Sunday, December 22, 2013

Album Review: Mike Nelson - Out of the Night

Album Rating: C+
Out of the Night is the latest offering from Nicolas Jaar's weekly-release, subscription based label Other People, and it's impressive just how typical a release it is for them. For one, it sounds a little bit like it could be a Jaar EP. More importantly, it's really, really short. Less than 10 minutes in fact. It seems to be a thing for the label: perhaps it's difficult to push more substantial releases at a weekly rate.

It doesn't mean it's a bad or dull release -Mike Nelson isn't a simple Jaar imitator and he has a decent sense of groove on him- just there isn't too much to talk about apart from the fact it seems a little thin. With a three track EP this short it's important for there to be big ideas to fill the space left in the absence of new material and there aren't any to be found. It just kind of exists in a short but pleasant way, not too unlike Warric Davis.

Opener “Dual” kicks off with the fast-turning-classic combination of mellow grooves and a deep, almost gravely voice over. The guitar riff itself being the main attraction, it's interesting to find the sound of fingers sliding up and down the fret actually adding to the track rather than just being annoying. There's also a nice bit of interplay between the guitar and vocals: playing out in separate segments before coming together for the final stint. “Requiem for a Scene” breaks this mould to focus on an even more contemplative and introspective mood, tied together as it is by plodding synths and the late arrival of a hushed beat. Low-key in a very brooding way, it's good mood music despite threatening to melt into the background at any moment. The final track “Be My (Interaction) is arguably the weakest of the three, ruined as it is by percussion which does its best to throttle the music beneath it. The sampled soundbite is a nice touch, if a little random. I'm not sure how “you manage people in the way you'd like to be managed” really adds to anything.

But Out of the Night isn't a bad release. It's just one appearing weak in all the spotlights there to see the results of its label's hype. In fact Out of the Night is very hard to complain about (though I've certainly done my best) because what little there is to it is actually quite good. Only it's almost impossible to get excited about.

1. Dual
2. Requiem for a Scene
3. Be My (Interaction)

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