Saturday, January 29, 2011

Studio - West Coast

Apologies for the lack of posting over the last few weeks. As usual, my excuses are work (I started a new contract in January - going great thanks for asking) and family life in general. However, I also treated myself to one of these last week and the process of transferring data and setting it up has been monumental. I've taken the opportunity to have a bit of a clear out of old music and photos and restart from a new, clean baseline. How very time consuming. How very anal.

And speaking of basslines (see what I did there), you should have a wee listen to this début album from Sweden's sons, Studio. Regular readers will be aware of my weakness for the perfectly crafted precision of the Scandanavian artists, yet frustratingly, I feel like I'm only scratching the surface with this stuff. It's a musical avenue I continue to explore and enjoy (for the most part).

The Swedish duo of Dan Lissvik and Rasmus Hägg revive that Balearic ethos by absorbing every influence - the long, shape-shifting remixes of Andrew Weatherall and early Underworld, the avant-disco of Arthur Russell, the polished global rhythms of Talking Heads, the kosmiche ambience of Manuel Göttsching, the lonesome vocals of the Cure. The opening 16-minute "Out There" works perfectly as a statement of intent for this lengthy album, comprised of only six tracks. Aquatic reggae rhythms, trebly post-punk guitars and seratonin-flooded synth washes are the order of the day. It's a real meltin' pot, but think New Order on downers, a myriad of early Factory bands playing in the Swedish night as beautiful blonde young people sway from side to side. It's heady, infectious, sparkly.

Check out the Boomkat review:

"Swedish disco explorers Studio bridge a gap between the current wave of Scandinavian retro disco activists (Lindstrom, Prins Thomas and so on) and more song-oriented dancefloor sounds. Clocking in at a mere six tracks West Coast might sound like it might be a tad brief, as albums go, but nonetheless the album nearly clocks up an hour's worth of play time and without doubt crams in an impressive run of ideas. 'Out There' serves as an excellent opener, and itself serves as an example of the group's ability to flirt with all manner of different sub-genres. It's a piece of gloriously lurid neon audio, made up of addictive early '80s-themed passages, even dropping some 'I Feel Love'-style synth arps before switching to a skanking reggae rhythm towards the end. There's something a bit Duran Duran about 'West Side', but somehow that doesn't seem at all like a bad thing. One of the album's more concise pop numbers, 'Self Service' is a clear highlight, sounding like a cross between Saint Etienne and The Knife (but with male vocals). Offering a different slant on Studio's approach to pop, 'Origin' goes a bit Madchester, featuring some bluesy guitar riffs set to a sloppy early-nineties style breakbeat. The whole of West Coast is united by a very specific produxction sound - one which while constantly referencing retro dance music trends always sounds full-bodied and weighty in a very modern way. Splendid."

320 Kbps.

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