Author: Vijith Assar

  • Putting Aphex Twin’s New Album Syro in Context

    I’m ostensibly here to talk to you about Aphex Twin’s new album, Syro, but first I need to admit to some Pavlovian conditioning. Over the years I’ve grown unreasonably excitable by the first few bars of “Xtal,” the first track on his debut album, Selected Ambient Works 85-92. This has very little to do with […]

  • John Talabot

    The popular Spanish DJ’s breakthrough album came out in 2012, but it’s the kind of deep listen that can keep you busy for years as you fish through all the crevices he’s buried under reverb and a foreground patchwork of sampled vocals. Once inside those tiny caves, you’ll find in equal measure both occasional bursts […]

  • Linkin Park

    The newest album’s deliberate moves toward punk rock feel contrived coming from a band with this history of overproduction, but it does at least feature one song with a killer odd-time riff. That stuff is the point now, really: all the tiny weird flourishes have become considerably weirder, sometimes compellingly; the swirling spoken-word collage halfway […]

  • Linkin Park

    The newest album’s deliberate moves toward punk rock feel contrived coming from a band with this history of overproduction, but it does at least feature one song with a killer odd-time riff. That stuff is the point now, really: all the tiny weird flourishes have become considerably weirder, sometimes compellingly; the swirling spoken-word collage halfway […]

  • Fuck Buttons

    This British duo is obviously heavily indebted to Mogwai, the patron saints of abstract instrumental rock, but instead often perform with just a card table of gadgetry between them, and not a guitar in sight. The individual sounds are thus often pretty odd, but despite their taste for the weird, their 2013 album Slow Focus […]

  • Mogwai

    These Scottish rockers have been at the forefront of instrumental rock for almost two decades, and somehow their most recent album Rave Tapes sounds like the refined result of all that experience, sludgy distortions notwithstanding. The delicate spiderwebs of guitar and piano are now propelled less by meaty power chords and rumbling floor toms, but […]

  • The Knife

    Last year’s Shaking The Habitual is The Knife’s first album since their wildly acclaimed breakthrough Silent Shout, and that eight year gap has manifested as a dramatically different sound even though it’s built from all the same elements. This time around, the percussion mostly disappears into a haze of metallic buzzes that sound the way […]

  • Gary Burton & Makoto Ozone

    This celebrated vibraphone player pioneered an intricate four-mallet technique and now serves as a dean a the Berklee College of Music. He always excels at building up a compelling supporting context around his idiosyncratic instrument, whether as a bandleader or in more barebones duo formats. Here he performs with Makoto Ozone, a Japanese jazz pianist […]

  • Ellie Goulding

    It may seem at times as though her songs are buried beneath production gimmicks, but this British singer is still a strong songwriter underneath it all, and occasionally she excavates bare acoustic renditions that hold up nicely. That makes everything feel a lot more sensitive, but with the ornamentation in place, songs that might otherwise […]

  • Thievery Corporation

    Exotic elements blended into loping electronic music has been Thievery Corporation’s trademark for the past fifteen years. Their 2011 album Culture of Fear actually reigned in those sprawling tendencies somewhat, but they’re up to their old tricks with their latest release, a set of remixes of 2008’s “Vampires,” which features both Afrobeat torchbearer Femi Kuti […]

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