Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Revamp, renew (1 of 6)

Seems like I'm not really doing much with my other blog, so I've decided to move its contents to here, so behold the first of six review reposts.

Deru - Trying To Remember
Merck Records

Hearing this record is the audio equivalent of biting into a really good peach: warm and fuzzy outside, sweet and just a little tangy inside. Deru's Ben Wynn has pieced together this aural confection using a wonderfully diverse palate of manipulated static, soothing pads, and lovingly twisted, processed beats. Unlike many current offerings from other electronic acts, however, Trying To Remember is not at all icy or overtly technical. In fact, there is a distinctly organic feel to the whole affair. Beautiful melodies float above the seas of fuzzy rhythms and hiss, as if to remind me that tunefulness is just as important as groove. Pieces like the album’s opener, "I Don’t Know You", ease into a comfortable, blissful space before slowly adding subtle elements of beat that are neither distracting nor completely forgettable. Wynn is also not afraid to abandon the beats and glitches altogether, a prime example being "Loki" which features a rhythm that gradually fades into a series of haunting vocal overdubs that still succeed in creating a huge sound space. The record also has its darker moments, like the strangely droning "Tapah", which incorporates a heavy hiphop beat atop what sounds like Middle Eastern horns. Whispering female vocals begin to swirl in and around the rhythmic, staccato stabs and just as the track is about to start sounding sinister, a lovely synth washes over the top, completely changing the direction and feel of things. It is moments like these that make this record stand out for me amidst the sometimes tiresome and sterile "clicks and cuts" approach to music. If this elegant group of tracks is at all representative of the rest of Deru’s work, I will definitely be picking up more of his creations.


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