Sympathetic Stupid

Monday, April 24, 2006

Faux Pas: Entropy Begins at Home

I reckon a lot of electronic music falls into the trap of doing too much. Every sample is honed and polished until it's gleaming and pointy like a new Lamborghini. But music has a purpose beyond superficially exciting safety and that's why Entropy Begins at Home is a great album.

Instead of chrome and steel, Faux Pas has built you a wooden table and stacked it with homemade tapas, slightly blurry through multiple pre-dinner jugs of sangria but with glorious smells heading straight for your tastebuds. Another review speaks of "organic instruments" and while I can't picture a flute tree or piano bush, I take his point - it's music created electronically but with a wholly natural feel. Take The New Underground for a start; while it begins with a sparse, mechanical beat with an 80s reverb snare, the track stops feeling in any way electronic when a violin leads us sneakily into an enormous, big-band brass sting, warming the ears like a good single-malt in the gullet.

Faux Pas has a great sense of how much is enough, never over-complicating the tracks or going too hard for too long. The opener, Tema de Cristina builds tantalisingly, beginning by playing with four elements of an interesting beat, adding assorted samples and dropping away to nothing; then in the last third of the track, when it's all but too late, he dishes a sawed double bass and the killer flute line that was, obviously now, foreshadowed from the start.

But before long enough it's gone again, and he leaves us wanting more, as throughout the album. Hermann's Hermans is a weightless meander through the clouds, guided by a strong yet capricious beat until joined by the smoothest soprano sax, in one of Coltrane's free moods. But again, it's gone all too soon. And Apra, which follows, functions as little more than an extended intro, despite its percussive strummed guitar and warm, crackly production seeming to deserve more. Just as it's building, the count takes us into Water into Wine, the longest track at close to seven minutes.

This is one of two tracks on the album that have yet to grab me - it's not a coincidence that the other is the second longest track, Dorothy's Finger. While the rest of the album seems to make its point and move on, these hang around a bit long for me (a forgivable sin also perpetrated by Handsomeboy Technique). Possibly it's also significant that both these tracks use underwhelming vocal samples where the other tracks prefer sublime instruments.

Like my current favourite track, Tim as a Brim, which reminds me of why I love Faux Pas's sample library. This time it's the raw beat breaking down into a funky as heck organ, and then, out of the blue, an almost Iberian horn section wanders in to close it off. This is another example of the itinerant Spanish feel that's the closest thing this album has to a theme, though it tends to appear only when you least expect it. This is the true big beat section of the album, as following is the bouncy For the Trees, combining a percussive strummed guitar with an enormous stomp beat.

I liked Faux Feels, the EP preceding this album, but Entropy Begins at Home is a step above and beyond the enjoyably kitschy Jethro Tull cover that was my pick of the EP. It's getting a lot of buzz around town, picked as album of the week on RRR and popping up on blogs all over the shop. Get it before you hear it coming out of car windows on Chapel St.

EDIT: And, just received, permission from Faux Pas himself to post a coupla samples! The first is from the website, the second is exclusive to me. Unless someone else posted it. But, once again, you gotta buy this album. Thanks Faux Pas!

[MP3] Faux Pas - Hermann's Hermans
[MP3 - 3.1MB] Faux Pas - Tim as a Brim

[BUY] Faux Pas Website