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Plaid - Greedy Baby

Plaid, Greedy Baby

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 1 out of 5

PLAID’S latest experiment is designed as both a visual and sonic experiment, being released in CD and DVD form.

As such, it feels like the equivalent of an arthouse movie – a deeply acquired taste that is likely to inspire love or hate and nothing in between.

Some will (and have) hail it as a work of genius; others will be reaching for the off button before they have even got halfway through the CD’s opening track, War Dialler.

An integral part of Warp Records’ legacy, Plaid – aka Ed Handley and Andy Turner – have developed a reputation that was sewn together during their previous incarnation, The Black Dog, whose flowing form of techno came riddled with mythological references.

This latest album was developed over four years and was written and mixed with surround sound systems in mind. It also marks the duo’s collaboration with Bob Jaroc, a unique video creator.

It’s a moody body of work that combines eerie and ephemeral moments with those that are designed to be warmer and more lively.

Beats combine with chimes, harps and bells, as well as all manner of other samples.

Album opener War Dialler, for instance, is named after a hacking utility and uses found recordings from its lonesome attempts to find modems at the end of phone lines.

Hence, voices answer to this silent digital stalker, gathering into an intense plethora of clicks, tones and fractured utterances.

The result, however, is rather like being the recipient of a dozen crank calls yourself – the ones where you pick up the phone, say “hello” a couple of times and then slam the receiver down in frustration at the silence that lies beyond.

Another track, Super Barrio dubbed the ‘jewel in the crown’ in the PR, attempts to give a real-life voice to a Mexican wrestler and political mouthpiece for the common people.

It unites celebrated animator Andy Ward and recordings of Super Barrio himself with Plaid’s deeply layered tones – but the result is a fragmented, stop-start slice of ambient techno that never really gets going.

Plaid undoubtedly create intelligent sound structures but such intelligence runs the risk of being labelled pretentious and arty.

Unfortunately, after listening to just over 50 minutes of their craft on several occasions I have to confess to hating it intensely.

But like I said, it’s the sort of creation that will inspire such distinct emotions. There is no middle ground.

Track listing:
Disc: 1

  1. War Dialler
  2. I Citizen The Loathesome
  3. Laughing Of Big Face
  4. Zn Zero
  5. Return Of Super Barrio
  6. Return Of Super Barrio
  7. EMR
  8. Super Positions
  9. To

Disc: 2

  1. War Dialler
  2. I Citizen The Loathesome
  3. Laughing Of Big Face
  4. Zn Zero
  5. Return Of Super Barrio
  6. Return Of Super Barrio
  7. EMR
  8. Super Positions
  9. To
  10. Crumax Rins
  11. Assault On Precinct Zero
  12. Zala
  13. New Family

  1. Haha! Ambient techno that never really gets going, I couldn’t put it better myself. I absolutely love em though, properly addicted.

    philip the forrester    Jul 11    #