Monday, May 30, 2011

RADIATOR REVIEWS: Grimes/D'eon - Darkbloom

Darkbloom is a split LP between Grimes and friend of the collective D'eon, Put out by the two at the moment Labels which seems to have all the blogs right now suckling at their teats for some sweet milky content: Hippos In Tanks/Arabutus. Now Grimes has been getting a lot of buzz as a new artist for her work on 2010 LP Halfaxa and D'eon career seems to have exploded recently after releasing his Debut on Hippos Palinopsia. Both these artists share a lot in common, so it makes sense for them to collaborate. First off, they're both based in Montreal, a veritable mecca of musicians. Their voices share a breathy, ethereal and childlike quality. Both artists use their nasal tones often and unashamedly and there is a keen similarity between the way these two layer and sequence their arrangements. Listening to Darkbloom i can hear synth riffs on Grimes side that sound like they were probably composed by D'eon as well as ghosty additions on D'eon's side that scream Grimes. This album does come with a few gripes however so let me get right into them. It seems like there is a pretty clear distinction between the "hits" on this record and the rest of the tracks which boil down to filler. While tracks like "Vanessa" and "Crystal Ball" are pop music masterpieces in their own right, the intro and outro tracks to Grimes side play more like padding; cool-sounding enjoyable padding, but padding nonetheless. Then again a track like "Vanessa" deserves its own introduction, and Grimes side is particularly strong at its core. D'eon's side is where I feel most of the unrealized potential lies. The intro track to D'eon's side "Telepathy" would have been a fine intro if it hadn't been ruined by some choppy cellphone interference, which noisily clamours over the entire duration. I not exactly sure what the reason or meaning behind it was, maybe a comment on seperation created by mass media and culture, but from a sonic standpoint it adds nothing to the sound. "Thousand Mile Trench" Starts off jittery and unsure of itself. Midi clicks rapid-fire over D'eon's signature new age keyboard compositions and Gangsta rap inspired drum machines a la "To Kill a Man With A Joystick In Your Hand". "Transparency" may be the the de facto hit off D'eon's side but my personal favorite track and the one that stuck with me the most is "Tongues" where the theme from "Transparency" is first introduced. D'eon plays with variations of this theme in a way that I can only applaud. "Tongues" and "Transperency" are the only tracks on the side that play strong from beginning to end. Likewise, Darkbloom may be one of those not-so-rare records that is a victim of its own tracklist, in which the heavy hitters on this album unfortunately bring the various flaws on the other tracks to the surface. 8.2

Grimes - Vanessa

D'eon - Transparency

reviewed by Mohamed El-Darwish RADIATOR COLLECTIVE 2011

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