James Taylor - Carthage Milk
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James Taylor
Carthage Milk
(Logistic)

Unless you closely follow the persons behind the electronic group Swayzak, the name James Taylor probably conjures up a completely different style of music than what you're going to get on Carthage Milk. The James Taylor that most people know is the known for his mellow moods (hilariously spoofed on a classic Saturday Night Live skit and probably in many more places), while James Taylor of Swayzak is known for his minimal dancefloor bangers, of which this release is filled with.

Despite following the work of Swayzak for several releases, I have to admit that their earlier work never grabbed me at all, while only some of their more recent work has caught much of my attention. My favorite work of theirs was actually their mix they did as part of the Fabric series, which showed off a bit more weird set of interests than most. While not astounding, I have to say that Taylor's work here is far more interesting than I thought it would be.

Like a lot of techno artists who release solo albums, Carthage Milk would probably ultimately work a little bit better if it were mixed, as every track on the release ends up thumping more towards the dancefloor than casual listening. "Never Really Wanted To Be Like You" sends some soft electronic and almost dubby bass hits across the horizon before locking into a glitchy, thumping 4/4 beat, while "Myoptix" shows a bit more of a French influence with its funky synth bassline, speak-n-spell samples, and juicy beats.

With perhaps a bit of a playful nod, one of the best tracks (and most minimal) on the release is the stripped-down "No Clear Channel" while "Warm Cushion" is a two-minute track that seems thrown in for a bit of variety but comes off as more of a failed experiment than anything else. In other words, the album isn't without its weak spots, but when it locks in, things really click. "Eurobaby 11" is austere and glitchy at the same time, like bugs splattering on your windshield as you drive 100 down the interstate, while "Take Me Or Break Me" yoinks samples from Asa Chang And Junray's "Hana" (from Jun Ray Song Chang) and melds them into a neu-classical dancefloor anthem. I'm sure you'll hear many pieces from this one on the dancefloor soon enough.

rating: 7.2510
Aaron Coleman 2005-09-08 00:00:00