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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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 » 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

Rating: 8/10 ?

January 19, 2006
From a reviewer's point of view, the endeavor of sifting through a musical world pebble-dashed with nuggets of mediocrity is made infinitely more bearable with the use of tags. Adjectives' functions are limited, and can be aptly attached to any number of genres; how else would we distinguish the likes of Deerhoof from, say, Oval (both being "disjointed" and at times "harebrained" but instantly recognisable as polar opposites) in conversation? Though in spite of the prevalence of this oft-dismissed technique, which we are all guilty of utilizing, ample experience begs one to remind him or herself that a tag is no more than a tag.

Operating under his Folie moniker, Swedish producer Stefan Thor keeps the tag of "minimalist electronica" at arm's length. Though slices of Eyepennies would have fit cosily on the defunct Mille Plateaux imprint, there really is a whole lot more at work here. The clicks, skitters and tics synonymous with the genre support the weight of Folie's identity: his knack for making industrially rooted sounds feel organic.

Part of this could stem from Thor's decision to build Eyepennies from raw samples originating, in one way or another, from his two-year-old daughter. Many sounds feel accordingly natural and far less mechanical than the hallmark work of "minimalist electronica" noteables such as Pan Sonic and (early) Autechre. Eyepennies' opening track, "Ellatre," when listened to in sequence with the track "Strum," reveals Thor's formation of equilibrium between the naturally opposing forces of scattered beats and organic whirrs. Though his purely mechanical ecosystem barely evolves within the confines of each individual cut, the tracks' relativity to one another is quite remarkable.

"Knaprig" wraps static into a slowly-plodding beat that fleshes itself out with time, and emerges as Eyepennies' most punishing track. The string-based swells of "Felicia" are far more haunting, though they do subside with the arrival of a straight-forward minimalist beat, whereas the jarring "Krogg" leaves the listener unnerved and boasts some of Folie's most peculiar found sounds.

Eyepennies resides somewhere between the quirkiness of Alog and the deft minimalism of Pole. Whether a hit with devotees of the style or an expansion of the acclaim attached to 2002's Misspass, Eyepennies may well open the gate that has until now been locked to those scared off by the artificial mechanics of minimalist electronica.

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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