Zomby – With Love (4AD)

Let’s not talk about Zomby’s enigmatic internet persona on Twitter, or what a chavvie he might be, or about the controversy he stirred in looping and biting ‘Natalia’s Song.’ Let’s just talk about his new album With Love, only recently released on 4AD.

WIth Love is a double album, 33 tracks in length. This should count for something, as this number of tracks for an LP would be like his Magnum Opus or something.

However, many of the tracks are less than two minutes in length, and as soon as you start listening to the first side, you realise that most tracks are more or less continuous loops. These loops and tracks are done in inexplicable fashion and are champagne production, eerie and bleak skeletal masterpieces that are uniquely crafted.

This palette of sound of tight drums, trilling phrases of melancholic melodies and menacing strings is rather limited at times, and you could swear that by the time you hit the second side of WIth Love that you have heard the same song twice.

Positively, the spaciousness and atmosphere of With Love is very captivating, and despite its sometimes repetitive nature, it really is pleasant to listen to. A listener would have to decide for themselves as whether or not they could forgive the lack of theme, stop and start nature, and limited palette of With Love is going to affect their experience.

I personally regard this as good listening, but I have to make the judgement that the compositional flaws were not deliberately intended, as Zomby’s general etiquette as a professional does inevitably come into play.

Based on previous laziness Zomby has shown in copyrighting issues and general online ettiquete, it can’t be mistaken that With Love is a lazy attempt of an album that could really have been his ultimate, but instead reads as an artist trying to fool people into believing he is extra-prolific. Judged on face value, Zomby is actually not delivering enough care in production, although quite clearly talented.

Great-sounding loops and a lot of them, but in the end sounds like a bunch of DJ tools rather than any sort of serious album. I’m only rating this so well because I like those sounds and it’s brave for him to go his own way and try this scam.

‘This One’, faaarrrk, lovely.

6.5 out of a possible 10 Haarp Strings.

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