April 21, 2010

Test Spin: Caribou

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When math and music collide, it produces something extraordinary. Case and point: The Canadian electronic musician Daniel Victor Snaith, who holds both a Polaris Music Prize and Ph.D. in mathematics from Imperial College in London. Under his stage name, Caribou, Dr. Snaith recently released another smash album, Swim.The album is comprised of phenomenal club music anthems for the electronica enthusiast. Its distinctive sound can best be described as psychedelic elevator music. Snaith’s reliance on organized chaos produces strange tones that are erratically blended together in a way that essentially commands the attention of the listener.Each song on Swim is a crescendo of intrigue; hidden hooks and surprises are strung through to inspire an energetic atmosphere. The album is a torrid grouping of surprising vocals and tones that are simultaneously unnerving and engaging. Every so often there is a sudden appearance of shrieking DJ rifts or the tinkling of bells, zapping the listener to the present.The album is a solid work, but a few songs stand out among the rest. “Found Out” is an amalgamation of echoing vocals that ghost along amid dramatic metallic beats and light, airy sounds that fade into nothingness to create a lingering and memorable song. “Jamelia” starts off as a smooth melody that is quickly inundated with the haphazard playing of an organ, a sudden conquest by a group of angry violinists, and oh, wait, is that a cowbell? “Kaili” and “Odessa” up the antae with quintessential club electronica, composed of robust, solid beats and a demonstration of amazing techno spins and repetitive lyrics. On Swim Snaith successfully infuses his music with an addictive, totally funky quality that marks his capacity to transform nightclub rave music into something fun and frivolous for the everyday.B+

Caribou — “Odessa”

Original Author: Heather McAdams