Thursday, May 24, 2012

Malcolm Middleton's trying not to be angry

Interesting swerve in direction from the former Arab Strap mainstay....

Human Don’t Be Angry
Human Don’t Be Angry
Chemikal Underground

In Arab Strap and in the five solo albums since, Malcolm Middleton has always sounded like a man squinting into unexpected daylight, grasping for a cigarette and piecing together the unfortunate (but never, it sounds like, entirely unexpected) events of the night before. He is disconsolate in the way that romantics often are, but without much real rancor. To listen to Malcolm Middleton is to recognize and be forgiven for all the ways that human beings fall short with each other.

Human Don’t Be Angry, then, is an odd departure, mostly downplaying Middleton’s frayed-edge tenor, his dead reckoning of human weakness (including his own) and the surprising warmth and humane-ness that has, in the past, lifted the weight of negativity. Instead, we get a primarily instrumental, loop-based collection of tracks, built out of bright, clear electronic elements – keyboards, drum machines, synths – and layered in intricate, repetitive patterns. The more lyrical elements of Kraut (bands like Cluster and Tangerine Dream) seem to be prime influences, though certain passages sound like subdued Mogwai and others (especially the ones with xylophone) like Tortoise.


The "theme" at Soundcloud.

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