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[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!
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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
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
We Don't Know Why But We Do It
2nd Records

Rating: 9/10 ?

October 1, 2004
In the cold, dark corners of romantic European streets, somewhere near the intersection of The Lull Account and The Notwist, you can find Christophe Stoll. There, in the brittle haze of a crystallizing fog, Stoll lingers in the shadows, twisting knobs as Nitrada, feeding a spread of organic guitars, warm analog synth sounds, laptop glitchery and an array of vocals into his magic sound machine. The result is a distorted, ultra-urban din of colliding sounds and textures. Burbling organic elements smother the sharpness of silicon blips, then letting the digital knife edges cut through, the periphery melting into a dark soup. As if dipped into liquid nitrogen, We Don't Know Why But We Do It is warm and inviting yet delicate as blown glass.

It is hard to pick a standout track from this quirky, complete album. The pace is confounding at a distance but ultimately seamless, Stoll proving that a properly sequenced album is a true piece of art. Even the album's packaging is a perfect metaphor for the contents - manicured ski slopes under cover of a black sky, illuminated by the piercing glow of high-wattage flood lights in the same way that Stroll's dagger-like glitch beats puncture the wash of natural background.

The album opens with "The Only Solution," an extremely sparse affair in comparison to the rest of the songs, almost an introductory soliloquy. The lo-fi bedroom fuzz swells to peak density, then crackles from beneath as the crunchy laptop concoctions surface in "Everything Is Not Alright". The result is an eerie, isolated, empty structure of galvanized metal and concrete, where your rationality can slip away. Groove to this track on the headphones, alone at 2 am, and you'll swear you're hearing things scratching at the windows.

The disc's title track is a beautiful, detached dream chamber. Tweaked samples crash into a sweet, symphonic undercurrent, overt melodies vie for attention with the gurgling stream of infused noise. Stroll pushes the finest thread of continuity between the tracks on We Don't Know Why But We Do It - the entire 40 minutes is artesian - and not a speck of momentum is wasted as the disc's most captivating track, "Fading Away," seeps meditatively through the speakers with its breathy female vocals, flittering samples and rich, distorted guitar wash. Later kinetic organic drumming intertwines in harmony with skittish programmed beats in "I Fear: Good" before the din collapses, ultimately reforming in an altered state for "Like A Souvenir".

This is one of the most captivating releases I've heard in quite some time, coming right out of left field and straight into my subconscious, both crispy and murky, cozy and distant. If you've got a hankering for Spiritualized and have hyper-real dreams of espionage soundtracked by IDM beats, but find the forceful marriage of electronics and traditional rock elements ala Kid A unsophisticated, Einstürzende Neubauten too harsh or just haven't found Skeletons yet, Nitrata is here just in time to rock your party.

Reviewed by Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other reviews by Eric J Herboth



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