“DD Review: Logwitch – Trail of the Contortionist.”

Score: 7.5/10


It’s a sad fact, but it’s really just hard to make a great E.D.M. ALBUM, per se. Sure, some seem to have succeeded in amassing a considerable genus of songs, placed within slots, on an LP format — whether it be Aphex Twin, Autechre, Hercules and Love Affair, Sepalcure or the likes, each of whom seems to have influenced Washington state’s Logwitch at least a little bit here. But the continuing struggle seems to allot itself to how to overcome the lifelessness of the raw materials and make the whole THING seem human, and not like a robot.
Now, I’ll admit, I’ve been a TAD bit out of the electronica loop for the past three years or so, partly because I’ve been living in a really small town (South Bend, Indiana/Terre Haute, Indiana), so I’m more likely to have a drunken conversation about Hootie & the Blowfish than I am to engage in a discourse on the influences of DJ Koze and John Talabot. Anyway, the last thing I reviewed was Ryan Adams, and this is definitely refreshing after that (sadly, NME even attempted to “compliment” Adams by comparing him to Whitesnake and The Eagles). Smdh.
K. First thing’s first. Logwitch is not “E.D.M.,” as advertised — it’s I.D.M., and even trippy, spaced-out I.D.M., for as much as it is. Sure, this music isn’t without its virility, and aside from the fu**ed-piano on track one, the kicks and snares, both muffed up and puffed up almost to the point of sounding exactly like each other, are basically the strength of this album. But no one would confuse this with Disclosure, Justice or Hot Chip — it’s way too atmospheric and ethereal (even “ambient,” by Aphex Twin’s standards).
For the most part, all of these songs balloon into something that if it couldn’t work in a dance club, could at least work in a really unpretentious pool hall in Denver, or something like that. And not to say there’s necessarily a West Coast vibe about this music. But there is, strangely, an American vibe, and that’s one thing I’ll like about it. Maybe NME will find it and diss it, which will make me like it even more.
So the souped up piano I liked, the xylophone I liked (particularly for the adept channel-writing on display there)… the fart-sounding synth, not so much. And this brings me to my next point: the differences between tools, and crutches. Logwitch has lots of both here. He falls into traps of trying to make this thing “E.D.M.,” with this party detritus, when in reality, given perhaps one more songwriter to help him out on this proj. (Four Tet would have been most choice), Trail of the Contortionist could have been something really memorable. As it is, it’s such a good party album that I’ll probably drink too much to remember it anyway. But yeah, the primary concern is that all the songs start out uber-ambient, and so play like a platoon retreating all the way back to camp every time they reload, instead of just fighting where they’re at.

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