Friday, 1 May 2009

The Movement Is Coming...

...The Movement Is Here.
Coming to you straight from Poland (well, at least figuratively) today, I'll be doing a track-by-track review of "The Movement", the newest release from Warsaw-based producer Sounds Like Johnny Depp (great name, no?). Known to all you Daft Clubbers reading as Hani, "The Movement" is definitely an album to ponder over, alternating some deep philosophy with hard Electro beats.

1.) and 5.): The Movement (Pts. I and II) - "The Movement" is a semi-concept album. Most of that concept is created through the rich, two-part tapestry of the title track. Just a second short of twenty-three minutes as a whole (about the same length as the album-closing epic of "Supper's Ready" by Genesis), it tells, through a few different robotic voices, the story of the gradual mechanization of thoughts and feelings by an all-machine organization known, fittingly, as "The Movement". As much as that concept may sound threatening, and at first is, with the toneless robot voice asking us, "Where is your God now?", it's actually a pretty deep notion. Later on, the robots take on a much less hostile tone, in accord with their takeover, trying to calm us down, throwing some deep philosophy at the listener.

"Those places and people you knew when you lived there, were those just figures of your twisted mind? With your memories, your dreams, and your imaginations, you humans, you're the monsters of the worst kind. But now, it doesn't matter what's inside you. We bring sedation to your twisted minds. The Movement has started, the Movement is future. Close your eyes, my children, and say good night." And indeed, you do feel a bit calmer.

It's a notion that's existed since at least Emerson, Lake, and Palmer's "Karn Evil 9" (oh, aren't I shameless with these references?): machines may be without love, but they are also without hatred. And is love really necessary, anyway, when everybody is equally loved? It appears, according to the second part of the track, that it isn't. There are no more words other than a soothing, downbeat repetition of "The Movement is coming, the Movement is near."
...Gosh, that required a lot of analysis. Aaaah, textwall! Well, on we go:

2.): Pins and Machines - As one reviewer describes it, "It's what Crystal Castles would sound like if they formed in rave's hayday." They could not be more right. This track (at 14 minutes, the longest apart from "The Movement") effortlessly glides between warmly retro rave vibes and synths that run all over the place, building seemingly endlessly. Appropriately, I suppose, for a track whose main melody doesn't come in for a good four minutes into the track. This one also has a tinge of wistfulness amidst the mechanical beeps, keeping with the album's theme of the sad machine.

3.): Some People - Blasphemy! Impiety of impieties! This short track is nothing more than a woozy tribute to "Crescendolls", a DP track posted seemingly a century ago here. How dare he! It's actually a rather funny listen, relief after the double whammy of seriousness on the last two tracks.

4.): Michael Jackson - Nice to get some fun up in here every once in a while! This song throws down some digitized funk to pick you up, while the mechanical voices used to such dark effect before are now telling a tongue-in-cheek, one-line love story. I like this one.

6.): Interstellar - Once again, we are hit by an image of some retro 80's roller rink with the DJ playing the day's equivalent of Electronic music (trust me, it was muuuch more like funk back then). This track follows up on that image very nicely. Some antiquated but fun synths support the track's title while we're free to sit back ad reminisce about the good ol' days that we never actually experienced.

7.): Seven - Clever. See what he did? With the numbers? And the title? And... it's seven?
...Well, anyway, this track is also very playful, with some choppy vocal samples in the background and some more serious funk in the foreground. More chilled than the preceding funk, however.

8.): The Therapy - This track is strange. No other way to say it. It starts with a bassline that's gradually replaced by a synth, then followed up with some dark tones that eventually die out. Then it ends... abruptly.

9.): High Up - A fitting, chilled-out closer. A news report gives way to some slightly sad, liquefied synths that remind you just how vulnerable music can be. A fake music box tinkles somewhere in the background, and then there's a fade-out... it's over.

Overall, I'd give it an 8.5 out of 10. It's an impressive album, though the tracks can sometimes blend together. The mechanical nature of it all conceals some real emotion, and I have to say that you should definitely give it a listen.
To send off the post, I've given you both parts of The Movement for review and analysis before you decide to go for the rest.
*NOTE: The tracks are a bit long, so they make take a second to load. Wait it out.

Sounds Like Johnny Depp - The Movement, Pt. I [right click to download]

Sounds Like Johnny Depp - The Movement, Pt. II [right click to download]

Click here to download the full album, here to hit up SLJD's MySpace, or here to see his self-titled first release.

Once again warning you about the impending hostile takeover of machines,
Champi :)


Boba Fettuccini said...

I loved it up until the voice. The voice just kinda... squished the music. It was too heavy in comparison to everything else.