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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
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 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Chris Herbert

Rating: 8.5/10 ?

November 15, 2006
Hats off to Kranky once again for having the balls to invest the necessary time and money in a new and relatively unknown artist; and indeed, in the case of Chris Herbert's Mezzotint, the dividends are paid by the truckload. Herbert's muted masterpiece emanates from the far-from-spectacular British midland city of Birmingham, and it seems his site specifics have served as an apt canvas for his meanderings.

Herbert's tenuous attachment to music is eclipsed by his interest in the limits of regular, everyday sounds. Rather than using conventional instruments to shape his sound, he uses basic minidisc recordings, recorded during regular walks to and from his workplace, capturing the aural environments of various land-use zones in the post-industrial metropolis he calls home. Mezzotint subsequently comes across as deep, murky, formless, and strikingly beautiful.

"Stab City" is a concoction of dense drones that flirt with melody. Herbert's field recordings are tuned to the point that they take on their own form; each humming layer of air is captured and fashioned, serving to compliment the tone of each proceeding layer, which together shape the track. "Elisa" is a lighter, more optimistic affair, bringing labelmates Stars of the Lid to mind. It's a mysterious beauty, difficult to pin down as derivative of any particular instrument, programme, noise-box, or dwelling.

Mezzotint sums up the inner city twilight of the winter months to a tee. Chris Herbert's approach is simple, but not obvious, and is uniquely accessible given that it essentially equates to little more than a loose assemblage of everyday noises. To be true, Mezzotint is full of life, constructing the image of a dank, wet urban landscape as poetically as a John Betjeman stanza. Despite being derived from an oblique corner, expect Mezzotint to penetrate year-end lists.

Reviewed by Mike Wright
A staff writer based in London, England, Mike Wright is eternally troubled by the American bastardization of the English language.

See other reviews by Mike Wright



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