06.02.2012, Words by Ruth Saxelby

Albums of the week

Album of the week // Blondes – ‘Blondes’ [RVNG Intl.]


Every decade there’s an electronic duo who immortalise the times. In the 90s it was London’s Chemical Brothers with their Britpop-friendly, block rockin’ beats; in the 00s it was Paris’s Justice with their leather jacketed electro, ripe for the superclub’s moment in the spotlight; and now in the 2010s it is New York duo Blondes who are chiming with the times with their ecstatic, rolling take on deep house. ‘Blondes’ plugs into today’s undercurrent of intensely focused introspection with a physicality that surprises. They somehow encapsulate both sides of the current cultural dialogue: a desire to be connected, to surrender to the flow of infinite data, and the impulse to reject the digital world for ‘reality’. While their music flows and burns in a deeply meditative way, suppressing thought in favour of feeling, ‘Blondes’ was not made on a computer. Instead it was largely improvised on live electronic gear, some of it analogue. It has a real world physicality written into its DNA; a physicality that it’s possible to hear and feel. The result is an intensely pleasurable, instinctive album that speaks to the times as well as the mind, body and soul, and one that, with any justice, should see them begin to scale the heights of their predecessors. [RS]
Listen to Blondes ‘Blondes’ [RVNG Intl.] here

John Talabot – ƒIN [Permanent Vacation
You know that bit in Kill Bill when the baddie (Bill, right?) talks about Superman, and says that he’s interesting because most other superheroes are people pretending to be abnormal, whereas Clark Kent is Superman’s attempt to seem like a normal guy, when he is, in fact, anything but. Barcelonian house producer John Talabot is basically modern music’s Clark Kent. He is a weird, imaginative producer, in other words, who is turning his attention to the language of pop. And as is often the case, it’s the moments of mistranslation that are most exhilarating. In a world so in sway to the tyranny of the weird, Talabot’s genius is more his imitation of the common tropes of modern music – from the open vistas of his synths to his nearly pop vocals, right down to his pub singer pseudonym – and his delicate stretching of them. On the surface, his music is straightforward enough, but peel back and the thrilling oddness is there. It’s a sleeper cell of a record, a double agent, and one I expect to turn up in a ore than a few end-of-year lists. [CRJ]
Listen to John Talabot’s ‘ƒIN’ here

Goth-Trad – ‘New Epoch’ [DEEP MEDi]
If you’ve been keeping tabs on the global dubstep scene over the last decade you’ll no doubt be familiar with Japanese producer Goth-Trad. ‘New Epoch’ is his fourth album but his first for dubstep pioneer Mala’s Deep MEDi Musik, following a series of 12”s for the label over the last four years. It almost feels like a companion piece to Kode9 & the Spaceape’s ‘Black Sun’ in that it evokes a dense sonic fiction, more concerned with envisioning sprawling landscapes than moving bodies in a club. That said, in imagining new spaces that stretch far beyond dubstep’s origins, ‘New Epoch’ provides room for fresh dancefloor interpretation. And the title track’s killer. [RS]
Listen to Goth-Trad – ‘New Epoch’ [DEEP MEDi] on iTunes

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