Principles of Geometry

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Lazare Review

by Ned Raggett

On the duo's second album, Principles of Geometry demonstrate once again that they have a certain elegant knack for fusing older styles into a pleasant if not deathless listen. It's not that they are on the forefront of a unique Zeitgeist at this point -- whether talking about Radiohead's popularizations of older electronic approaches on Kid A or the ever evolving beardo-disco sound that has assumed a wide-ranging role in early 21st century dance music, Principles of Geometry are avatars of an approach rather than pioneers. The understated, self-consciously "simple" melodies throughout Lazare, first flowering on the simultaneously aggressive and meditative "Titan," so readily fall into the realm of murky yet beautiful late-'70s space rock into disco that one admires their form rather than their originality. With that as the model, much of the rest of the album consists of slower, carefully considered blends of synth loops and understated drums, simultaneously very enjoyable -- a lot of the album will be catnip to Brian Eno and Aphex Twin fans alike -- and not overtly engaging (even if this is perhaps the point). No question that songs like "Golem," with its far more aggro rhythm crunch compared to much of the rest of the album, and the chopped-up electro beats of "Interstate Highway System" stand out, but in part the problem is that they do stand out all the more as opposed to fitting into a high standard throughout. They have a bit of a coup in getting Sebastien Tellier to add gentle, ghostly vocals to "A Mountain for President," but the other two vocal turns by Vast Aire and Hangar 18 are more forceful, especially the latter's on "Ninehundredandeightyeight," and the contrast helps to inject some further necessary variety into the album's flow.

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