Thursday, 16 May 2013

Small Black - Limits of Desire

New this week, Limits of Desire is the new album from Small Black, and it's not easy to find the words to describe it, but I'll try.

If, like me, you're a fan of expansive soundscapes of music, of soaring synth, haunting vocals and pulse-like beats, Limits of Desire will transport your mind to a place it's likely never been to before.

Even if you're not so hooked on electronic instruments and 'big sound', there's enough here to drown out the world around you, if only for a while.

Who are Small Black?

Small Black have a distinctly northern European sound, but actually come from Brooklyn. You may have heard them several times over the years, with a self-titled EP released in 2009, studio album New Chain released in 2010, and their free mixtape download Moon Killer made available in 2011.

This time around, they've teamed up with Stillwater Artisanal to create a beer inspired by album track Breathless.

Brian Stillwater, of Stillwater Artisanal, explains: "The tune instantly jumped out as a summer anthem and reminded me of my days as an electronic music producer and DJ. Uplifting pads, soothing vocals, and a solid 4/4 kick give the song a powerful drive while still maintaining its beauty and elegance."

No Stranger

To accompany the album release, there's a new single, No Stranger. It's a moving piece that, despite my initial doubts, actually stands alone pretty well when heard in isolation from the rest of the album.

Still, I'd say Limits of Desire as a whole offers enough richness of sound and variety of theme to be worth keeping together for an intimate 45 minutes or so of listening.

If you download only one track from Limits of Desire, make it Free At Dawn, our pick of 'best' track that you can stream below.

If you download two, No Stranger is a worthy selection for single release, while Sophie brings something a little different to the party, and is worthy of a listen too.

Popsiculture Pick

Because I'm a sucker for the first and last tracks of any album, the pick of Limits of Desire has to be album opener Free At Dawn.

From the first punches of popcorn bass, to the echoing guitar strains four minutes later, it's a song to soothe and uplift, to carry you beyond the confines of your mind; this song is your navigator on a flight over a landscape built of music.

Free At Dawn, thankfully, is not an example of 'put the best song first'. As the first track you hear when you play through Limits of Desire, it understandably makes the most immediate impact, but the 40 minutes that follow are by no means a disappointment.

Limits of Desire is one of those all-year-round kinds of albums, with upbeat tracks that would make for great summertime driving music, and more melancholy compositions that would give you a much-needed hug of musical warmth on a brisk winter's day.

This one comes highly recommended, so stick it on your iPod and keep it on standby for the next time you need to take your mind off things.

Final Score: 94%

No comments:

Post a Comment