Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New/Recent Releases - Caustic, Blaqk Audio, The xx

The Man Who Couldn't Stop
Label: Metropolis
Released: 10/9 2012
Genre: Industrial, Power Noise

For this release Caustic went out, took every element used in Industrial, and related, genres for the past thirty years, poured it all into a blender, and hit puree. What he did after that is create a near masterpiece of musical diversity, without losing the plot.

It's a fantastic album, from start to end, but never repeats itself. Normally that much diversity is a recipe for disaster. But he's contained each bit, turned various elements into songs, not trying to make it all fit into every song. While the album is really a collection of singles, nothing much links them together beyond the title, it seems to not matter. You could hit random on the player and come up with a different track order for every listen and it'd still sound like a great album. He also doesn't get caught up in himself or his ideas, he just lets it flow out. Awesome music here, definitely add this to your collection.

Blaqk Audio
Bright Black Heaven
Label: Supberball Music
Released: 9/11 2012
Genre: Synthpop

When I first heard this in the music store overhead I thought I was listening to some previously unheard Depeche Mode or similar 1980s synthpop. I wasn't, but this is a very well crafted piece of music. Every inch of it is a nearly perfectly produced replication of 80s synthpop ideas and sounds that you'd be hard pressed to guess it was a new group with a new release.

And it's not a couple guys from the 80s "revisiting their roots while trying something new" which happens. No, the duo here takes the ideas, the composition, and creates a wholly new 'old sounding' album. It's excellent to listen to, not overly-layered, and catchy. Truly superb music has been put onto this album, another definite add to your collection this week.

The xx
Label: Young Turks
Released: 9/11 2012
Genre: Downtempo, Rock, Pop

And the final album from this week, The xx are a group, and I'm not sure I should apply the term 'indy-rock' based off this release, out of London. This album is extremely stripped down and minimal. All the pieces are subdued, even the singing, to the point of light ambient work. All the rock elements are here - drums, guitar, bass, vocals, with some MPC and keyboards in places.

But the composition of it does not elicit Rock Music. Downtempo beats, simple layers, and a removal of complex interactions make for a very mellow album. It's very good, but also puts me to sleep. If you need something to chill to and don't want yet another "new agey" sounding album full of harps and sequenced sounds, pick this up. The xx have figured out how to make mellow rock without making a folk-rock rip-off sound. Coexist, at least, has mastered utilizing audio space smartly in the same way Future Sound Of London have, and that's not a compliment I can give out often.

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