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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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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
Collections of Colonies of Bees
Polyvinyl Records

Rating: 8/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Collections of Colonies of Bees used to be the side project of Pele members Jon Mueller and Chris Rosenau. Since the group's first release in 1998, additional musicians have been recruited and a collection of releases of music has been crafted from the resultant morphing braintrust. Most recently, Pele called it quits, and now with this new release on Polyvinyl Records, COCOB has become the mainstay group for two of underground rock's more overlooked creators.

COCOB is collectively not as much a music creator as it is a coordinated selector of sound. Mueller, Rosenau, and once-Pele member Jon Minor compose the stitching of Customer with acoustic guitar lines that are as crisp as they are beautiful.

At select moments, as during Track 5 "Fun" (all the tracks are named "Fun" except the last, entitled "Funeral"), there are nearly non-digitally-effected flowing guitar compositions that carry the mood in a mellow repose. However, much of the effectiveness of these parts is created with computer effects and stylings that make the instrument emerge as more processed than organic.

Likewise, rarely are percussive rhythms "traditional" in any sense of the word. Drum kits or other tempo-setting percussion instruments are frequently absent, or are not used in their common beat-carrying mode. In percussion's stead are "things," as defined in the album credits. This immense term incorporates everyday sounds such as popcorn popping and shoe stomps along with unconventional fusion jazz styled drumbeats.

Customer is coated with equal parts technological and traditional instrumentation. Jim Schoenecker and Minor produce sounds of white noise, glitchy computer pops, and metallic blips to the churning culture of each track. Often it sounds as if there were faulty cables and microphones low on batteries used during the recording process. Somehow though, the overall texture is entirely natural and well-composed, somewhat like a symphony of blunders.

COCOB creates sounds most similar in imagery to a waterlogged accordion that is ripping at its bellows. Each note that is pushed out is subject to some unanticipated interruption of its breath-like movement. The sound is initially strange to the ear but eventually becomes beautiful as the musical environment is taken in as whole. One may realize that as hard as it would be to play the malfunctioning wind instrument, it is even harder to create something so unpredictable and yet serene. But with Customer, such a work is shaped behind an index of computers and guitars, and…oh yes…things.

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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