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Thursday, May 24, 2007

If These Walls Could Shut the Hell Up

posted by on May 24 at 15:15 PM


Apparat -Walls

Ellen Allien & Apparat’s Orchestra of Bubbles was one of my favorite albums of last year, a happy wedding of Allien’s vocal techno, Apparat’s refined glitch, and an unexpected bevy of acoustic (or faux-acoustic) instrumentation. So I was thrilled (a little Ellen Allien humor) to hear the same warm acoustics, bright strings, and tinkling synths on “Not A Number”, the kick off of Apparat’s new Shitkatapult album, Walls. And then I listened to the album’s second track, “Hailin From The Edge.”

Vocals aren’t really a new sonic element for Apparat (aka Shitkatapult founder Sascha Ring)—he’s been incorporating them since at least the Sizilium EP, and even scored Bubbles only great pop song with “Leave Me Alone.” But Walls guest vocalist Raz Ohara pulls a kind of Jamie Lidell-esque future soul on songs like “Hailin From the Edge,” “Holdon,” and “Over and Over,” and it doesn’t really do the album many favors. The trite (or possibly just ESL) spoken word and overwrought torch singing on “Over and Over” are especially difficult.

The vocals aren’t all bad. Ring’s falsetto on “Arcadia” fades in and out of the song’s ethereal mix to great effect, “Limelight” effectively cuts and warps voice a la Bubbles’ “Do Not Break”, and “You Don’t Know Me” contains some ghostly moans that I’m still not sure are human. Even Ohara’s restrained speak/singing and soaring chorus are a nice touch on the joyously erupting “Headup” (the quasi-rapping of the song’s conclusion, maybe less so). And the instrumental tracks—”Useless Information,” “Fractales pt. I & II”—are the gorgeous, of course, more of the kind of next-level mini-symphonies that are going to cost Shitkatapult its “bad” name. But, man, when the vocals are bad, they mar what would otherwise be a totally brilliant record and Apparat’s finest solo record to date.

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This record is really amazing. Between this and the new Matthew Dear I'm spending way more time listening to electronic music than indie rock lately...but I'm sure it's just a phase.

Posted by Eli | May 24, 2007 9:10 PM

When you return to indie rock, who will it be?

I think Indie Rock hit its peak more than 10 yrs ago; wasn't the term invented around 1990? The seminal band IMO, besides Tullycraft is, in terms of popularity, output, splinter groups (Sentridoh, Folk Implosion), yadda and two other yaddas, was Sebadoh. \
Indie Rock sells Target products these days. Smash you head on it.

Posted by Garrett | May 25, 2007 11:54 AM

I already returned to it this morning. That new Clientele record is perfection.

Posted by eli | May 25, 2007 1:27 PM

Ellen Alien is great and the Clientele
sound like all the best songs of the mid 60s played at the same time.I got to suggest Invader though if you want to hear some seriously ill jap-tronica(see link)

Posted by mwand | May 26, 2007 6:01 AM

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