This Robot's Got Soul Power!
Canny post-rock pop goodness from Mr. Fleischmann, whose record Pop Loops for Breakfast is one of my fave raves of this century, especially since I found it for one dollar at the Exclusive Co. None of this will really knock your socks off, if you’re wearing socks, which you probably are because it’s probably kind of cold wherever you are, unless you’re reading this from Arizona, in which case hi and what the hell are you doing reading about music on the Internet? Dude, spring training has begun! Get over to Brewers camp in Phoenix and say hi to Rickie Weeks for me!
But since I am in Wisconsin and it just snowed a gang up here, let me focus on this album, because this music is too warm for winter and is helping to thaw my icy heart. It’s mostly instrumental (two tracks feature the emotional whisperings of Christof Kurtzmann) and just about everything is played by Fleischmann (Kurtzmann also plays clarinet on the industrial-pop “Static Grate”) and just about everything features the same basic groove and textures. But it’s lovely all the same.
The most beautiful song is “Composure”, because its synths play gnip-gnop back and forth like Steve Reich disciples jamming on African marimbas, and because the drums approach 6/4 funkitude and it’s all very wistful. “First Times” is also in a triple meter, and features little stabby guitar notes over a martial snare and some adorable organ dronage. Let’s complete the trilogy by pointing out that the last song is entitled “Aldebaran Waltz” and sounds like droids dancing in the dark.
In terms of songs that aren’t in triple meter, “Broken Monitors” is just about the best post-rock is going to get in 2006, a lengthy workout with a wistful melody and some twiddly keyboard thing-a-ma-bobs. I’m not sure how much Kurzmann’s vocals contribute to “Gain”, but it’s nice to hear a new texture, especially when the words are so nakedly emotional: “As long as I have not tried to gain / I will not stop, will not complain”. Kurzmann’s vocal part on the robot disco slowjam “From To” is more the focus of that track, but it’s a lot more pretentious, something about a blackbird that can’t sing—it’s the album’s biggest misstep.
Fleischmann goes to the same well perhaps a little too often here… but if the well is full of something that tastes good, why wouldn’t you go there as often as you can? If all the eight tracks kind of melt together, then what’s the big fat hairy deal with that?