metro area

Album Review: Fabric 43 - Various selected and mixed by Metro Area

Metro Area's breed of obscure disco and raw 80s funk is always a little in danger of coming across as chin stroking wankery. When it works, as on the sublime 'Caught Up' on their self-titled début (in reality a compilation of EPs), it is utterly fantastic but a mix album just might be a case of over-egging the pudding if it takes itself too seriously.

Which is why Fabric 43 is odd, on two counts. Firstly it features a Fabric first as far as BlackPlastic is concerned: a comedy intro. And secondly because, despite this, it still falls flat.

There are glorious moments - World Premier's 'Share The Night (Breakdown Mix)' is everything that can be right about Metro Area. It is light, funky and impossible to not dance too. The instrumental of Disco Four's 'Move To The Groove' is so ridiculously camp that it is irresistible and the juxtaposition of the pop of Heaven 17's 'Penthouse and the Pavement' plays off the inherent disco of one of Sheffield's whilst loosening up the mix.

The problem is really one of sequencing. BlackPlastic hates to say it but there is too much here and too much of it sounds the same. These cuts are ALL good and within the right mix could standout and be a high point. The problem is that there is a lack of navigation, no peak and no development.

On a more positive note the mixing goes some way to making up for this as the blending between some fairly different tracks (in terms or rhythm and melody if not always style) is considered and smooth.

And so Fabric 43 is good.  It will happily see you through a car journey or a dull morning in the office. It just isn't as great as a mix from Metro Area should be.

BP x

Album Review: Double Night Time - Morgan Geist

Some songs sound like a tumble down the stairs into the warm embrace of a brand new lover: they are full of excitement, adrenalin an gimmicks. Others rely much less on tricks and instead focus on quality and longevity. BlackPlastic has two upcoming reviews, with one falling into each of the above categories.

Unsurprisingly, Morgan Geist's new (and to BlackPlastic's knowledge, first solo) album Double Night Time contains songs that resemble the latter template rather than the former. Put it on your CD shelf and it WILL be judging you, your frivolous Ed Banger CDs, that ridiculous Hadouken! album, the fact that you have a secret admiration for the Wombats.

Because, without doubt, this album is too good for you. What you have in Double Night Time is a beautifully crafted body of work. An album where every click, drum pattern and synth line has been carefully considered, fretted over and perfected.

Yet there are the odd duff moments, like on instrumental 'Nocobo' for example, where the ideas just seem to lack the pizazz of the releases of Geist's other project Metro Area. The occasional dry patch is more than made up for elsewhere, however. Following in the footsteps of last year's 'Most of All', which itself features here, many of the songs here feature vocals from Junior Boys' Jeremy Greenspan. And the result is never less than glorious - 'Detroit' is pure sophistication, shimmying on by like the best lay you never had whilst 'Ruthless City' boasts a minimal approach to pop that shows what you can do with a bass line, a bit of synth and a few snippets of the right vocal. Greenspan's vocals are just made for this shit - the subtlety of the instrumentation complimenting perfectly the understated nature of his voice.

Yet despite how good a combination Geist and Greenspan make, Double Night Time's best track is completely instrumental, the relaxed yet haunting 'Lullaby'. Minimal and intelligent, it largely reflects what makes Geist's music great on the whole. The trumpet that carries the melody through to the album's finish is a fitting end to an set that sparkles.

BP x