Pitchfork Top 10 Project: 10 and 9


It may be a while until I actually do all the 10 albums in the list, but I’ll just put the first two up for now. The first I had not heard before and it was a style I would not often listen to, so it was good to expand my listening in that manner, whereas the second is an album I had heard on a couple of occasions before, and had already made a vague judgement on.

Having now done this, I can see how it is I go about this “alternate-reviewing” that I planned to employ on all 10 albums. It’s not the best technique, and I haven’t learnt too much from it, but it’s an experience at least. And when it comes down to it maybe it will help me when it comes to proper, full-length album reviews, which on the whole I shy away from.

Anyway, here there are.

10. The Avalanches – Since I Left You

Calming introduction, the instrumentation flows well. Lots of repetition, but nicely used. Strings compliment the electronic beats. Nice interchange between tracks, use of sample overlap works well. Ideas seem stretched, new tracks feel too much like extended outtros to the previous one. New idea, which is welcome. An upbeat mood is maintained well. Clearly experts at keeping balance between multiple tracks. Very smooth, calming music is broken up by sudden stop/start drumming, a mixing of moods that doesn’t work. The percussion seems out of place. Repetition still used effectively, but with less originality. The ideas are starting to feel overlong, which doesn’t bode well with 11 tracks to go, but the mood is still effectively maintained. New ideas or a distinct change in style would help. “A Different Feeling” evokes a sort of neo-disco aura. Another mix of calm and abrupt music, which is out of place but leads nicely into main portion of song. All ideas flow nicely together, but do not seem to evolve much, or lead to anything substantial. The abrupt switching is off-putting, and doesn’t help the albums rhythm.  Smooth transition into newer style. Welcome change, more inventive use of instrumentation. Darker mood compliments previous tracks well. Spanish style guitars cleverly lead to new idea. Ideas are evolving well, but do not hold attention.

Summary:

An uplifting mood is very well held, but there needs to be more variety. Clear mastery of using layered, textured instrumentation. Too many ideas are not cut short, however, making the album feel longer than it is. For the most part it is interesting and inventive, but sometimes the repetition goes on too long, and the listener is left waiting or a new idea.

7/10

9. Panda Bear – Person Pitch

Staccato drum beats, floating vocals. A comfortable, delicate way to open the album. The sweeping sonic notes in background keep the mood interesting, other than that mostly repetitive. Transition into next track overlong. Slow tempo and light percussion creates nice atmosphere, but does not change often or competently enough. The busier beat near the end is addictive and the melodies are interesting. Nice flowing sensation into next track, the consistent use of ethereal vocals and light cymbals/bells are particularly enjoyable. Added texture keeps the mood and makes the overall song feel like it has direction. Too much of the album seems to copy other parts of the album, which helps maintain an overall rhythm, but fails to hold the attention. The feel of nature and natural surroundings is used relentlessly, and eventually becomes too obvious and tiresome. Slow soothing tones do not hide the fact that new ideas/styles of instrumentation are needed. Better, upbeat melodies, syncopated rhythm, there is an expectation being built. The mixture of notes is annoying and far too drawn-out, but it’s at least satisfying to hear different types of sounds. The graceful rhythms are appealing and the percussive layers are infectious. Sudden tempo switch is well-employed and is a good thing for the album as a whole. Sparse, ghostly tones are used, without much apparent point to them

Summary:

Some infectious beats and layered melodies don’t make up for a general over-use of individual ideas, and the lack of change and progression of noise with track changes. The vocals are comforting, but their sound remains the same throughout the album, making them seem dull by the end. The instrumentation can be interesting, with the use of light percussion complementing the other layers well. However, any sense of purpose or drive is absent.

5.5/10

My plans for future posts consist of a review of Islands’ Vapours, another of Mumford & Sons’ Sigh No More and the completion of both this list and what is now a top 30 albums of the decade list.

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About Alex Pavitt
I work in the field of emotion. My tools are instinctual feelings and my laptop is the medium between my brain and the outside world. I deconstruct and rebuild. I imagine. I steal other people's lyrics because somtimes, my own words aren't enough. I spend all of my time somewhere inside my head. I worship Douglas Adams, and in the back of my mind I am always painfully aware that I will never be as good as him or, for that matter, anybody else.

3 Responses to Pitchfork Top 10 Project: 10 and 9

  1. Tom says:

    Do your research… panda bear is the moniker for one guy.
    that guy that started animal collective that one time.
    noah somebody, i forget….

    • Tom says:

      Wait you never claimed otherwise.
      no worries then…

      …i will be on my way.

  2. Alexandra Evans says:

    Interesting reviewing style.. I am curious how this will pan out.

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