AAC (Hi-Quality) (44k)
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by: Zero Sharp

For the long-time electronica listeners who remember names well, it would come as no surprise that the new album from Plaid should sound good. For the rest of us, here's the back history: the duo that makes up Plaid, Andy Turner and Ed Handley, have been around for quite a while. In the 1990's, they made up two-thirds of The Black Dog, who are famous for helping pioneer the whole IDM scene. Now, a good 10 years down the line, Plaid, their more quirky, melodic project is seeing its fourth full-length release, "Spokes". The album is beautifully produced, as expected. The use and quality of sounds and samples is masterful, and it shows through in the whole album. The start of the album, "Even Spring" starts almost operatic, with disembodied, wordless vocals. It then proceeds to meltdown into a vibrating mass of melodic beatwork, something that would conjure the image of Browian motion come to life sonically. The next track is a great example of Plaid going its own direction in sounds, uncaring if they're in with the the trends that have been bouncing around recently. The sounds seem at times so old-school that they hurt, but they do so without any of the obnoxious "revisiting the 80s" vibe which seems to have contaminated so much recently. The track, "Crumax Rins", has a masterful rolling drum and bass line which lends an subterranean feel to the whole track. Other noteworthy tracks, "Get What You Give", sounds like Jamaican steel drums bouncing, carrying along a fun, floating rhythm and melody. "B Born Droid" is also fun, almost close sonically to Nobukazu Takemura and his the feel that the latter's singing robots induce. All in all, it's a solid release, and a good listen, but it's not as classic as some of Plaid's earlier works. Those would be the place to start, and then if you feel that you can't get enough, this will be a good addition to that library.


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