The Designer’s Drugs
Stimulus: And the Wiremen
And the Wiremen offers a jazzy stripe of down-tempo rock, bearing some distinctively low-key British sensibilities. There are some weird moments on the album which don’t totally fit with the general theme; the eventual swagger of “Rayuela” is found after enduring some whispered rapping in Spanish, which is kind of creepy and awkward. By and large, however, And the Wiremen play things very cool, in its best form during the rainy day noir of “Before He Gave Up the Ghost,” which is half jazz instrumental. The slow build works so well that when the final track, “Lines,” suddenly kicks up the speed, it becomes more exciting than if it had been randomly inserted elsewhere. It’s a nice swerve end to an album custom-made for constructive gloom.
Stimulus: Deadmau5 – 4x4=12
Whether one enjoys Deadmau5 ultimately depends upon whether one enjoys Daft Punk – and specifically, the minimalist side of the Daft Punk sound. On 4x4=12, Deadmau5 puts together some good beats, but there’s next to nothing here that doesn’t feel like a mirror of someone else’s song.
Compounding this forgivable sin are the few vocal tracks which dot an otherwise instrumental album. One of these three tracks, a moody pianodance titled “Raise Your Weapon,” is the album’s best track, reminiscent of the Hybrid school of orchestral electronica. The other two sing songs, “Sofi Needs a Ladder” and “One Trick Pony”, have solid music, but they feature a shit vocalist who spouts out dirty slut slogans in an attempt to be hip and cool. Boring.
Beyond those two disasters, 4x4=12 is a good album, but not a mind-blowing one – which, if you’re into the style, shouldn’t matter.
Stimulus: Daft Punk – TRON Legacy Soundtrack
If you’re expecting Daft Punk to bust out dancefloor classics on the new TRON soundtrack, you’re going to walk away disappointed. There is a slick track titled “Derezzed” which is vintage Daft Punk, but that’s about all the fanservice this score has to offer. In the place of robot rock are rather high-minded symphonic tracks, the type of tense string use that is reminiscent of Hans Zimmer’s Pirates of the Caribbean scoring or his work with James Newton Howard on The Dark Knight. The best example of this is in the tremendously monstrous “Rectifier,” which sounds like a Kraken devouring Jack Sparrow.
Though it’s not their home genre, Daft Punk makes a great transition to film scoring, and hopefully we’ll see more such efforts from the group in the future. If the movie is as good as it sounds, no sequel fears will be necessary.