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April 11, 2007 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-04-11

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8A - Wednesday, April 11, 2007 f ) I T

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com 0,I

MUSIC REVIEW
Veteran star duo none
too bright on'Tongues'

Whimsical
mixing
DEACON'S 'RINGS' BETTER SUITED
FOR VIDEO GAMES

By ABBY FRACKMAN
Daily Arts Writer
When two colossal but distinct-
ly different musical minds cross
paths, as a fan, sometimes you
just have to cross
your fingers.
Kieran Heb- ** ;
den's and Steve
Reid's separate Kieran
career paths H
share little, but Hebden and
both have a con- Steve Reid
crete sense of
innovative com- Tongues
position. Better Domino
known as the
creative force
behind Four Tet, Hebden has made
a career out of breaking boundar-
ies. His past albums, 2003'sRounds
and 2005's Everything Ecstatic,
received rave reviews for twist-
ing familiar instrumentation into
unrecognizable songs. Last year,
Hebden teamed up with legend-
ary jazz drummer Steve Reid (who
has backed the likes of Sun Ra and
James Brown) to release two vol-
umes of the critically acclaimed
The Exchange Session. On Tongues,
these two artists collaborate once
again in an attempt to recreate
past successes. But this time, the
formula produces mixed results.
Tongues opens well enough
with "The Sun Never Sets." At first
listen, the piece sounds disorga-
nized and chaotic; it's more like a
defective CD than a song. Yet after
a couple more sittings, it grows
on you, rewarding listeners who
are patient enough to explore the
music a bit more deeply.
"Left handed, left minded" is
another worthwhile song - more
for Reid's drumming than for Heb-
den's electronic additions. Reid's
steady, pulsing rhythm is enough
to groove to, but Hebden's random
noises are a constant distraction
and the composition's downfall
- a common theme through much
of Tongues.
One of the more attractive ideas
the pair has arranged is its contem-

Courtesy oftomin
porized "Greensleeves." In fact,
visitors to the Hebden/Reid web-
site can see the two working on the
piece, something which proves to
be more fascinating than the track
itself. You can still recognize the
familiar "Greensleeves" melody
- omnipresent in so many snow
globes and holiday stores - but
the focus here is on the novelty of
Hebden's music box. The track is
aimless and unfocused - all build
up and no release.
"People Be Happy" again show-
cases Reid's agility on the drums
Great ingredients
don't always make
the best meal.
and Hebden's equal skill at sound-
ing out of place. The piece is
disorganized and the buzzing elec-
tronics are obnoxious. "Rhythm
Dance" hardly represents its title,
being one of the least danceable
and rhythmically pleasing tracks
on all of Tongues.
Tongues isn't up to the usual
Hebden/Reid standards. On the
website Reid proclaims, "Music
is like a big house" and explains
how the addition of new windows
results in different views. Tongues
was supposed to be another new
proverbial window - unfortu-
nately, only the biggest fan of the
duo will want to look into it.

By KAREN STASEVICH
DailyArts Writer
After seven albums, 12 tours
and 300-plus shows, classically
trained-com-
poser-turned-
one-man-party
Dan Deacon will
release his eighth Dan Deacon
album this sum-
mer. Set to drop Spiderman
May 8,Spiderman of the Rings
of the Rings aims Carpark
to fill a major
transitional void
for Deacon - from experimental
live pop performer to full-fledged
electronic artist.
The album's opening track,
"Woody Woodpecker," begins like
a slow-cranked jack-in-the-box - a_
little creepy, especially when Dea-
con mixes in the laughing voice of
the mischievous, cartoon bird. Each
TV RVE

sound element is blended together,
gradually distorted and built-up,
ending in a pulsing, static beat.
Each ofthenine tracks onSpider-
man is fast and electric, often remi-
niscent of sci-fi sound effects and
old-school video games like Tetris.
That may be the album's weak point
- it can be easily tuned out like the
background music of Pac Man or
Mortal Kombat.
"Big Milk" is slower and more
whimsical, with lots of tinkling
bells and chimes. After the eerie
sound of an UFO abduction is
added, the tone is constant for the
duration of the song.
Though sparsely used, Deacon's
lyrics are bizarre but fitting to his
musical style. On "Snake Mistakes,"
he incoherently rambles about
snakes and bees: "Why won't these
bees leave me alone / I hate them
bees." He's a man of a few, weird
words.

Yup. This about sums it all up.
Named after Deacon's home-
town, "Wham City" is a near-12-
minuteacidtrip. Itstartsinnocently
enough,with aslowguitarintrothat
eventually deteriorates into a sick
fairy tale spewed out in a squeaky
voice: "There is a mountain of snow
up past the big land / We have a
castle enclosed, there is a fountain
/Out of the fountain flows gold into
a huge hand ... " And so on.
Alive lightshow and dance-party
atmosphere would appropriately
complement Deacon's music. Good
thing this is the usual setting for his
widely acclaimed shows. But with-

out this added stimulus, the album
has trouble holding the listener's
attention.
Deacon's oddness is highly pol-
ished - he holds a master's degree
in electro-acoustic composition
from Purchase College in New
York. He uses high-tech equipment
- including a sine wave generator
in live performances - to master
his absurdity . Although he misses
a few marks in album production,
it's hard to imagine that Deacon
puts on a boring show when all the
elements of his anomalous perfor-
mance are combined.

A satire more inane than what it satarizes

By ALEX ERIKSON
For the Daily
After watching the pilot epi-
sode of "Human Giant" only one
question needs to be asked: Who
the hell thought
that this is funny
enough to be on *
television?
The show Human
stars Aziz Ansa-
ri ("School for Gin
Scoundrels"), Thursdays at
Rob Huebel 1030 pm.
("Best Week '
Ever") and Paul MTV
Scheer ("Best
Week Ever") in a
sketch comedy production attempt-
ing to mock pop culture. What
never seems to surface, though, is
any sort of intelligent comedy.
The pilot opens with Ansari in

line for a concert ticket, only to find
out that there is one ticket remain-
ing - it's reserved for wheelchair
access. So he decides to get his
friends, Huebel and Scheer, to run
him over with their car. The first
hit miraculously doesn't hurt him.
Neither does the second. Finally, on
the third hit Aziz is injured, but not
killed, and is able to attend the con-
cert in the wheelchair access seat.
This over-the-top, no-shame
style of comedy that Will Ferrell
developed in "Saturday Night Live"
(and subsequently sucked the life
out of) is tired and overused, and
it's exactly the style of comedy
Ansari, Huebel and Scheer use in
"Human Giant." The show lacks
any semblance of wit, intelligence
or comedic timing. Each joke is
dragged out to painful lengths, and
while all of the main actors (who
are also the writers) play niche

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Fart jokes aren't funny anymore, but don't tell that to these guys.
roles in other successful comedies, Week Ever's" witty social satire to
their efforts in "Human Giant" just "Human Giant." Unfortunately, the
don't pull together. show comes off like "Best Week
Perhaps Huebel and Scheer Ever's" stoned younger brother
should have brought some of "Best - still laughing at fart jokes.

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