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What’s Playing Now (New and Improved!) July 23, 2008

Posted by ashiah in Music, What's Playing Now.
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This edition now has clips, but I’m using File Den so don’t expect them to be the most reliable.

Leila – Blood, Looms And Blooms (2008 )
Iranian-born Leila Arab is a staple in the electronic music scene, but her presence is not as prolific as the people she works with. Mostly known for collaborating and touring with Bjork, it appears Leila has less time to actually spend on her own music. “Blood, Looms And Blooms” is her first studio album in nearly ten years, and unfortunately, it’ll probably be this year’s most overlooked album. With collborations with singers Martina Topley-Bird and Terry Hall, the album effortlessly wavers between styles without the collaborators hijacking the track and running away with it. Stand out track “Deflect” is a moody, electronic rock-out oozing with Topley-Bird’s droning voice, while “Daises, Cats And Spacemen” is a unique, tango-esque tune drizzling with friend Roya Arab’s voice. Leila might insist on being low profile, but hopefully this album can catch on.

Nalle – The Siren’s Wave (2008 )
This is the second album for the three multi-instrumentalists. The sound is an interesting experimental freak-folk free flow with very little structure. Vocalist Hanna Tuulikki sings with a hint of traditional Japanese influence that creates a haunting energy. But other times (especially when the song clocks in over ten minutes) her voice becomes too overbearing, weakening a few tracks like “Voi Ruusini (O Rose),” a darkly beautiful track that just has way too much going on. Tracks like “Nothing Gold Can Say” and “Alice’s Ladder” are the band’s shining moments and capture their delicate and distinguished sound.

Kissey Asplund – Plethora (2008 )
From Sweden, Kissey Asplund’s debut album is classified as “future/electro soul,” but that label is kind of driving me nuts. “Plethora” is indeed an interesting romp through a fuzzy funktronic gaze, but the spacey-ness still doesn’t account for the overall sound, which frankly, doesn’t know what it wants to be. It doesn’t have enough experimentation or traditional soul flare and instead somewhat wavers in between. Some artists can do the balancing act, but I don’t think the idea was fully executed here, except on “Fuss’n’fight,” an icy cool track that’s laid back yet subtly deadly. Probably its biggest weakness are the tracks sounding too much alike. “Caos” sounds like “6am,” and “You and I” sounds a bit like “Another Glass.” But none of this will hinder Asplund’s rise to fame. Her debut is interesting enough to at least get people to take notice. In fact, I’m predicting the buzz to start soon if it hasn’t already.

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