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The Flight Orchestra

The Military of Fatima

(Breathing Room; US: 21 Aug 2006; UK: Unavailable)

From Southern California comes David Wilson, AKA The Flight Orchestra, the newest in a line of laptop-wielding electronic artists strongly rooted in a fascination with “human electronic” music. (Remember Fennesz? Khonnor?) Unfortunately, the human element on The Military of Fatima arrives solely in the form of Wilson’s disarmingly vulnerable, fey vocals, often sitting atop the glitchy, paper-thin soundscapes as if tacked on as an afterthought (“Win One for the Endless Empire and the Neverending Day”, for example, a start-stop exercise in industrial noise that sums up everything irritating about the album). “How Fast the Fast Fast with Trepidation” is a rare highlight: the melody is given some room to build amid the speaker-hopping bleeps, bloops, and one-note synths that more closely resemble the warning sounds my car makes when the door’s still open. Ultimately, the short, utterly tuneless interludes only drag the album further, ensuring that The Flight Orchestra remains firmly landed.

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Zach Schonfeld is an associate editor for PopMatters and a reporter for Newsweek. Previously, he was an editorial fellow at The Atlantic Wire and graduated from Wesleyan University, birthplace of Das Racist, MGMT, and the nineteenth-century respiration calorimeter, where he served as the editor of Wesleying, a popular student-life blog. In his spare time, he enjoys visiting presidential birthplaces and teaching his dog to tweet. In addition to PopMatters, his writing has appeared online at Rolling Stone, TIME, Consequence of Sound, The Nation, USA Today College, The Columbia Journalism Review, The Rumpus, Paste Magazine, and the Hartford Courant. He can be reached at zschonfeld(at)gmail(dot)com or on Twitter @zzzzaaaacccchhh.


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