Archive for February, 2012

Review: mind.in.a.box – Revelations

Posted in Review with tags on February 14, 2012 by softsynth

The title says it all. This album really is something of a revelation. The Austrian band’s last album, R.E.T.R.O., was a total curve-ball, bit-pop explosion that was weird and fun and really not that sustainable (though this album’s “Unknown” harks back to that previous album, acting as a kind of bridge back to the darkwave/pop middle ground they traverse so effectively). As a whole this album takes them back toward darker, more familiar ground and it’s remarkably solid.

This is not an album with songs that immediately jump out and throttle you. One needs to let these tracks marinate for a while before its full power reveals itself, but the more pop oriented songs seep out and show this band at the full extent of their powers. Continue reading

Advertisements

The Grammys “electronic” category continues to be lame and ridiculous

Posted in Observations with tags on February 13, 2012 by softsynth

Every year at this time we take the time to lambaste the Grammys for their absurd take on what they call “electronic music”. This year they’ve thrown all pretense out the door and simply renamed the category “Best Dance/Electronica Album”. Way to be genre-inclusive there folks. Skrillex won the category (insert sigh here). Cut/Copy should have won among these nominees and only they and Robyn are worth a serious mention but does it matter at all? Even less than ever sadly. Despite the fact that there is already a “Best Dance Recording Category”, this category has simply become another of the same, and it does a disservice to an entire genre of music. Grammys, you don’t understand electronic music, you never have and you should just leave well enough alone…

Everyone else is posting the “Everything Counts” guy and his kids so figured we should too

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 12, 2012 by softsynth

So it’s been making the rounds since it was uploaded about a month ago but felt we had to share it as well. Columbian musician Dicken Schrader and his children performed their take on Depeche Mode’s “Everything Counts” and even to someone as inherently cynical as this blogger, this is pretty god damned delightful.

Four things stand out for this blogger: a) This guy is crazy talented as a musician. Check out how well he multitasks without dropping a sweat. The never-had-it musician side of the person writing this is mad-jealous. b) Cute kids. Also, how cool is it to see two kids 7 or younger with a sense of musicality about them? The two mini-Softsynths have no sense of rhythm or musicianship whatsoever, despite our constant prodding. This is awfully cool to see. c) The aforementioned mini-Softsynths insist on our playing this at least twice a day. It strangely it doesn’t get old so much as it forces a smile on the rictus-grimace that usually adorns our cynical mug. Every damn time. And most significantly, d) Boy could Martin Gore pen a timeless tune. What happened there? When we hear this we just keep thinking, why can’t Depeche Mode make music like this anymore? Why does the well from which this genius tune sprung now produce only blandness? The previously referenced smile goes away at this thought as it does battle with conflicting thoughts of “Fragile Tension” or “Hole to Feed”.

Schrader, who has recorded clever children’s tunes akin to the brilliant SchoolHouse Rocks songs from the 70s and 80s in his native land has also taken on, “Strangelove” and “Shake the Disease”, continuing to remind DM how their music still has the potential to kick ass. Hope they’re watching this on repeat…

Watch: Dicken featuring Milah and Korben – Everything Counts

Sometimes those albums just get away from you

Posted in Commentary, Review with tags , , on February 11, 2012 by softsynth

We try to stay on top of what’s current in electronic music but trying to stay abreast of everything, from every corner of the electronic world is nigh-on impossible. So it is that occasionally we’ll entirely miss an album when it’s thrust upon us, even if we actually *own* the album but don’t get around to really listening to it for some time. The following three albums are those which we somehow just missed when they came out but are terrific and deserve a plug, even if we don’t provide a full, official review (as we long ago pledged to only provide reviews of genuinely current, new releases). These albums are burning up the Softsynth playlist right now, currency be damned… Continue reading