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Silent Movie

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Album Review

Joel Martin and Matt Edwards take their alias from Martin Denny's exotica landmark, yet their approach can be likened — not just through the title but in its sound as well — to "Quiet Pillage," the slack but unease-inducing interpretation of "Quiet Village" by experimentalist post-punks 23 Skidoo. Beneath the track list of Silent Movie, an album highlighted by material released in small runs on 12" during 2005 and 2006, the duo thanks "everyone that's been involved in making this album. You know who you are." It's probable that not everyone knows who they are, at least not in this case. The most creative and affecting sample-reliant album since the Avalanches' Since I Left You, Silent Movie plucks from numerous forms of marginalia, whether obscure, loathed by the stereotypical record store clerk, or loved by legions of geeks who were dealt wedgies in high school by Van Halen-loving jocks: prog rock and yacht rock punch lines, new age pin cushions, unhip singer/songwriters, largely unknown Italian film-music composers, and several others. For the most part, these sources are not so uncool that they are cool. They are so uncool that they are... extremely uncool. Unlike the giddy non-stop carnival atmosphere of Since I Left You, Silent Movie is, for lack of better categorization, a chillout album, even though it is just as much a creep-out, its most tranquil scenes seemingly on the verge of being washed away by a sudden ecological catastrophe. With the exception of "Circus of Horror" — scuzzy hurtling-through-a-dustbowl psych rock, replete with the howls of a man who sounds like he has been pitched into the Grand Canyon — and "Gold Rush" — a dead ringer for Scenic's epic, tribal desert scores — everything passes with the force of a light breeze, evoking swaying hammocks, sun-bleached picnics, beached isolation, states of half-awake delirium, and the slowest-moving groups of stoned dancers imaginable. Though the new tracks, including the impossibly lush "Broken Promises" and the sparkling but arid "Singing Sand," could hardly be accused of weighing down the album, it's the previously released material that stands out most. Best of all is "Pillow Talk," a reconfiguration of the Alan Parsons Project's "Voyager/What Goes Up..." that can be disorienting in the most sterile environments. Bonus: it sounds like it was put together to flow directly into the Passions' "I'm in Love with a German Film Star."


Formed: 2007

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s

Positioning themselves as the leading producers of what they call (perhaps somewhat sarcastically) "sophisticated exotica for adults," Quiet Village -- Joel Martin (aka Zeus) and Matt Edwards (Radio Slave) -- released a trio of 12" singles across 2005 and 2006 for Whatever We Want. While the sources of their sample-heavy material became increasingly known (the opening to the Alan Parsons Project's Pyramid, Janis Ian's Giorgio Moroder-produced "Fly Too High," Captain & Tennille's "Never Make Your...
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Silent Movie, Quiet Village
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