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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]

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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!
[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
Mitchell Akiyama
If Night is a Weed and Day Grows Less
Sub Rosa

Rating: 6/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Past efforts saw Mitchell Akiyama expose a birthmark of bubbly glitch electronics, yet, for If Night is a Weed and Day Grows Less, this birthmark is largely concealed beneath classical attire, woven by threads of piano, trumpet and violin provided by Becky Foon. It's a garment that is fairly translucent in places, however, and as on "if day wins, night could fail" a redolent pattering of digital debris saturates this classical dress like a rain storm, which has caught an unwary person out in the open.

Album opener, "Try to Conceal..." unveils a booming pulse that converges with a static wash over the rhythmic nudges of a treated piano chord. From these squalls of digital hailstones lingers a dampness that, hitherto a repetitive piano refrain tries to shake off. "Enfin, rien est gagne", navigates through a similar trail. A calm creek of breezy electronica drifts, before a tsunami of nippy interference engulfs the environment.

Even without the mark which etches "With Hope That" as homage to Steve Reich, the cyclical repetition which constructs the song's skeleton make the influence all too obvious. And herein lies if night is a weed and day grows less' ugly blemish. Indeed, as the press release reveals: Akiyama is endeavoring to dress the piano with the abstract yet melodic beauty of Fennesz' guitar studies.

Akiyama teeters between glitches and classical composition throughout, never really developing either, as though uncertain where he wishes to travel. One might perceive this as a conscious act on Akiyama's part. As hinted by the title, this work is an audio document of the weeds fighting the hegemony of the lawn. The weeds, played by grainy glitch cut-ups, argue, struggle and occasionally rebel against the oppressive blades of grass, played by organic instruments. This makes for a fascinating idea. Yet, after repeated listens, the faces of these songs bear a certain family resemblance. Digital scrapes ebb and flow sparsely, rising periodically to high tides that crash against a rock of eroding piano chords. With a short lifespan of thirty-five minutes, this pattern is repeated with little amendment; consequently, the album feels incomplete - its attractive curves and features, draped in an album sized gown, are simply lost. One wonders if an EP would have been more suitable a fit.

"Il N'y a Pas de Silence" is more insidious and ambient, its chopped up, chiming pianos set behind a fine gauze of purring digitalia, equivalent to a swift gust of breeze snapping at a metal awning. "Fall away Fall Away", is more in the vein of post-rock ethos. Here, Foon's violin is gracious towards Akiyama's temperament: delicate, unobtrusive, yet vital in highlighting the cresting atmospheres, wherein the weeds make a last uprising, their velvety glitch textures growing into harsh glass shards, crying out in revolt against order. "Night grows less", ties all loose ends with floating singled-out chord ripples emerging from the fog in a weary step. One is left with a thoughtful, well executed piece of art; it is just unfortunate that on this outing Akiyama's style doesn't quite equal his intriguing ideas.

Reviewed by Max Schaefer
Nocturnal qualms and eyes that brim like lamps betoken slender sketches, poetry and short stories strewn alongside piano playing, a fiddling of knobs and murmured dialogue with a medley of electronic gizmo\'s. A twenty-one year old person lodged within the University of Victoria, Max harvests organic sounds on a sullen sampler, watching water unwind like two broad lengths of ribbon and nursing a book below the canopy of a cheery-tree. Max believes that the world is made present by people\'s presence in it and that art is one such way in which a distinctive disclosure might be crafted.

See other reviews by Max Schaefer

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