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Efdemin, "Efdemin"

Rubbernecking forum jockeys and slobbering music reviewers alike have all but hailed this record as all but the Second Coming of Techno, with many hastily adding it to their "Best of 2007" lists. For all of its bandwagon hype and post-Detroit sleekness, this self-titled full-length comes off remarkably good but not astonishingly great.

 

Dial

Dispensed in both CD and double LP formats, Phillip Sollman's first album as Efdemin makes frequent, almost casual references to early naughties Force Tracks tech-house as often as more recent Kompakt electronic dance music.  Working capably within a manifestly derivative style, Sollman eagerly inches his way towards grand peaks and windswept valleys on "Lohn & Brot." Tracks like "Back To School" are meant to lift the spirits on the dancefloor, utilizing emotive layered sounds replete with carefully crafted hooks.  It is abundantly clear how much Sollman adores melody; when trying his hand at asceticism, as with the bleak "Stately, Yes," he can hardly resist nearly four minutes in to let rays of sparkling light burst through.  The slowing metamorphosing "Bergwein" adds some of that old school Artificial Intelligence warmth into the mix, while "April Fools" disrupts its own sense of calm with pinprick percussion, militantly rigid stabs, and camera shutter snares.

Founded by a trio of well-regarded producers, Dial rightfully earns considerable respect from anyone following minimal techno and house.  Since 2000, the label has output a fair number of memorable releases on vinyl and compact disc, among these one of my favorite albums of the last few years: Pantha Du Prince's superlative Diamond Daze.  Fans of that record, his recent follow-up, and the rest of Dial's roster will assuredly find plenty to like in this project, as will those who still romanticize tech-house’s past.  Those hoping for a progression worthy of the attention presently being paid to this album, however, will likely find that it's hardly the brilliant masterpiece it's been previously been chalked up as.

 

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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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