Broadcast: The Noise Made By People

Broadcast: The Noise Made By People

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Broadcast

Album: The Noise Made By People
Label: Warp
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Broadcast

Album: The Noise Made By People
Label: Warp

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For all the technological tools available to musicians, very few bands could accurately be deemed "futuristic." But after leaving the pioneering Moonshake, Guy Fixsen and Margaret Fiedler formed Laika, and the two have remained among music's few true visionaries. Laika, named after the dog the Soviets sent into space, delivers a perfect balance of live musicianship and programming, and over the course of two unique albums, it's blurred the lines separating rock, dub, pop, hip-hop, dance, funk, punk, jazz, and electronic music far beyond distinction. That said, the new Good Looking Blues marks only a subtle advancement over its predecessors. Fixsen and Fiedler apparently recorded the album twice, once with a band (which includes PJ Harvey drummer Rob Ellis, flutist Louise Elliott, turntablist Danny Doyle, bassist John Frenett, and percussionist Lou Ciccotelli) and once with a computer, mixing and matching the two takes for disorienting and otherworldly effect. The songs are a little too similar to Laika's Sounds Of The Satellites, and therefore not terribly radical, but that just gives everyone else a chance to catch up. Broadcast is another British band, but the group's strategy couldn't be further removed from Laika's: It moves forward by looking backward. The sole band on Sheffield's influential electronic label Warp, Broadcast could be the next Stereolab, albeit far less prolific: The Noise Made By People, the group's debut full-length, and two concurrent EPs mark Broadcast's first releases in almost five years. Where Stereolab's token concession to hipster esoterica is its frequent cribs from the krautrock band Neu!, Broadcast instead borrows liberally from the equally obscure late-'60s American psychedelic group The United States Of America. Yet this pilfering of the past sounds oddly contemporary, with Broadcast's strange mix of electric keyboards, sampled strings, soundtrack chic, and Trish Keenan's coolly regulated vocals offering hypnotic chill-out music for the new century.

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