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Got the NOT MUSIC promo cd!!!
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velvetwater
velvetwater
835 posts

First listen, first impressions.

I have only listened to NOT MUSIC once so I might change my opinions, but this is what I think at the moment.
It is definitely and obviously musically related to CHEMICAL CHORDS but it also reminded me of FAB FOUR SUTURE.
And I am not sure this is good news.
There are a few excellent songs: SUPAH JAIANTO and DELUGEOISIE are the ones that stands out for me, the former probably being among the 2-3 best tracks of the CHEMICAL CHORDS sessions.
But overall NOT MUSIC transmits a sense of unfinished work.
The production is generally less glossy than on CC and Sean O'Hagan's arrangement are missed: brass instruments are present only on a couple of tracks and there are no strings whatsoever.
When the CC sessions were over and the songs for the first album had been selected, it is as if Sean was called to add his arrangements to those tracks, but the same did not happen for the ones now included on NOT MUSIC.

The sequencing is probably the biggest let down here.
Mainly because the remixes are part of the album (even though they are even better than average ones,
there are hardly any original Stereolab sounds on them.
But, for example, even the beginning is not as startling as it could/should have been: EVERYBODY'S WEIRD EXCEPT ME is not a bad track, but to me it does not work as the album opener.
Other tracks seem to finish abruptly and at times don't gel very well with the ones that follow them.
EQUIVALENCES is disappointingly just an instrumental: you wait for Laetitia's vocal to arrive but it never does.
It sounds unfinished to me.
If we remove the remixes (more than 17 minutes of music), this is probably the shortest ever Stereolab release, clocking at a modest 38 minutes. Let's not also forget that POP MOLECULES 2 is just an alternate version of POP MOLECULES 1, so the material that is totally new is even less.

As I said, these are just first impressions, but I was expecting a bit more.
Nevertheless the arrangements are always dense and there are the trademark sudden twists within the songs, thus offering plenty of interesting musical ideas.
I don't see such a stark contrast in mood and atmosphere, as Laetitia continues to claim, in comparison to CC; but it is true that the sounds are at times colder and harsher and that the music contained here is less "ear candy".
Maybe more differences are to be found in the lyrics, but I have not yet explored this aspect.
Overall NOT MUSIC is still a decent release, but it failed to fully enthuse me. It does not completely hold up as an album and it left me in a similar state as FAB FOUR SUTURE did.
Better than CHEMICAL CHORDS? I am not sure.

Oct 12, 2010, 23:47



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