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

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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]

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
Thievery Corporation
The Cosmic Game
ESL Music

Rating: 8.5/10 ?


March 28, 2005
The music of Thievery Corporation flows in its own free atmosphere. Words to describe the sounds do not.

The group's newest release, The Cosmic Game, is a blending of wonderfully random guest contributors, samples, and sound textures. When all is said and done, the completed work is a canvas of masterful efforts, a road trip of feelings and sounds.

Just like a road trip, the album takes you on a journey from point A to point B, except this is an experience that will do so in much less time and less actual distance traveled from start to finish. Tracks begin and end somewhere near the same point, usually with the same strolling downtempo drum track; programmed synth, keyboard effects bleeping away; and cloud-formed slowly unfolding dub-influenced bass lines. What makes each song a different experience is the direction of effects that Eric Hilton and Rob Garza choose to toss into the mix each time around.

Influences to create this album were taken from several modes whether the syntax be culturally (Latin percussive and melody tinges, French electronic sense, Indian sitar and tabla, Jamaican-influenced dub sounds) or artistically speaking (guests include Perry Farrell, Gunjan, David Byrne, the Flaming Lips, etc.). A sophisticated palette of sound that Hilton and Garza produce plays neutral host at the same time that it grooves deep into the soul, in part detailing the international sensual touch of Sade and the infectious spacey caverns of Pink Floyd.

The Flaming Lips front one of the album's most promising tracks, "Marching the Hate Machines (Into the Sun)." Silent touches of eerie sound and a slow downtempo drum beat introduce Wayne Coyne and the Lips in a form that is not all that far removed from their latest efforts. Reverb and heavy vocal layering create a chorus of Coyne and opens the composition to a grander dimension.

"Revolution Solution" and "Amerimacka" serve as high points for The Cosmic Game though. Farrell lends his clamoring vocals to the mix in "Revolution Solution" and actually sounds at place amongst the sparse electronic wavering, reverb sounds; hand drums; and droning non-Western string ambience. The high-pitched (and often annoying) vocal colorings of Farrell fit the Eastern world feel as he echoes phrases such as, "Unexhausted/has been my virtue" and "Revolution solution/Oh I've come to join you."

Otherworldly essences are further pushed to outstanding recognition with "Amerimacka." The track is electronic reggae, complete with Jamaican-styled vocalist Notch (of Born Jamericans), a sharp but drunk sounding horn section, and inflated-sounding offbeat keyboard. While most will focus on the easy melody of Notch's vocal track, what makes this song (as it does for many others) is subtle layering. Ambient sound helps the background to move along with the melody and rhythms. At the same time there are a number of other effects: dubby-dancehall basslines, a laid back sampled hip hop beat, and assorted electronics and percussion infusions.

Thievery Corporation again matches the potential that they have for so long looked to reach. The album is a whole effort, not just one or two overachieving songs that make the entire thing seem better than it really is. Along with Brazilian Girls, one of this year's hotter electronic releases.

Reviewed by Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other reviews by Josh Zanger

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