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Loess

Burrows

(Nonresponse; US: 12 May 2009; UK: Import; Online Release Date: 5 May 2009)

I wonder if Loess knew what they had on their hands when they produced this. I wonder if anyone else knows either. Accounting for the New Jersey duo’s low, low profile and their continued exploration of a genre that’s all but lost its luster (IDM), their latest full-length was doomed to slip beneath the radar and ride the express train to the pile of the forgotten. That’s the way it goes in this racket sometimes, but that doesn’t make it any less of a shame, and Burrows is some of this year’s finest electronic listening music you’ll likely pass clean by. Loess haven’t turned their backs on the strict Aphexian IDM that’s always been their bread and butter. What they have done is improved noticeably as composers and producers, with a better ear for nuanced harmonies, cool textures and the things that make us swoon. Melodies work in smears and half-obscured gestures, as if they’re occurring behind smokescreens, while sly beatwork—anything from a Telefon Tel Aviv skitter to chloroformed hip-hop to unclassifiable clinks and snaps—gives them definition. Heavily mined territory, to be sure, but Loess simply sound better at what they’re doing than more experienced players like Kiln and Bola, who have spent far too long in a hammy rut. The stud of this bunch is “Troper”, whose brilliant harmonic interplay between a bass substitute and a hollowed-out metallic shred hits the limbic bulls-eye at the 3:20 mark. Listen to Burrows on good headphones, close your eyes and take the plunge. I’ll see you on the other side.

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Mike has been a staff writer at PopMatters since 2009. He began writing music reviews for his college paper in 2005, where he cut his teeth as an arts editor and weekly columnist. He graduated from Vassar in 2008 and is pursuing a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. He is currently writing his dissertation on the role of rejection sensitivity in online infidelity, and lives with his incredible girlfriend in a wonderful shoebox apartment in Washington, DC.


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