This review was first
published on CLUAS in 2003
Other albums reviewed in 2003
A review of their album 'Night Tourist'
Designed with the late night/early morning listener firmly in mind, "Night Tourist" is the debut LP from the Kerry collective, Placid Recordings. This record showcases the work of three Placid contributors. Junior Coffey chips in with four tracks, while Idlemind and Anto have three and two tracks featured respectively. Together they have crafted an album, which signals the diversity of each member, yet remains consistent in its quest to deliver quality electronic music..
Coffey's "A Room For Two" sets the scene for the listener. With lush instrumentation, twisted vocal and tasty beats, it is perhaps reminiscent of what Richard D. James would get up to on a more accessible day. Indeed beautiful, yet strange, noises can be found throughout "Night Tourist". This can be certainly seen in the next track, Anto's "Dope100". Crackles and bleeps tackle immensely laid back orchestration to form a track that some may lump into the overused niche of chill-out music. However, a more obvious reference point for Anto's two contributions would be Boards of Canada. "Music For The Middle of Nowhere" begins in almost cinematic fashion with its string arrangement, before embarking on its electronic alter-ego.
"Night Tourist" isn't specifically for those who want to sit down while listening. Idlemind's first contribution to the record, "The Groove", does exactly what it says on the tin. With a favourable nod in the direction of the likes of St Germain, it takes on the Stevie Wonder philosophy that "just because a record has a groove / don't make it in the groove". It may not designed to be a total booty-shaker or anything, but "The Groove" ups the tempo a bit, and does so by sticking to the odd noises that characterise this record. His next track, "U.F. Oh", is a different, mellower affair. It too takes a twist, nudging closer to dance-floor capabilities for the final two and a half minutes.
For the most part, this listener has very little grievances with "Night Tourist". Junior Coffey's "Fin" momentarily lets the side down midway through the record, as it proves too atmospheric and monotonous for my liking. However, he certainly redeems himself with the sublime closer "Caravel", ensuring that his quality performance remains intact. Certainly one for soaking up the vibes when one is indoors and relaxed, it has an almost Nightmares on Wax funky yet chilled tone to it.
The Placid crew have made a record that may be influenced by the likes of the Warp Records label, but is still original and intelligent enough to stand safely on its own two feet. "Night Tourist" is a treat, and distinguishes Placid from much of the insipid electronic music that we often hear. Hopefully "Night Tourist" is the first in a series of recording projects from this crowd.