Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Review: Alex Smoke - Incommunicado

Alex Smoke Incommunicado
I've had Incommunicado for a couple of years now and have played it a few times, but I still can't remember very much about it beyond it sounding vaguely tasteful, a little glitchy and techno-like, and having strings in it. Having listened to it again, my impression hasn't changed overmuch, except that I can now remember there are some weird Matthew Dear-esque vocals in there as well in places. Is it Matthew Dear, or Mathew Jonson? Whichever, I mean the one who pitches his voices weirdly on his tracks so he sounds like some malfunctioning robotic sex pest.

Anyway, this is quite a critically well-regarded album but for me it's almost the definition of a "noodly" electronic record - lots of pretty, mood and well-designed sounds but little that is soul-stirring or that sticks with you. The strings are nice, but I have a suspicion that any electronic record with strings on inevitably gets hailed as being "deep" or "sophisticated", because strings are faux-classy "proper music" trappings that idiot Mixmag writers aren't used to hearing in a Sven Vath set. Maybe I'm just a silly trance kid in remission who can't feel any emotion unless there's a big blaring hook, and maybe the melodic work on this album is just too subtle for me, but I can't help but feel this record is pure surface-level signifier. I'd like to say the intro was good, but honestly I still can't remember what it sounds like. This is, frankly, just a boring album.

Genre: Background-music-for-the-next-Top-Gear-episode techno/ambient.
Stupid Arbitrary Rating: 5/10

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