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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.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

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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!
[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
Fourcolor
Letter of Sounds
12k

Rating: 8/10 ?


September 12, 2006
For some reason, minimalist electronica has become shrouded in theoretical discourse. These days, trying to seek out a review free of talk of digital processes, software and the sort of jargon that must isolate as many as it embraces can sometimes be easier said than done, and to its newcomers the genre can come across as off-putting and impenetrable. Quite fittingly then, it's a breath of fresh air when an artist like Keiichi Sugimoto resurfaces to add scope to it.

Sugimoto has been churning out delicate drones under the Fourcolor moniker since 1998, in between stints as part of Minamo, an electro-acoustic quartet also working with 12k. While Fourcolor sits comfortably with the rest of the 12k roster, it represents the label's most perceptible nod towards pop - a suggestion that has been accentuated with the arrival of Letter of Sounds. The most striking feature of Sugimoto's latest batch of tracks is their incorporation of beats. We're not talking Prefuse 73 here - a Fourcolor beat is microscopic, consisting of little more than clicks and skitters - but beats nonetheless.

Though still miles away from bass-driven, "02" and "Fountain" fit more comfortably with the commonly-assumed concept of a 'song' than the past Fourcolor themes ever did. That said, the crystalline, astutely precise elements of Air Curtain, released in 2004, remain, but in souped-up form: here, Sugimoto leaves little to chance - he has fastened his dreamy scapes into tight rhythms that skip between breaks, expanding his palate and making it more inviting on the whole.

If half of Letter of Sounds' triumph can be attributed to its accessibility, the other half would be to its sheer simplicity. The signature Fourcolor production is remarkably spacious, and doesn't allow the gentle washes of sound to get bogged down with superfluous instrumentation or endless loops. Sugimoto doesn't allow space for that which he deems unnecessary, and his tracks are the better for it.

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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