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What’s Playing Now (Volume 100000) June 21, 2008

Posted by ashiah in Music, What's Playing Now.
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Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles (2008 )
Much like The Knife became the go-to duo for quirky electronic music in 2007, this new bizarre electronic act from Canada has been growing in popularity since they released their first proper album earlier this year. Unlike The Knife, Crystal Castles’ music is bizarre, structureless and somewhat obnoxious. But occasionally they do pull off an actual song here and there with tracks like “Courtship Date” and “Crimewave.” But the majority of the tracks are an awesome mix of the bleeps and bloops of 8-bit synth video games with a dash of that old school digital hardcore aesthetic poured on top. People will either love it or hate it.

Sigur Ros – Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust (2008 )
I don’t know why, but Sigur Ros’ last album never grew on me. Maybe it was the endless comparisons to U2 that turned me off, but it seemed like that epic quality Sigur Ros had always possessed since their debut was missing. I was missing that since of euphoric wonder, that cathartic release of tracks like “Ny Batteri.” It was all gone. I think Sigur Ros realized that, too, and for the first time they recorded an album outside of Iceland with a string and a brass band. The sound isn’t entirely different, but it awakens that pure, perfect showmanship they debuted with. The songs don’t just flow, they explode. The songs aren’t just delicate, but almost too fragile to touch. The album has almost an exaggerated sense of themselves, which made me react negatively during the first listen. But gradually I realized I couldn’t resist. It’s definitely showy, but not enough to relapse into self-parody…yet.

Daedelus – Love to Make Music To (2008 )
The first track on Love To Make Music To is almost frightening. Sure Daedulus likes to change his sound for every album, but first track Fair Weather Friends sounds like a second rate rip of The Go! Team. Fortunately, after that track things are back to normal with Daedulus’ trademark sound of hip hop fused with more traditional electronic fare. The difference is the experimentation is gone and has been replaced with standard, more defined hip hop tracks that could easily find a home on the radio. Surprising at first, but with hitters like “Hrs:Mins:Secs” and “Assembly Lines,” Daedelus is able to do an amazing balancing act between the two genres.

Flying Lotus – Los Angeles (2008 )
Hip hop/laptop producer Steven Ellison is mostly known for creating many of the segues on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block. Flying Lotus’ second album Los Angeles is an eclectic mix of instrumental hip hop and cut and rip glitch. It’s the kind of music you would typically hear on Ninja Tune records instead of Warp, which simply proves the rising popularity of music like this. The downside is that music like this easily blends into the background, and thus, also steps on the toes of other similar musicians. Prefuse 73 anyone? Madlib? It’s all here. Flying Lotus does have more of a jazz influence over those other guys, but it’s not enough for him to stand out.

Oh, and others I haven’t gotten around to yet:
Ratatat – LP3 (2008 )
Yasushi Yohida – Little Grace (2008 )
Amon Tobin – Taxidermia EP (2008 )