Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Reviews:: Azeda Booth Tubtrek EP

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When it rains it pours I guess. Yesterday, I mentioned a new EP from one of my 2007 favs – Amos the Transparent – and low and behold, now I get to talk about a new EP from a 2008 fav. I stumbled upon Azeda Booth last year when I fell in love with Women, but even though they shared a drummer the Calgary band quickly won me over on their own merit. The beautiful, icy cold ambient sounds of In Flesh Tones probably the most unexpected, pleasant discoveries of the year.

On the flip side of the coin, the new Azeda Booth record - In Flesh Tones - is written for cold secluded nights where every step on the walk home seems like a mile and you pine for anything that can numb the bitter chill. The sounds you hear often seem to move at a glacial pace, despite the complexities of the arrangements. Sure, undercurrents of static electricity run throughout the large mass of sound, but for the most part the Calgary quintet seems happy to let songs evolve slowly and surely.

The band has slimmed down – now a solid three piece instead of a quintet – and expanded their sonic tastes, resulting in the free EP, Tubtrek. They still create ethereal, electro fused post rock, but the new material seems more frantic and electric. The static pulses that ran beneath the melodies are now a more integral part of the arrangement and much more pronounced. Fiji Island Hearts starts with a subtle 80’s gleam, but the band moves away from the slow moving soundscape with bursts and blips dominating the minimal arrangement.

More bursts start Neonate, but the contrasting melodic tones and alternating vocals create a surprising warmth to the track. The trio patiently fills out the track, somehow keeping your ear moving with quick darting notes but soothing the listen with a slow developing crystalline calm. That calm continues of the absolutely stunning Samaon Girls. The five-minute track spends almost two minutes morphing before the band settles into a pulsing current and subtle, but precious melody. The last original number, Squall, shows the band returning to the sounds fans fell in love. The slow moving melody meanders beautifully, but the pulsing drum beat tkeep the track surging forward. The falsetto vocals echo nicely and the atmospheric cloud they create will warm the heart of any fan.

The second half of the EP is a collection of remixes of Flesh Tones tracks. Normally, I think remixes are throwaways, but the people the band tasked with reinventing the songs did a nice job. The Goodhands Team tackles In Red and adds a big kick drum beat and some lovely nature sounds (birds, waves) to the track and the dichotomy works well. Secret Mommy reworks Big Fists, and molds the beautiful melody into more club ready tracks, speeding up the bpm and adding a more carnival fun house vibe to the track. Will either supplant the originals in my iPod? No, but they take a risk and offer a new perspective on the track.

More to my liking is the complete transformation Well was given. The refilled and set in sand mix adds two and a half minutes and lets the song takes on a more tropical vibe, without losing the relaxed atmosphere the icy cold original delivered. I also enjoyed the way Morgan Greenwood stripped the pop feel and hand claps out of First Little Britches and created a darker, more subdued sound.

In short, Tubtrek is the perfect stop gap for anxious Azeda Booth fans. The band shows a nice progression in sound and forge a more cohesive setup. The fact it's free and ripped down for you at 320 kbs in just icing on the cake. Snatch this up an enjoy.

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Posted at 8:43 AM by ack :: 0 comments

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