Music Reviews

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Artist: Kodomo (@)
Title: Still Life
Format: CD
Label: 5 Points Records
Rated: *****
Kodomo is the brainchild of Chris Child (according to Child, Kodomo means "child" in Japan, where he spent his childhood). This is his debut album. According to Kodomo, "The concept for the record was born of a series of photographs, each one serving as a springboard for the music. The album explores how images of environments, landscapes, people, and objects are used to evoke musical ideas; each image giving rise to various rhythms, chords, and sonic textures." In short, this is instrumental electronic music and thankfully Kodomo avoids the use of cheesy samples that most people who do this kind of music find obligatory. The bonus track, "Spira Mirablis" is currently featured in the MTV/Harmonix iPod video game "Phase." This seems fitting because the entire album would be right at home on a video game. All of the tracks have a tendency to kind of fade into the background of whatever else you are doing. However, this is a two edged sword, as I found the disc to be a bit on the sterile side and a bit too subdued. There is an interesting mixture of styles here and it is adequately done, but it doesn’t really seem to break any new ground. Some of the comparisons that the label gives in the press pack (which, incidentally was quite niceI thought that the art of sending a promo was dead these days) include Boards of Canada and Aphex Twin. This is accurate as far as it goes, but I find that Kodomo lacks some of the experimentalism that these acts have. Perhaps part of this is a product of his training; Kodomo is a graduate of Berklee College of Music. As such, the music is cleanly produced and technically sound. Overall, this is a pleasant listen and it would be a good way to introduce electronic music to someone who was new to the genrecall it the gateway drug for more experimental electronica. If this sounds good, you can listen to the entire album at the label’s website and preview the tracks on Kodomo’s website. Also, you may hear it other places. I could have sworn I heard it as incidental music on NPR recently. The disc weighs in at around 51 minutes and comes nicely packaged in a digipak with a booklet containing the aforementioned photographs.



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