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A GRAPE DOPE, "MISSING DRAGONS"

Galaxia
Showcasing his repertoire on the keyboard, sampler and mixing console under the alias of A Grape Dope, Chicago-based drummer John Herndon (Tortoise, Isotope 217) presents six new varying tracks that make up his latest EP. No stranger to the producer's chair, in recent years Herndon has provided re-mixes for other artists, while also releasing a few of his own dub-influenced compositions via the Hefty Records Immediate Action series. "Action: Showered Us" leads off the disc with its infectious live samba school-styled rhythms and muted basslines that kick the track into high gear, complete with handclaps. From the Hip Hop collective Anitcon, Dose One lends his distinct, multi-layered vocals to the bouncy "Red Hat Attack" over busy programmed machine beats, staccato low-end and near dissonant organ drones. The compositional sounds and juxtaposition of car crashes and toddlers-in-the-park themes make for an odd yet very interesting track. The disc's biggest surprise and definite highlight is the soulful ballad "I'll Spread It" which features Herndon's emotional vocoder stylings along with some tender bass and chord progressions that lilt and sway just beautifully. The underlying purr of additional electronic elements round out the composition nicely. Herndon's interesting compositional style and shifting rhythms draw from several different influences, yet still come across as distinct in their own setting. The strong, at times angular compositions on Missing Dragons should dispel the myth that drummers are only capable of counting and hitting stuff. 

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The Eye: Video of the Day

Baby Dee

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Review of the Day

broadcast, "pendulum"
Warp
It's been over two years since we last heard from Broadcast, but they've finally graced us with a new 6-song EP, to be followed later this year by their second full-length album. Pendulum, which will have to tide fans over until then, is a formidable taster of things to come. The overall aesthetic is similar to that of their previous work: moody psychedelia sweetened by Trish Keenan's airy, hypnotic vocals. What's different is an evolution of the band's use of percussion and synthesizers. The title track shows a definite expansion on the sometimes trippy, sometimes icy melodic themes found on their last album. Even on minimal tracks like "Small Song IV" and "Still Feels Like Tears," the complex, yet adeptly handled drum rustles and angular patches of synths leap out amongst the atmospheric "aaah aaaah"s. "One Hour Empire" sounds as if it were culled from the jazz-tinged score of a 1970s crime film. Pendulum is an exciting step forward for Broadcast, and is a sure sign of a promising follow-up to The Noise Made By People.

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