Only someone as successful at building a name brand as Roni Size — following the near-ubiquitously praised album New Forms, which won Britain’s high honor, the Mercury prize — would hide behind so vague a moniker as Breakbeat Era. Imagine Aphex Twin following up Selected Ambient Works II with an outfit named Digital Atmospheres. In any case, consider Ultra-obscene (1500 Records/A&M) a meaty Everything but the Girl, as vocalist Leonie Laws lays down throaty, artfully minimal lyrics with an intense awareness of the serpentining substrata inherent in drum’n’bass music; to hear her go with the mechanical flow is to experience the kind of mentality that first distinguished jazz singers from plain old singers, once upon a time. Laws’ vocalizing gives new meaning to the term “human beatbox.” And her penchant for repeating phrases brings to mind Michael Stipe’s elfin, hesitant wordplay. Meanwhile, Size’s productions (in cahoots with DJ Die) keep things exceedingly simple. Cynics will say he’s saving his beats for the next New Forms, but close listeners may just find this album the most rewarding thing he’s yet waxed.
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5 Most Recent Posts
• October 13, 2016: This day marks the start of the 250th weekly Disquiet Junto project.
• November 16, 2016: I'll be sharing the mic at Adobe Books in San Francisco with my fellow 33 1/3 author Evie Nagy for an evening hosted, from 7pm to 10pm, by Marc Kate (facebook.com).
• December 1, 2016: A likely speaking engagement. Details to come.
• December 13, 2016: This day marks the 20th anniversary of Disquiet.com.
• January 5, 2017: This day marks the 5th anniversary of the Disquiet Junto.
• Ongoing: The Disquiet Junto series of weekly communal music projects explore constraints as a springboard for creativity and productivity. There is a new project each Thursday afternoon (California time), and it is due the following Monday at 11:59pm: disquiet.com/junto.
• My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury, is now in its second printing. It can be purchased at amazon.com, among other places.
disquiet juntoThe Disquiet Junto is an ongoing weekly collaborative music-making space in which restraints are used as a springboard for creativity. Subscribe to the announcement list at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto. There is an FAQ. ... These are the 5 most recent weekly projects: • 0253 / Doorbell Rehab / Record some welcome music. • 0252 / Sonic Palindrome / Make music that sounds the same backwards and forwards. • 0251 / Soothing Sounds for Parents / Remix some music for infants with parents in mind. • 0250 / Soothing Sounds for Junto / Make some peaceful music for an infant child. • 0249 / 80 Phases / Wish the minimalist composer Steve Reich a happy birthday.
... And there is a complete list of projects at disquiet.com/junto.
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