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Monsters & Silly Songs

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Album Review

Like 2003's Fantomes, Monsters & Silly Songs is a sprawling, whimsical album, and its singles are the clear-cut highlights, surrounded by experiments that engage as frequently as they leave no lasting impression. Though it trails Fantomes by nearly four years, it's surprising it came out as early as it did. Joakim had 90-percent of an album recorded when his hard drive crashed, taking all the existing material with it. (A justifiably irate post on his MySpace blog, dated February 1, 2006, stated, "Well, maybe I'll be done in 2010.") He reacted by forming the Ectoplasmic Band with bassist Juan De Guillebon, guitarist Maxine Delpierre, and drummer Mark Kerr. He made several tracks with them (as a guitarist, keyboardist, and sound manipulator), a couple with other collaborators, and a few by himself. Beyond the tracks that have been released on 12" — including "Drumtrax," a delirious ring-modulator workout, and "I Wish You Were Gone," an embittered but irresistible dance-punk blast that rivals anything from the DFA label — the standouts tend to be the tracks that most resemble songs, rather than the wildcard instrumentals and other forms of playful futzing around. The true opener, the pulsating "Sleep in Hollow Tree," sets the waggish tone, resembling what the Stranglers might sound like if they had to play children's rumpus rooms instead of pubs filled with drunken louts: while on some imaginary war path, multi-tracked voices drone "I went through a thousand seas/Had fight with giant bees/And sleep in hollow trees." "Lonely Hearts," another number with thick post-punk/new wave streaks, is magnetically melancholy, while "Rocket Pearl" paws at the ground for a minute before turning into a gnashing rumble. With the energy level so high through several tracks, the less frantic moments — such as the tranquil "Peter Pan Over the Bronx," a sparse piano-and-wriggle-effects piece that could pass for something off the Sky label — are bound to test the patience.


Born: Paris, France

Genre: Electronic

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

After a debut that blended jazz, turntablism, hip-hop, and indie rock, French producer and remixer Joakim has maintained a similarly eclectic profile, both on his own releases and on his work as a producer, collaborator, remixer, and head of his own influential Tigersushi label. Born Joakim Bouaziz, the young prodigy began an intensive study of classical music beginning with piano lessons that started at age six. After graduating from the National Conservatory of Versailles, Joakim immersed himself...
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Monsters & Silly Songs, Joakim
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