13 Songs, 52 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Few artists blur the line between synthetic and organic sounds more provocatively than Plaid. IDM is often fueled by pure sonic abstraction, but the London duo of Andy Turner and Ed Handley finds inspiration in the uncanny valley between “real” instruments and digital simulacrum. That makes polymers—complex molecules that can be synthetic (like plastic) or natural (like protein)—the perfect theme for the duo’s 10th album, in which the tactile sounds of instruments such as harpsichord and clarinet frequently morph into their frictionless digital equivalents (and vice versa). The mood is a few shades darker than usual—particularly in the gravelly crunch of “Meds Fade” and the gloomy church bells of “Maru”—but their characteristically playful touch comes to the fore in the vivid plucked tones and triplet rhythms of “Dancers,” “Dust,” and “Praze,” which sound like renaissance music for a new age of technological utopia.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Few artists blur the line between synthetic and organic sounds more provocatively than Plaid. IDM is often fueled by pure sonic abstraction, but the London duo of Andy Turner and Ed Handley finds inspiration in the uncanny valley between “real” instruments and digital simulacrum. That makes polymers—complex molecules that can be synthetic (like plastic) or natural (like protein)—the perfect theme for the duo’s 10th album, in which the tactile sounds of instruments such as harpsichord and clarinet frequently morph into their frictionless digital equivalents (and vice versa). The mood is a few shades darker than usual—particularly in the gravelly crunch of “Meds Fade” and the gloomy church bells of “Maru”—but their characteristically playful touch comes to the fore in the vivid plucked tones and triplet rhythms of “Dancers,” “Dust,” and “Praze,” which sound like renaissance music for a new age of technological utopia.

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