Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Li Xi on 20 Sided Records
In combining a bunch of weirdo, overlooked influences, Stereolab created something entirely new in an age where guitar was king and haven't ever had many imitators. It's not easy in style or instrumentation and it's the closest thing that comes to mind listening to this single from Li Xi on 20 Sided Records. Their sound can also be traced back further to '70s Krautrock which somehow is an entire genre. What was going on with artists specifically in that part of the world to be experimenting with hypnotic rhythms and repetition? Li Xi are based out of equally unlikely San Francisco and have absorbed these influences along with the technical skill to bravely venture off on their own branched path of similar sounds.
"Macro Garden" uses primal synth sounds which aren't trying to be anything else, atmospheric and dreamy before adopting a high tempo beat. The layers of warm tones play off each other like a see saw between the bass and higher basic melodies. The whole thing feel like it winds around in it's necessity to create layers, they don't expect to rely on themselves. Maryann on vocals is that perfect complement to the machine with a breathy, light touch vocal that keeps this floating through breakdowns and multiple harmonies, through harsh handclaps and glitchy static filled solo's. The track begins like Neu! in those hypnotic rhythms and never stops or that same momentum in Stereolab, you just get caught up in that tempo and ride it out to an abrupt end.
B-Side "Red Spells" gets further into manipulated sounds but veers heavily down a psychedelic path complete with tambourine which might even be mic'd in a real room. Maryann's vocal has less layers and effects here which gives this a Sea Change sound being really complex with high concept tempo changes and multiple melodies in a laid back meandering pop sound with extravagant tie dye tapestries and high art black light paintings.
Pick this up on black vinyl from 20 Sided Records.