It amazes me how fast some ideas spread through
the music community. Take, for example, the idea of recording
a tune, then destroying it with a laptop into a senseless, almost
rhythmless mess of fuzz and popping sounds. DNtel did this on
his amazingly over-rated Life
is Full of Possibilities, and i am apalled to discover
that it has influenced Electric Birds. My god people -- just
let some ideas die!
Well, i am over-reacting a little here, as only one song on
this album (Vox Cannon) sounds as if it has been given
the full DNtel treatment. But still -- that's one song too many!
And the fact that Vox Cannon could have fit right in
on Life is Full of Possibilities
leads me to question the originality of this album.
Basically, Electric Birds is the project of Mike Martinez,
who runs his own label, Deluxe Records. He is a West Coast musician,
and apparently has released a few albums. This one, however,
is, well, generic. Gradations takes elements from
many other albums that you have heard, twists them a little
(very slightly), and then repeats them. So Vox Cannon
sounds like DNTel. And the title track itself sounds like something
by Jetone. A lot of the
rest of this is "by the numbers" IDM. I guess that, when you
get down to it, there is only so much that you can do with whatever
that application is that all the laptop artists use. (I am not
up on Mac software, so i don't know what they are using. But
apparently, everybody uses the same thing.)
So i am, fundamentally, disappointed by this album. With one
exception: Painted Rooms features Martinez playing acousting
guitar. This is fed into his laptop and then given the IDM deconstruct
n paste job and eventually a beat comes in to drown out the
guitar. This is a nice song, and actually sounds fresh to me.
Unlike the rest of Gradations, which sounds generic.