» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » 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]


 » 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
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
Plaid & Bob Jaroc
Greedy Baby

Rating: 6/10 ?

July 14, 2006
Let's start with what we know from Plaid's past. The electronic group is comprised of Ed Handley and Andrew Turner, and are part of Warp Records' stable of artists. The two Brits have been cultured by the electronica scene especially in the areas of post-disco, techno and acid house. They were also previously known under the Black Dog Production moniker (with fellow musician Ken Downie) until the current Plaid focus took over. Since 1998's critical success Not For Threes there have been several 12" singles, four additional full length albums, and two comprehensive collections including the 2000 release Trainer, which has been a sticking point for many. The progression has now led to this year's CD/DVD collaboration with visual artist Bob Jaroc in Greedy Baby.

The music of Greedy Baby is a bit hard to place, despite Plaid's usually general electronica/techno classification. Of course the nine tracks are all instrumental, as most electronic tunes are, incorporating tinges of ambient, experimentalism and cinematics. "I Citizen the Loathsome" runs the gamut, at first showing sides of a slow-building ambient factor (which most of the tracks tend to intro with), then creatively tinkering with melodies going head-to-head with challenging time signatures, crescendoing into a Kubrick-esqe score soundscape (complete with eerie vocal chants), and finally channeling towards some progressive but lo-fi rock/electronic stuff. In spite of the complicated sequence he flow is natural, and most importantly the music is not busy.

Greedy Baby is a piece of art just as much as it is a musical release. The DVD portion delivers visual adaptations to the original tracks from the album and four additional features for previously released Plaid tracks, "Crumax Rins," "Assault On Precinct Zero," "Zala," and "New Family." Some of the videos look a lot like what shows up when you press the visualization button on Winamp-psychedelic reactive motion. The video for "I Citizen the Loathsome" is nothing but a cycling through footage of British urban nightscape, parked cars and darkened homes under dim street lights. Much of the DVD is not all that impressive until "The Return of Super Barrio."

"The Return of Super Barrio", paired with "New Family," expresses political distaste in a creative way. The first is a cartoon with similar looking characters to the Homestar Runner cast, only billed as a Mexican professional wrestler who is set to save the world from personified vices like media and dictatorship. Anyone will be caught by the creative uniqueness and comical hilarity of this one.

"New Family" is a series of questions through visual panning, with introspective thoughts like Are you constantly tired? or Do you feel like you don't get along with others? The overall focus gravitates towards an idea of overwhelming moral alienation, and the music of Plaid provides an excellent backdrop of suggestiveness.

Jaroc and Plaid work well together but there are too many moments that the visual aspects lack a common interest to make the DVD truly exceptional. Unfortunately, Handley and Turner fall under a similar guise of failing to constantly engage the listener and Greedy Baby, although politically expressive as an electronic album, isn't overwhelming in the musical sense, give or take a couple really good tracks.

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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