Clothesline Revival

Long Gone

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Inspiration is something that usually comes in fits and spurts. And few ideas, particularly in electronic music, merit entire albums made from them, no matter how novel. That is the biggest problem with this second album from Conrad Praetzel and Robert Powell. Their premise is semi-unique, taking samples from old-timey Americana recordings and recontextualizing them with modern beats and structure. Of course, this "novel" approach made Moby's Play the most successful electronic album of a generation, so it's best to keep things in perspective. In many ways, Moby's pop sensibilities worked better for this sort of material. Americana music was meant to be populist, no matter how quaint and "unmusical" it might sound today. Here, only "Crawdad Song" sounds like the update might have been appreciated by the makers of its source material while "Strange Things Happening" utilizes the present recordings to simply complete the solo vocal recording. Sampling might be the most resonant music-making technique of the day, but one should be highly discriminate. One wonders if Clothesline Revival asked themselves, "should" they tool around with these records, rather than "could" they? As a result, this record mostly sounds like a gimmick.

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