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West Coast

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Album Review

Having quietly made their initial splash with the Yearbook 1 collection (helped by generous MP3 sharing of same, along with related singles), Studio re-released most of it (subtracting "No Comply" and "Radio Edit") to create West Coast, which sent the simmering buzz about the group into overdrive. Little wonder why — while perfectly in sync with any number of European acts playing around with a restrained, crisp energy to their techno (it's no surprise someone like Prins Thomas was an early booster), the duo of Dan Lissvik and Rasmus Hägg brings not only a sheen of '80s electronics but that decade's art-inclined rock & roll. The Cure in particular have a huge influence by the duo's own admission — one commentator's description of West Coast sounding as if Seventeen Seconds had been recorded in Nassau rather than London is as perfect a summation as any. Part of it is certainly due to the occasional lost and forlorn vocals, but the plunging bass and sharp guitar have a lot to do with it too, as the majestic 16-minute opener, "Out There," makes perfectly clear, while the polyrhythms on "West Side" and steel drum break on "Self Service" are more than Lol Tolhurst could have ever come up with on his own. This said, Studio are far from a one-trick pony, and the six cuts on West Coast more often than not deftly suggest numerous syntheses and new approaches to old styles rather than direct cloning — almost as if a previous decade's sonic elements had been liberated from the songwriting context of their time and reassembled in new ways. Shimmering synths turn into astringent yowls coasting above the beats, dub echo hits the kind of romantic swoop suggesting Anne Dudley's strings for Wham!'s "Careless Whisper," while the concluding "Indo" dispenses with overt beats entirely for a liquid flow of guitar and synth tones and rhythms.

Customer Reviews

Outstanding!!!

If you can't get your hands on "Yearbook 1" this will more than suffice (the two omitted tracks are somwhat of an intro, I guess - starting the trajectory of this project). But with "West Coast" you have the real life's blood of the album, pulsing and pumping away all the way through. Although a body of work is always hindered when missing a few of it's parts, here it remains a dazzling figure.

Check one two.

It's not often that a record comes along that inspires you, calms you and makes you long for more. West Coast took me by surprise at first listen, and introduced me to a plethora of other Swedish acts (The Tough Alliance, Air France, The Field) who are making some pretty groundbreaking sounds over in Northern Europe. Not a bad track, in fact it's hard to choose which one to start with. The answer: all of them. At once.

Biography

Formed: Gothenburg, Sweden

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Studio, a Swedish duo comprised of Dan Lissvik and Rasmus Hägg, created an underground stir with their debut full-length, Yearbook 1 (2007). Released regionally in Scandinavia on the independent label Information, Yearbook 1 became an Internet sensation, circulating widely on file-sharing networks and getting favorable blog write-ups. Bearing influences of electronica, experimental rock, Afro-pop, and Krautrock, the duo's music is partly reminiscent of early-'80s Cure and New Order, particularly...
Full Bio
West Coast, Studio
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