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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]

MUSIC

 » 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
JDSY
Understander
Moodgadget

Rating: 8/10 ?


February 25, 2008
Fans of electronic music received a major gift last year with the release of The Field's From Here We Go Sublime, which I, at my hyperbolic best, called the greatest electronic release of the twenty-first century. While Understander, a tightly produced nine-song EP from JDSY, doesn't quite reach the heights of From Here We Go Sublime, it is nonetheless a refreshing, often hypnotic journey worth a spin. JDSY is in reality one Joey Sims, a Michigan native signed to Moodgadget, an up-and-coming label recently profiled by LAS.

Understander literally rushes by; most of the songs are short, all but three clocking in at three minutes or less. Some of the most intriguing tracks, such as "Understander (Interlude)," end after a mere minute, robbing the listener of a truly mellifluent experience. Sims showcases his willingness to experiment throughout the EP, which is admirable, but ultimately most of the songs - and really the EP as a whole - end up feeling more like sketches than complete works. Each song is compelling in the abstract, but by its end there's a deep sense of wanting. Perhaps that was Sims's goal, but I couldn't help feeling slightly disappointed as a catchy coagulation of sounds on any given track ended just as they were becoming interesting.

The mood on Understander is dark and dirty, recalling a world of gritty urban streets and the thrilling escapes often associated with them. There's a lot of echo and distortion on the melodies and Sims's vocals alike, and the beats are relatively simple and understated. Warm synth notes cover the entire EP, creating a feeling of familiarity and comfort, welcoming the listener into a secluded club down some half-lit alley where many of Understander's tracks would feel right at home.

Sims's vocals bear a striking resemblance to those of Todd Fink from The Faint, though they're not overbearing, as many of the tracks on Understander drift towards instrumental. Some other obvious influences here are Aphex Twin, Efterklang, and Dntel, though JDSY is a little darker than the latter two acts. Sims even manages to channel some Trent Reznor-like sounds on "CTZN Machine," a gripping industrial track that uses a typewriter-like sample as its underlying rhythm.

JDSY and his Understander EP are worthy additions to the modern landscape of electronic music. I only hope that Sims pushes himself to draw out the experiments heard here and to make future pieces more encompassing so that the captivating experiences don't end so soon.

Reviewed by Eric J. Morgan
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Eric J. Morgan is a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Colorado. He has an orange cat named Nelson and longs for the day when men and women will again dress in three-piece suits and pretty dresses to indulge in three-martini lunches and afternoon affairs.

See other reviews by Eric J. Morgan

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