Skip to main content
Loading...

Featured Post

Kingston UV500 Review

Kingston sells the UV500 SSD as a device for both a home and office use, but the lifespan of the drive and its encryption credentials are likely to be much better suited to the latter.
Should I Buy The Kingston UV500?
The UV500 isn't the fastest or cheapest drive around but will last a long time thanks to tried and tested technology. It's also well suited to anyone needing to comply with data protection laws.
This SSD, available in a range of capacities, will be a reliable workhorse if that's what you need.

Flipboard

Flipboard

Gruff Rhys - Babelsberg Music Album Reviews

Gruff Rhys - Babelsberg Music Album Reviews
The Super Furry Animals frontman has always been political, but he’s never sounded as spiteful as he does on this satirical portrait of the United States in 2018.

“God! Show me magic!” Gruff Rhys screamed on the first song of the first Super Furry Animals album, and 22 years later he’s still waiting patiently. Even as his band of psych-rock shapeshifters waded through all manner of global epidemics—pollution, war, technology overload, evangelicalism, and, um, vampire bats—he never lost his grace, sense of humor, or faith in the underdog. While the Furries have been on pause for much of the current decade, Rhys has continued juggling absurdity and profundity, albeit with a more delicate touch, as a solo artist. But the ceaseless stream of bad political news that flooded the past couple of years tested even this eternal optimist’s mettle. And when he wasn’t contemplating the doomsday clock, he had to keep an eye on the actual one: He recorded his new album, Babelsberg, in a Bristol studio that was set to be demolished for condo redevelopment.

On his previous solo effort, 2014’s American Interior, Rhys embarked on a musical road trip across the Midwest, retracing the footsteps of an 18th-century ancestor who ventured stateside in search of a mythic Welsh-speaking indigenous tribe. Babelsberg is another journey through the American landscape, but it forsakes speculative history to survey the nation’s current condition. Lyrically speaking, the album features some of the most sobering, spiteful songwriting of Rhys’ career, with little of his trademark whimsy to cut through the black-sky mood. If its omnipresent, string-swaddled arrangements (courtesy of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales) initially feel like a soothing antidote to the bleak subject matter, they also serve an equally provocative purpose.

After all, the plush, countrypolitan sound they create is evocative of the bygone America to which so many MAGA-hat ideologues desperately want to revert. With Babelsberg, Rhys effectively delivers that crowd a flaming pile of dog shit encased in a rhinestone-studded jewelry box. The messenger arrives in the form of “Frontier Man,” the kind of smooth, harmony-rich cowpoke serenade you could imagine raising the curtains at the Grand Ole Opry in 1968. But when Rhys croons, “On the frontier of delusion/I’m your foremost frontier man,” he invokes the all-American outlaw archetype less as a model of valor and independence than as an example of pigheaded persistence in the face of contrary evidence.

Just as “Frontier Man” savors the friction between its medium and its message, much of Babelsberg lays on the symphonic opulence to conjure the shaky-handed unease of our times: After barreling out of the gates with a frantic gallop, “Oh Dear!” free-falls into the orchestra pit as Rhys shouts out the ominous title like a drowning victim begging for a life preserver. “Architecture of Amnesia,” meanwhile, uses its chamber-prog grandeur as a cudgel, with Rhys mounting a war march against “bigots” who hide behind the “blue birds” of social media to spew their hate. But even the album’s prettiest, most serene moments simmer with external tensions. “Drones in the City” is a gorgeous ambient ballad that has Rhys ruminating on the ambiguous meaning of “drones” and how their connotations—annoying remote-controlled gizmo vs. stealth killing machine—differ depending on where you are in the world. But in its final minute, the song’s burbling bassline accelerates as though it’s about to flatline, briefly transforming the album’s most splendorous song into its most anxious.

For all its lavish instrumentation and weighty subtext, however, Babelsberg never overwhelms Rhys’ preternatural gift for writing swoon-worthy melodies. “Limited Edition Heart” and “Negative Vibes” are among the finest, most impassioned songs he’s ever crafted—defiant soft-rock salvos that position a warm embrace as armor against the world crumbling around us. And if we are truly doomed, Rhys offers the grim reassurance that we’re too narcissistic to notice. Atop the chipper, ivory-tickling saunter of “Selfies in the Sunset,” Rhys and guest vocalist Lily Cole sardonically serenade each other about posing for a few last snaps in front of a “blazing red” mushroom-cloud backdrop, milking the apocalypse for Instagram likes. In the unsettled universe of Babelsberg, this is the way the world ends—not with a bang but a self-satisfied finger tap.

View the original article here

Comments

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Loading...

Popular posts from this blog

Apple iPad Pro 2018 vs Microsoft Surface Pro 6

Apple’s latest iPad Pros are a very tempting purchase, but should you stick with the tried-and-tested Surface Pro from Microsoft? We help you decide which tablet to buy.
Should I Buy The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 Or Apple iPad Pro 11in (2018)? Two very competent 2-in-1s, one running Windows 10, the other iOS 12. For many this difference alone will inform the final choice, but both are top-notch tablets. 

Huawei P Smart 2019 Review

Huawei has updated its budget Android phone for 2019. It’s faster and better than before, but should you buy it? Read our review to find out.
Should I Buy The Huawei P Smart 2019?
The P Smart 2019 is a great upgrade from the 2018 model with a bigger screen and better performance. However, as with the original P Smart, Honor's version is better value.

LG Gram 17 Review: Hands-on

LG’s Gram 17 was on display at CES 2019 and we got our hands on the ultra-thin, ultra-light device featuring a beautiful 17-inch display
Should I Buy The LG Gram 17?
The Gram 17 is an impressive bit of kit, but it is serving more of a niche audience than it perhaps appears.
A laptop with a display any bigger than 15 is perhaps approaching a point where it struggles to be called ‘portable’ due to it’s raw size. However, if that isn’t something that bothers you, the 17-inch display is fantastic for both working and watching your favourite films or series on.
Everything else aside the Gram is a beautiful, extremely light choice of laptop that manages to pack a lot of power and utility into an incredibly slim, slick package.

Synology Mesh Router MR2200ac Review

You probably know Synology for making NAS drives but the firm has also turned its hand to mesh networks. Here we review the MR2200ac.
Should I Buy The Synology Mesh Router MR2200ac?
Synology could do a little more to explain the many features of the MR2200ac for first-time users, but the strong performance of this mesh system, and the fine-control provided by its web browser interface make it a good option for business users or home users who have a little more experience of networking technology.

Nokia 9 Release Date, Price & Spec Rumours

We've waited two years for the Nokia 9, and at the end of this month the company could finally put us out of our misery. Here's what we know about the Nokia 9 PureView, which could feature a penta-lens rear camera.
Nokia made its comeback to the Android market in January 2017 with the Nokia 6, and we've been waiting two years now for its long-rumoured flagship Nokia 9 to arrive. At MWC 2018 we thought that time was here, and then we got the the Nokia 8 Sirocco. But now the wait could really, really be over, as the Nokia 9 is tipped to land before the end of January 2019. 

Like Fan Page