Wednesday, June 28, 2017

LFO - Frequencies

Warp Records: 1991/2011

There were other records floating about of similar ilk, but few at the time made such a definitive stamp on UK techno as LFO's debut LP did. Not only did it help establish the Brits' take on Detroit's sound as something distinct, unique, and 'bleepy', all the while providing a subtle link to the raving antics of Belgians, but it also put the fledgling Warp Records on the map. Between this, Nightmares On Wax, and Tricky Disco, Warp was quickly established as a print worth reckoning with, a wholly independent label that clearly had its ear to the pulse of techno that wasn't just mindless boshing bollocks. An almost 'intelligent' take on dance music, you might say, though not too pretentious about it – LFO will still demolish your bassbins if you're not careful with the gain levels.

What helped Frequencies stand out from the pack is just how much of a melting pot of influences it is. True, there wasn't much to draw from at this point of electronic music's history, but Mark Bell and Gez Varley don't mince words in the opening Intro, first asking what is house music (“Technotronic? KLF? Or something you live in?”) before name-dropping a who's who of Chicago pioneers. Then they rattle off “pioneers of the hypnotic groove”, listing off Eno, Kraftwerk, and... Depeche Mode? Yellow Magic Orchestra?? Tangerine Dream??? Well, I can't say I've ever heard those chaps name-dropped in the vintage deep house/techno, pitched-down voice before. And wait, what's LFO going on about house music? Aren't the 'bleep techno' pioneers or something?

True d'at, with plenty of examples littered throughout Frequencies. The eponymous lead single is the classic cut of course, and still carries a potent punch when those low-ends drop, all the while bleepy noises and sinister Detroit strings ooze warehouse menace. The follow-up single We Are Back takes things a step further, coming off like a grimy, future-shock reboot of the Belgian hit Quadrophonia, to say nothing of the bass-crushing minimalism of Mentok 1. Groovy Distortion and Tan Ta Ra eases up on the sub-whoofer assault some, edging closer to the Model 500 mould so much 'bleep techno' was emulating in the first place. Elsewhere, LFO get their electro vibe on, tracks like Simon From Syndey, El Ef Oh!, and Think A Moment showing where that Kraftwerk nod comes into play (sure, a little YMO too).

And yes, there's house music on here. Only... it's not house. Nurture, Freeze, Mentok, You Have To Understand, and Love Is The Message have that undeniable house groove going, but buried behind so much bleepy, bare-bones production, they come off strangely techno too. Not that genre-mashing was uncommon in the early '90s – much scene splintering occurred shortly after from such wilful warping of established conventions, young though they were. Few attempted emulating LFO's take on house-techno hybrids though, if anything because it was just so raw and unpolished, difficult to replicate without going full-retro. No wonder Frequencies remains a timeless album.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Gorillaz - The Fall (Kayfabe Review)

Parlaphone: 2010

Essentially a 2-D solo album, but I doubt there'd be much interest in that, so it makes sense he'd release it under the Gorillaz banner. It's remarkable he got it out at all. I thought Murdoc held all the rights to the Gorillaz brand, including what gets officially released under the name. And probably bootlegged for that matter – I can totally see Mr. Niccals working the black market for Gorillaz merch alongside everything else. “BUY! Authentic Rubbish From The Shores Of Plastic Beach!” “TASTE! Bottled Brine From The Bay Of Point Nemo!”

Murdoc's easily distracted though, what with his copious drug and drinking abuses, plus debt collectors, demons, and record executives constantly at his back. So it's not that surprising 2-D could write, record, and release an album all on his own completely under Mr. Niccals' broken nose while they were touring the Plastic Beach album – Murdoc spent much of that time bitching about the Gorillaz Live Band stealing his spotlight anyway. And if you think 2-D showing such initiative flies in the face of established Gorillaz lore, how dare you break kayfabe while reading this review! Despite coming off a simpleton and full of innocent naivety, Stuart Pot has shown smarts in the past, when called upon. His traumatic experience surrounding the Plastic Beach sessions clearly gave him some backbone in standing up to Murdoc, and if releasing a solo album while on tour under the Gorillaz brand was his way of getting back at the “bastard bass player”, all the more power to him.

That all said, it's hard getting into The Fall as a proper Gorillaz record. Even if previous albums were primarily written by lone members (ie: Noodle almost single-handily making Demon Days), at least everyone was involved. Hell, even Plastic Beach, despite lacking Noodle and Russel Hobbs, at least used elements of their talents to make it sound distinctly Gorillaz. True, Murdoc used some right shady tactics to achieve this (using DNA from Noodle to create a cyborg version of her; straight up taking Russel's drum equipment without his consent), but hey, par for the course where Mr. Niccals is concerned, amirite?

But nay, The Fall is primarily all 2-D, with assists from the Gorillaz Live Band wherever he could sneak them in. I've no doubt that Damon Albarn guy helped with some of the vocal overdubs, and a few musicians contributed as well (Mick Jones of The Clash adds a little guitar doodling to Hillbilly Man, Paul Simonon also of The Clash adds bass to Aspen Forest, Bobby Womack brings bluesy guitar and vocals for Bobby In Phoenix).

For the most part though, The Fall is 2-D making blippy, bloopy electro-pop and soul, finding inspiration from whatever city the band happened to be in during the tour. A strange concept for a solo album, but then it's not like 2-D had many options to explore his muse. Methinks he's the sort to find inspiration with whatever is immediately in front of him anyway.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

808 State - ex:el

ZTT: 1991/2010

The beginning of the end, where a lot of old-school 808 State fans are concerned. Which is funny because the Manchester band hadn't been around for that long, so it's not like they had much time to develop ardent purist followers of their acid house sound. They done did though, their debut album Newbuild commonly hailed as a Very Important Album in the world of UK acid, frequently name-dropped by numerous Very Important Artists of early UK techno. They carried that momentum into Ninety, even scoring a radio hit with Pacific State in the process. So you bet when third album ex:el was announced, anticipation ran white hot within UK clubland for what the lads from up 'nooth' would bring.

A bandwagon jump, it would seem. Or leading the charge in England's brave new rave world, depending on who you ask. You were almost obligated to get ravey with it in the years 1990-92 – even traditionally rock bands were having their stabs at the 'Madchester' sound. Where opinions get split, however, is whether 808 State's cleaner, crisper approach to songcraft ruined what made the 'real heads' of UK acid house fall in love with them to begin with. How dare they abandon the raw, unpolished, don't-give-a-care production that enamoured so many to Newbuild! Instead, ex:el is filled with ear-wormy hooks, thumping rave beats, and guest vocalists from stars past (Bernard Sumner of New Order) and future (Björk).

The trick worked, ex:el going on to be the band's highest charting album (methinks some residual Pacific momentum helped). No less than five tracks out of thirteen found their way into the 808 State ten-year retrospective 808:88:98, including the big rave anthems Cübik and In Yer Face, the mellower jams of Lift and Olympic, and the Björk featuring Ooops. And some contend that still wasn't enough music off here, tracks like the other Björk tune, Qmart, bouncy reggae-influenced Leo Leo, or percussion-heavy Techno Bell just as worthy contenders for any 808 State 'best of' collection. Not the Newbuild hold-outs though – they think nearly everything off ex:el is rubbish, total crossover bollocks or some-such. It's definitely a slicker-sounding album, and no amount of gritty guitar or blaring synth riffs can hide that fact. After four years making UK techno though, you can't blame the band for getting better at production.

The thing that strikes me so odd about ex:el is how the singles are all back-loaded. What, did 808 State not figure folks would be down for tunes like acid cut Nepharti and pseudo-ballad Spanish Heart unless they were on the LP's A-side? Considering the notion of the 'rave album' was still in the process of gelling, it's rather ballsy on their part not hitting you with all the familiar anthems right out the gate.

And in the end, ex:el is one of the finer pure rave albums that era generated. It may not be 808 State's most definitive work, but it's a whole lotta' fun front to back.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Gorillaz - D-Sides

Parlaphone: 2007

So Gorillaz have been back in the spotlight these past six months, and absolutely I'll be getting around to their latest album. Maybe I'll even kayfabe it too, 'cause that's always fun, buying into the mythos Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett have crafted for their virtual band. We should be so blessed as to have a rag-tag assortment of miscreants, misanthropes, and misunderstood musicians shining a perverse spotlight on contemporary pop music. Okay, we already do have that, but no band features a member making deals with literal demons (and record executives), while another spends her non-music time slaying other demons. I wonder if the demon world has an underground scene dedicated to sampling the forbidden fruit of Gorillaz tunes.

Anyhow, as with every new album from this band, there's a multi-media blitz crossing all mediums promoting it, including new videos. And when you watch one Gorillaz video, you can't help but start watching all of them, then getting wrapped up in the lore all over again, taking in the short cartoons, the audio books, the puppet shows, and all that. It's just a shame there's but the three albums to satisfy the music craving though, a scant sampling compared to all the surrounding paraphernalia associated with the Gorillaz brand. And I've already got them, so what else is left? Oh yeah, the b-side collections. I totally missed out on those, didn't I?

Well, no longer, and gosh dag'it, why did I skip out on these in the first place? I suppose I wasn't quite so enamoured with Gorillaz at the time, and didn't think a double-disc of b-sides, alternate takes, and remixes of the Demon Days sessions was terribly enticing. Dammit though, that album just seems to get better every time I play it back again, so there's bound to be a few dope tunes that just didn't quite make the thematic cut. Yeah, a few.

If you felt Demon Days lacked the first album's wild eclecticism, D-Sides offers it in spades, twee hip-hop (Hongkongaton) rubbing shoulders with electro-punk freak-outs (Murdoc Is God, We Are Happy Landfill, The Swagga), electro-reggae (Spitting Out The Demons, Bill Murray), dream-pop (68 State, Hong Kong), and bizarro synth-funk (People, Rockit). Then there are the tunes that completely defy definition, (Stop The Dams, Highway (Under Construction)), so don't even try. Just sit back and chill-vibe on these wonderful slices of weirdo-pop, son.

CD2 holds all the remixes, and is a veritable who's-who of trendy indie dance-punk sorts of the mid-'00s. Hot Chip is here! Soulwax is here! DFA is definitely here, with their twelve-minute rub of Dare, which spends it's entire second-third building and building and building, only for a very long, minimal outro that undoubtedly had DJs all a'twitter. As these are remixes of the main Demon Days singles, the selection isn't terribly dynamic, tracks like Kids With Guns and Dare getting three apiece between the nine cuts. Fortunately, I quite like Dare, in all its incarnations. Play on, daughter.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Bug vs Earth - Concrete Desert

Ninja Tune: 2017

First Kevin Martin made shockwaves as The Bug with London Zoo. Then he retreated from the alias to focus on a new project with Roger Robinson as King Midas Sound. That did awesome-sauce as well, and it looked as though he'd find a way to flit between the two projects, dedicating his Bug works to the dancehall and grime side of his muse, while working out the dubby, droned-out soul portion of his brain with King Midas Sound. He even got started on a running series with the latter (Edition), inviting like-minded artists in for a little collaborative work. A couple years pass, and it looks about time for either another Bug effort or a second Edition. Figures Mr. Martin opted for a little of both in Concrete Desert, giving us a Bug album that also serves as a collaboration with a prominent drone musician.

Said drone musician is Dylan Carlson, he of the drone metal band Earth and member of the Rasputin Look-Alike Club. Seems they're credited as kicking off that whole scene within the metal pantheon, getting their start sometime in the early '90s. Hey, Kevin Martin was also doing rock music of a sort back then, though more of a post-punk, noise thing that led him to exploring all things dubby later that decade. They have different approaches to their chosen craft, but the endgame seems the same: finding the musical nuances in the empty spaces between notes and sounds.

And Concrete Desert definitely does that. Something of an ode to outer Los Angeles as viewed through a David Lynch lens, there's plenty 'nuff drone tones to go around. In fact, the longest cuts on here go entirely beatless, American Dream and the closing titular track both breaching the ten-minute mark as Misters Martin and Carlson feast off of each others feedback fuzz, sustained guitar timbre, and heavy dub production. These could fit snugly in the dark ambient camps in how bleak and dispiriting they come across. Even the ambient opener City Of Fallen Angels, while a tad more melodic and calm, still comes off suffocating, as though choking on desolate urban heat.

That's all well and good, but folks coming into a Bug album expect some crunchy, bass-heavy beats too. For sure he delivers, though even these come off sparse, more in service of Dylan's evolving drone. Gasoline has a strident march that Dylan's guitar rides on, Snakes & Rats assaults you like a sonic cannon, Don't Walk These Streets quickens the marching pace as all manner of tonal wickedness lurks in the shadowed alleys, and Broke... kinda' reminds me of a NIN interlude.

Nate Patrin of Pitchfork calls Concrete Desert “neo-neo-noir music”, to which I say, “fuck off, Pitchfork, and your retarded hyper-hyphenated genres.” They are right in saying that it “draws you into its discomfort” though. These are far from inviting tones to hear, but Bug and Earth craft such a seductive, sonic dance, you can't help but wander these desolate streets regardless.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Autumn Of Communion - Autumn Of Communion 4

Carpe Sonum Records: 2014

I've been buying music from Mick Chillage. I've been slowly getting up to speed on Lee Norris. Seems I've no choice but to finally spring for an Autumn Of Communion album, the collaborative project between the two. No, wait, this shouldn't sound like a chore, though it does feel like a challenge at times. They made their debut as AoC on Fax +49-69/450464, which wound up being among the last albums the label released before Pete Namlook's passing (apparently the last). You bet that's made it a tantalizing collectible now. The project wasn't homeless for long though, finding a comfortable spot in Mr. Norris' newly established ...txt print, where they've released several albums since. But as ...txt typically has ridiculously short-runs of CD pressings, finding affordable hard-copies of such albums has proven most difficult for late adopters (damn, wish I hadn't missed out on that Polydeuces ...mmm, Saturn beauty shot...).

Fortunately, Misters Norris and Gainford did contribute an LP to another fledgling label that spun-off from the epic-mega Namlook Tribute project, Carpe Sonum Records. Seeing as how Autumn Of Communion were honorary Fax+ alum, it was only appropriate that they'd offer up some new tunes for the Carpe Sonum crew, who tend to have lengthier CD runs than their ambient techno brethren. Praise the Techno Gods!

Even more appropriately, AoC produced a clutch of tracks that fall in line with Fax+ of old, all the while keeping things sounding modestly modern in the process. Autumn Of Communion 4, so named because it's the duo's forth proper album under the handle (d'uh), makes no bones about the style you're in for. I mean, just look at that cover art! My God, is it ever lovely, losing your gaze in a star-studded field of winter twilight, a leafless canopy serving as silent sentinels to the secrets above. And damn if the twenty-minute opener Ocean Of Religion doesn't feel like you're actually out there in the wilderness, losing your gaze in the great beyond. Distant percussion echoes from afar as lovely pads and soft timbre weave in and out, subtle astral-chatter meshing with field recordings throughout. I want to actually play this piece in such a setting, though the local park field at summer midnight might do in a pinch.

The rest of AoCIV is taken up by two longish tracks (Leaving Island, Zren Keen), and two shorterish tracks (Through The Motion, Animated Religions), which honestly sound like from different sessions than Ocean Of Religion. While still featuring lovely synth work, they're less spaced-out, coming off more grounded in songcraft, though Religions does reach some upper atmosphere vibes. Island mostly performs as a pure ambient outing with sporadic dubbed-out beats, Keen gets a little heavier in its rhythm department, and Motion is... groovy ambient? Is this a thing? I think this should be a thing.

But yeah, Autumn Of Communion 4 is as wonderful an album as you'd expect with the players involved. Miss at your own peril!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Harold Budd & Brian Eno - Ambient 2: The Plateaux Of Mirror

Editions EG/EMI: 1980/2009

How does one follow-up a genre- nay, scene-defining album? Carry on with business as usual, I guess, and that's what Brian Eno did in the immediate aftermath of Music For Airports. It's not like he had plans to create ambient music as a critical benchmark and cultural touchstone, 'music as abstract art' ideas already explored throughout the '70s. All Music For Airports really did was crystallize those concepts under an easily identifiable banner. It wasn't Eno's manifesto to be the vanguard of an entirely new approach in music-making, more content playing the role of producer for numerous new wave bands emerging out of Britain and New York. Then again, one does not title an album Ambient 1 without some inclining this was a concept that would see future interpretations as a series. Kinda' committed yourself there, Eno ol' chap.

He couldn't tackle this wide-open field of potential music exploration on his own though, hence calling in one Harold Budd for a little collaborative work. Mr. Budd, having worked behind the scenes with jazz and minimalist musicians as a composer since the mid-'60s, released a proper debut album in 1978 called The Pavilion Of Dreams, released on Eno's own Obscure print. In fact, ol' Brian helped produce it, finding Budd's lengthy and sustained 'soft pedal' approach to piano playing gelling nicely with his notions of abstract minimalism. If anyone should join the ambient jamboree Eno was itching to set off, Harold was a perfect pairing. Having an actual pianist making the music instead of manipulating tape-loops is always preferable, right?

And yet, it was the looping nature of Music For Airports that gave it such a distinct characteristic that it spawned an entire genre of music. With Harold Budd laying his feathery touch upon the ol' ivories though, The Mirror Of Plateaux comes off less an ambient record, and more a modern classical one, where traditional musicianship remains in charge of a composition's direction. It's still very loose and improvisational, mind you, but you can't help but see Budd performing it, whereas ambient music typically prefers removing the notion of a musician at work altogether. At least, that's how it evolved over time – ironclad genre rules were still in the process of development at this early stage.

As for how Ambient 2: Plateaux Boogaloo sounds, it's fairly similar to Budd & Eno's later work on The Pearl, though with less of a coherent theme going on beyond music making for its own sake. It's mostly delicate piano noodling or soft organ diddling, with some synth pad in support. Not Yet Remembered breaks mould with a choir pad, and Wind In Lonely Faces adds bell and bowl tones, but that's about as adventurous as this album gets. Pleasant? Yes. Calm and soothing? Absolutely. Essential listening? Eh, The Pearl was a better pairing of these two's talents, but Plateaux Of Mirrors is a fine effort all around, a fitting companion piece to Eno's Ambient series.

Tangerine Dream - Alpha Centauri

Ohr/Esoteric Reactive: 1971/2011

Any chronicler of Tangerine Dream claims every album of theirs is an Important Stepping Stone in the band's development throughout the '70s, how each LP led to another new wrinkle in their sonic tapestry. And that remains true for their sophomore effort Alpha Centauri, though consensus states this one isn't as important as the others that came later. I don't agree with that entirely - at least on a conceptual level it's a significant change of direction from their debut Electronic Meditation. Even by title alone, you can tell this one's aiming for sending you on a journey somewhere specific, no matter how abstract and psychedelic the music gets. It just so happens space was the place everyone thought was the new hotness at the time, moon landings and Stanley Kubrick movies inspiring folks with their own takes on cosmic exploration. Plus, you can totally get away with sounding all weird and shit, because does anyone know what music at Alpha Centauri actually sounds like? Heck, we didn't even know what sounds Saturn could make yet! Freeform imagination songcraft abounds!

First up, because this is way-early Tangerine Dream, don't come into this album expecting anything like their mid-'70s genre-defining Berlin-School synth-wizardry sound. Nay, this is the band still in their psychedelic rock phase, though definitely pushing the boundaries of what could still be technically classified as 'rock music' within this nascent kraut offshoot. Opener Sunrise In The Third System serves as an intro of sorts, only four-and-a-half minutes long while building upon organ operatics and spaced-out guitar sounds. If this doesn't sound like you're out on the fringes of an extra-terrestrial planet, then you don't know your kosmische.

That one's fairly straight-forward as songs go on this album though. Second track Fly And Collision Of Comas Sola settles for nothing less than musique concrete abstraction for a good two minutes of its start, all pinging synth zaps and shimmering laser-lights; it's like you're riding the comet itself! Oh yeah, Comas Sola refers to a comet passing near Jupiter at the time, so this piece wants to recreate a journey on said comet, and potential collision with the big ball of temperamental hydrogen. I'd say they pull it off, much of the track a meandering, dithering piece of synth strings, organs, and almost inaudible guitar strums. Two-thirds deep, drums emerge, flutes be a tootin', and the track erupts in a cacophonous, psychedelic freak-out. If you feel that's too rocky for your Tangerine Dream music, check out the 2011 bonus track Ultima Thule Part One, where the band does a full rock-out as any psych-band could.

Still, the titular cut is the main attraction, running twenty-two minutes long. Yeah, it's one of those pieces, where the band seems to be fluffing about for an endless amount of time. Some weird synth noises here, an extended flute solo there, a little choir action and spoken German radio-chatter elsewhere, not much linking it all together. Methinks some refinement in their song-writing is still required.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Pantera - Vulgar Display Of Power

ATCO Records: 1992

The only Pantera album you're supposed to have, even if you're not a Pantera fan. Any metal fan worth their salt will have this though, for no other reason than that cover. Imagine what it was like being a longhair back in the day, wandering into your local shop in search of something that was keeping the thrash fire alive. The standard bearers, Metallica, had left a void with their deliberate crossover effort the year before (the black album), any number of metal bands potentially stepping to the plate to take over. But Megadeth aimed to follow Metallica's lead, Slayer was between albums, and Anthrax was getting all chummy with hip-hop. No, someone new had to take the mantle, and believing their fresh, groove-orientated take on thrash could do the trick, Pantera aimed to drop the heaviest metal album ever with Vulgar Display Of Power. And to make sure they got your attention, they dropped the most fucking metal cover art ever onto store shelves, something you just couldn't look away from and had to hear what lay within. Paying a dude $10 a punch for the perfect shot never had such rewarding dividends.

More than anything, Vulgar Display Of Power marks a flashpoint in the way metal would be approached in the '90s. No more falsetto singing, Phil Anselmo instead bringing that underground hardcore growl to the forefront and never relenting, save a pair of obligatory ballads. And that bassline needs pitching right the fuck down, practically buried in the mix, so that it grinds like a machine – many subsequent thrash and death metal bands lifted this technique wholesale, such that the Pantera clones forced the band to go even heavier in Far Beyond Driven, just to keep pace.

But those guitar riffs, mang! Dimebag Darrell showed plenty of skill in albums past, but in unleashing their inner beast with Vulgar Display Of Power, he went to a whole other level (a new level!). For sure he let's Pantera's groove carry the load, his guitar tones featuring some of the heaviest crunch and feral snarl ever heard in the genre to that date. But he gets to solo time, and geez'it, the guy's just gone, mang, just gone. Gander at Rise, already an intense tear-out session, taking shredding to glorious highs. It's about the only remnant of '80s thrash on this album, everything else feeling '90s as fuck. Hell, even the 'ballad' This Love comes off more Gen-X pissed-off than whatever passed for sentimental in the decade prior. Other 'ballad' Hollow feeds more off '70s melodrama before getting to the punchy stuff to finish out.

Aggro-groove stompers dominate the album (A New Level, Walk, Live In A Hole, Regular People, By Demons Be Driven), with furious tear-outs breaking any potential monotony (Mouth For War, Fucking Hostile, Rise), though Pantera aren't hesitant to change tempo mid-track either. Something for every metal-head on here, then. Get it, and storm that lacrosse field with the fury of a thousand moshers.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Enigma - Voyageur

Virgin: 2003

I can't say Enigma fell off after this album, Michael Cretu having released three additional albums since, including one this past winter after an eight year absence. And while hard sales are no where near what was enjoyed at the start of this project, he's retained enough of a dedicated following that his streaming figures remain respectable (so sayeth The Spotify).

Yet ask casual electronic music followers these days what they think of those albums, and they'll answer you with “Who's Enigma?” Then you'll try to educate them on albums like MCMXC a.D., and singles like Return To Innocence, and maybe they'll mention hearing their moms play those when they were kids, to which you'll realize you're getting just so very old and want to retreat to comforting sounds. Like the familiar, seductive, soothing refrains of classic Enigma, yeah, that'll do the trick, and by the by, have they released anything new lately? Ooh, here's some stuff on Spotify, may as well check that out.

Not that I blame folks for figuring Engima's time had passed. By the fourth album, The Screen Behind The Mirror, it felt as though Mr. Cretu was stuck recycling old habits; at least even he recognized the sound had grown stale. Following a greatest hits package proclaiming closure on the first chapter of Enigma's story, he came out with this album, Voyageur, a stated deliberate change in direction and song-writing. What that was supposed to lead to remains anyone's guess.

Rather, the main talking points surrounding Voyageur almost always bring up what it lacks compared to Enigma of old. No more ethnic chants and Gregorian sampling, gone are the vintage woodwinds that always immediately identified a Michael Cretu production. Both “Curly” M.C. and his wife still provide a few vocals, but more vocalists have been added to the table too. In fact, this is the 'poppiest' Enigma's ever sounded, songs short, concise, and radio-ready should any of them catch on. Only two did, the titular cut and Boum-Boum, both dancier options. Not so dancey as Look Of Today though, with one of the catchiest hooks I've ever heard in the Enigma canon (and well it should, being an interpolation of ABC's The Look Of Love).

Elsewhere, Incognito gets rockier, Page Of Cups aims for a little chill-out compilation action (it failed), and tracks like Weightless and The Piano dip closer to the New Age side of Cretu's muse. Meanwhile, In The Shadow, In The Light and closer Follow The Sun shoot for the emotional, spiritual feels, and I can't say I'm getting the feels from them like other Enigma tunes. There's something lacking, the same strident confidence you'd hear from Cretu's production no matter how overblown the music could get. Maybe its the result of trying something different, a feeling-out process after so many years relying on familiar songcraft. And Voyageur is fine enough on that regard, but that's about the only lasting impression this album ever generated. Ain't no one humming Boum-Boum, even then.

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Things I've Talked About

...txt 10 Records 16 Bit Lolita's 1965 1966 1967 1969 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2 Play Records 2 Unlimited 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 20xx Update 2562 302 Acid 36 3six Recordings 4AD 6 x 6 Records 75 Ark 7L & Esoteric 808 State A Perfect Circle A Positive Life A-Wave A&M Records A&R Records Abasi Above and Beyond abstract Ace Tracks Playlists Ace Ventura acid acid house acid jazz acid techno acoustic Adam Freeland Adham Shaikh ADNY Adrian Younge adult contemporary Aegri Somnia Aes Dana Afrika Bambaataa Afro-house Afterhours Agoria Ajana Records AK1200 Akshan album Aldrin Alex Theory Alio Die Alphabet Zoo Alphaxone Altar Records Alter Ego alternative rock Alucidnation Ambelion ambient ambient dub ambient techno Ambient World Ambientium Ametsub Amon Tobin Amplexus Anabolic Frolic Andrea Parker Andrew Heath Androcell anecdotes Aniplex Anjunabeats Another Fine Day Antendex anthem house Anthony Rother Anti-Social Network Aphasia Records Aphex Twin Apócrýphos Apollo Apple Records April Records Aqua Aquascape Aquila Arcade arena rock Arista Armada Armin van Buuren Arpatle Arts & Crafts ASC Ashtech Asian Dub Foundation Astral Waves Astralwerks AstroPilot Asura Asylum Records ATCO Records Atlantic Atlantis atmospheric jungle Atomic Hooligan Atrium Carceri Attic Audion AuroraX Autistici Autumn Of Communion Aveparthe Avicii Axiom Axtone Records B.G. The Prince Of Rap Babygrande Balance Balanced Records Balearic ballad Banco de Gaia Bandulu battle-rap Beastie Boys Beat Buzz Records Beats & Pieces bebop Beck Bedouin Soundclash Beechwood Music Benny Benassi Berlin-School Beto Narme bhangra big beat Big Boi Big L Big Life Bill Hamel Bill Laswell BIlly Idol BineMusic BioMetal Biosphere BKS Black Hole Recordings black rebel motorcycle club Black Swan Sounds Blanco Y Negro Blasterjaxx Blend Blood Music Blow Up Blue Öyster Cult blues Bluescreen BMG Boards Of Canada Bob Dylan Bob Marley Bobina Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Boney M Bong Load Records Booka Shade Botchit & Scarper Boxed Boys Noize Boysnoize Records braindance Brandt Brauer Frick breakcore breaks Brian Eno Brian Wilson Brick Records Brodinski broken beat Brooklyn Music Ltd Bryan Adams BT Buffalo Springfield Bulk Recordings Burial Burned CDs Bush Busta Rhymes Calibre calypso Capitol Records Capsula Captured Digital Carbon Based Lifeforms Carl B Carl Craig Carol C Caroline Records Carpe Sonum Records CD-Maximum Ceephax Acid Crew Celestial Dragon Records Cell Celtic Cheb i Sabbah Cheeky Records chemical breaks Chihei Hatakeyama chill-out chiptune Chris Duckenfield Chris Fortier Chris Korda Chris Sheppard Christopher Lawrence Chromeo Chronos Chrysalis Ciaran Byrne cinematic soundscapes Circular Cirrus Cities Last Broadcast CJ Stone Claptone classic house classic rock classical Claude Young Clear Label Records Cleopatra Cloud 9 Club Cutz Cocoon Recordings Coldcut Coldplay Colette collagist Columbia Com.Pact Records comedy Compilation Comrie Smith Connect.Ohm conscious Control Music Cor Fijneman Cosmic Gate Cosmic Replicant Cosmos Studios Council Of Nine Counter Records country country rock Covert Operations Recordings Craig Padilla Crazy Horse Cream Creamfields Crockett's Theme Crosby Stills And Nash Crosstown Rebels crunk Cryo Chamber Cube Guys Culture Beat cut'n'paste Cyan Music Cyber Productions CyberOctave Czarface D-Bridge D-Fuse Dacru Records Daddy G Daft Punk Damian Lazarus Damon Albarn Dan The Automator Dance 2 Trance Dance Pool dancehall Daniel Heatcliff Daniel Wanrooy Dao Da Noize dark ambient dark psy darkside darkstep darkwave David Bickley David Morley DDR Deadmau5 Death Row Records Deejay Goldfinger Deep Dish Deep Forest deep house Deeply Rooted House Deepwater Black Def Jam Recordings Del Tha Funkee Homosapien Delerium Deltron 3030 Depeche Mode Der Dritte Raum Derek Carr Detroit DFA DGC diametric. Dieselboy Different DigiCube Dillinja dirty house Dirty South Dirty Vegas disco Disco Gecko disco house disco punk Discover (label) Disky Disques Dreyfus Distant System Disturbance DJ 3000 DJ Brian DJ Craze DJ Dan DJ Dean DJ Gonzalo DJ Heather DJ John Kelley DJ Merlin DJ Mix DJ Moe Sticky DJ Observer DJ Premier DJ Q-Bert DJ Shadow DJ-Kicks Djen Ajakan Shean DJMag DMC DMC Records Doc Scott Dogon Dogwhistle Dopplereffekt Dossier downtempo dowtempo Dr. Atmo Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show Dragon Quest dream house DreamWorks Records Drexciya drill 'n' bass Dronarivm drone Dronny Darko drum 'n' bass drunken review dub Dub Pistols dub techno Dub Trees Dubfire dubstep DuMonde Dune E-Mantra E-Z Rollers Eardream Music Earth Earthling Eastcoast EastWest Eat Static EBM Echodub Ed Rush & Optical Editions EG EDM World Weekly News electro Electro House Electro Sun electro-funk electro-pop electroclash Electronic Dance Essentials Electrovoya Elektra Elektrolux em:t EMC update EMI Eminem Emmerichk Emperor Norton enCAPSULAte Engine Recordings Enigma Enmarta Epic epic trance Erik Vee Erol Alkan Escape Esoteric Reactive ethereal euro dance Eurythmics Eve Records Ewan Pearson experimental Eye Q Records F Communications Fabric Fade Records Faithless Fallen fanfic Fatboy Slim Fax +49-69/450464 Fear Factory Fedde Le Grand Fehrplay Feist Fektive Records Felix da Housecat Fennesz Ferry Corsten FFRR field recordings Filter filters Final Fantasy Five AM Fjäder Flashover Recordings Floating Points Flowers For Bodysnatchers Flowjob Fluke Flying Lotus folk footwork Force Intel Fountain Music Four Tet FPU Frank Bretschneider Frankie Bones Frankie Knuckles Fred Everything freestyle French house Front Line Assembly Fugees full-on Fun Factory funk future garage Future Sound Of London g-funk gabber Gabriel Le Mar Galaktlan Galati Gang Starr gangsta garage Gas Gasoline Alley Records Gee Street Geffen Records Gel-Sol Genesis Gerald Donald Get Physical Music ghetto Ghostface Killah glam Gliese 581C glitch Global Underground Globular goa trance God Body Disconnect Gorillaz gospel Gost goth Grammy Awards grime Groove Armada Groove Corporation Grooverider grunge Guru GZA Haddaway Halgrath happy hardcore hard house hard rock hard trance hardcore Hardfloor hardstyle Harmless Harmonic 33 Harold Budd Harthouse Harthouse Mannheim Hawtin Hearts Of Space Hed Kandi Hell Hercules And Love Affair Hernán Cattáneo Hi-Bias Records Hic Sunt Leones Hiero Emperium Hieroglyphics High Contrast Higher Intelligence Agency hip-hop hip-house hipno Hooj Choons Hope Records horrorcore Hospital Records Hot Chip Hotflush Recordings house Huey Lewis & The News Human Blue Hybrid Leisureland Hyperdub Hypertrophy hypnotic records I Awake I.F.O.R. I.R.S. Records Iboga Records Ice Cube Ice H2o Records ICE MC IDM illbient Imperial Dancefloor Imploded View In Charge In Trance We Trust Incoming Incubus indie rock Industrial Infected Mushroom Infinite Guitar influence records Infonet Inner Ocean Records Insane Clown Posse Inspectah Deck Instinct Ambient Instra-Mental Inter-Modo Interchill Records Internal International Deejays Gigolo Interscope Records Intimate Productions Intuition Recordings ISBA Music Entertainment Ishkur Island Records Italians Do It Better italo disco italo house Jack Moss Jam and Spoon Jam El Mar James Horner James Murray James Zabiela Jamie Jones Jamie Myerson Jamie Principle Javelin Ltd. Jay Haze Jay Tripwire Jaydee jazz jazz dance jazzstep Jean-Michel Jarre Jefferson Airplane Jerry Goldsmith Jesper Dahlbäck Jive Jive Electro Jliat Jlin Joel Mull Joey Beltram John '00' Fleming John Digweed John Graham John Kelly John O'Callaghan Johnny Cash Johnny Jewel Jonny L Jori Hulkkonen Jørn Stenzel Josh Wink Journeys By DJ™ LLC Joyful Noise Recordings Juan Atkins juke Jump Cut Jumpin' & Pumpin' jungle Junior Boy's Own Junkie XL Juno Reactor Jurassic 5 Kay Wilder KDJ Ken Ishii Kenji Kawai Kenny Glasgow Keoki Keosz Kerri Chandler Kevin Braheny Kevorkian Records Khooman Khruangbin Kid Koala Kiko Kinetic Records King Cannibal King Midas Sound King Tubby Kitaro Klang Elektronik Klaus Schulze Koch Records Koichi Sugiyama Kolhoosi 13 Komakino Kompakt Kon Kan Kool Keith Kozo Kraftwelt Kraftwerk Krafty Kuts krautrock Krill.Minima Kris O'Neil Kriztal Kruder and Dorfmeister Krusseldorf KuckKuck Kurupt L.S.G. Lab 4 Ladytron Lafleche Lange Large Records Lars Leonhard Laserlight Digital LateNightTales Latin Laurent Garnier LCD Soundsystem Leama and Moor Lee 'Scratch' Perry Lee Norris Leftfield Legacy Leon Bolier LFO Linear Labs Lingua Lustra liquid funk Liquid Sound Design Liquid Stranger Live live album Loco Dice Lodsb London acid crew London Classics London Elektricity London Records 90 Ltd London-Sire Records Loop Guru Loreena McKennitt Lorenzo Montanà Lost Language Loud Records Loverboy Luaka Bop Luciano Luke Slater Lustmord M_nus M.A.N.D.Y. M.I.K.E. Madonna Magda Mali Mammoth Records Marc Simz Marcel Dettmann Marco Carola Marco V Mark Farina Mark Norman Mark Pritchard Markus Schulz Marshmello Martin Cooper Martin Nonstatic Märtini Brös Marvin Gaye Maschine Massive Attack Masta Killa Matthew Dear Max Graham maximal Maxx MCA Records McProg Meanwhile Meat Loaf Meditronica Menno de Jong Mercury Mesmobeat metal Method Man Metroplex Metropolis Miami Bass Miami Dub Machine Michael Brook Michael Jackson Michael Mayer Mick Chillage micro-house microfunk Microscopics MIG Miguel Migs Mike Saint-Jules Mike Shiver Miktek Mille Plateaux Millennium Records Mind Distortion System Mind Over MIDI mini-CDs minimal minimal tech-house Ministry Of Sound miscellaneous Misja Helsloot Miss Kittin Miss Moneypenny's Mixmag Mo Wax MO-DU Moby Model 500 modern classical Moist Music Moodymann Moonshine Moss Garden Motech Moving Shadow Mujaji Murmur Music link Music Man Records musique concrete Mutant Sound System Mute Muzik Magazine My Best Friend Mystica Tribe N-Trance Nacht Plank Nadia Ali Nas Nature Sounds Naughty By Nature Nebula Neil Young Neotropic nerdcore Nettwerk Neurobiotic Records New Age New Jack Swing new wave Nic Fanciulli Nick Höppner Night Time Stories Nimanty Nine Inch Nails Ninja Tune Nirvana No Mask Effect Nobuo Uematsu Nomad Nonesuch Nonplus Records Nookie Nordic Trax Norman Feller Northumbria Nothing Records NovaMute NRG Ntone nu-jazz nu-skool Nuclear Blast Entertainment Nulll Nurse With Wound NXP Octagen Offshoot Offshoot Records Ol' Dirty Bastard old school rave Ole Højer Hansen Olga Musik Olien Oliver Lieb Olsen Omni Trio Omnimotion Omnisonus One Little Indian Oophoi Oosh Open Canvas Opus III orchestral Original TranceCritic review Ornament Ostgut Ton Ott Ouragan OutKast Outpost Records Overdream Pantera Pantha Du Prince Paolo Mojo Parlaphone Paul Moelands Paul Oakenfold Paul van Dyk Perfect Stranger Perfecto Perturbator Pet Shop Boys Petar Dundov Pete Namlook Pete Tong Peter Benisch Peter Gabriel Peter Tosh Phonothek Photek Phutureprimitive Phynn PIAS Recordings Pink Floyd PJ Harvey Planet Dog Planet Earth Recordings Planet Mu Planetary Consciousness Plastic City Plastikman Platipus Plump DJs PM Dawn Poker Flat Recordings politics Polydor Polytel pop Popular Records Porya Hatami post-dubstep Prince Prins Thomas Priority Records prog prog psy Progression progressive breaks progressive house progressive rock progressive trance Prolifica Proper Records Prototype Recordings protoU Pryda psy chill psy dub Psy Spy Records psy trance psy-chill psy-dub psychedelia Psychick Warriors Ov Gaia Psychonavigation Psychonavigation Records Psycoholic Psykosonik Public Enemy punk punk rock Pureuphoria Records Purl Push PWL International Quadrophonia Quality Quango Quinlan Road R & S Records R'n'B R&B Rabbit In The Moon Radio Slave Radioactive Radioactive Man Radiohead Raekwon Ralph Lawson RAM Records Randal Collier-Ford Random Review Rank 1 rant RareNoise Records Rascalz Raster-Noton Ratatat Raum Records RCA React Red Jerry reggae remixes Renaissance Rephlex Reprise Records Resist Music Restless Records Rhino Records Rhys Fulber Ricardo Villalobos Riley Reinhold Rising High Records RnB Roadrunner Records Robert Miles Robert Oleysyck Roc Raida rock rock opera rockabilly rocktronica Roger Sanchez ROIR Rollo Rough Trade Rub-N-Tug Rumour Records Running Back Ruthless Records RZA S.E.T.I. Sabled Sun Salt Tank Salted Music Salvation Music Samim sampling Sanctuary Records Sander van Doorn Sandoz Sarah McLachlan Sash Sasha Scandinavian Records Scann-Tec sci-fi Scott Hardkiss Scott Stubbs Scuba Seán Quinn Segue Sense Sentimony Records Sequential Seraphim Rytm Setrise Seven Davis Jr. Shaded Explorations Shaded Explorer Shadow Records Sharam Shawn Francis shoegaze Si Matthews SideOneDummy Records Signature Records SiJ Silent Season silly gimmicks Silver Age Simon Berry Simon Heath Simon Posford Simple Records Sinden single Sire Records Company Six Degrees Sixeleven Records ska Skin To Skin Slinky Music Sly and Robbie Smalltown Supersound SME Visual Works Inc. Snap Sneijder Snoop Dogg Solar Fields Solaris Recordings Solarstone Solieb Soliquid Solstice Music Europe Soma Quality Recordings Songbird Sony Music Entertainment soul Soul Temple Entertainment Souls Of Mischief Sound Of Ceres Soundgarden Sounds From The Ground soundtrack southern rap southern rock space ambient Space Dimension Controller Space Manoeuvres space synth Spank Rock Special D speed garage Speedy J Spicelab spoken word Spotify Suggestions Spotted Peccary SPX Digital Squarepusher Squaresoft Stanton Warriors Star Trek Stardust Statrax Stay Up Forever Stephanie B Stephen Kroos Steve Angello Steve Miller Band Steve Porter Stijn van Cauter Stone Temple Pilots Stonebridge Stormloop Stray Gators Street Fighter Stuart McLean Studio K7 Stylophonic Sub Focus Sublime Sublime Porte Netlabel Substance Sun Station Sunbeam Sunday Best Recordings Superstition surf rock Sven Väth Swayzak swing Switch Sylk 130 Symmetry Sync24 Synergy Synkro synth pop synthwave System 7 Tactic Records Tall Paul Tammy Wynette Tangerine Dream Tau Ceti Tayo tech-house tech-step tech-trance Technical Itch techno technobass Technoboy Tectonic Terminal Antwerp Terra Ferma Terry Lee Brown Jr Textere Oris The Beach Boys The Beatles The Black Dog The Brian Jonestown Massacre The Bug The Chemical Brothers The Clash The Council The Cranberries The Crystal Method The Digital Blonde The Dust Brothers The Glimmers The Green Kingdom The Grey Area The Hacker The Human League The Irresistible Force The KLF The Misted Muppet The Movement The Music Cartel The Null Corporation The Offspring The Orb The Police The Prodigy The Shamen The Sharp Boys The Sonic Voyagers The Squires The Tea Party The Tragically Hip The Velvet Underground The Wailers The White Stripes themes Thievery Corporation Third Contact Thrive Records Tiefschwarz Tiësto Tiga Tiger & Woods Time Warp Timecode Tobias Todd Terje Tom Middleton Tomita Tommy Boy Ton T.B. Tone Depth Tony Anderson Sound Orchestra Tool Topaz Tosca Toto Touch Tourette Records trance Trancelucent Tranquillo Records Trans'Pact Transformers Transient Records trap Trax Records Trend Trentemøller Tresor tribal Tricky Triloka Records trip-hop Trishula Records Troum Tuff Gong Tunnel Records Turbo Recordings turntablism TUU TVT Records Twisted Records Type O Negative U-God U2 Überzone Ugasanie UK acid house UK Garage Ultimae Ultra Records Umbra Underworld Union Jack United Dairies United DJs Of America Universal Music UOVI Upstream Records Urban Icon Records V2 Vagrant Records Valiska Valley Of The Sun Vangelis Vap Vector Lovers Venetian Snares Venonza Records Vermont Vernon Verve Records VGM Vice Records Victor Calderone Vince DiCola Vinyl Cafe Productions Virgin Virtual Vault Virus Recordings Visionquest Vitalic vocal trance Wagram Music Warp Records Warren G Water Music Dance Waveform Records Wax Trax Records WEA Weekly Mini-Review White Swan Records William Orbit Willie Nelson world beat world music writing reflections Wu-Tang Clan Wyatt Keusch XL Recordings Yello Yes Youth Youtube YoYo Records Yul Records Zenith ZerO One Zoo Entertainment ZTT Zyron ZYX Music µ-Ziq