Music

Home Video: Citizen EP

Tim O'Neil

Home Video seem, at least ostensibly, to be a rock act, but their stylistic influences are definitely broad enough to qualify them for membership under the Warp umbrella: they are to rock as Prefuse 73 is to hip-hop, albeit nowhere near as accomplished.


Home Video

Citizen EP

Label: Warp
US Release Date: 2004-10-05
UK Release Date: 2004-10-04
Amazon affiliate
Amazon
iTunes

Warp is probably one of the most diverse record labels around, even if this fact is overshadowed by the prominence of IDM acts such as Aphex Twin, Squarepusher and Boards of Canada. Home Video seem, at least ostensibly, to be a rock act, but their stylistic influences are definitely broad enough to qualify them for membership under the Warp umbrella: they are to rock as Prefuse 73 is to hip-hop, albeit nowhere near as accomplished. The group is actually a duo -- David Gross and Collin Ruffino -- and this EP showcases their emerging talents in a pale, albeit promising light.

Opener "Citizen" is built on a Kraftwerk-meets-Primal Scream rhythm section, with gradually accumulating layers of droning guitar noise and haunting synthesizer lines. The effect is not unlike that of later Radiohead: think a less melodic Amnesiac. "We" continues the Radiohead comparison, with Ruffino stretching his vowels to Yorke-like proportions. As with "Citizen", however, the vocals are much less important than the multiple layers of shifting and sliding electronic elements which compose the group's sound.

"Blimp Mason" is a departure from the first two tracks, with a crunk-lite bass-heavy beat offset against a delicate piano movement and Ruffino's melancholy, formless vocals. At just two-and-a-half minutes long, this track definitely deserved a longer treatment. "In a Submarine" is a sparse and moody exercise in creative percussion, with a range of drum sounds processed to sound like the rattling and banging of the mechanical parts of a submarine. Four tracks in and Ruffino's vocals are beginning to grate, however.

The album finishes with "The Tundra", a slow-building track built around a pair of evocative basslines that wouldn't be out of place on a New Order record. There's some harpsichord as well, and a few synthesizer echoes to provided to round it out. After only five tracks, Home Video's strengths and weaknesses are fairly well defined: they have an interesting ear for rhythmic layering and minor-key electronic harmonies, but their songwriting is relatively primitive, and obviously deeply in debt to later Radiohead and similar cerebral rock groups. Additionally, the vocal elements add little to the effect, and either need to be revamped or dropped altogether. Hopefully, when the group's full-length LP drops in the spring, they will have accentuated their strengths and reevaluated their weaknesses, as there is definitely a spark of something interesting to be found here. Only time will tell whether or not this spark will be fanned into a flame or fully extinguished.

4

So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less
6

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image