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Sybarite Placement Issues Review

Compilation. Released 30 October 2001.  

BBC Review a live band jamming over a laptop that’s been kicked around too much, its...

Olli Siebelt 2002

Judging by the amount of releases were getting in here every week, it seems that the world of contemporary laptop electronica is getting to be a pretty crowded place these days. As such, its getting progressively more difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. Luckily, there are labels like Temporary Residence who make our lives a little bit easier by putting out the kind of releases that make you sit up in your chair and take notice from the minute you hit the play button.

Sybarite's Placement Issues is exactly that kind of record. Having released several tasty singles on labels such as Emanate and Static Caravan, Xian Hawkins (a former member of psychedelic electronic outfit Silver Apples) has been delving deep into moody cut and paste electronica for about three years now, and this album is a collection of previously released and generally hard to find singles. Although some of these were released as far back as 1999, they sounds as fresh and up to date as any out this week. Taking his cue from people like Isan and Fridge, Hawkins has constructed a fabulous world in which traditional rock elements and modern electronica are thrown into the laptop blender to emerge as a tasty cocktail, going down smoothly but with just enough bite to keep it interesting over repeated listens.

Hawkins manages to keep his live elements perfectly in sync with the loops scattered around each track, no matter how complex it all gets. The results are fantastic - kind of like a live band jamming over a laptop thats been kicked around too much, its hard disc glitching every time a new track or bassline comes in. Especially lovely are the multi-layered rhythms of "Second Cities" and "Unforced Force Of The Truth", which reminds one a lot of Telefon Tel Aviv or Sea and Cake. Hawkins has a deep love of melody and refuses to let it slide to the background, no matter how dissonant the surrounding mix gets. We like that. We like that a lot.

Having just signed to 4AD, we're expecting great things from Hawkins in the near future. Go out, get this now and say you were there before everyone else. A winner in every respect.

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