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Dots and Loops

Stereolab

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Album Review

On Emperor Tomato Ketchup, Stereolab moved in two directions simultaneously — it explored funkier dance rhythms while increasing the complexity of its arrangements and compositions. For its follow-up, Dots and Loops, the group scaled back its rhythmic experiments and concentrated on layered compositions. Heavily influenced by bossa nova and swinging '60s pop, Dots and Loops is a deceptively light, breezy album that floats by with effortless grace. Even the segmented, 20-minute "Refractions in the Plastic Pulse" has a sunny, appealing surface — it's only upon later listens that the interlocking melodies and rhythms reveal their intricate interplay. In many ways, Dots and Loops is Stereolab's greatest musical accomplishment to date, demonstrating remarkable skill — their interaction is closer to jazz than rock, exploring all of the possibilities of any melodic phrase. Their affection for '60s pop keeps Dots and Loops accessible, even though that doesn't mean it is as immediate as Emperor Tomato Ketchup. In fact, the laid-back stylings of Dots and Loops makes it a little difficult to assimilate upon first listen, but after a few repeated plays, its charms unfold as gracefully as any other Stereolab record.

Customer Reviews

Perfection

It cam out in 1997 and hasn't been touched by them, or by any other musician since. Popular hip hop artists, dj's, and people you wouldn't expect that would know about stereolab probably secretly listen to this album from time to time for inspiration. The layering of rhythms and melodies is so smooth and complex that it sounds easy, but trust me, it is NOT. Enough, enough, just buy it.

Their best

It may take a couple of listens to fully comprehend, but this album is pure genius. A huge leap from their last album (which was a large change in the first place), the arrangements and songwriting are miraculously and meticulously detailed, improved, progressive and even catchy. Thank goodness iTunes finally has it all! May not be the best place to start, but I do think it's their magnum opus.

Their Best Album?

This is the first album I heard by Stereolab and it's still my favorite, even after working my way through a half-dozen or so others. Why? The songs and arrangements are nothing short of stellar. The "Miss Modular" promo EP is also great, too bad it's not on the iTunes Store.

Biography

Formed: 1991 in London, England

Genre: Alternative

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

Combining an inclination for melodic '60s pop with an art rock aesthetic borrowed from Krautrock bands like Faust and Neu!, Stereolab were one of the most influential alternative bands of the '90s. Led by Tim Gane and Laetitia Sadier, Stereolab either legitimized forms of music that were on the fringe of rock, or brought attention to strands of pop music — bossa nova, lounge-pop, movie soundtracks — that were traditionally banished from the rock lineage. The group's trademark sound —...
Full Bio
Dots and Loops, Stereolab
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