Here’s one for the history books!
The brilliant minds of Leo Wyndham, Chris Marigold, and Michael Tognarelli a.k.a. Blu Mar Ten have delivered their magnum opus, Love is the Devil.
I know it’s been about a month since ‘Love is the Devil’ a.k.a. LITD was released (an eternity in blog years!) but come on, how often does one really get to spend time with an album these days? Sometimes, the constant flow of new music can get a bit overwhelming. That’s why it felt right to really listen to this record over and over again….like really let it into your soul man, you know? Ahem, sorry that was my inner hippie speaking, excuse me.
Soooo…what was I saying? Oh yeah, This is the kind of record you want with you at all times. It is the perfect soundtrack to any usual walk down the street, late night bus ride, make-out sesh, or epiphany. Don’t let the sinister title and the mysterious white silhouettes on the cover fool you, this is by no means a “dark-sounding” album. “Love is the Devil” actually whimsical and charm-filled than you’d expect (Ah, now that questionable light-blue monochromatic colour scheme adorning the front cover makes much more sense).
The one-two punch of “Five Summers” and “High Hopes” is where this is most distinct. “Five Summers” is the poppiest Blu Mar Ten song to date but its crunchy beats and sugary sweet synth are so delicious, you won’t be able to resist. In contrast, tracks like “Made In London”, “Problem Child”, and “Love is the Devil” explore a much more shadowy realm of electronica. “Made In London” consists of skittering rhythms, ominous bass, and a syncopated vocal sample, repeating just the word “jungle”. Hey, I never said that this was gonna be all rainbows and unicorns.
Love is the Devil contains some of Blu Mar Ten’s most accessible work and (dare I say it?) has mad crossover appeal. Although, whether it will actually cross over is another question altogether. However, simply because Love is the Devil is somewhat more “accessible” than their previous work does not mean that the boys of Blu Mar Ten have lost any credibility. I mean who even cares about “accessibility” in the underground electronic music scene anyways? No, Blu Mar Ten have maintained their aura of mystique while staying true to their roots in D&B. LITD finds the trio broadening their spectrum, tinkering with a traditional D’n’B style, and exploring a dark yet airy realm of IDM and electro.
Another aspect of LITD that sets it apart from most other electronic releases this year is its length. With 18 tracks and a runtime of 1 hour and 37 minutes, there’s quite a bit of material to cover. It’s not often that an artist can produce a well-done and consistent 18-track album but Blu Mat Ten pulls it off. Nothing feels like filler on LITD and all the songs flow together neatly. The collaborations give the album a pinch of added flair and variation.
I’m a real sucker for any electronic music with skin-crawling female vocals (a la Portishead, Bjork, The Knife). So, you can bet I was excited when I heard “The Fourth” (featuring Jennie Potts), “Whisper” (featuring Kirsty Hawkshaw), and “Sweet Little Supernova” (featuring Rochelle Parker) for the first time. Personally, I found those 3 tracks really struck a chord with me. I’m sure they will with you, as well.
On collaborations with fellow electronic producers Airwalker, INtrepid, Stray, and InsideInfo it is evident that both artists are on the same level and they complement each other well. The production is crisp, clean and precise; nothing sounds out of place.
Aside from a technical standpoint though, the songs are pure emotion and spirit. They can make you feel sad or glad… love or the devil! It most certainly has its fair share of highs and lows, stops and turns, feelings and sounds. It’s a lot of material to get through but its really quite rewarding once you’ve given it an in-depth listen from start to finish.
You might even be a little bit sad that it’s over.
I mean, Love is the Devil is just like life, in a sense, with all its mystery, jubilation, melancholy, and unexpected turns. Looking back, there is beauty and sadness, love and evil but you find that is was all worthwhile (at least we hope so!). Don’t worry, you’re life (probably) isn’t ending any time soon. However, heed my words of existential wisdom: joy is found in the journey, not in the destination. Think about that.
(Side Note: Those aren’t actually my words, I’m paraphrasing what many scholars and academics have said) and I apologize for getting all “hippie” on you guys again. OK OK enough talking; just freakin’ listen to this thing!:
Blu Mar Ten – Love is the Devil (Out now on vinyl, CD & MP3) by Blu Mar Ten
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Look out for Love is the Devil on my upcoming ‘Best Electronic Releases of 2011’ Feature