» 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
Blue States
Man Mountain
Eighteenth Street Lounge Music

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Electronic music can be so much more than beats and dance floor attitude. This is not to say that it should be this way, after all, there is definitely a time and a place for sweaty ass-shaking rhythms and fist-pumping house anthems. But as we proceed into the 21st century and genres expand into subgenres, as music types explode spreading shrapnel and intermingling innovations, lines get blurred and styles get pushed forward.

Downtempo. What the hell does that mean anyway? People used to call it 'trip hop' but that got phased out for some reason. Downtempo has gotten a bad rap recently as car commercials and the new adult contemporary format pushed by some so called 'alternative' public radio formats have usurped this style of electronic music for their own devious needs… like selling Volkswagens or phasing out guitars from the airwaves. But amidst all the crap, there are some gems. There always are.

Thievery Corporation's ESL Music label has recently released an album from Andy Dragazis' project, Blue States, called Man Mountain. It isn't really fair to call this electronic music, or even downtempo, but invariably that is the category it will reside in. So let's bitch about it and move on. This is good music. This is multi-instrumental music, with complex arrangements and luscious pop hooks. This is music that benefits from the sweet vocals of Tahita Bulmer, who brightens up tracks like "Only Today" and "What We Have Won." This is cinematic music that details soundtracks to movies that will never exist.

The songs on Man Mountain range from jazzy and slinky instrumentals ("Bare Bones") to sweet orchestral 60's style pop ("Double Speak") to songs that sound like they could be outtakes from Air's The Virgin Suicides soundtrack ("Studio 20"). The track "Season Song" takes a cue from Pink Floyd and employs the innocent vocals of an East London children's choir to great effect. From the album's opener, "Metro Sound," you are aware that you are listening to something different. The programming seems to take a back seat to actual instrumentation, as guitar, bass, drums and keys whirlpool toward that late Sunday afternoon vortex that this music reminds you of.

Man Mountain contains enough instrumental interaction to satisfy the indie kids with just enough stoner-beats to keep the downtempo headz happy. At times, songs like the title track veer into melodramatic territory, but that is the point of these sweeping compositions. It's all about the feeling, but the songwriting keeps pace as a close second. Blue States is making downtempo music that is a sequel to the blockbuster sounds of the early 90's original. And like The Godfather series, the sequel might just be better than the original.

Reviewed by Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.

See other reviews by Jonah Flicker



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