Since the release of 2003’s ‘Spokes’, Plaid have scored two of Michael Arias’ award-winning films, released an ambitious audio-visual collaboration entitled ‘Greedy Baby’, continued to perform around the world (including a landmark performance at Warp Records’ 20th birthday celebrations) and have now crafted a new album due for release September 26th on Warp.
The title of the album, 'Scintilli' is latin in origin and can be translated as ‘I am many sparks’. A self-affirming mantra as Plaid (aka Ed Handley and Andy Turner) claim to chant for two hours every morning before starting work in their newly built studio shed in North London. Plaid - missing (taken from new album Scintilli) by Warp Records The opening track, 'Missing' available as a free download below, is a melodic welcome to the long awaited release. Dramatic piano chords and lightly plucked strings are set alongside an angelic but digitised vocal making for an oddly serene introduction to the album. 'Eye Robot' progresses steadily with a deep and throbbing bass-line. Stopping abruptly leaving a clean finish to the track, it prepares the listener for the erratic 'Thank' - a stark contrast in form as it's comprised of layers of skittish synth work. 'Tender Hooks' is quite an elegant track with oriental sounds placed around short, sharp high-hats giving off an eerie but energetic vibe that reminds me of a chilled-out, stripped-back version of Gold Panda's 'You'. The first half of the album definitely feels more up-beat and cheerful than the latter. The second half is slower in pace but not necessarily more relaxed as songs like 'Craft Nine' and '35 Summers' emit a slightly creepy, nursery-rhyme-gone-wrong impression. 'African Woods' on the other hand, presents a delightful juxtaposition of fluctuating beats that reveal a harmonic melody, as if sampled from a childs long forgotten music box. Every beat has been carefully crafted - it has been calculated that each beat has taken approximately one day to construct. From the announcement of the laying down of the first foundations in early 2009, to the rendering of the final decay earlier this year "this labour intensive process will guarantee long lasting pieces of music that can withstand the restless tensions placed upon them by modern playback devices" the artists insist, and having listened to the album, I definitely agree.