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Recent album review #1
Warren Cucurullo is perhaps most famous in hip circles for playing on several Frank Zappa albums. He'd soon become a full-time member of Duran Duran, but his presence as session player can already be felt here ... "All She Wants Is" has a twisty / complicated guitar solo on the outro, buried in the mix. And the opening "Big Thing" (which I hope had bugger all to do with Curcurullo) sounds like N-Sync.

Elsewhere, big rock sounds and modern electronic synths combine to produce some awful rubbish on the majority of the uptempo tracks (the two singles excepted) whilst the ballads are mostly OK - well, they seem to suit Le Bon's voice a bit better anyway.

Duran Duran didn't have the same place in the music scene as their globe-striding glory days circa 82/83. Big Thing sounds horribly dated, especially on the dance tunes, and the electro/rock mix reminds me of INXS.

"Too Late Marlene" at least has an air befitting a then-ageing New Wave group; "Drug" tries to repeat the tricks of the singles and the title song, but fails miserably - it's messy, and the "Rio"-style brass instruments seem like a desperate move.

"Do You Believe In Shame" is a ballad that sticks to the Duran basics - not much guitar, the synths are nice and mellow and so is the Le Bon vocal. It's also an interesting lyrical piece, on an album generally short of good lyrics ("All She Wants Is" has about five words in total?!). But "Land" is perhaps the best ballad here, although parts of it do sound unhappily like Enya.

Then, after a ballad-filled second half, the final tune sees Cucurullo let rip once more. The song's a dog, but at least the guitar is entertaining.

In summary, disappointing.

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by Reviewer: Adrian Denning

Posted: Sunday 29th Nov 2015 1:07 PM

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Recent album review #2
While I haven't heard either of Baker's previous two releases, after hearing I Fall Into You I'm inclined to seek out more of his work. Mixing drone with post/rock and experimental electronics, this 5 track, 50-minute release takes inspiration from tons of different sources and stirs them together into one drifting mass of sound.

The disc opens with shifting tape loops and several layers of drones (strings, voices), one on top of another. The heaving layers shift over one another, but instead of letting the washes go wherever they want, Baker introduces a very subtle beat behind it all that plays off the tape squiggles, yet never overwhelms.

While it's a little more aimless and slightly inconsistent, the nearly 25-minute "Lysis" still has lots of good things going on for it. Again layering lush drones and mingling them with subtle layers of feedbacked guitars, it does takes a long time to settle, with only a few female vocal snippets fading in and out over the first half. But about halfway through, a haunting drone and propulsive beat build the track into something that's downright ominous.

"Symbiosis" is the album's centerpiece, mixing drone sounds with plucked stings and bass, that sound like they were recorded inside a cavernous tank. Again, Baker shows remarkable restraint on the track, adding layers and taking them away in subtle shifts that allow the track to unfold in a slow release of tension.

Combined, the first three tracks on I Fall Into You are some of the best work in the area of drone and ambient that I've heard this year, although the album closes with two tracks that don't really offer a whole lot more to the disc. "Phage" is a 1-minute piece of layered and looped vocal bits, while "Lethe" is basically a slight reworking of the opening "Lapse" in which the only real difference is that the beat is looped backwards.

Still, if you're a fan of drone and ambient music, definitely seek out this release, as Baker is definitely doing some great things.

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by Reviewer: Aaron Coleman

Posted: Sunday 29th Nov 2015 3:42 PM

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