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splendid > reviews > 11/22/2002
Echolalia
Echolalia
Solid State Alone
Bent


Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "This is Your 83"

Buy me now
For a guy who allegedly failed guitar lessons years ago and vowed to never properly learn an instrument, Brian Burkhard has definitely acquired a taste for the base mechanics of rhythm. Solid State Alone is a great album to chill out to, with no assumptions and no expectations. Burkhard crafts a fine melody from the sparsest tools, always wrapped around a propulsive beat that's just a step ahead of mellow. At first listen I wasn't sure the album had much to say, but repeated exposure proved me wrong: the appeal is not in the album's depth but in its little details and small pleasures. Keyboard friendly and sample-happy, seemingly nonsensically-titled tracks like "Discorvo" and "Korgouski" are tailor-made for the low-impact portions of a good rave. "This Is Your 83" is trip-hop funk at its simplest and savviest, making a Casio sound better than it has the right to. Even "810iRu" which hinges on a repetitive Willy Wonka sample, and "Insider", a meditation on the afterlife that owes much to lifted narration from Jonathan Pryce, come off less irritating and more hypnotic the second time around. I wish I could say that more of the disc stuck with me, but alas, that's the fate of high-enjoyment, low-substance techno albums. Nonetheless, I'll keep this one in my car for a quick jolt of guilty sugary pleasure now and then.


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