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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
»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
Moskitoo
Drape
12k

Rating: 8/10 ?


March 13, 2007
The release of Moskitoo's Drape marks something of an occasion for 12k. Not only does it take it into its twelfth year of operation, but also sees the label take a turn into slightly more expansive territory. Drape is without doubt the most "complete" of 12k's recent releases, cranking the electronic minimalism of Taylor Deupree, Sebastien Roux et al up a few notches. To be sure, Moskitoo fits the 12k mould with aplomb, only in a less obvious manner; to put it simply, a couple of minutes with Drape doesn't necessarily prompt the uninitiated to wonder, "so, when does it kick in," unlike many of its contemporaries.

Although 12k has always successfully managed to dodge the "ambient" tag, its likeness in the way its releases are met is perceptible. Moskitoo, however, juxtaposes this notion. Granted, the components of Moskitoo (Sanae Yamasaki)'s music are microscopic, delicately textured, and lightly laced with incidental sounds and cute little mistakes, keeping it in line with the 12k modus operandi, but the difference lies in the way it is arranged. While melodic and dreamy, Drape is unmistakably immediate, consistent with electronic beats and Yamasaki's own lush, raspy vocals, raising suggestions of it epitomizing a "supped-up" version of 12k.

Perhaps most interestingly, though, Yamasaki, appears to have cottoned on to the suggestion that experimental music has become so rife that it simply isn't experimental anymore. By applying a more conventional guise to broken synths and ground failure sounds, she is effectively managing to produce music more dynamic and original than the mainstay of her peers. She has taken something a bit quirky and unconventional and normalized it, and thus Drape rests awkwardly with any lazy IDM or ambient comparisons.

"Skie" is Drape's standout track, imbued with a catchiness that minimalist electronic artists often overlook. The interaction between instruments is also quite diverse, with woodwind playing off a simple, twee glockenspiel (or similar instrument) pattern. "Manima No Lemon" exhibits a gradual buildup of chimes and airy, indecipherable vocals, before ambling jauntily into the distance via a squelchy, yet minute beat. Yamasaki brings her guitar into play with "Tarantilla", along with its swaying synths and eerie presence. Needless to say, each track conveys its own character - a somewhat rare feat in modern electronic music.

While it may meander into light eccentricity, Drape treads ground that many experimental musicians fear - that of simple melody - and is accordingly refreshing to listen to. Zooming in more closely, Yamasaki's tones are warm, her playing precise, and the production crisp and charming to the ear. Not at one point does Drape come across as forced, conceited, or trite; just a girl making happy, slightly oddball music in her room, and quite conveniently, it sounds pretty damn sweet.

Reviewed by Mike Wright
A staff writer based in London, England, Mike Wright is eternally troubled by the American bastardization of the English language.

See other reviews by Mike Wright

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