Antonelli - The Blackout Quintet
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The Blackout Quintet

Antonelli is one Stefan Schwander, a busy fellow who is busy in about three different projects, as well as creating remixes and collaborative projects. The Blackout Quintet is his fourth album under the Antonelli name, and it weaves together samples from the work of Angelo Badalamenti with understated clicks and cuts programming and a general not-quite-dancefloor feel that works best very late at night (after everything else has closed).

Opening track "After The Night" is about as awkward as they come, dropping layer after layer of quirky synth loops over one another until everything finally falls into place about one-third of the way into the track and hangs mysteriously with repeated and gurgling loops until finally fading out. "The Morning" opens with a 4/4 filtered kick and some old-school drum machine scrapes, and before you know it, Antonelli has dropped the same Badalamenti loop that Moby used in his song "Go" so many years ago. It's either an oversight or a curious nod to the mainstream vegan, but once again the track doesn't take full shape until about halfway through where it's dense enough that elements can be brought in and out and shifted slightly for some needed variation.

After the shorter, more textural "Topaz," album-highlight "Let's See What We Can Do" swirls more downcast string samples with all kinds of clicking programming for a moody gem that oozes with atmosphere but refuses to simply coast by. For the most part, The Blackout Quintet is loop-based music that works fairly simply by slowly adding layers and then taking them away again. There aren't any dramatic shifts or dynamic changes, but at its best (as on the excellent "Playing On The 5th Floor") sounds like Jan Jelinek cutting up and doing his thing to noir soundtracks. Unfortunately, there are also a couple tracks that don't work with nearly the same subtlety, and feel somewhat out of place on the otherwise murky (in a good way) album. A good, if not outstanding release.

rating: 710
Aaron Coleman 2006-01-12 21:23:08