Tag Archives: electronica

Maximum Balloon is a cool name

It is, isn’t it? Maximum Balloon is the solo project of TV on the Radio’s David Sitek, He really seems to be enjoying the freedom to produce music while collaborating with an impressive and eclectic range of singers and musicians, including the likes of former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne and upcoming vocalist Holly Miranda. At it’s core, Maximum Balloon is a very solid New Wave inspired Electropop record with a few twists here and there. Although it has billed as a dance record because of the ample funky bass guitar and synthy hi hats, I see the record as more of a groovy head nodder because it all seems a little too esoteric and indie to really make people get out of their seats (unless you really are an 80’s new waver at heart!). That said, I would certainly dance to Communion. All in all, this is a very listenable record from start to finish (except when he gets a little too Prince on us on Shakedown) without being particularly innovative or ground breaking.

Maximum Balloon: Communion (ListenĀ Here)

While Electropop is clearly reaching mainstream popularity, Minimal Electronic/Techno still remains a firmly niche and underground phenomenon (unless you live in Berlin or something…). This isn’t particularly difficult to fathom, as the genre is introverted by nature and thus overshadowed by it’s electronic siblings that are more conducive to radio airplay and club rotations. Nevertheless, Minimal has a lot to offer music lovers. The inherent sparsity of the music allows for greater complexity and experimentation, and the results are often beautifully rich and rewarding. The following two songs are examples of the diversity that exists within this genre (although this genre really isn’t conducive to single track sampling).

Dominik Eulberg: Polar Shift (Listen Here)

Matias Aguayo: Radio Taxi (Listen Here)

Finally, to end this post on a beautifully dramatic post rock note, check out the epic “They Move on Tracks of Never-ending Light” by Texas based This Will Destroy You.

now check out how the Not For Profit group Charity:Water used this track to produce one of the most powerful and creatively effective video messages I have seen….

Bye!

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Genre me this.

When it comes to engagement in music (consumption, not creation!), I’d say that my engagement is moderately high. I’m always reading reviews, checking out new music, posting music blogs, attending gigs (when I can afford them) etc. I’m not an obsessed teen and my interests do vary, but when I consider my extended group of friends, I’m pretty sure I’m more into this music thing than 90% of them. Despite all this, I am continually perplexed at the proliferation of genre’s, subgenre’s, and subsubsubsub genre’s that are out there. Who comes up with names like ‘Dreamcore’ and ‘Chillwave’? What the hell is that supposed to tell me?! I must be getting old…..

Anyway, Beach House is apparently a central part of this dreamchillcorewave movement, and if they are anything to go by, I’m in. I heard about this group through the Guardian Music Weekly podcast a few months ago, but only gave them a chance recently after stumbling onto a fantastic music blog called letmelikeit. I suppose I can understand the ‘chill’ aspect, as Beach House‘s music certainly evokes the languid, laid back feeling you may have while chilling at…well…a beach house. Yet the truly arresting aspect of Beach House’s music is the fact that the detached ‘chillness’ is really just subtle camouflage for the melancholy and nostalgia that filters through the melody and lyrics of their songs. Gwaan, listen to it!

Genres are by definition an attempt to draw a clean little box around something that is by its nature often very difficult to categorize. I suppose conventional wisdom would put Badmarsh & Shri in the catchall ‘World Music’ or ‘Asian Electronic’ genres. I don’t doubt that genre labelling is a necessary evil, but I can’t help but feel that sometimes we should just relinquish this obsession with categorization and just appreciate the creativity. These two songs are from Badmarsh & Shri’s Dancing Drums LP (2001). Just love it!

Listen (1)

Listen (2)

Finally, lets take a trip back to some good old post/punk alternative (no genre bending there!). The Hold Steady seem to be intent on bucking the recent trend toward more instrumentation and the infusion of electronic sounds into what was traditionally hallowed ground for the guitar, drums, bass, and maybe a piano key here and there. There is something strangely alluring about their under produced meat and potatoes sound. Surprisingly, they still manage to sound pretty contemporary, perhaps because their lyrics reflect the ironic, sarcasm tinged humour that the kids these days love. These two tracks are from the Stay Positive (2009) and Boys and Girls in America (2006) LP’s respectively.

Dinner time…