Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
I may look and act like a total punk, what with the tattoos and track record of violence, but really, my favourite genres are probably folk and twee. If anyone calls me on it I usually just tell them my look is a subtle Belle & Sebastian/Darren Hanlon* reference.
It is because of this that a Swedish folk/electronica band by the name of Detektivbyran (Swedish for ‘The Detective Agency’) caught my eye. I try to listen to as much music as I can, from all genres, but electro and its variants I find very hard to get into. The way to get my interest is of course, to add a folk influence into the mix.
From the way they were described on their wikipedia page, I knew I had to give these guys a listen. An electronica band that experiments with “unpopular” instruments such as accordion and glockenspiel? Ready please, Mr Music!
So, I downloaded their most recent album ‘Wermland’. Unsurprisingly, I love it. The prominent beats and bass lines are at their least obnoxious when combined with the music-box charm of gentle tuned percussion. Admittedly, this is an album that will appeal more to fans of experimental folk than most electronic music. I would say the experimental folk influence is much stronger here than any other genre.
Instead of picking out favourite tracks, I would recommend listening to this album as a whole. While I’m sure the tracks would work as individuals, this is one of those albums where it is best to appreciate the build between tracks, the way the instruments play off each other throughout the songs. There are no lyrics to tell the story, but the album only benefits from being an instrumental. Some people might say that there is only so much accordion they can listen to in one sitting. I am not one of those people.
*"I'm A Cuckoo"/"Punk's Not Dead"
Saturday, November 28, 2009
When Dan Bejar dropped 2004's "Your Blues", it was obvious he was going somewhere interesting, and he did: over the next four years he released the loud, involving "Destroyer's Rubies" followed by last year's slower, hazy "Trouble in Dreams" - both albums full of serious highlights with no filler.
But finally, in August, Bay of Pigs EP was released. It's about as long as your average EP, although the duration is divided between only two songs: the title track and Trouble in Dreams' track "Rivers" reworked into slow dive "Ravers".
First off, Bay of Pigs is one of the best Destroyer songs, ever. Described in most places as Ambient Disco, the track is really too eclectic to classify, that title only hinting at where it goes. Opening with a droning synth phasing in and out, Bejar leads you through gentle beeps and bleats, strumming almost dance-worthy bare bones rock and finally hits you with a sudden stop and ambient fadeout. If it sounds disjointed, it isn't. With Dan Bejar's inpenetrable lyrics and unique rhythm of speaking, despite registering almost 14 minutes, I repeatedly found myself suprised that the song was even over.
"Magnolia's a girl. Her heart's made of wood.
As apocalypses go, that's pretty good.
Sha-la-la, wouldn't you say?"
Second track "Ravers" picks and chooses the best bits of Rivers and slows it down to a trickle, bubbling along on dreamy dabs of bass and erupting into quite an unexpected and beautiful crescendo, and the only bad thing that could be said about it is that compared to Bay of Pigs it doesn't seem quite so incredible - but that has more to do with the achievements of the title track, which I would say is a genuine contender for the best of the year.