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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
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Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
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The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
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No Age - Everything in Between
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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
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Fat Possum
Soundsystem 01

Rating: 5/10 ?

August 27, 2008
When artists start throwing the word cinematic around to describe their own music, the term is usually a harbinger of sub-par music that invariably suffers from lack of beats, hooks, and/or melodies. Every now and then, however, a nice exception to the rule appears on the scene, the Canadian duo Esliane being one of the most recent examples. DJ's Mike Truman and Chris Healings, performing under the name Hybrid, are another exception.

Although Truman and Healings are capable of splicing beats on their own, when creating music and performing as a duo the pair operate as Hybrid. Soundsystem 01, their latest collaborative release, is a double album, with one CD devoted to a more ambient and, yes, "cinematic" soundscape, and a second disc with a decidedly more upbeat direction.

Soundsystem 01's first disc is without question the more interesting of the two, and includes contributions by club scene heavy hitters such as Ryuichi Sakamoto, DJ Spooky, and David Sylvain. The disc mixes downtempo, glitchy, and atmospheric tracks with actual film scores, and in the resulting structures it becomes quite apparent that the two spheres can and do eloquently overlap. At its heart the nature of a film score is similar to that of an ambient downtempo track; they're both created to convey feelings with the aim to be as emotional as possible, eliciting a listener response in the direction of whatever the particular emotion or feeling might be. Truman and Healings seem to understand the intersection of the genres and make the most of it.

Disc two is a collection of more traditional up-tempo, dance-oriented club cuts. With dance music enjoying its largest swell of popularity since disco it takes a concerted effort to create tracks that distinguish themselves from the din, and here Hybrid stumble. Soundsystem 01's second disc is fairly boring, to be honest, as we've heard most of it before in one form or another. Hybrid are not bringing anything new to the table, and as a result Soundsystem 01 plays like what should have been a single-disc release, with the filler of the second relegated to free downloads.

On the strength of collections like Soundsystem 01's first disc, acts like Hybrid might just succeed in making "cinematic" an appropriate term in electronic music. "Filler," on the other hand, will always be a very, very bad word, especially when an entire disc of it drags down what would otherwise be a highly-rated album.

Reviewed by Daniel Svanberg
A contributing writer for LAS, Daniel Svanberg now lives in Boston, far far away from Sweden, where he once lived, although the weather is the same.

See other reviews by Daniel Svanberg



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