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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
Yasunao Tone/Florian Hecker
Mego Records

Rating: 5/10 ?

August 12, 2005
Palimsest is former Flexus member Yasunao Tone's attempt to translate eighth century Japanese poetry into coherent aural documents. Tone harvests the reader's phrasings, rhythms and tempos and drastically retexturalizes these sounds into geysers of crystalline tones, sterilized ambience and pinprick micro-rhythms.

Having heavily altered these poems through various DSP techniques, there is little in the way of surviving evidence which might speak to the works' beginnings. Instead of incorporating the particularity of the origins into the unity of the project on a whole, Tone allows it to uselessly fall back upon itself, rendering this a polite series of anonymous constructions. What's more, on account of past moments that fail to be justified in these present projects, each moment wades in the absurdity of contingency. These galactic radio signals, grainy blasts of noise and translucent, opal-tinged harmonies sometimes seem like a haunted house full of groans and gasps, but they largely remain errant energies that find no grounding - content to flutter in every which way, choosing nothing.

Only Florian Hecker's fraught, synth glissandos and guttural scutter fuzz animate these otherwise perfunctory operations. Throughout, tones are taken from the hidden dynamics of the poems themselves; they mingle and cluster, peppered by Hecker's scalding cauldrons of noise. In its finest moments, the album makes off-kilter structures sound paradoxically controlled, with each low electronic pulse and abrasive moment of noise functioning as an essential plot point, without which the others would collapse into claptrap. In moments less opaque, Hecker's digital debris is shafted to the pulsating percussion and liquid popping sounds of Tone, forming a splendid, freewheeling bulk and ecstatic turmoil; the mixture acts as testimony to the compact and densely expressive potential of the elements employed.

More often than not, however, Tone and Hecker distance themselves, crafting an overtly premeditated document of microscopic fluctuations in sound; the album fails to capitalize on the promise of its concept. Although not an entirely negative experience, Palimsest would do well to lean upon anterior creations when seeking the novel, as opposed to abstracting from them [nearly] altogether.

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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