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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Wow! 3 New Albums I Like

posted by on February 26 at 13:25 PM

I know it seems like I live in the past these days, with all the disco and retro folk stuff I write about, but hey, I just don’t find much new music that appealing. Honestly. I never listen to the radio. I rarely buy new albums, and am often chased out of record stores by crap playing on the sound system (if I never hear another “alt-country” album again, it would be too soon).

Well, recently I did get 3 new albums I really like.

Sebastien Tellier - Sexuality

Is this image NSFW?

You know this guy, right? He’s the one who made his first album, L’Incroyable Verite, without any drums. It was meant as a statement about how music could have rhythm without the force of a kick drum behind it. You, as the listener, were instructed by Sebastien Tellier to listen to the album by the light of a candle, hopefully in some sort of situation romantique!

That album only half worked for me. Too clever by half, was how I explained to to friends. Cute, but not cuddly. It found it’s niche however by having songs from it included on Sofia Coppola’s film Lost In Translation.

His next project, Politics, spawned the beautiful monster chill-out track “La Ritournelle” which has probably made him a very rich man, being on every downtempo compilation of 2006 and 7. Unfortunately with songs poking provacative fun at the Berlin wall, and genocide, it was a totally lopsided affair.

I think Monsieur Tellier likes to see himself in the roll as the droll, kooky french guy, a la Serge Gainsbourg’s more comedic phase. But he hasn’t quite pulled it off.

Until now.

Sexuality, his third proper album, co-produced by Guy-Manuel De Hommem-Christo of Daft Punk takes that goofy comedic phrasing and thrusts it into a exotique sexual surrounding. Tracks like the opener “Roche” see him singing softer, with mild chord arpeggiations that ebb and flow like waves, back and forth, in and out of your ear drums. Lots of heavy breathing and girlish squeals punctuate the songs, and bring to mind some of the more fantastical work by Gainsbourg.

With instrumental tracks like “Sexual Sportswear” that call to mind Goblin sodomizing Cerrone and the oddly titled “Manty” (a little too close to panty, for my taste, but it’s not my album…) with it’s lusty female laughter that oddly at times seems close to tears Tellier has found his landscape, and we see, as on the cover, he paints himself into it beautifully.

My only complaint is that he might have sacrificed himself a little too much on the altar of Daft Punk. Nearly every song sounds like it might have been a slow out take from Discovery. Not a bad thing as that is one of the best albums EVER. But it would be nice to get a tiny bit more varied sound over the whole album.

Principles Of Geometry - Lazare


Um, have you heard of this group? I hadn’t until the other day. I picked up the album because I heard a track that had the above-mentioned Sebastien Tellier doing vox on a vocoder on the single, “A Mountain For President”.

This album is fantastic. If you are yearning to hear a Boards Of Canada album that is made to dance to, then I can give this album no higher praise. It takes those tones and sounds the BOC use so well, and twists and works in some beautiful beats, sometimes minimal, sometimes full throttled, but always interesting, truthful and beautiful.

Apparently these guys are collectors of old analogue synth technologies, and used them exclusively on this album. Such beautiful and modern music being made from old machines is nothing new, but these guys just really hit the nail on the head. I am doubly impressed that these guys managed to escape my ears until now. Visceral, real, honest-to-god music.

I usually don’t like rap in electronic songs that much, but the simple word play by a guy named Vast Aire on the cut “Napolean” perfectly matched the mood of doom and gloom to awesome effect.

Once again, is it just me or is every french electronic group out there paying homage to Goblin? Their dark, walking dead, arpeggiated chord progression imprint is all over this album.

BTW. Get the single to “A Mountain For President” as it has a killer remix of the track by Joachim.

Samples from the album can be found on their Myspace page.

Kelley Polar - I Need You To Hold On While The Sky Is Falling


This album is only available on iTunes at the moment, and will become available on CD in early March.

On iTunes, Kelley Polar is taking a little flak for this not being like his last effort, Love Stories Of The Hanging Garden. The lushness of that work with it’s vibrant strings and gorgeous neo-disco vibe made famous by label-mates Metro Area, who Polar has recorded with in the past, is less present on this album.

But that is not to say that this album lacks anything by turning slightly away from that sound. The beats here are minimal, and use lots of natural sounds to fill the space between bass hits, as on the track “Rosenband” whose breathless-ness is caused by stacatto breath-beats. A cool effect reminiscent of Herbert.

The songs are still, in a round-a-bout way, regarding things celestial. We’ve got a song, “Satellites” which through turn of phrase becomes a love song of yearning and waiting. “Zeno Of Elea” which I can imagine must be about some sort of constellation has wonderful tonal progression, more akin to Polar’s classical background. The song takes you on a complete journey through space and time, leaving you someplace totally different and unexpected from where you took off. The whole album is full of songs that like onions start out simple, and lead through many layers to a internal sweetness.

Polar’s vocals on this album are a little more forceful, and while he’s not a great singer, it gives the album a yearning, clinging sound. Lyrically Polar does more “waiting”, “needing” and “wanting” then in his previous work. Which gives you the feeling Polar is bearing his lovers heart right out there on the tip of his viola.

How clearly can I say I love this album. I hear something different and revelatory at every listen. Like his last, I’ll be into this album for a long time, peeling away it’s many layers.

And, please, on the off-chance there is a god….let Kelley Polar come to Seattle on his tour!

RSS icon Comments


This is probably so obvious, but you need to—NEED TO—get into Hercules & Love Affair. I don't even know if it's out yet, but that's never stopped anyone. All the kewl gays are gagging on this album!

Posted by Nick | February 26, 2008 2:12 PM

I love nudity. You just can't beat it.

Posted by trent moorman | February 26, 2008 2:49 PM

1. the new Kelley Polar album is shit with a few exceptions. he needs to record/release a Kelley Polar Quartet lp with NO SINGING.

2. Hercules & Love Affair would rule if it didn't have Antony Dipshit singing on it.

3. the new Justus Kohncke LP on Kompakt, Safe and Sound, is his best yet and a sophisticated and fun way to gay up your earbuds.

Posted by brian | February 26, 2008 3:53 PM

"you were a still born baby:
momma didn't want you, but you were still born"

-vast aire

Posted by ndrwmtsn | February 26, 2008 4:16 PM

That Justus Kohncke record is getting a bad rap, but I can't figure out why. It's great.

Posted by Eric Grandy | February 26, 2008 4:32 PM

@6 Agreed.

Visceral, real, honest-to-god music....

on the off-chance there is a god….let Kelley Polar come to Seattle on his tour!

Make up your mind -- and have somebody edit your posts, please.

Posted by dark&long | February 26, 2008 7:49 PM

Um, @5 agreed. Doy.

Posted by dark&long | February 26, 2008 7:49 PM

I haven't heard the new Kelley Polar, but from the way you describe it, chances are, I'll like it.
As for Justus--he just continues kicking ass.
But really, right now, all I can listen to is Rex the Dog's "Circulate" which apparently came out last July or something.

Posted by jeremy | February 27, 2008 5:35 AM

#6 & 7 - what an idiotic thing to critique... it's fitting you fucked up yourself.
Get over it.

Posted by dark&dumb | February 27, 2008 8:27 AM

The All Music Guide gave the new Justus Kohncke CD a four star review.

Posted by Norbert | February 27, 2008 10:48 AM

Get over it? Get over posts with illogical sentences and loads of spelling, grammatical and factual errors? If you say so.

Posted by dark&long | February 28, 2008 12:25 AM

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