way through the song at their own pace. Overall, Autechre seem more into the dark and mysterious side of techno than the ethereal type of stuff that Aphex Twin and Orbital were sort of doing at the time, although Aphex definitely went in the darker direction with a lot of his stuff too. But basically what makes this album less memorable than other similar albums I've heard is the lack of hooks and catchy synth lines. I don't really know the names of many songs by the other two artists I've mentioned, but I still know they're the ones that go "bum bum bum bum bu-bum bum bum bum bu-bum bum bum bum" or "doo doo doo doo doodoodoodoo doodoodoo doodoo doo doo doodoodoodoo" but none of these songs really have anything that I can remember them by. Well, maybe that's because I've only listened to this album like three times and I've listened to SAB85-92 and Orbital 2 like ten times each, so maybe my opinion will change. All that being said, though, this is a very interesting album that shows Autechre as a leading artist in the "IDM/ambient techno" genre of the 90s, and it'll be interesting to see how they progressed their sound towards the beautiful chaos that they're making now.
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Space-Dementia




United States

#352 | Posted: 07/01/2019 23:23 | Post subject: Reply with quote
July 1, 2019
Bandana
by Freddie Gibbs & Madlib
Compared to Pinata, this seems like an album that'll need more time to sink in. From the beats to the hooks to the flows, their first album together was instantly accessible, but on this one Madlib goes more "abstract" with the beats on a lot of the songs, with a few exceptions ("Flat Tummy Tea" and "Crime Pays" sound like they could have been on Pinata and I immediately thought "Practice" was one of his best beats that I've heard). I think also part of what makes Bandana hard to instantly click for me is that "Half Manne Half Cocaine" and "Massage Seats" are probably my least favorite songs on the project, and they're tracks 3 and 5 on a 15-track-long project where the first track is just an intro. So, while "Freestyle Shit" and "Crime Pays" are terrific songs, by the time we get through the first third of the album I'm starting to think this thing might be really hit-and-miss, but then we get a train of great Pinata-level songs, starting with "Palmolive", which might be my favorite song on the album. At first I was a little disappointed Killer Mike only got to do the hook, but it's so catchy that I'm fine with it, and Pusha T's killer verse makes up for it too. But yeah, tracks 6 to 12 are all very consistent and it's not until "Gat Damn" that the quality drops, but it's still not a bad track. "Education" is great though, with some really good verses by Mos Def and Black Thought, and it's a nice high point before the album ends with "Soul Right", which is definitely a grower and might end up being one of my favorites on the project. Freddie brings the heat too, although sometimes it seems like he's barely making some of those faster bars, especially on "Crime Pays", but it honestly barely matters. For someone who doesn't listen to lyrics much, for me rapping is all about the voice and delivery, and Freddie always sounds like he won't take anybody's shit. After three listens or so, I wouldn't say this is Pinata-level, but it already has and will definitely continue to grow on me.
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Space-Dementia




United States

#353 | Posted: 07/10/2019 17:27 | Post subject: Reply with quote
July 10, 2019
Uchū Nippon Setagaya
by Fishmans
I don't wanna shit on Air, but this just seems like the album they wanted to make with Moon Safari, except Fishmans put it out a year before Air did. This is some of the best downtempo/ambient pop I've heard yet. The songs are long and repetitive, but we're used to that after Long Season, so although half the songs are over 8 minutes long, this one seems a lot more to the point than their previous album. We get these soft keyboard lines that are repeated over and over with a relaxed drumbeat and bass line underneath and the singer's beautiful androgynous vocals overtop, and that's really all we need. With this album, Fishmans created an entire world, similarly to how they did on Long Season, but this one is like the rainbow after the storm. While Long Season does end on an optimistic note, with the whole orchestra of instruments coming in to give the piece a complete finish, there still seems to be a bit of nervousness at the end of it. But Uchu Nippon Setagaya is like you're floating in mid-air and there's nothing that can bother you. It's a crime that Fishmans weren't known in the West until just a few years ago, but I'm so glad they finally pushed through, because the two albums of theirs that I've heard are exceptional. I'll be checking out Kuuchuu Camp next, and then that legendary final concert.
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Space-Dementia




United States

#354 | Posted: 5 days ago | Post subject: Reply with quote
July 11, 2019
Die Mensch Maschine
and Computerwelt by Kraftwerk
I feel like the general consensus is that Trans-Europa Express is peak Kraftwerk and the quality declines slightly for the next album and a little more for the one after that. But I'd have to rank the "big three" Kraftwerk albums in exactly the opposite order. To me, Trans-Europa is the coldest of the three. "Europe Endless" is an astoundingly beautiful opener that shows a glimpse of warmth, but then we get "The Hall of Mirrors" and "Showroom Dummies", which are both catchy but very weird and put me in some cold and scary fantasyland, and then we get that title song which extends into two more tracks and, although the beat is great and it's a cool representation of a train, it starts to get old pretty quickly. So we end on a high note by returning back to the ideas laid out in the first track. Basically, I like the album and I understand its influence, I just find it a little too abrasive. Then Die Mensch Maschine still retains the robotic and repetitive nature of the previous album, but it's so much more poppy. While "The Robots" is a little cheesy, it's so catchy too and that little bam ba-ba bam synth line is so great. After that, it's basically a bunch of terrific synthpop tracks, from "Speeeyyyssss Leeeeehhhbb" to the kinda creepy but really catchy "The Model" to the absolutely beautiful "Neon Lights". It definitely seems to be less of a ballsy experiment than its predecessor, but, in my opinion, this is simply the better album. They took the ideas that they gave the world on Trans-Europa and took them to the next level. And if Die Mensch Maschine is a step closer to perfection, then Computerwelt might just be perfection. Or at least it's as good as they got. The title track sets the scene. Right from first synths we can hear that this is instantly warmer than pretty much anything they've done before. And the next song, "Pocket Calculator" is the greatest cheesy 80s synthpop track I've ever heard. The way he says "I'm the operator with my pocket calculator" so matter-of-factly is hilarious, which makes it even crazier when the next track, "Numbers", starts, because it's essentially this weird, scary drug trip full of robots counting in different languages. That scariness also makes for such a relief when the title sequence comes back because it's like you just get embraced by familiar sounds. This all leads up to "Computer Love", which is the best song on the album and, therefore, one of the best songs Kraftwerk ever made. "Home Computer" is interesting too, and "It's More Fun to Compute" isn't a bad finish to the album. It's probably the darkest song on the album, but it still sounds warm, so it feels like it belongs. It also reminds me a lot of 90s techno, which really puts these guys ahead of their time. For one band to influence hip hop, synthpop, and techno so much is just incredible. Even if you don't like the music, you have to give them credit for setting the sound for the future of music. Anyway, I'll have to check out Radio-Activity and keep coming back to their other four big albums, but as of right now, disregarding Radio-Activity, I see their career as a slow but steady climb up in quality.
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Space-Dementia




United States

#355 | Posted: 5 days ago | Post subject: Reply with quote
July 12, 2019
Lust for Life
by Iggy Pop
Do yourself a favor: next time it's a beautiful sunny day out, go outside, put your headphones on, turn the volume up, play the first song off this album, and pretend you're Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the "You Make My Dreams" scene from 500 Days of Summer.

This one's a lot more safe and less interesting than The Idiot and less energetic than the Stooges records, but there are some great rock songs on here.
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craola
my name's not craig



Location: Mobile
Unknown

#356 | Posted: 4 days ago | Post subject: Reply with quote
Space-Dementia wrote:
July 11, 2019
Die Mensch Maschine
and Computerwelt by Kraftwerk
I feel like the general consensus is that Trans-Europa Express is peak Kraftwerk and the quality declines slightly for the next album and a little more for the one after that. But I'd have to rank the "big three" Kraftwerk albums in exactly the opposite order. To me, Trans-Europa is the coldest of the three. "Europe Endless" is an astoundingly beautiful opener that shows a glimpse of warmth, but then we get "The Hall of Mirrors" and "Showroom Dummies", which are both catchy but very weird and put me in some cold and scary fantasyland, and then we get that title song which extends into two more tracks and, although the beat is great and it's a cool representation of a train, it starts to get old pretty quickly. So we end on a high note by returning back to the ideas laid out in the first track. Basically, I like the album and I understand its influence, I just find it a little too abrasive. Then Die Mensch Maschine still retains the robotic and repetitive nature of the previous album, but it's so much more poppy. While "The Robots" is a little cheesy, it's so catchy too and that little bam ba-ba bam synth line is so great. After that, it's basically a bunch of terrific synthpop tracks, from "Speeeyyyssss Leeeeehhhbb" to the kinda creepy but really catchy "The Model" to the absolutely beautiful "Neon Lights". It definitely seems to be less of a ballsy experiment than its predecessor, but, in my opinion, this is simply the better album. They took the ideas that they gave the world on Trans-Europa and took them to the next level. And if Die Mensch Maschine is a step closer to perfection, then Computerwelt might just be perfection. Or at least it's as good as they got. The title track sets the scene. Right from first synths we can hear that this is instantly warmer than pretty much anything they've done before. And the next song, "Pocket Calculator" is the greatest cheesy 80s synthpop track I've ever heard. The way he says "I'm the operator with my pocket calculator" so matter-of-factly is hilarious, which makes it even crazier when the next track, "Numbers", starts, because it's essentially this weird, scary drug trip full of robots counting in different languages. That scariness also makes for such a relief when the title sequence comes back because it's like you just get embraced by familiar sounds. This all leads up to "Computer Love", which is the best song on the album and, therefore, one of the best songs Kraftwerk ever made. "Home Computer" is interesting too, and "It's More Fun to Compute" isn't a bad finish to the album. It's probably the darkest song on the album, but it still sounds warm, so it feels like it belongs. It also reminds me a lot of 90s techno, which really puts these guys ahead of their time. For one band to influence hip hop, synthpop, and techno so much is just incredible. Even if you don't like the music, you have to give them credit for setting the sound for the future of music. Anyway, I'll have to check out Radio-Activity and keep coming back to their other four big albums, but as of right now, disregarding Radio-Activity, I see their career as a slow but steady climb up in quality.

man, trans-europa express has always left a cold taste in my mouth. i feel like i appreciate the album less each time i hear it (even if i was pretty high on it my first go through), so i haven't given their other werk much've a chance. this is a great write-up/comp-contrast. i haven't listened to computerwelt in years, but m'gon have to give it another spin.
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