Monday, July 31, 2006

James Figurine / Mistake Mistake Mistake Mistake / Rating 5.2

“Tamborello attempts to craft historically informed techno while recoiling from its unforgiving nudity, dressing it up in a variety of garish, mismatched costumes.”

Mistake 1: Oh Jimmy Strictly Ballroom DNTEL Postal Service (James) Figurine Tamborello (full name I think), shame on you for entitling a record that cruel music snobs like me could use against you in a review. Mistake X 4 is simply just asking for it.

Mistake 2: The press story might be (and as PFM retells) an ode to minimal techno but the lyrics dribbled out on most of these tracks spell out relationship troubles for the artist. These casual monologues using lingo normally shared between people who are friends really only works if the listener is a friend and well…gives a fuck. Sorry but a grown up (who I know is intelligent and clever normally) singing about cell phone pictures, text messages, charm bracelets, and driving out of town after a breakup teary eyed listening to a mixcd is something I would maybe expect from R Kelly or Kelly Clarkson but not this typically pseudo intellectual indietronic gentleman.

Mistake to the power of 4 would be a damn fine record had it been kept instrumental. The words should have been used for a good-bye letter to his ex rather than flashing us innocent bystanders via inarticulate song. Note to all artists: If you are not going to keep your personal sentiments to yourself (live journal / blog is okay too) or the person they are directed towards, at the very least try to make your thoughts a little more abstract and captivating. You know… something vaguely poetic. Anything that shows you care about lyrics and the vocals as much as you do about your meticulous electronic backdrop.

Mistake 3: I am not trying to be insensitive but it also sounds like Jimmy has been so focused on working out / flexing his glitchy electronic muscle that the talent once owned by the post hardcore emo kid who used to know how to write a good vocal pop numbers has diminished slightly. It makes sense, if you don’t practice something regularly it is very likely your skills or muscles in that area will soften.

If he wanted to write a genuine tribute to the artists on Kompakt why not focus on just that and leave the he said-she said in the dim den. (As described in the first track “5556668883”)

Mistake 4. PFM says: “Nuanced stasis proves a stretch for Tamborello's maximalist sensibility, and most of the tracks sound exactly like what they are: An apprentice's overwrought take on the stark, sublime depths of Isolée and Luomo, overloaded with guest vocals and concessions to hyperbole.”

I am not sure why Jimmy who has yet another vocal record in the works (not quite finished yet) via DNTEL decided he needed vocals on this record when clearly they didn’t need to be less for the most part by a guy who doesn’t have a particularly interesting twist on the woes of dating. Sure there are well known guests who also share songwriting responsibilities and vocal duties on this record but they don’t add any new or tantalizing depth to the music itself. In fact you get so used to following the heartbreak bouncing ball it’s a tad interfering with the theme to have Erlend singing about digging holes in the yard for his Dad.

The problem with any collaborate effort is how to keep the entire record sounding cohesive and one solid unit and I am afraid James Figurine did not rise above this inherit team effort flaw.
Unlike Pitchfork I don’t have issues with the music itself. I like this bouncier pop version of streamlined micro-house and had it been vocal free I would have been willing to rate this a 7 something but with its mistakes x4 I am forced to give it rate an even 6.

PS: Besides the electronic canvas, I do like Jimmy T’s soft spoken singing/spoken voice (hence the higher rating than PFM)…just not the slang and half thought out hooks he muddies up his sentiments with.