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Porn Sword Tobacco

New Exclusive Olympic Heights

(City Centre Offices; US: 10 Jul 2007; UK: Available as import; Germany release date: 1 Jun 2007)

Porn Sword Tobacco is actually a pseudonym for one Henrik Jonsson, a Swedish artist who has been gracing the world with his take on ambience for a little over three years now. New Exclusive Olympic Heights is his third release, and it continues the Porn Sword Tobacco tradition of finding the beauty in found sounds amongst traditional electronic ambient compositions. Varied in its approach though conservative in its execution, New Exclusive Olympic Heights is at turns beautiful and off-putting, engaging and boring. Jonsson’s musical thoughts rarely surpass the three-minute mark. This brevity, as a feature of an ambient album, works both for it and against it. For one, the few-and-far-between boring tracks (such as the random melodic experimentation of “Den Rosa Sporten”) are passed over quickly, hardly worthy of a scoff despite their laziness. Conversely, of course, it’s easy to want some of the stronger songs to last longer. “En Hyllning Till Cyckeln” is a pretty little bit of “Moonlight Sonata”-esque piano playing, the type of thing you could get lost in for ten minutes, making its sub-two-minute run time feel maliciously brief. A glimpse of what could be is offered in the relaxed beats and clear synth tones of “Giftwrap Yourself, Slowly”, a fantastic track that offers a five-minute silk cocoon that never becomes tiresome. There’s no denying Jonsson’s skill throughout New Exclusive Olympic Heights. What the album needs, however, are fewer ideas and more compositions.

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Mike Schiller is a software engineer in Buffalo, NY who enjoys filling the free time he finds with media of any sort -- music, movies, and lately, video games. Stepping into the role of PopMatters Multimedia editor in 2006 after having written music and game reviews for two years previous, he has renewed his passion for gaming to levels not seen since his fondly-remembered college days of ethernet-enabled dorm rooms and all-night Goldeneye marathons. His three children unconditionally approve of their father's most recent set of obsessions.


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More gorgeous electronics from Henrik Jonsson.
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