• Plaid
  • Warp Records
  • 2011-09-26

Respected Warp stalwarts Plaid are busy people. The hardworking duo of Ed Handley and Andy Turer have worked with Bjork,scored two Michael Arias’ award-winning films and collaborated with filmmaker Bob Jaroc on audio/visual release Greedy Baby – expanding their influence as an electronica act that has evolved effectively since their split from Ken Downie as part of The Black Dog. Scintilli, Latin for “I am many sparks” is their first album produced solely by the pair since 2003’s Spokes, and one that has been lovingly crafted. They’ve calculated each beat took about a day to construct, and the results are a uniquely space-age sound that is distinctly Plaid like, but also futurist in its thinking.

Given their variety of work over the last nine years, its fitting to find Plaid have produced a vibrant album that flits between moods and styles. Though this could have resulted in a disjointed effort, they gain kudos for maintaining a lively yet ambient electronica theme throughout. Gentle builds to complex beats, the tracks on Scintilli are finely crafted. The thoughtful opening of “Missing” and ponderous “Eye Robot” evolve into the plinky plonky “Thank” and rousing “Unbank” with its driving 4/4 beat. They dabble in dubstep on “Somnl” before going glitchy on “Founded” and “Talk to Us”.

Plaid should make more time in the schedule to deliver us such finely-tuned electronica.

The final tracks of the album see Plaid continue to change moods almost on a whim with the reflection of “35 Summers” contrasting with the playful “African Woods” and dramatic “Upgrade”. Closing tune “At Last” is an uplifting joy that rounds off a album that has an organic feeling due to the time and effort that has gone into producing and placing every beat. Scintilli is a labour of love that reminds us Plaid should make more time in the schedule to deliver us such finely-tuned electronica.

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