Narratives in albums

Following a recent discussion on [313] about the narrative of an entire release, I’m reminded of a few things that I’ve bought recently which really come together as proper albums.

Actress “Hazyville” wears its Detroit influence on its sleeve while exerting some latitude on the arrangements and beats the underpin everything. There are a couple of stand-out tracks: “Ivy May Gilpin” and “Again The Addiction”, but I’d suggest that this definitely shouldn’t be picked apart, because it’s much more rewarding when taken as a whole, and nearly every track is doing something that you won’t pick up on by scanning through it. The album was a long time coming and definitely worth the wait.

A Made Up Sound (2562) “Shortcuts” uses the lots-of-short-tracks approach to building an album. Although the sound is abstract and Detroit-inspired, the beats incorporate hip hop, dubstep, house and techno influences, while never fitting neatly in any of these styles. If anyone thinks dubstep is narrow and rigid, this might be a counter-example.

Aardvarck “Pigstyle” belongs in this category because he manages to unify his recent dubstep output beside his house sound, while throwing in some new experimental twists that vaguely recall his earlier works. The characteristicness of his sound is strong enough that some might think it’s “samey”, but I reckon he’s traversing a fairly broad range of beats and pulling in a number of different influences in the process. All-told, I reckon it tells a complete story in a unique way, which = album to me.

Robert Henke (Monolake) “Atom” uses a limited set of sounds, including some traditional instruments mixed with his futuristic-sounding synthesis to achieve a really distinctive sound throughout. It’s really composed as well. You can tell that a great deal of editorial restraint went in to achieving the coherence of the album. I reckon this one will definitely stand the test of time.

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