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Album Review

Plaid's previous two works were soundtracks, one to accompany a feature film (2008's Heaven's Door) and the other a multimedia collaboration with Bob Jaroc (2006's Greedy Baby). Their return to music-making on their own terms after five years isn't the energized affair listeners might expect, though. Their trademarked variety of IDM, which you could call manic-beat/depressive-effects, is in effect and still not sounding much changed from its debut in the late '90s. Here though, they've managed an interesting blend of that style with the free-form structures of film soundtracking, the results of which are intriguing although rarely crucial. Scintilli begins with no beats at all, instead there's ululating wordless vocals over pointillistic keyboards, and next comes a classic Plaid production from the mold. It's only as the album unfolds that further tracks, like the highlight "Unbank," tend more toward a refreshing blend of IDM and film scores.

Customer Reviews


This is a great album from start to finish. It has so many good tracks I can't name just one, so I say download the whole thing, you will not be disappointed. If you like hearing new electronic music then go listen to Tangier Dream by Eric Walker. An amazing album that reminds me alot of this album and old school electronic greats such as Jarre, Eno, and Tangerine Dream.


Finally a new Plaid full length that isn't a soundtrack or stop-gap collaboration! On first listen Scintilli comes over as an almost under-whelming audio experience. But as I've learned (the hard way, some times) it's often better to reserve judgement, as first impressions can be deceiving...

Essentially this is Plaid doing what Plaid does best: Complex, forever shifting arrangements disguised as simple melodic vignettes, more times than not with a playful disposition. They seem to be getting quite a bit of flack on forums for apparantly not pushing their sound forward enough, or coming up with a brand spanking new template - but I find this criticism quite unfair, as I would much rather have an album that is assured and confident in itself, than a awkward self-conscious stumble in an ill-fated attempt to break new ground. And amongst the pretty, exquisitely produced familiarity, there are a few pleasant curveballs: "Eye Robot" rides a surprisingly sturdy (but slow) backbone, with some great squelchy distortion action working up a froth, while the particularly melodic "Unbank" features a straight forward 4/4 beat and some deliciously subversive pop stylings, but the highlight has to be "Sömnl" - a dark, clanking head-trip, underpinned by twisting bass and topped with a fragile, soaring melody, reminiscent of vintage Autechre.

Pretty good album it turned out to be.


I'm a lifelong plaid/bd fan so I'll be buying everything forever even if I don't understand why anymore, I have the same thing with autechre. With this they are as ever brilliant in production but maybe it's the same scales they use or the recent emphasis on film soundtracks but it all sounds a bit similar after a while. I can imagine these sonic textures would sound great on an expensive sound system but for me that's not enough for me to really love it. If you're a fan checkout j&w beat by floating points for a taste of the style that these guys forged in the 90's - it's a little less processed.


Formed: 1991 in England

Genre: Electronic

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

Although Plaid pre-existed 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
Scintilli, Plaid
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