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Rest Proof Clockwork

Plaid

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Album Review

On the surface, Plaid's second full-length charts similar territory as their debut, with the same intriguing mix of old-school flow and electronic programming clout, plus an odd tendency to play with certain synth presets — steel drums, for instance — that would make most electronica technicians cringe. True, there's a bit more hip-hop flavor on this one, like the faux turntablism on the excellent tracks "Shackbu" and "Little People." And the novelty angle Plaid have occasionally nodded to in the past is out on two tracks especially: the vocoderized bossa-nova number "New Bass Hippo" and "Dang Spot," the kind of popcorn electronica that harks back to Perrey & Kingsley. When it comes down to it, the technical differences between Rest Proof Clockwork and Plaid's debut Not for Threes are minimal. Still, there's a certain soul to this album that displays the maturing ex-breakdancers progressing even after more than ten years of recording. In fact, two of the most beautiful tracks of Plaid's long career are right here. The first is "Buddy," a yearning downtempo track with echoing effects; the second is "Dead Sea," a beatless piece of glorious synth-strings which evoke past civilization just as achingly as "The Crete That Crete Made" (from Temple of Transparent Balls, the 1993 album by Handley and Turner's former concern, the Black Dog). So, in sum, Rest Proof Clockwork is yet another production masterpiece to file on the shelf with the rest of Plaid's work. The element that puts them far, far ahead of every other beatminer out there is a growing sense of spirit that lets the machines do the singing.

Biography

Formed: 1991 in England

Genre: Electronic

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

Although Plaid preexisted the association, the duo's Ed Handley and Andy Turner spent most of their early recording years with Ken Downie as the dancefloor-confounding Black Dog Productions. Meshing well with Downie's vision of heavily hybridized post-techno and obscurantist thematics, the pair brought several nascent Plaid tracks to the Black Dog table on the group's debut, Bytes, a collection of tracks recorded by various iterations of the three members. The group recorded several albums and EPs...
Full bio
Rest Proof Clockwork, Plaid
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