Review : Young Magic - Melt
PitchforkSome records are defined by the time and place of their creation, but Young Magic's piecemeal approach has the opposite effect. It doesn't sound like it came from a certain somewhere, but rather everywhere. And it's a surprisingly cohesive work considering that it was recorded in several different countries and sutured together from singles and B-sides that have been around since 2010. So yeah, Melt-- that's a great word for Young Magic's debut, but "blur," "smear," or "dissolve" would also be acceptable.
I suppose it goes without saying that Melt might inadvertently align itself with hyphenated genres many of you are looking to conscientiously avoid. It's a reductive, but not completely off-base, assumption. Sure, these tracks are underpinned by West African rhythms ("The Dancer"), Brainfeeder's non-quantized drum smacks ("Sanctuary"), and the stutters of dubstep ("Drawing Down the Moon"). But for all of the trio's globe-trotting origins (two are Australian ex-pats, one is a native Indonesian, and all have traveled to multiple continents), there's an introversion and physical distance which bring to mind kids looking for the perfect beat while hunched over samplers and laptops in their apartments.
But while the reverb is ample and the edges are soft, it's a choice more functional than fashionable, a conscious production decision to solder together disparate sounds into a textured whole. The rare times they're present, guitars are tremeloed and processed to sound like balalaikas as opposed to chorded instruments, and while the melodies are often pumped out by harsh, exaggerated synths, the percussion most often takes the tone of household objects-- rattling coins on "Sparkly", pitched water jugs on "Slip Time", alarm clocks and cell phones elsewhere....full text
BbcFormed in New York but comprising no NYC natives (instead: a pair of Australians and an Indonesian), Young Magic are an intriguing proposition before a note of this debut album has been heard. And just as their appearance is rather awry of what might be deemed ‘typical’ of an outfit looking to break out of the Big Apple, their music is similarly striking: the influence of myriad acts has been stirred into a sound that’s rarely anything but its makers’ own.
It’s hard to pin Melt down to precise parallels – as its title so curtly conveys, the lines that frame each inspirational cornerstone have come undone. The end product flirts with rap but crackles with a lo-fi looseness; thinks of itself as a companion to Brainfeeder’s out-there fare, but gets distracted into lassoing guitar motifs from the west coast of Africa; and muddles its way from A to B like Panda Bear blinded in a fog, only to cut into clarity with no warning. Yeasayer and MGMT serve as ‘ins’ for those needing established acts to open doors for them; but the best way to experience Melt is to sink into it shorn of expectations. Here, the listener can really let the bubbling melodies, chanted mantras and delicious textures take hold. And once bitten, it’s unlikely Melt will let go of one’s attentions soon.
Sparkly opens with a gentle chorus of crisp guitars and ethereal vocals; come the drums, it’s a different track completely, and that Yeasayer comparison grips tightly. But then Melt finds another gear, Slip Time a cavalcade of instrumental shrieks, haunted moans and lyricism that might qualify as confrontational if you could be sure of what was being said. HEALTH at half-speed, possessed by chilling spectres, it’s a track to bolt a man upright in his seat. Night in the Ocean is the fulcrum upon which the set rests, a great four minutes which dares to encapsulate everything brilliant about this collection. Slurred raps, like a beat poet racked by drink addiction; music that waxes and wanes, and explodes; and a great spirit which, rather than confine itself to basements and bedsits, aims its sights on the heavens. It’s got a healthy dose of My Bloody Valentine to it which, partnered with the rap elements, might have some recalling the heavyweight hip hop of New Jersey’s Dälek – no bad thing, at all....full text
MusicomhYoung Magic are a very well-travelled trio of musicians. Singer and producer Isaac Emmanual has ventured across Mexico and Europe from his native Australia and so has fellow countryman Michael Italia. They are joined by Indonesian-born vocalist Melati Malay and have now settled in New York City. Their debut, Melt, is even more exotic sounding than their background story since it contains recordings from some 10 different countries and takes its influences from an eclectic range of genres, from psychedelia to hip-hop and UK garage. This serves to give the listener the impression that this is going to be a record full of variety with no one track the same.
It starts off well with Sparkly; before a series of hard-hitting beats enter the fray the gentle intro of soft guitar and harmonies ease you in. It's a serene piece of music, as is Night In The Ocean, which is wonderfully grandiose and hazy, and proves that there is still some life left in the awfully-named chillwave genre. Stuff like this is made for laid-back summer evenings, and it'd be painless to digest a whole album of this.
The main flaw with Young Magic is that it's very easy to admire what they are trying to do but at the same time it's very difficult to fall in love with it. Once through Melt a few times you find that your expectations have changed somewhat; instead of wishing for a kaleidoscopic tapestry of noise you wouldn't necessarily mind if it was just 35 minutes of ambient/psychedelic bliss....full text
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