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Lee Jones - Electronic Frank

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Artist: Lee Jones

Album: Electronic Frank

Label: Aus Music

Review date: Oct. 27, 2008


Lee Jones - "Theme for Frank" (Electronic Frank)


On his first solo outing, Lee Jones maintains the surgical precision and discrete rigor of minimal techno while offering something decidedly emotive and exuberant. The fact that Jones also manages to amply integrate samples without resorting to plunderphonic clutter may be even more satisfying. The grainy and the smooth complement each other and meld into a kinetic whole. The muscularity and immediacy of minimalís thin, firm bands of pulsing rhythm and shuffling percussion prevents Jonesí swirl of tones and melodic snippets to amass like some soggy mist.

As one-third of My My, Jones has already proven himself adept at suave and snappy bustle. But on Electronic Frank he cuts loose. Opener "Beginn" is a finely whisked scramble frothing with cafť accordion, Morse code strum and twinkling gin-sling piano. The whole jumble spins in and out of sync, but never falls apart, its undulating radiance delightfully limning a chrome thump. "Theme for Frank" manages in three minutes what Booka Shade couldnít pull off with an entire album: swooning CinemaScope splendor prickled by startling rhythms and drenched in liquid tones.

The corpulent meets the digital most immediately on "Soon" as the cry of a full-throated diva intermittently blasts through Jonesí stuttering diodes and throbbing orbs. As the title of the gasping, tongue-tapping "Every Click Counts" makes plain, Jones is nothing if not determined. The floating elements in his music are all well appointed, albeit with an aleatory accuracy, and tethered to an elastic chug. The track itself is perhaps the albumís weirdest moment, like touring brass section marooned in some Saharan village, squealing sporadically amid the trilling Ouds. The laptop percolation keeps the mix from going stale. Closer "MDMAzing" is almost as bluntly ecstatic as its title would suggest. A sustained crescendo of cold pinprick synths and stammering phosphorescence, it crests in a cloudburst of swooshing chords. Itís a suitable end to an album so boldly pleasant.

By Bernardo Rondeau

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