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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

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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.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » 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!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

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
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Tosca
J.A.C.
K7 Records

Rating: 7.5/10 ?


July 7, 2005
Considered a fusion of number of different electronic sub-styles, from down tempo to jazz-influenced dance, the works of Tosca are best described as, simply, the moonlighting project of electronic/trip-hop producers Rupert Huber and Richard Dorfmeister.

The feel of J.A.C. is distinctive enough to demand Tosca its own spot in electronica camps - not exclusively because of the oft-second mentioned Kruder & Dorfmeister production. The album is a mixture of unique qualities and stands by itself in the way it feels out an intrinsic affection for down tempo, dance beats and world and jazz music.

The best part is that nothing feels forced or overtly formulated; every bout of vocal scatting, jazzy electric guitar coloring and organ chord arrangement seems to be the product of gradual mixing sessions. At the bottom of everything is a constant and ever-altering rhythm section: during one track, the feel could be electro-samba, the next track dub, a couple songs later a crawling, eerie midnight groove.

Many songs start with their own subtly secluded attitude: "Pyjama" begins with psychedelic vibraphone and a short hip-hop breakbeat followed by tempo-pushing samba drum kit rhythm; "Damentag" features a flanged-out guitar and disco beat. Most often tracks stay true to their original course, as well, without introducing awkward transitions for the sake of change, or getting sidetracked into a new idea.

At the heart of Tosca is the layering of subtle drum kit samples with electronic four-on-the-floor beats, loopable synth effects, dub style electric bass and an eclectic taste palette that is both well-traveled and jazzy. If nothing else, the composite aural feel is lounge friendly and well suited to allow for both club dancing and background ambiance while dining or studying.

A great starting point for new listeners is "Zuri," a track that amongst mixed crowds will have several asking, Who is this playing? Before the music is revealed as Tosca's, many might propose J.A.C. as containing unheard remixes derived anywhere from Thievery Corporation to St. Germain. With "Zuri," listeners of every scene can find something to grow on - clubbers, on-the-beat electronic pulse; world listeners, Western-removed female vocal whisperings; computer geeks, ambient electronic chords and indie folks, acoustic guitar and piano melody.

For all the good of the album, it does come have some down points. One major issue lies in the usage of so many characteristic genre conventions in sampling. Non-electronic music listeners can appreciate the way the duo incorporates jazz guitar and organ, and Eastern vocals and effects, but often it comes at the price of nonexpanding in-song writing, an uncompromising reliance on dance beats and repetition. Additionally, Tosca's style is not groundbreaking or exceptionally stirring to listen to, but very few will raise their expectations so high this could be considered a letdown.

J.A.C. is a solid album of great origin and creative course; it is something for many personalities to appreciate, but less to out-and-out crave or find as a singular source for inspiration.

Reviewed by Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other reviews by Josh Zanger

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