Monday, July 17, 2006


Ellen Allien & Apparat, Orchestra Of Bubbles - Part of what often makes electronica feel like a Specialists Only affair to me is its frequent disdain for lyrics and vocals. Without those, you're down to pretty much solely texture (hooks without vocals seem somehow pointless, so why bother?), and then you're down to people talking about 808s and granulizing sounds and I get a bit bewildered. The best song on Bubbles is the almost shamefacedly gorgeous "Leave Me Alone," which chops up a string arrangement and makes the sadly MIA Notwist proud; it's as if Ellen Allien & Apparat were ashamed for writing a straightforward pop song using almost entirely electronic tools. None of the other songs really pop out at me; they all make fine minute-to-minute listening, as loops slowly emerge and glitter with new details at every turn, but I can't really pin down any of the instrumentals aside from the beginning, just because I know where it comes temporally. This album is fine, but is it wrong to wish for more pop and less rigid electronica? Probably.

Forthcoming: Divine Comedy, Thom Yorke, Phoenix, Parts & Labor, Creeper Lagoon, Danielson, J Dilla, The Walkmen. I've been busy.


Anonymous Folco said...

This is correct, except I'd say "Metric"'s sharp violin samples are pretty memorable.

I heard a song from the Danielson album and now I'm scared of going anywhere near it.

6:57 AM  
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Blogger Adam Villani said...

Why should electronica follow a pop format? What you're asking for is synth-pop. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it's just not the same genre of music. For your homework, listen to Steve Reich's DRUMMING (and also his "Come Out") and then listen to Orbital's brown album. Now, of course it's obvious that the bookends of ORBITAL 2 are Reich tributes, but the whole rest of the album is based on the additive ideas of minimalism. Take an element and repeat it. Now layer on another element. Now another, and another. Now release. It's a totally different structure from pop music. It doesn't need lyrics, it doesn't need pop structure, and it certainly doesn't need "real instruments."

Also compare: Brian Eno's MUSIC FOR FILMS and anything by Boards of Canada.

5:21 PM  
Blogger Vadim said...

One of the older landmarks I've taken on this year is Music Has The Right To Children, which is overall pretty kick-ass and easier for me to grasp ahold of. What BoC does with chopped-up horn samples and creepy children's voices makes intuitive sense to me, especially if you close your eyes; it's kind of a primitive, childlike release. It sounds like a very disturbing PBS kids' show I saw when I was little.

I can't any connotations like that with Ellen Allien & Apparat. I 'm just saying.

9:21 AM  
Blogger Adam Villani said...

I believe the samples in the song "roygbiv" were, in fact, taken from Sesame Street.

8:43 AM  

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