Tag Archives: Electronica

David Lynch – The Big Dream (2013)

David Lynch - The Big Dream (2013)

Ah, David Lynch, purveyor of several cerebral cult films which make varying degrees of sense, director of one of my favourite TV programmes, Twin Peaks, and, most recently, musician. This is Lynch’s second studio album after 2011’s Crazy Clown Time.

Somewhere in the jumbled bag of knowledge, tropes and memes that I call my brain, there is a band which sounds just like this, but I cannot put my finger on it; it is on the tip of my ear, as it were. The general sound feels like an intelligent mix of blues and trip-hop; a sort of trip-hop noir.

Lynch’s voice comes across like a mix between (if you can try to imagine this) early Neil Young, Daniel Johnston and Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers. In fact, the slower Butthole Surfers’ songs are probably a good comparison in some ways. The Big Dream is not as extreme or as psychedelic as the Butthole Surfers, but there is something about the way the tracks sounds, especially the vocals. The final comparison is not so surprising; Julee Cruise’s Floating Into The Night (1989), for which Lynch co-wrote the songs with Angelo Badalamenti and a number of tracks were used in Twin Peaks, including the instrumental mix of Falling as the title music.

It’s not as weird as you might be expecting, but it is no Straight Story either. There is plenty to get the brain ticking over and to twist your melon not quite into insanity, but into a un-ease. A great album.

Favourite tracks: Last Call, Say It, The Ballad Of Hollis Brown, The Line It Curves
Spotify link: David Lynch – The Big Dream
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ADULT. – The Way Things Fall (2013)

ADULT. - The Way Things Fall (2013)

Adult come from Detroit and seem to be pretty focused in what they want to present on this, their sixth album.

They offer an electro-post-punk sound, evoking what comes across sounding like a mixture of Bauhaus and Devo. The synths are retro-futuristic and the sound is generally interesting, but honestly I got a bit bored by the end of the album. There is nothing inherently wrong with it, and in small doses, I like it, but as a coherent whole, I wasn’t enthralled.

Spotify link: ADULT. – The Way Things Fall

Owiny Sigoma Band – Power Punch (2013)

Owiny Sigoma Band - Power Punch (2013)

Owiny Sigoma Band is something of an unusual project. Back in 2009, five Londoners went to Kenya with the intention of creating music. Lyre player Joseph Nyamungu and drummer Charles Owoko joined the outfit and brought along other unnamed Kenyan musician, resulting in an eponymous debut album.

Here, the band return with another slice of unusual fusion. This album certainly falls into the do-not-judge-by-the-cover category; first glances can be deceiving and I admit, I was led astray, thinking this would be something of a rap album.

However, I was pleasantly surprised! This is a fusion album like no other I have come across; minimalistic dub, glitch-style electronica and Kenyan traditional music meet in a wonderful clash of souls. Take, for example, Sunken Wrecks: the drumming thoughout is dense oppressive African beats, driving forward, while electronic bass notes ring out. Other tracks are more biased towards the African influence: Lucas Malore has a distinctive Kenyan flavour, very upbeat with (presumably) Swahili lyrics; the Western influence is resigned to a subtle electronica keyboard backing. This interplay is played out throughout the whole album and while it doesn’t sound like a marriage made in heaven, it more or less works. Some tracks do seem out of place, however; for example, All Together is an electro-dream pop sounding track with no apparent reference to the African influence everywhere else (not that it’s a bad track).

Overall, it is actually an unusual album and one, based on the cover, I would never have touched were it not for this project. I’m glad I did, because this is an album where the gamble paid off and I was treated to a fusion odyssey like nothing I’d heard before; not perfect, but the experimental approach justifies any misgivings I may have.

Favourite tracks: Sunken Wrecks, Magret Aloor, Owiny Techno

Spotify link: Owiny Sigoma Band – Power Punch
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Atoms For Peace – Amok (2013)

Atoms For Peace - Amok (2013)

An interesting “supergroup” line up here: Thom Yorke from Radiohead leads the fray on vocals, programming and guitars; and brings along with him bassist Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers; session drummer Joey Waronker, known for his work with Beck and REM; Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich with programming; and finally touring percussionist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mauro Refosco.

For all those players, Amok seems to sound rather sparse and open, never sounding claustrophobic; the general sound revolves around electronic beats wrapping around Yorke’s well-known voice. It’s hard to imagine that it is funky slapper Flea on bass when he is producing simple (but granted, effective) bass lines that in reality could have as easily been programmed, taking into account the context and the rest of the sound on the album. Likewise, the seemingly redundant amount of personal required to create the beats. This is more an observation than a criticism, but I did imagine this to be a duet project when listening.

That said, Yorke does have a good ear for interesting electronic projects, from a collaboration in 1998 with UNKLE on Rabbit In The Headlights, to Radiohead’s change of direction after OK Computer; and this album certainly is interesting to listen to. It is a mostly sparse electronic beats, almost entering, but never quite committing to, glitch territory, occupying a narrow range, with thick bass tones which sound so processed that whether they come from a stringed instrument or synth would be a point for debate if the presence of Flea was not known. Yorke’s voice is on top form, there’s no denying it.

For all my criticism, it is a very enjoyable album and always interesting. It’s not a groundbreaking album, though, and I found that many of the tracks seemed to lack distinction.

Favourite tracks: Ingenue, Judge Jury and Executioner, Dropped

Spotify link: Atoms For Peace – AMOK
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