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High Rollers
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Posts posted by Knuckledragger

  1. Phew.  Writing up a review of KSIA's first album is gonna take a bit so I cranked out one for their Campus Martius EP.


    KSIA Campus Martius E.P.


    An early KSIA release from the Sarah P era, and an absolutely essential one ...for exactly one song on it.  The stunning remix of Solar Bears' "Cub" is arguably still KSIA's greatest work.  It's such a departure from the original that it is effectively a new work that samples the original.  I am biased here because it was one of the first if not THE first KSIA songs I ever heard.  It introduced me to their unique brand of sedated synthwave beats and female vocals under an ocean depth amount of reverb.  Sarah's vocals are very emotive here, if it's more or less impossible to make out what's she's actually saying.  This is fairly common theme with early KSIA.  Sarah's vocal work is very rhythmic and full of repeated phrases.  In spite of the repetition and lack of clarity, she manages to convey a story told to the listen emotionally, if not through discernible worlds.  The Cub remix illustrates what would become a hallmark of great KSIA tracks: tension and release.  The breakdown in the middle is full of classic KSIA synth work and a guitar solo that fits in with the rest of the song perfectly.  It's almost club music for a moment.  Sarah returns with another repeated phrase that's somehow even more compelling.  I liken this part of the song to driving a motor cycle on the edge of a cliff that during a full moon.  Then the song ends both too early and just the right time.

    The rest of the EP is a very mixed bag, and not of it exactly stellar.  The Chains is a downright shock after the euphoric journey of the Cub remix.  Having re-visted it repeatedly on and off for a decade I maintain that exactly nothing works about it.  At least it's short.  The title track is an odd experiment.  It reminds me of mid 00s IDM more than anything I'd associate with KSIA.  It's glitchy, skittery and has a piano melody that's sufficiently pleasant.  The problem is that it's largely forgettable the moment it's over.  Also, the pitch shifted vocal sample is irritating.  Struggle With Yourself is far better than the previous two tracks, which makes it a comparative standout.  Sarah's vocals are largely ineffective here, and the production is at best "also ran" by KSIA's standards.  It feels like a B-side and a weak one at that.

    One out of the four tracks on here is worth listening to, but it's so good that this release could effectively be a single and it'd still be essential for anyone interested in the group.  The Cub remix remains one of my most played KSIA songs.  It embodies everything that worked about the original lineup of RPR and Sarah P.  It's a classic piece of chillwave.  It's genre-defining.

    There might be a few typos.  I'm tired.

    This is what all the fuss is about.

    • Like 1
  2. Tax prep all day.  Down to the wire, but basically done at this point.  Currently taking a break and writing a review of KSIA's first studio album.  You know, the one that came out in late 2013.  I've made it a goal to review all of their major releases on Discogs throughout the year.

    • Like 1
  3. Full disclosure: I don't 100% recommend watching this:

    Linus Tech Tips is an infotainment machine.  A force like none other on the YouTubes.  They have some sponsorship deal where each staff member gets a $5000 (CDN) tech upgrade.  This guy's was the most Head-Case of any of them.  A previous guy had a Leica with a vintage Noctilux, which was pretty cool.  (Yes, he was Asian, don't stereotype at me.) 

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