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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
L Pierre
Melodic Records

Rating: 9/10 ?

January 31, 2005
L Pierre (Aidan Moffat of Arab Strap) puts together synthetic loops with repeating orchestral stings, piano, guitar and numerous other instruments; the sounds easily see-saw, fading in and out, and creating - for lack of a better word - a "pretty" dynamic. Touchpool evokes a beautiful state of melancholia from start to finish, but most specifically towards album's end. "Velbon"-an acronym that scrambles the initials of Ludwig Van Beethoven and Brian Eno - mixes a classical composition of Beethoven with airy string loops reminiscent of Eno in their subtle otherworldliness. Turning at its end, an old record plays, crackling in the foreground. The tired static runs on as the piano appears and reappears in the background. Rarely does a song or an entire record for that matter, sound so well put together, so fitting in both its combinations and empty spaces.

Different sounds and instruments come together seamlessly, and the slow-moving loops turn lazily with giddy motion sickness. Touchpool isn't an album to clean house to or to fall asleep to - it warrants attentiveness. To hear all the loops, the idiosyncrasies and the subtle changes in instrumentation and melody is to listen to its full effect and be consumed. There is a somberness to the arrangements that makes me want to call relatives I hadn't spoken to in days, or evokes the feeling that someone I hadn't seen in weeks or months might be surprisingly standing in my doorway or floating through the air.

Though mostly reflective, Touchpool does have its less than serious moments. "Jim Dodge Dines at the Penguin Café" has a calypso beat that provides the backbone of the song, while also combining pedal steel guitar. The country twang mixed with calypso brings to mind a ridiculous picture of some socially-outcast-ed, flamboyant cowboy - maybe wearing only chaps, but manly nevertheless. "Fan-Dance" is equally playful (however, more understated), nostalgic, and unconventional in its piano tinkering, beats and bells. L Pierre completes the album with a song that initially sounds more familiar than previous tracks. Up-tempo with a comfortable drum loop, the song takes repetition almost to the point of inducing mental illness; however, it breaks out of the cycle and ends nicely with a subtle use of trumpets whose effect is strangely somber.

Touchpool is an instrumental album that is complete and without holes. It doesn't have those moments where you drift in and out of consciousness waiting for the next moment of interest or surprise. As well, it doesn't overwhelm itself with either of the two. For the most part, everything is in its place, and that doesn't happen nearly often enough.

Reviewed by Abbie Amadio
The last we heard Abbie Amadio, a former contributor to LAS, was based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

See other reviews by Abbie Amadio



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