MP3 Arthur Loves Plastic - Brief Episodes of Joy
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13 MP3 Songs in this album (40:54) !
Related styles: Electronic: Down Tempo, Electronic: Folktronic, Mood: Sex Music
People who are interested in Everything but the Girl Moby should consider this download.
There's a decided sense of hitting the brakes with a vengeance when you find that the new album from an artist, that you'd expected to have been the frenetic never-stops lifestyle of New York, turns out to be the easy-going languidity of California or the horizon-stretching expansiveness of Arizona, often both. So, you play it once - you realize that instead of readying yourself for the holocaust, you should be getting out the cocktails, putting on the shades and basking in the sunshine of a gloriously warming experience. So, you do just that, you get into the right frame of mind, you play the CD in its entirety once more - and everything falls into place.
The album opens with "I Want You" - deep electronic bass, the lightness of crash of electronic drums, flowing organundercurrents and the most languid of female vocals clad with an inner strength that keeps it focused, as all manner of synths swoop, stutter and whoosh all around the central framework, the vocal a mix of soaring chorus and husky verse. The musical landscape becomes ever busier as the lights change before the rush goes by and we return to the march of the vehicle that hit the road first, slowly gliding by with the roof down as it heads right onto the highway without a pause to reveal a seriously mid-range emotive of a vocal that's an absolute dead ringer for our very own singer Electra here in the UK. The vocal soars into life and flies on the verses and choruses as this lurching mix of choppy and strident rhythms from the electronics and drums course their way underneath, the whole thing gathers ever more instrumental colours from the massed ranks of keyboards and synths to become huge-sounding but never losing sight of its chilled-out nature, one that makes even its busiest moments sound positively sublime.
Third track in is "IZE", an instrumental that hits an altogether harder grove with thumping beats, this searing guitar loop that fries your brain and a huge sounding array of samples and electronics, all of which thunder away as the track becomes ever denser, stronger and busier, but it's all mixed to perfection so that every single sound has a role to play, keeping the track focused and not a second out of place.
"Naked", also an instrumental, develops this further and sacrifices the density for an altogether more expansive array of melodies as synths and guitars weave glorious webs of tunes, varying from winding loops to ringing chords, synth verses to soaring electronic flights, the solid river of electronic drums and deep bass keeping it all driving forward, the icing on the cake being the sultry female voice sample - a lady you just HAVE to meet, on this evidence!!
"Lesbian Gang" is almost drum 'n' bass, at least the rhythm is, while the swinging, diving, soaring synth leads interweave and glide around each other, a wordless female vocal chorus adding counterpoint to the sampled USA reporter's voice as the track briefly features a guitar lead then drops back to an ambient outro before, with barely a pause for breath, it dives headlong into "Love Me Right" as the strongest, most strident sea of rhythms on the album so far, comes into play with clattering and crashing electronic drums, real drums and bass providing the propulsion as this ocean of intensity from synths and guitars provides a massive sounding mix of space-rock soundscapes and searing melodies, the female vocal repeating the title to awesomely dyanmic effect, as a piano melody fights to be heard over the rolling electronic avalanche, the whole thing dripping with strength, passion, emotion and beauty as ambient meets drum 'n' bass meets rock to absolute perfection.
"Friendly Fire" starts with an orchestral sounding synth as the sultry female vocal enters, the rhythm is carved out from a lurching mix of electronic drums and rolling bass, before a piano melody leads into a sparkling array of synths as a space synth swoops and soars to be replaced by a soaring synth melody above a searing electronic bass and brief samples, before the piano melody returns above deep bass and the distant orchestral synths, only to end on the fading beauty of the piano - then it's right into "It's Never Gonna Stop", this time a more direct approach providing a vocal that's right out of the old band Moloko, as a trip-hop arrangement takes centre stage and this wondrous melange of rolling rhythms, beefy beats and expansive synths above deep deep bass, underpins a high-flying vocal that just soars into the skies, lightly phased for maximum effect, the mix soon filled to the brim with a massed flight of assorted synths, guitars and orchestral sounding chords, solid and excitingly brooding.
Segueing right into "Looking For A Prince", we come to a rolling slice of deep ambience propelled by lurching electronic rhythms, rolling electronic drums, soaring lead synths, vast swathes of synth washes and a deep, husky female vocal that intones the title and a bit more, almost in the far distance but it works so well, it's jaw-dropping in its delight.
"Killer Bees" has an almost ambient Latino flavour to its mix of rolling rhythms and lurching beats, this swirling out-of-phase synth-as-organ central figure providing the fulcrum around which this operatic female vocal flies to the heavens. The shape of the lead work changes above the consistency of the rhythmic drive, as twinkling chords, swooping space synths and shimmering electronics provide a myriad of lights to guide the vocals on their way. "Black Cloud" is beefy in rhythm, splendid in its orchestral core, spellbinding in its gorgeous female vocalising, huge-sounding in its arrangement and as groovy a mix of ambient jazz, laid-back drum 'n' bass and smoothly flowing electronic soul as it's possible to get, the result being a slice of absolute gorgeousness, the arrangement gradually becoming busier before3 falling back to earth on a shimmering mix of organ-like synth and deep bass undercurrent.
"Smile" features an array of stuttering rhythms from the electronics and electronic drums as the, initially phased then more flowing, female vocal weaves its web, as the arrangements twist and turn to take an assortment of shapes before leveling out in a sea of strong ambient beats, husky female vocals, sparkling synth leads that dive and swoop in and out of each other, as the whole thing expands on a horizon of synths before turning back into its droning brief finale.
The album ends with "Unbelievable" [CD Only], a glorious, gorgeous sea of ambient beats, emotive organ and synth echoes, heavenly female vocals that soar so gracefully above the mix of synths and electronics, beats and rhythms, all combining to provide the most exquisite slice of sublimely graceful yet strong-sounding tracks that you'll want to hear, ending things with a return to strength as the whole thing gathers steam and the vocals just soar through with passion and grace, the instrumental sea one of wide-eyed delight and absolutely spellbinding captivity as you find yourself diving into its heady delights with all senses on fire and, as the longest track on the album, still one that you wish would never end, its oceans of synths and rhythms and vocals, simply out of this world in every sense - sheer genius!!
This is a stunning album by anyone's standards, and what makes it this way is that, even though all tracks bar the last one are relatively short, the arrangements are so well thought out, so well constructed, that she fits in so much into each track to keep you inexorably hooked, yet there's nothing wasted, nothing missing, no frills, no gaps, nothing overly busy and everything absolutely enjoyable from start to finish. If you wanted to reinvent an old rule book in a modern way and make it sound like the first time it'd been done, then this is the album that does it. Superb!!!
Andy Garibaldi (Dead Earnest) 03-08
Arthur Loves Plastic's Bev Stanton was born in the Bahamas and raised near Walt Disney World. She recorded ALP's first project, Sperm Warfare, in her basement, and it was released in Europe by Britain's TEQ Music. After TEQ folded, Stanton independently released over a dozen CDs. Her early internet presence prompted Keyboard Magazine to feature her in a cover story on indie-music promotion. Stanton has gained recognition as a "remix master" (Washington Post). Her solo material, which combines the quirkiness of Bjork, and the ennui of Moby, has won over a dozen Washington Area Music Awards (WAMMIES) in the Electronica category.
ALP tracks have appeared in Access Hollywood , Extra the Entertainment Magazine, America's Most Wanted , MTV's Undressed and Cribs, the Playboy Channel's Sexy Girls Next Door, American Idol, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. ALP's music has also been featured on GEICO's Caveman's Crib website and at Pumawomen.com.
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