Album Review: IDM Legends Plaid Release New Album, “Scintilli”

For the 90’s electronica heads, London duo [lastfm]Plaid[/lastfm] need no introduction. IDM wizards Andy Turner and Ed Handley have concocted left-field dance music since 1991 alongside fellow Warp Records revolutionaries [lastfm]Aphex Twin[/lastfm] and [lastfm]Boards of Canada[/lastfm]. With Scintilli, [lastfm]Plaid[/lastfm] pays respect to the lineage of their discography and their label mates’ through thirteen tracks of curious, uplifting sounds that will take a few listens to reveal itself.

Cleverly opening Scintilli with a bit of a red herring, [lastfm]Plaid[/lastfm] eases the listener into their ensuing maze of electronic synthesis with “Missing,” a tune not far from a Renaissance Fair’s preferred soundtrack. The song feels entirely out of place, with the brooding industrialism of “Eye Robot” and the giddy electro-noodling of “Thank” following. Both tracks lean too closely to predicting what 23rd Century elevator muzak may sound like – a claim dangerously true of most IDM, present and past – but that vibe is quickly done away with as the album continues.

“Tender Hooks,” “Talk To Us,” and “Craft Nine” recall to mind Aphex’s Ambient Works Volume II, weaving cold melodies through intricate rhythms consistent enough to keep the head nodding, the latter a gorgeous exercise in delicate instrumentation that is only outdone by the single “35 Summers.” Both pieces prove that [lastfm]Plaid[/lastfm] could compose their own version of Music For Airports and the world would stop to listen. Album closer “At Last” wraps a Celtic-sounding vocal take with bright chord stabs and an uneasy (yet wholly satisfying) drum pattern, ending Scintilli on a much stronger note than it began. Even though the record at times feels like IDM by the numbers, offering little advancements to the genre and ignoring the trend of late to embrace a lower frequency range, [lastfm]Plaid[/lastfm] succeed at sounding exactly like themselves…and that alone makes this album worth checking out.

[lastfm]Plaid[/lastfm] – Scintilli (Warp)
Street Date: Spetember 27th
Bleep | Amazon

01. missing
02. eye robot
03. thank
04. unbank
05. tender hooks
06. craft nine
07. sömnl
08. founded
09. talk to us
10. 35 summers
11. african woods
12. upgrade
13. at last

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