CD, Crunch Pod, 2006
Tony Young’s debut album “You Are My All and More” was one of 2005’s most interesting releases, fusing heart-breaking melodies with broken beat, IDM rhythms to create music that was, at its best, as complex as it was captivating. It wasn’t perfect – some of the songs just meandered along, sometimes the melodies and beats jarred – but it was damn good.
This, to go all Spinal Tap, is the best parts of the debut turned up to 11.
The sound is essentially the same – elements of IDM and chilled rhythmic industrial thrown against an expanded legion of sad, synthesised sounds – but the song-writing and sound-layering on this release is leagues ahead. From the aching piano of “By My Own Admission” and the airy “Obligatory Interlude pt1” to the spellbinding “Small Days” and the urgent escalating strings of “This Is Untitled”, the album is a ride from song to song, taking the listener up and down but never letting go.
Of the ten original tracks on offer here, the only mis-step is “Miags”, a collaboration with spoken word artist It-Clings and Pneumatic Detach. The music bubbles in the background but mostly provides a backdrop for the vocal which is just a fairly tedious rant about being a misanthrope. Remember the “rants” on V.A.C.’s “Twisted Thought Generator”? Yeah…
“Miags” aside, the album just oozes atmosphere and emotion from every note. Album closer, “We All Have a Window” is a lush composition of strings, synth pads and gentle piano. It recalls the best of the 4AD vibe, hanging in the air like the saddest aural painting – a song to crawl inside.
This leads to four remixes by Stendeck, Detritus, Displacer and, most surprisingly from a musical point-of-view, Unter Null.
That said, Unter Null’s Ritual mix of “By My Own Admission” is a stunning, mature piece of work that captures the best of the original and brings plenty more to the table. It’s hypnotic, driving and irresistible, setting the bar very high for the other remixers.
Stendeck’s mix is pleasant enough and will hopefully introduce more listeners to this Swiss artist though it pales in comparison to his solo work. Detritus and Displacer’s mixes are both interesting bits of ear-candy, successfully fusing their trademark sounds with Autoclav1.1’s but ultimately the similarities between these artists mean the remixes add little to the originals. Nice to have, but unnecessary on the whole.
Final verdict: this is fantastic album and one of the best of 2006 – stop reading this, go buy it.
— Christopher Fry