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Album Review

Lali Puna's debut album mixes the lush, hushed tone of early Stereolab with the glitch and crackle of electronic experimentalists such as To Rococo Rot, and adds a touch of lo-fi analog beats that wouldn't sound out of place on a Land of the Loops album. Bubbly bass blips mingle with Valerie Trebeljahr's dreamy vocals, as an undercurrent of moody synths paint atmospheric swirls. A touch of improvisational jazz crops up around one corner. Classical arrangements peek out of another corner. It's all tied together with sweeping, vibrant keyboard tones. Trebeljahr's European accent and her habit of singing as if she's dictating political doctrine make for striking, sometimes unsettling listening. The album's opener, "6-0-3," one of the highlights, is a perfect example of her evocative style of inflection, as she calls out numbers as if in a trance. Other standout tracks include "Antena Trash," which sounds like a dance-party-on-downers remix of a song from His Name Is Alive's Mouth by Mouth, and "Fast Forward," with its icy, vibrating strings and eerie, touching vocal passages. The album is encumbered somewhat by a few instrumentals that linger just beyond one's interest, but Tridecoder is never a dull listen, despite its mood music leanings. Like the works of their Morr Music peers, Lali Puna's debut is music that would seem contemporary in just about any decade prior to its release, and probably any decade after its release. The band members breathe life into their electronic tools and never stray from the smart, emotional aesthetic and arrangements that signify a Morr album. While their superior sophomore effort Scary World Theory is a more intense, visceral, and focused creation, Tridecoder works just fine as a delightful, lo-fi companion, displaying equal and ample charm and ability.


Formed: 1998 in Munich, Germany

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s

After the 1998 breakup of her previous band, the Munich-based L.B. Page, Korea-born vocalist Valerie Trebeljahr formed the experimental electro-pop group Lali Puna. Although Lali Puna was intended to be a solo project, it took on a membership that, throughout the years, included the involvement of Markus Acher (the Notwist, Tied + Tickled Trio), Florian Zimmer, Christian Heiss, and Christoff Brandner (also of Tied + Tickled Trio). The group's first release, "The Safe Side," was a single issued on...
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Tridecoder, Lali Puna
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