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Arabian Horse

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Album Review

The second release by Icelandic electronica group GusGus on the German techno label Kompakt, Arabian Horse is more of a traditional album than 2009's 24/7 was. Where that disc only featured six tracks, two of which ran past the ten-minute mark, this one has ten, most of which are in the five-minute range. Things take a left turn early, when the smooth synth groove of instrumental opening track "Selfoss" gives way in its final minute to accordion and banjo. The next cut, "Be with Me," features gentle female vocals over a dubby, Orb-meets-Basic Channel track. The accordion returns (briefly) on the third track, "Deep Inside," but otherwise it's a fairly lush house song. That winds up being the formula to which the album as a whole hews — dancefloor-ready house tracks with vocals, and only a few strange or unexpected noises, mostly at the beginning of tracks. Only the final piece, "Benched," is significantly different from tracks two through nine — it's an eight-minute instrumental that's closer to IDM than house. This is a good record, albeit one that's not nearly as weird as GusGus' early-2000s reputation might lead one to expect.

Biography

Formed: 1995 in Reykjavik, Iceland

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

As a quirky, several-member co-ed band from Reykjavik, Iceland, GusGus were almost bound to inspire comparisons to the Sugarcubes, though a mid-'90s arrival caused the group to inherit influences from contemporary club music as well as trip-hop, rather than the post-punk lunacy that inspired the Sugarcubes during the late '80s. Associations with a pair of the hippest independent labels — first...
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Arabian Horse, Gusgus
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