Wednesday, March 26, 2008

M83 & Mono/World's End Girlfriend's albums

posted by Free Press Houston @ 3:56 PM

By Tyler Barber

"Beef is when you need to 'gats' to go to sleep." Or so Biggie Smalls would have us believe. For the past three months I've been buying only rap. I don't know what it is -- maybe the election, our declining economy, only having a half season of Lost -- butsomething's made me wanna put a cap in someone's ass.

That tide is changing though as yesterday I purchased two shoe-gazy/post-rock albums: M83 - Digital Shades Vol. 1, and a collaborative effort by Mono & World's End Girlfriend - Palmless Prayer / Mass Murder Refrain. Both albums are ones that could soundtrack a slow-mo' shuttle lift-off, and both are for the most part, without vocals or drums. For Mono, this is nothing new, but M83 usually has a mix of sampled and recorded vocals. But my favorite track by M83, Coloring the Void, does have vocals going into falsetto ranges not yet heard by the solo artist.



M83 | Digital Shades Vol. 1 This album is almost completely devoid of drums. Which seems like an odd choice for M83 who's become known for his huge drum loops that crash, and splinter each layer of synthesized audio so epic, and so distorted you can win Olympic games with it's force. Not so here, and somehow, M83 manages. Each song creeps in before you realize the melody. It's almost unnoticeable how the layers are added and subtracted. And that's what you really listen to music like this for. You want the sounds to poor over you like waves.



Mono/World's End Girlfriend | Palmless Prayer / Mass Murder Refrain What Mono manages live is hard to capture on record. Similar bands like Mogwai, or Sigur Ros benefit from having more players in the band, resulting in deeper layering, and smoother transitions. And in a way, that too is what's great about Mono: They're the shoe-gaze garage band. My main problem with the album though is it's overwhelming pessimism. You really can hang yourself to this album. And with me that's not such a bad thing, I like bitter-sweet music. But this one's without the sweet. On the plus side, much of the piano/violin work brought on by World's End Girlfriend adds a human touch to the otherwise corpse-soundscape. Plus, many songs sound like they could be played in some emotional scene in Lost. For me, that's a big plus.

Overall, I'm digging the M83 album much more than the Mono/World's End affair, but both are good albums on my accord. However, looking over their Amazon rankings, Digital Shades is M83's worst ranked album, andMono's /World's End's didn't receive high marks either. Chuck it up to taste. I always like the one-off albums better anyway. My favorite Red HotChillie Peppers album: By the Way, Smashing Pumpkins: Adore, Nine Inch Nails: The Fragile. So the softer albums I prefer.

M83 has a new album coming April 14th, Saturdays=Youth
Mono have recently stopped touring and I'd imagine they're working on their next album.

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