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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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Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
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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
Prhizzm EP
Benbecula Records

Rating: 8/10 ?

June 3, 2005
There's no doubt the advancements in technology of the last ten years have made self-production far more achievable. The modern capabilities of a desktop PC, a CD burner and a few working brain cells are virtually limitless, and subsequently it seems as if everyone has their own solo electronica project. Further, the means provided by file-sharing programs show that the future has never looked brighter for the aspiring bedroom-dwelling contemporary music producer.

Although such developments may have led to a flooding of the market - I'm sure the guys at Warp have more makeshift coasters than they can possibly know what to do with - the standards have undoubtedly been raised. After all, if everyone and their next-door-neighbours have been experimenting with Fruityloops and hosting their results on MySpace, then sure, there's going to be a lot of shit - you only have to scratch the surface of the aforementioned website for evidence of that -but in order to avoid treading water, producers are expected to stretch the limits of their imagination.

Canadian producer Brendan Dellandrea is very much part of the new generation of musicians who seek to maintain the high standards of contemporary IDM. After a handful of appearances on various compilations, his project, Prhizzm - which, I can only assume, is pronounced 'Prism' - debuts with a self-titled EP. Notably, Prhizzm is aesthetically-pleasing; when observed from a distance, the front cover resembles some form of sub-aquatic garden but closer inspection reveals traffic-lights, road signs and even a church. Whether or not this should be perceived as a naturalistic take on post-modernism or I've over-stretched the limits of my imagination, it looks very nice.

Prhizzm draws mainly from artists of the last decade or so; the likes of Mouse on Mars and Plaid are fairly accurate reference points, but an obvious hip-hop influence is also evident. Dellandrea utilizes sweeping synth pad drones that build upon each other, constructing and deconstructing futuristic scenes, whereas his beats, although subtly interesting, are not so much scattered as they are rigid.

The first of six tracks, "Small Comfort", showcases a series of cut up sequences and melancholic synth patterns before paving the way for "Minutiae" - perhaps the EP's stand-out track. "Minutiae" drifts in and out of clouds of noise and dispersed rhythmic squelches, and sporadically gathers itself for short beat-driven stretches. "Empty Your Mind" maintains the straight-forward elements of hip-hop, but adds some Autechre-esque delay-time-sweeps that gradually build in intensity. The scene remains interesting without over-complicating itself, and is thus equally effective as background music as it is for headphone listening.

The fact that Prhizzm has been released on Benbecula, an independent Scottish label, suggests that it may be difficult to track down in the States. Despite the relative saturation of IDM, Prhizzm is a project that deserves to be tracked down and exposed to devotees of the genre. For a debut release, Prhizzm is very impressive; like all good releases, it improves with every listen. Until he gives us any kind of sign, I can only hope that Brendan Dellandrea's imagination has not yet been over-stretched, and that good things are indeed yet to come.

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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