When a record is described as “the sound of Roy Orbison trekking through an ageless forest” you have my attention. The P∞rtals’ aka Lévi Soulodre recent release 1+1 = is a sample-based album that is a close cousin to Girl Talk. One of the main differences being Soulodre doesn’t use nearly as many samples of bands per song.
After a brief intro the album goes into “Lake Destiny” which is the song “L.A. Woman” minus Jim Morrison. Soulodre’s vocals are distorted and good luck figuring out what he is saying. I have to admit I was missing Morrison’s vocals. There just wasn’t enough manipulation, layering or anything else to make me think otherwise. It was more or less a glorified karaoke session.
Soulodre cuts up the Crystal Castles’ song “Year of Silence” but more or less sounds like a CD skipping. Remember when that happened. Soulodre’s 101 production skills can’t seem to get past repeating measures of the songs. “Winged Woman” which actually sounds like Roy Orbison is a success. The sarcastic nature of the vocals had a Ariel Pink type quality. Soulodre’s vocals are somewhere buried in “A.F.T” while the “Distance” sounds like some mysterious Knights of The Templar ritual. “Distance” is a bit comedic is nothing else.
“O” is a repetitive, chaotic mess that will send your grandma into convulsions but is perfect for a younger generation that ingested a bunch of Ecstasy and is at that point where they want to hug the speakers. Steely Dan would hate this. “Good Friday” is an atmospheric mood piece perfect for Centipede 3. “Azimuth/The Whole Political History Of The Church” sounds like a deteriorating sample that makes you want throw your cat out a window and start drinking all the WD-40 you have in the house.
The ten-minute song “Blueberry Picking With Grandmère (Periphery II)” is the exact opposite of the harsh, eerie qualities of the last two songs .In fact “Blueberry Picking With Grandmère (Periphery II)” is by far the prettiest thing you will hear on this album. It feels like it could fall apart but that's where some of the beauty was. I’m not sure if “Blueberry Picking With Grandmère (Periphery II)” was a sample or not but if it wasn’t Soulodre should be playing a lot more guitar on his album.
The songs on 1+1= are so individual and disconnected from each other it’s hard to even call this album. It feels schizophrenic and random to say the least. I’ve listened to the album a couple of times and still don't know how to feel about it. That could be a good thing or a bad thing.
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