Label: City Centre Offices
Catalogue Number: Towerblock001
Year of Release: 2000
A1 Theme (3:40)
A2 Tides (5:32)
A3 Eleventh! (4:45)
A4 Tomorrow Morning (1:51)
A5 Seaside (3:35)
B1 A Secret (4:39)
B2 The Storm (7:23)
B3 Deauville (5:43)
B4 Epilogue (2:43)
The first thing that struck me listening to this was how very different it was to the single I've just reviewed (and Atol Scrap, if you've heard that). No multi-layering of beats, no eerie noises, just... warmth - the feeling of sitting in the sunshine with nothing better to do but hum along to yourself, and maybe rub your toes in the sand.
Theme is just that - a theme that recurs through the album, comprising a beat that couldn't be described without the use of the word 'phat', and a synth sound that does a good job of emulating the underrated harpsichord. These elements combine again on A Secret and Epilogue, giving the album a modern Roy Budd (not Harold, mind) soundtrack quality. Tides has a very similar feel, but guitar instead of keyboard lines picking out melodies over the top (by Christian Kleine , a rather good electronic artist in his own right), and the drums are phased nicely, which adds to the seaside, wave-like feel of the track.
The title Eleventh! may be a joke, but I don't know about what. It sounds so much like Boards of Canada (complete with "I Love You" sample") that I thought it might be a rip-off of track 11 of Music Has the Right to Children, but I think I'm mistaken. It could be a reference to an eleventh chord, but I'm not gifted enough to spot it, if it is. Lovely song though, as is track 4, which is beatless, but full of chirruping insects.
Which brings us to track 5 - Seaside. I think that refraining from using a sample of waves lapping upon a beach on an album called Tides until track 5 deserves some kind of medal. They only come in halfway through as well, the man's a model of restraint - which might explain why side two of the record holds no great surprises, just more of the same.
Best track is The Storm, the darkest track on the whole album, but rather than do the obvious dissipating squall noises tries instead to recreate the feeling of pitching about on the open sea. Also features some deft application of a filtered noise sample rather than rain sounds. The darkness doesn't last, obviously, and we end the album on a similar tone to the opening tracks - restore to an even keel if you will. Recommended.