John Talabot is a mysterious fella... and John Talabot is not even his real name. It's actually Oriol Riverola (he's also been recording under the D.A.R.Y.L. alias). Riverola came on the scene in 2009, with My Old School 12″ on München (Germany) based Permanent Vacation label. But it was his fourth EP, Families (2011), which got picked up by Young Turks that finally caught my attention. This London-based label, by the way, has been home to a few of my favorite artists, such as SBTRKT and The XX which is why, I suppose, I finally picked it up. The very latest, IN, is Riverola's debut full length album, this time back on the label he started with. The LP has caused a bit of stir in the indie community, especially amongst the followers of Four Tet, Booka Shade and Caribou.
Barcelona-based John Talabot produces the kind of house meets disco meets indie-pop, which at first made me take a double take and wonder how to properly categorize the style. Upon my third and fourth and consecutively fifth listen I started to get completely hooked on his infectious sound. There's a sense of mystery surrounding the swooshing synths, sporadic organic rhythms over the tribal housy beat and soft gliding sonic pads. IN is the kind of record you wished you found in the 80s, when the world obsessed with pop and MTV started to dramatically separate itself from the underground cassette scene. At the end I decided against genrefication and leave the record to speak for itself. It's no wonder that fans of electronic movement within the indie scene have developed a thirst for the quality-produced revived sound.
The music on IN maintains the kind of easygoing nonchalant atmosphere which at first makes you mistake it for the loop-driven sample-based simplicity. The record's confidence begins to shine through upon further rotations, and now the multiple layers begin to reveal themselves throughout eleven uplifting tracks. I can totally close my eyes and picture myself dancing long into the late night to these contagious beats, which is precisely what I'll be doing at the upcoming Decibel Festival in Seattle, where John Talabot will be performing alongside vocalist and producer Pional (who also appears on the record) at the dB Finale. If you dig this, there's also a IN Remixes Vol 1 featuring remixes by Bullion, Pachanga Boys and Kenton Slash Demon.
9th release since 1994 from married Michigan duo. Quietly compassionate, subtle & gorgeous shifts in the celestial atmosphere--as if the heavens open up and radiate a calming, peaceful ambience over the earth. Minimalist repetition in a gentle evolution through mesmerizing space drone. Electronic soundscapes for meditation. Somewhere among Steve Reich, Brian Eno, My Bloody Valentine, Labradford.
Lana Del Rey was 2012's it girl well before the release of her debut record, "Born to Die," all thanks to the lead single "Video Games." Coming in at number twelve on my list of the best tracks of 2011, Del Rey's beautiful yet dry delivery on "Video Games" seemed to provide a unique commentary on today's society.
Backed by a lush orchestration, the song took the world by storm and earned millions of plays on sites like YouTube months before the album's release. Del Rey even became the first artist to perform on Saturday Night Live before the release of their debut album since Natalie Imbruglia in 1998.
Lana Del Rey has two key vocal styles; a deep, soulful voice and a high-pitched whisper worthy of bubblegum pop. Before "Born to Die" hit the shelves, three singles were released on the internet, "Video Games," "Blue Jeans," and the title track "Born to Die," which each displayed an equal balance of both of these styles. Combined with her natural physical beauty, she painted the perfect picture of a marketable artist.
To say that "Born to Die" was a highly anticipated record would be an understatement, but the real question became whether or not the album could live up to the hype.
Unfortunately, the answer is no.
The three singles already familiar to early fans are easily the three best songs on Del Rey's 12-track debut. In fact, there isn't another song that comes close. Suddenly Del Rey's apparent honesty is replaced with a blatant materialistic mindset. "National Anthem" sheds the light on Del Rey's real driving force: Money.
Once Lana Del Rey gets her quality material out of the way, she dives into a sea of tracks that seem to repeat "I'll love you forever even though I know it's a bad idea" in as many different ways as possible. "Diet Mountain Dew" laughably repeats this motif. By the time "This is What Makes Us Girls" seems to imply that skipping school, drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon, and stealing police cars while always looking her best is really who she is, Del Rey has lost every ounce of credibility she had originally earned.
It is truly a shame when an artist with as much potential as Lana Del Rey falls this short of expectations, but "Born to Die" mostly takes away from the lasting impact of the music we've already heard. "Video Games" is still a phenomenal recording worthy of continued praise and both "Summertime Sadness" and "Dark Paradise" do offer glimpses of future potential, but fans expecting an album of the year contender will likely be greatly disappointed.
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