Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Love Like This - [Self-Titled EP]

The bane of good music's existence, the dreaded "pop", rears its ugly head, turns towards you with a smile, and says "Don't hate this until you rate this, it is actually really good."

Despite being obviously "pop", these guys do something with their structure that I always love: rather than going A B A B C A, the tried-and-true method, they go "Fuck it we're gonna chuck an X in there... Yea, A B X C Z B A". It's the mark of musicians that are completely confident with their sounds and where they want to push them.

"Love Like This" are one of the best pop acts I've heard recently, despite being so instantly recognisable as "radio fodder". I guess when you break down pop into its constituent parts you get: the hook, the thing that immediately gets you nodding your head; the production, the thing that blows your mind if you have surround sound, and the simplicity. Love Like This manage not only to warp the simplicity into something more intensely original, but also bypass the dreaded 4th aspect of pop that I shudder to even have to type: commercialisation. These guys are underground, yet it's not "indie", it's not "vegetarian grindcore", it's just simply "pop"; I can only hope they don't land a major record label, selling their souls for bling and sequins, and end up taking the road of mediocrity. What they have at the moment is good.

Highly recommended EP.

Available for FREE from SimpleStereo.com

Baskyl - Monochrome Rainbow Snorters

My first review of Germany's electroid Baskyl was drooling with praise over his lush soundscapism, incredible sense of melody and rhythm, and amazing ability to morph and evolve.

In doing my second review of this artist, the tantalising journey that is "Monochrome Rainbow Snorters", I would be repeating myself if I merely heaped praise on him. Let it be known he is an incredible composer and musician, and we shall move forward from there.

But how shall we move forward? Well, I hate to be a wanker, but I am, so I'm gonna start talking about red wine...

The previous album I reviewed, "Far Beyond Home", is a merlot. Often scoffed at by intellectuals who consider their taste refined, the merlot is nonetheless a delicious grape that yields a seductively sweet, full-bodied wine that hits the palate in all the right areas. It is my favourite grape, and like opening a bottle of expensive merlot I relished in the delights of sound akin to whirling tastebud sensations as I listened to Far Beyond Home. I know it is the sort of sound that some people will indeed consider flat and boring, just as the poor merlot grape is so often labelled. Yet it is in the simultaneous simplicity and power of these sounds that I found beauty and intense enjoyment.

Now as I crack open Baskyl's "Monochrome Rainbow Snorters" I find myself comparing it to a shiraz. From the get-go it hits you in the front of the palate, close to the nose, sending you reeling from the force of it's effervescents, yet behind this initial contact is a deep and soothing aftertaste that lingers in the senses like, well... a bloody good bottle of shiraz.

Baskyl has evolved in complexity and originality a great deal since I first reviewed him last year, yet on a very subtle level. Any newcomer to electronic music is like a newcomer to red wine: they will not know the difference between a merlot and a shiraz, yet I consider myself rather seasoned in my music taste and can say with certainty that this album has been pieced together with much more emphasis on the subtle things that make great electronic music great: "How loud should this snare hit be?" ... "What attack time do I set my compressor to?" ... "If an ant is crawling westwards on a knife on a train heading eastwards..."

It's a strange paradox that the subtle complexities of the composition and the mix are scientific and technological yet the overall effect is that of something organic, something that breathes. And, like "Far Beyond Home", "Monochrome" breathes, evolves, adapts, lives; like, and I'll say it again: a bloody good bottle of wine. Some people don't like red wine and some people don't like electronic music, but if I were to pick one underground example of this rather broad genre I couldn't think of anything better to recommend than this album.

Available for free at www.last.fm/music/baskyl/monochrome+rainbow+snorters