Tuesday, January 26, 2010

review: Slowmotions Quick Potions

Quick Potions
YK Records, 2009

Download for free at Bandcamp/Buy CD at YK Records

<a href="http://slowmotions.bandcamp.com/track/birthing-a-stone">Birthing a Stone by Slowmotions</a>

Nashville's Slowmotions delivers an album that is not the destruction of anything, but maybe the wake of something. It's an album that surveys the contemporary electronic-pop-hybrid scene and delivers bursts and slices of what that looks like today amidst the downfall of music's genre and production restrictions.

QuickPotions is a quick downtempo album, if that makes any sense, the songs are bursts in 1:30 or 2:00 minute sections, as if Slowmotions-maker Andrew Brassell is giving up on the songs before they wander off too far and by the end, they rise again. But then they wander to the right places, like "Cheese Whiz" and "Birthing a Stone" and the irresistible "Magnus Ogan."

<a href="http://slowmotions.bandcamp.com/track/magnus-ogan">Magnus Ogan by Slowmotions</a>

That means soulful snips like "Time" gets cut too early, though the groove is just staring to take hold...it means "Orchestra" lays out a tantalizing somber scene only to end...it means the bass, high-hat and Jimi Hendrix solo just stops in "Cool Band Nightmare"...it means the folky-marathon of "Celebration" peters out...as if Quick Potions is an album of flash fictions or discarded jingles for products and commercials that will never exist...

This is equally annoying and brilliant. The album seems to be on iTunes Store preview the whole time, but it also challenges the concept of song--why, like in the old radio days, does the song need to constantly repeat a chorus, when we can just hit the 'repeat' button over and over? Or just click back in milliseconds to hear it again---

Some songs like "Old v New" and "Fingers Flicker" are quote-fully formed-unquote and in those instances, I think of two other bands near Slowmotions on the iPod: Statistics and Spoon. There is a beat-up / soul sound here, with bells and whistles and pop-commentary like in Statistics (maybe he's still around Nashville?)

The album changes course, maybe not too much, but perceptibly so from the beginning and the songs are so short, I'm wondering how Brassell really feels about these songs--or if the he perceives them all as castoffs. Maybe that's the problem with a snippet album: no one knows for sure if you're serious or not.

But Slowmotions has serious talent, a good ear for the appropriate changes while obviously interested in multiple states of the audio experience--corralling that in a more cohesive way--evening out the folk ends to make them blend with the electronic fringe--more songs like the standout "Birthing A Stone" that's what I'm trying to say.

Do I need a conclusion to this review? Here's one: download Slowmotions for free at Bandcamp.

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