Toro y Moi – Anything In Return (Carpark Records; 2013)
His third studio album is a slight departure from the rigid confines of the “chillwave” sub-genre into something more pop. There are still great vintage R&B and hip hop moments and the production is much clearer than 2011’s Underneath the Pine, but there is nothing overly groundbreaking about Anything In Return, nor should you expect to know all of the “yeah”s and “uh”s of each track.
Bundick’s superficial concern with breaking out of the “chillwave” mold has caused Anything In Return to suffer. With its heavy reliance on vocal samples sounding counter-intuitive and irritating, channeling more of a ‘90s dance vibe rather than something fresh, I find myself wondering if Toro y Moi is worthy of the hype.
Trial Track: “Cola”
– Paul Traunero
Darkstar – News From Nowhere (Warp Records; 2013)
James Young, Aiden Whalley and James Buttery may not been known for their names individually, but collectively as Darkstar, they have surprised and entranced the electronic music crowd since 2007. Their breakout single, “Aidy’s Girl is A Computer,” can be found in the playlists of many electronic music aficionados.
Their latest album, News from Nowhere, has just been released on Warp Records. The album, clocking in at just over 40 minutes in length, is an excellent electronic journey through the mind, with plenty of vocal processing, synthesizers and reverbs.
It’s a tingling experience, with every part having its place, and every place having a part, a no longer common experience on commercial albums. With lyrics “Oh the troubled days / I’m ashamed I’ve known / makes me wild,” the album focuses on feelings and emotions,
If you are a fan of electronic music, this a must-have release.
Trial Track: “A Day’s Pay For A Day’s Work”
Dobie – We Will Not Harm You (Big Dada; 2013)
The United Kingdom’s Dobie is a skateboarder, producer and photographer, among other things, that has worked alongside the likes of Bjork and Massive Attack. Being a product of such a colourful background may explain the repetitive, relentless, oftentimes-frustrating yet undeniably hypnotic beat waves radiating off of We Will Not Harm You.
It definitely takes a listener with a passion for glitchy, fidgety electro to even begin to “get” the album. To the average ear it can easily be passed off as a seamless loop of sporadic, low buzzes, swipes, interjections of jazz, and breakbeat that has been slowed to one hundredth of its normal speed.
An unintentionally jarring sequence of childrens’ laughter kicks off “Stan Lee is a Hero of Mine”, repeating throughout. “The Beginning” sounds as if it’s being transmitted through an auditory kaleidoscope. “Snap, Crackle & Pop” is a jazzy production on drugs.
What the hell is going on here? Figure it out for yourself.
Trial track: “The Beginning”