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 V.22 No.16 | April 18 - 24, 2013 

Sonic Reducer

Depeche Mode Delta Machine (Columbia)

If someone asks you to name your favorite music genre and you reply, “Britain in the '80s,” then 2013 has been a retro-tastic goldmine: Adam Ant! Johnny Marr! Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark! Now there's Delta Machine, the latest from Depeche Mode. I don't want to start any blasphemous rumors, but it sounds an awful lot like the two albums that came before: Playing the Angel and Sounds of the Universe. Maybe it's because they've trotted out Flood and Ben Hillier yet again for mixing and production; perhaps it's because Depeche Mode got locked into this formula around Ultra. It's enjoyable, but it's strictly for die-hard fans only. (M. Brianna Stallings)

This Santa Fe duo’s second release covers territory ranging from indie to stoner rock but still feels very rooted in electronica, as evidenced by the cover art, title and content. Beautifully produced with a huge sound worthy of Mogwai, there are very few rough edges here. “Chillout room music,” I thought while listening, perhaps unfairly dismissive of that style’s utilitarian origins. In fact, a friend stopped by about then, looking to alleviate PTSD symptoms she was experiencing thanks to an APD siege that locked down her entire apartment complex. Glitch helped her out a lot, so score one for chillout. (Derek Caterwaul)

Open the Crown proffers more wild and woolly global free jazz/rock hybrids from the ex-Old Time Relijun vocalist, working Indonesian folk, throat singing and bass clarinet blowouts into an already well-developed mythos of rootsy high weirdness. Think classic, angular post-punk run through a Captain Beefheart filter. Trance punk is his preferred classification, and the thick caveman riffing throughout this album is effectively hypnotic for any ritual. The lyrics this time are mostly in English, bringing his mystical agitprop exhortations to the forefront, sometimes to hilarious effect: “I Manipulate the Form’d and the Formless” is a rap finishing off the album, making humor and self-mockery even more tools in de Dionyso’s trick bag. (Derek Caterwaul)


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