Monday, October 31, 2011

REVIEW: Plaid - Scintilli

6.75 out of 10

We all know Warp Records is home to most (if not all) the blazing IDM pioneers and being that one of those "pioneers" is Plaid I'm always excited to hear when they have something new under their belt. 'Scintilli' is the duo's 5th proper release (unless you count various side projects/soundtrack work), and their first since 2003's 'Spokes' (which was a great album btw). Much likes it predecessor 'Scintilli' picks up where it that one left off. A nice stylistic meshing of organic acoustics, minimal haunting atmospheres, classical tones, and sparse "post contemporary" beats. So how does 'Scintilli' compare to the rest of their catalogue?

'Scintill' means "I am many sparks", I'm not exactly sure what that means, but I like the sound of it. I like the many definitions/meanings those words could have when describing an album. When the album begins I am not only reminded of 'Spokes', but the awesome (highly underrated) soundtrack they did for the (also underrated) anime 'Tekkonkinkreet' (I've mentioned this album before, I'm sure of it). Beautiful piano, possibly toy piano, arrangements are accompanied by slow moving bass lines, mellow/drowned out percussions and a hum that sounds more synthetic than it does human. As the album progresses it carries on in the traditional "Plaid sense", calming yet upbeat, intelligent yet precocious. If you heard Plaid (who hasn't by now) you know exactly what I mean. If you like Classical music (possibly Far East influenced) and you like Electronic music you're truly missing out by skipping on this band.

OK, so overall 'Scintilli' is a great album, Plaid are still a step above most producers. I would definitely recommend it, but it's not my favorite Plaid release. The second half is definitely more "strong" than the first. I wish it was all just a little bit "louder" and possibly abrasive, not "too abrasive" though just a little more toe tapping involved on my end ..oh! and possibly somehow more melodramatic. Still though, this is a pretty damn good album and I don't see why any fan of Electronic music wouldn't be able to pick out moments that they enjoy/appreciate.

Standout Tracks: Thank, Craft Nine (sounds like something out of a retro sounding sci-fi film ..if there was a ballroom scene in it), Sömnl, 35 Summers (just as gorgeous as..), African Woods (this track.)

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