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Not for Threes

Plaid

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Album Review

Plaid's second full-length release, Not for Threes, is separated from its predecessor by one of the most celebrated side trips in electronic listening music's brief but broad history. As members of the Black Dog, Ed Handley and Andy Turner (together with Ken Downie) helped set the standard for experimental techno, bringing a daring range of influences together in a space consistently characterized by quality and innovation. As such, great things were expected of Threes, and with a couple exceptions, the pair delivers. Although treading far closer than any Black Dog material ever did to the sort of pop electronica of Plaid's interim work with Björk (who appears here on the gorgeous "Lilith"), Threes is ambitious on different terms, moving from the abused and distorted breaks of "Extork" and "Prague Radio" to a balanced radio-friendliness that never sacrifices ingenuity for ease. A handful of tracks feature vocals throughout, and while the results had the predictable effect of irritating BD purists, they actually work remarkably well (partly because the tracks contain absolutely no trace of compositional compromise). A few of the tracks ("Headspin," "Abla Eedio," the too-brief "Seph") sit easily beside the very best Black Dog.

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...
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Not for Threes, Plaid
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