Boris Carloff

The Escapist

by Imran Khan

10 June 2013

 
cover art

Boris Carloff

The Escapist

(Supraphon)
US: 17 Oct 2012
UK: Import

Boris Carloff, a Czech musician and producer, is currently being hailed a musical genius in his home country. Recently the recipient of a Czech Grammy for his release, The Escapist, the artist is definitely on a career upswing—one that, in theory, should get him plenty of notice outside of Europe. Carloff definitely has a strong set of skills that enable him to sculpt his cinematically elegant brand of electonica into pop marvels, but he isn’t doing anything remarkably left-of-centre. There’s a certain Matmos-noodling of beats, which gives his numbers a curious, pleasing shudder and Carloff lavishly ornaments his structures with a tasteful colouring of classical piano and strings. 

But everything seems so studied ... and polite. Even the rough scrapings of electric guitar can’t sully up the grooves of “In My Lonely Room”. It’s a toe-tapping, chilled number for sure, but it’s far from the dangerous ground explored by some of the more intrepid electronic artists. Perhaps that was the intent—Carloff seems more interested in mood and atmosphere, as evidenced on the hymnal “Shadows”, where his coal-dusted voice wraps around the ghostly multi-tracked chorus of vocals. But even when the proceedings begin to swing a little more and pick up momentum, such as on the dubby, near-house excursion of “To Each of You”, Carloff’s overly mannered approach keeps things tethered to the ground when it feels like they should all fly heavenward.

The Escapist

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