Despite the fact that the genre consisting of all the electronic and electro music has assembled much of it’s popularity due to the hype around “new and original sounds”, it would be foolish to deny the appearance of more than just a few styles that could easily be called generic. Artists like The Bloody Beetroots and Crookers have, since the time of their conception stood fast on top of the sounds and styles that they created for themselves, and though I cannot say that I do not enjoy those particular sounds, they certainly do become a bit tiresome after an extended run. Now, please don’t attack me with your feelings on how a group without a definite style is a is a forgettable one; I couldn’t agree more. But when it gets to the point where you almost don’t have to listen to a track before you know what it’s going to sound like, one cannot deny that it does become considerably less interesting.
It’s because of these “ruts”, into which so many artists have begun to fall, that I was, and still am, so thoroughly impressed by the latest album from the likes of Ratatat, entitled LP3: In all actuality, the odds were totally against them. Think about it. A year or two ago, they had a bit of a following, but we all know they didn’t truly emerge until about the time they made a world tour with Daft Punk. (Who would have thought?) In the months that followed, they gathered popularity exponentially, to the point where your red neck friend, who only bought an iPod just last year when he realized that he was among the 3% of people that still didn’t own one, actually came up to you and told you to listen to “Wildcat”, acting like you’d never heard it before. And a few months after that? “Ratatat? Yeah, whatever.” To make things worse, a few underwhelming tracks surfaced on the blogs not long after, which gave people the impression that Ratatat had nothing left to offer. Their path was that of a one hit wonder, and so many people have made premature assumptions, I guarantee that the world is not prepared for what’s about to gush from its noise-making machines:
Ratatat‘s LP3 is gorgeous, in the true sense of the word. Unlike the artists that follow the pattern in the aforementioned paragraph, Ratatat has managed to fulfill just about every request that one could ask for in a follow-up album. It has character, class, and depth, but most of all, they’ve evolved their style to the point that it’s completely fresh, while somehow managing to stay entirely the same. As a whole, the album is considerably lighter and more universally enjoyable, frequently substituting piano (and even an occasional clavichord) and strange and funky noises for some of the drums and extremely rich guitar sounds of their previous works. Nonetheless, you’ll never have to question who you’re listening to. It’s completely different, and it’s exactly the same. Commendable indeed.
Here’s a few tracks to tease, but I must inform you that the entire album is quite lovely. Do them kids a favor!
MP3: Ratatat – Dura
MP3: Ratatat – Mirando
And here’s a little toss in. For those of you who aren’t aware, a remix contest was staged a while back for “Lo Sforzo”, a querky electro track originally produced by IHEARTCOMIX‘s Ocelot (who has coined what’s probably close to my favorite phrase, ever: “All the fun of trance without all that trance”). While many of the resulting creations were quite entertaining, one of them, which happened to be produced by the now-well-known remix team LA Riots, proved itself to be a particularly floor shaking brick of synthesizer-goodness. Unfortunately, that track has all but disappeared from the internet, and for a while I worried that I’d be forever doomed to living without it. My luck did turn, however, and I figure I should repay the spirits of karma (and the delightful LA Riots) by posting it up here. Be careful… this one bites.
MP3: Ocelot – Lo Sforzo (LA Riots remix)