Slowcream: Live Long and Prosper

A well-integrated fusion of classical samples and electronic elements, Live Long and Prosper is predicated on the conceit of imagining what classical composers such as Bach and Stravinsky might have produced had electronic options been at their disposal. Thankfully, Slowcream (real name Me Raabenstein) doesn't simply bifurcate the arrangements into classical melodies on the one hand and electronic beats on the other. Instead, he judiciously arranges the components into compositional wholes where the classical and electronic intertwine. Throughout, slow head-nodding pulses anchor heavily-textured interweaves of fragments with the pieces more often in the style of meditative drones than developmental compositions. Often a singular element—a repeating string or piano melody typically—acts as the anchor that frees a constant stream of orchestral, voice, and percussive snippets to unpredictably appear as punctuating accents.

The most arresting setting is “Suburb Novel” which opens in Murcof-like manner with brooding strings and curdling beats. The piece soon enough stakes out its own unique territory by adding the crystalline ping of vibes and then the focal point, a portentous voice-over (by one Major Major) whose text's elusive meaning intensifies the piece's cryptic character. The other long piece, the nine-minute title composition, is a heaving drone slathered in flickering exhalations and noise convulsions. In “Wife's Tales,” a familiar string sample sinuously drapes itself across the agitated lurch of a bass-heavy rhythm bed while the insistent repetition of a piano motif in “Dylan for a Day” offers an animated respite from the hour-long album's predominantly brooding tone.

August 2008