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If you name an electro album after a John Fante novel, you're asking for it. And indeed, it's hard to see what Lorn's getting at with that comparison, assuming that some kind of comparison or connection is implied, although there's a gloominess at the heart of both the novel and this album that proves a pretty tenuous link. That said, the music really is very good. The tracks are shot through with melodies that at first seem incidental, like the kind of sampled scraps that most producers will use for filler or ambience, but if you keep listening you eventually realize that they're central to the attractiveness of this sometimes desolate but consistently interesting music. There are oddities of meter: "Ghosst" is built on a slogging 6/8 beat that feels like the dubstep equivalent of a jig. And there are oddities of texture and structure, like "Weigh Me Down" with its slippery beat and weird, wordless vox. And it has to be said that there are moments of contrivance: the ghostly vocals and synthesized trombones on "Dead Dogs" add an unnecessary touch of silliness to a track that would have been pretty powerful without them. But most of all, there are lots of moments of surprising and even delightful incongruence that come together effectively in ways you might not have anticipated, like the smeary strings and the brief eruption of death-metalesque vocals on "Diamond," or the strangely stiff but booty-shaking groove of "Chhurch," which takes some of the more hit-and-miss elements of other tracks (like those otherworldly vocals) and puts them together with just the right blend of darkness and glee. The more explicitly dubsteppy and texturally stark "Better" is another highlight. Overall, Ask the Dust is one of the more interesting and compelling electro albums of 2012. ~ Rick Anderson

  • Internal ID: JITRE
  • Format: Vinyl
  • Genre: Electronic

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