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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]

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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.
[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
DJ Tan't
Notes of Abrasion
Dismal City

Rating: 6/10 ?


September 11, 2006
DJ Tan't (short for Tantrum) is a clearly talented DJ and arranger, but unfortunately he spends the first half of Notes of Abrasion aping other better known DJs. Fortunately around track seven, "Daughter of Wolves," Tan't begins to step away from the impersonation and toward something much more interesting. Tracks seven through nine on the album are the most fully realized of the bunch and, not coincidentally, are also the least derivative.

The disc opens with promise - a simple, elegant piano part over crackling vinyl. This beauty lasts over two minutes before a tired DJ Krush beat comes in and almost three minutes before things really go awry. White-boy rapper, Sleepyhead begins to rhyme and suddenly the plane is crashing into the mountain. Sleepyhead isn't without talent, lyrically speaking, but his flow is sub-par at best. Whats more is that he doesn't sound like he cares, steeping his style a bit too much in the too-cool-for-school attitude which is the downfall of many an MC. The next several tracks continue the nosedive.

Track two, "Jasmine In Blue," is straight out of Preemptive Strike/U.N.K.L.E.-era DJ Shadow, with its oddly paced beats resting over a piano sample and layer upon layer of sound. In fact, Shadow's influence is the one consistent and dominating force throughout Notes of Abrasion. None of these copycat songs are bad, but anyone who knows up from down will take a real DJ Shadow cut over Tantrum's saccharine imitation any day. I suppose, at the very least, it is somewhat reassuring that Tan't listens to good music. This album would be unbearable if Tan't worshiped DJ Cam or Arman Van Helden.

Tan't actually makes some good music of his own late in the disc, on the afore-mentioned "Daughter of Wolves." As with may of the tracks here, a dark piano intro leads into heavy layers of beats and electronic bleeps. A female choral sample gets chopped up and spliced into the music alongside a guitar riff. On "Tom the Waiter" Tan't uses a deep upright bass line as support for choppy tribal drum sounds. "Computer Eyes" utilizes enough synth to make Moby jealous, the cold digital sounds riding over Aphex Twin-style drums and a sweeping wall of cello.

It is very clear that Tan't has talent not only as a DJ but also as a producer. The piano, some of the drums and other instruments on this album were played live and their incorporation into his album is seamless. The problem with Tantrum lies mostly in his inability to stray from DJ Shadow's sound. DJ's like RJD2, Diplo, Peanut Butter Wolf and Madlib have all produced interesting and original material over the decade since the release of the seminal Endtroducing. It is my hope that Tan't will follow in the footsteps of these other great DJs and head toward something new and distinctly his own, rather than simply splashing in the wake of DJ Shadow.

Reviewed by Jon Burke
A contributing writer and a Chicago resident who will not be goaded by LASís editor into revealing any more details about his potentially sordid affairs.

See other reviews by Jon Burke

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