The Language Game

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As Inkblot, Texan Jeremy Ballard composes melodic electronic music using a standard setup of sequenced synthesizers, drum machines, and computers augmented by Ballard's own guitar playing. Many of the now-familiar glitch and IDM signposts are here and, indeed, the electronic textures on The Language Game do not elevate Ballard above his peers. Rather, what makes this record memorable is the solid melodic core at the heart of nearly every track. "Returnless" is an exceptional marriage of tune and tone, as an eerie plucked guitar melody set against machine noises yields a palpable sense of tension and dread. "I Thought I Was Something Else" opens with a lengthy one-note keyboard rhythm that turns into an exceptional piece of robot pop with a catchy guitar hook. "Miko Rides Again finds Ballard trying his hand at slow-burn funk, with pleasantly head-nodding results. A few tracks, such as "The One With Blue and Yellow Trim," are comparatively derivative, sounding quite close to something from Polygon Window's Surfing on Sine Waves. But these few missteps do not detract significantly from this enjoyable low-key record.

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