An easy drive down 55 would land me in Champaign, Illinois, home to a dark and dreamy pop artist known as Plike. I'd like to welcome Plike back to Divide & Conquer. It's my first time reviewing her work. Her latest album is Seven, and it's a gothic road full of twists and turns in a soft, velvety darkness. Musically her work is wholly electronic with lovely vocal performances. This created a lovely juxtaposition between the concrete of the electronic elements and the organic sound of the incredible voices on here. The album also has a deep feminine power to it where it presents women in several dimensions and colors.
The album paints with a hefty brush, thick stroked of deep black and violet wash across my mind as I listened to it. It's very coy, likes to tease the senses, play with balance and tickle curiosities. There are a lot of samples beyond the instruments. There are spoken word elements which are often ominous. There's lots of creeks and squeaks tied into the percussion very organically. It works. In terms of unconventional sampling, I think this album does VERY well and the creativity really shines.
When it comes to the musical samplings I felt like there were sounds that were boxed in with the shrink wrap still on. It's hard to blend a lot of the sounds in with the unbridled vocal performances and the cool unconventional stuff. It needs something extra. This is a tricky business in the world of electronic music and happens often. There are a few different cures. Sometimes you have to dig outside your normal electronic tools for samples. Sometimes it just takes a few minor tweaks when mastering to really punch up a particular sound. All in all I appreciate what is being done musically here. It is very ethereal and expressive.
The voices are really fantastic, again, the strong feminine presence is conveyed so well in the vocal work. Every now and then there are a few lyrics which was a nice surprise, because I never see it coming when it happens and it is not typical for albums like this. Most of the time it's just the vocalist flexing on those beautiful, haunting notes.
While the album is dark, it has a lot of emotional genres at play. Sure, horror is in there, but this album is not a one trick pony. I get a lot of sci-fi, action and thriller. Sometimes I swear I could hear these songs as scores for some of my favorite video games. Sometimes I see war and epic battles. This is one of those albums that sets a very specific mood; it takes control. A great tool to let your mind relax and let someone else drive for a while. So if you're looking to be transported tune into Seven.
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