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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » 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]

MUSIC

 » 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
»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
Roni Size/Reprazent
New Formsē
Talkin' Loud

Rating: 5/10 ?


June 9, 2009
Roni Size's Mercury Prize-winning classic New Forms is one of the few albums I love to pieces where the idea of going George Lucas on it doesn't entirely bug me. The thing was always too long, with repetitions I reveled in and songs I'm not married to. A one-disc edit with four new cuts that it will sink or swim by doesn't offend me as much as it could. With the original's two hours--filler stretches and too-long tracks to work with--in mind, I threw this twelve-year anniversary sequel on and my first thought was this could be fun; "Railing" now wields Bond theme horns.

But the lasting impression is muddled. I'm all about tightness and concision, especially for the long-unchecked bounds of techno, a genre that often slurps itself dry rather quickly. But this feels rushed. Missing the sustain and repetition of the original, it's ultimately too nervous about its shaky purpose and never fully connects itself to the new ideas it's rather timidly dressed in. The new tracks don't miss but they don't quite fit either. Sure "Encore" is kind of intense, but "Don't Hold Back" has crunky synths straight out of Usher's "Love in This Club." Replacing tracks I miss, like "Electricks," with ones I mostly certainly won't when a 20th anniversary makes its appearance, how depressing. While the original coasted for about a third, New Formsē makes the mistake of chopping the bits you actually remember, so when "Brown Paper Bag" ends approximately four minutes too early you can only pretend it was all a dream.

Some of the new ideas just bend the context totally out of shape. The new edit of "Share the Fall" is especially egregious because a track that used to be kind of dark and a little epic had an underlying r&b current that here makes up the whole of the song. All the fusion-y flutes and bourgeois lounge crap pushed to the front instead of the severity of the basslines is the wrong direction, dude.

So, yeah, predictably a shitty idea and a rip-off. I just had a modicum of faith because who doesn't like editing a double album down to a single? The late Stylus Magazine had a whole column dedicated to the fantasy, entitled "Playing God." But even God can't turn a beloved piece of art into a better one. And God wouldn't settle for the aural equivalent of New Coke. Neither should you.

Reviewed by Dan Weiss
Dan Weiss is the music editor for LAS. Formerly an editorial intern at CMJ and creator of the now defunct What was It Anyway?, his work has appeared in Village Voice, Pitchfork, Philadelphia Inquirer, Stylus and Crawdaddy among others. He resides in Brooklyn where he enjoys questionable lifestyle choices and loud guitars.

See other reviews by Dan Weiss

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