Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Review: Ellen Allien - Sool

My first impression of this album is that it is unlike her earlier work. The melodies are minimal, comprised more of specific sounds and "blip" and "bleep" noises rather than smooth melodic passages. Rhythmically, it seems uncomplicated, relying on very basic beats, often midtempo or even slow.

I've always thought of Ellen Allien's music as listener-oriented techno and not just specifically for dancing. Sool makes this style even more obvious, as few tracks feel really dancable. Pop elements are few on this album; it is truly electronic music. Vocals are scant, chorus are nearly completely gone. Instead, it is subtle and challenging, demanding the listener's attention and making repeat listens absolutely necessary to fully comprehend what is going on in these songs. It is not immediate or urgent.

Sool makes good use of ambience and atmosphere, branching more into micro-house and IDM territory and leaving behind the clubby techno of songs like "The Brain Is Lost" (from Thrills), "Sehnsucht" (from Berlinette) and certainly "Rotary" (from the collaboration with Apparat, Orchestra Of Bubbles). The dance music isn't totally lost, as heard in "Its" and "MM," but it has changed from what it was on earlier albums. The melodies have lost fluidity and become quiet, in contrast to the more legato and loud tracks from Thrills.

The dance floor is not the place for an album like Sool, because Ellen Allien has branched out, daring to slow things down and make more complex music art rather than fodder for body moving (not to insult dance music, but this album just isn't that). Headphones would be more appropriate for this album, for its minimal, micro-house/IDM leanings are for audience craving interesting electronic music.

Friday, 6 June 2008


Summer's been nice so far. No stress whatsoever. I thought I would update this blog more, but I'm a lazy blogger. I'm working on some music reviews to put up here from some of the new releases (Matmos, Boris, Ellen Allien), but it's taking some time to do them. I actually want them to be somewhat well-written and not just "Yah! I heart this rekkid!! Matmos iz tha besst eva!" or something else superidiotic.

I'm excited about an upcoming concert -- Boris, Torche, Nachtmystium. I rarely go to shows since the last ones I went to had really bad sound and I would have rather stayed at home and listened to the records instead. But I just want to experience a really heavy band live and totally mess up my ears (I already have near-constant ringing, but I'm prepared for worse!). I wish Sunn O))) or Earth were coming to my town, but Boris will have to suffice. And Nachtmystium? Wow, originally it was going to be Wolves In The Throne Room, but now it's Nachtmystium. Awesome, I'm excited. They got a new album out soon or something.

That's all for now, I'm working on reviews.