posted on October 08, 2007 15:55
Atmospheric chillout electronica that's chilled out to the point of being boring, and which also sounds like no more than the sum of its influences (Sigur Ros, David Sylvian). Gemma Hayes pops in to sing a track.
The CLUAS Verdict: 5 out of 10
Chris Hufford, the man behind Anti-Atlas, is Radiohead's manager. He is also part of the management team of that other famous (and, for this reviewer at least, more enjoyable) Oxford band, Supergrass.
'Between Voices' sounds nothing like either band. It's a chillout album of lush strings, ambient layers and easy-on-the-ear female singers - including Lady Marmalade-Voice of Ballyporeen herself, Gemma Hayes (also managed by Hufford), on 'It's A Shame'.
To add a Sigur Ros-style chilly atmosphere (as Radiohead sometimes do) there are plenty of Scandinavian and Icelandic contributions: for instance, Norwegian singer-songer Kristin Fjellseth performs 'On The Bottom Of The Sea (Paa Havsens Bunn)' in her native language.
And as no slowcore electronica album these days is complete without some existential angst from Japan, Yuki Chikudate sings 'Spring Lullaby (Haru No Komori Uta)'.
The record is also built with brief samples cut from hand-to-the-brow Romantic composers like Mahler (who, we can assume, unwittingly contributed the Mahler-esque droning string sounds that drift like mist around this album), Debussy, Dvorak and the like.
All of this put together results in an album that shares a lot with the arty slow-motion electronica of David Sylvian and Perry Blake, as well as the bleak soundscapes of Hector Zazou and the aforementioned Sigur Ros - and fans of those acts should find in 'Between Voices' much they will like (or will find an outrageous rip-off - one or the other).
However, for non-fans of the above, the overserious pretentiousness of Sylvian and Blake is also evident here - and try as they might, Anti Atlas can't match the superior work of Zazou and Sigur Ros.
'Between Voices' is not a bad album - one could call it harmless in its way. It's just not very interesting or original, has little in the way of personality, and gets a little boring long before the end.
Come to think of it, maybe their manager's music has a lot in common with Radiohead after all. Start hanging out more with Gaz Coombes, Mr Hufford.
To buy a new or (very reasonably priced) 2nd hand copy of this album on Amazon just click here.