Broadcast - The Noise Made By People
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Broadcast
The Noise Made By People
(Warp / Tommy Boy)

It's easy to play the label card, but I'm going to go ahead and say that after finally hearing Broadcast, I think it's kind of a weird pairing for both Warp and Tommy Boy. While on this side of the Atlantic, the latter label is home to many hip-hop and dance artists, the former is pretty much one of the worlds best labels for electronic music. The oddity factor plays in that Broadcast doesn't really fit into either of those categories, sounding more like a live trip-hop group with a touch of jazz and lounge. The five piece group toys with some electronic elements and encorporates them into their sound very nicely, but that's about where it ends.

The 12 song release opens up with the very deliberate "Long Was The Year." With layers upon layers of different keyboards, percussion, and samples, the bassline creeps slowly up the scale before climbing right back down for the entire length of the track. The group isn't afraid to explore instrumental only tracks either, and in every case they work well in sort of breaking up things a little bit and adding a bit more atmosphere to the recording. "Minus One" is a spooky little two minute track that's really nothing more than layered keyboards and some plunking electronic sounds, but it sets a mood right before the light, swanky sounds of "Come On, Let's Go."

Although Trish Keenan's vocals hold up well on nearly every track, it's tracks like "Papercuts" that really let her airy, cool voice shine through. Instead of sounding more like a seductress, she instead sounds just a slight bit detached and instead offsets the grimy sound of the old school keyboard backing with breathy, almost ethereal sound. One of the strangest sounding tracks on the album also comes out sounding the best. "Until Then" wheezes along with several strange samples and subdued bass and percussion, and the vocals make it sound like some sort of twisted nursery rhyme.

Sounding sort of like a less weird version of Pram or a slightly more grounded Laika, they would probably easily appeal to fans of either of those groups or even Stereolab. Keenan's vocals are amazing and float above everything as the instumentation behind her creeps out instrumentation worthy of a great film noir. My only complaint with the release is that while the album is pretty much flawless, it really only explores the one direction and explores it well (a minor qualm). Still, a very solid album, and forget about the label stereotypes.

rating: 7.510
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00