Magda - From the Fallen Page

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  • Magda is first and foremost a DJ. Her documented mixes have been some of the best and least "minimal" minimal techno. 2006's excellent mix CD She's a Dancing Machine, while unquestionably a product of its time, still sounds fresh. She has a knack for splicing together other people's music in a way that makes it into her own. Given her obvious creativity, a debut artist album seems like a long time coming, particularly in the face of scant production output. Musically, From the Fallen Page unites her dance floor-sensibility with her long-standing fascination with horror and the macabre. (The influence of Italian horror composers like Goblin and any number of post-punk groups looms over the album.) But while that makes for an atypical Minus release, it's an album that doesn't quite know exactly what it wants to be. Magda's sets are so captivating because of their multi-faceted, interlocking rhythms; to listen to these strands separately can't help but feel slightly uninspiring in comparison. Page is She's a Dancing Machine with the bass beefed up and the innards scooped out completely. Often there's very little body to speak of. Aesthetically, these compositions are quite pleasing when Magda gets it right; she sets the bar high with the hard-grooving "Get Down Goblin," shaking itself into a fury with a grinding bass riff and splintered percussive flurry. Not much else shares the same drive or focus, though: "Your Love Attack" takes forever to get going, and when it does, the drums feel sloppily pasted-on and never quite gel—a repeated problem that occasionally pulls the album down into a monochrome muck. "Breakout" establishes a nicely chugging groove but the synths feel out of place and incongruous with the music, and "Lost in Time" never feels like it does much of anything despite its barrage of animated sounds. There are promising moments littered all over Page. Sometimes they manifest themselves as entire tracks—the haunted piano house of "Doom Disco," and the satisfyingly heavy "Distance to Nowhere"—but most of the time they're just that, moments. Magda sets her vision too wide, and while her textures are often fascinating (the album has a hermetically-sealed, late '70s kind of sound, particularly in its ropy bass), she doesn't quite fill the void. Page is an intriguingly experimental album at its core, but it spends too much time trying everything at once—disco, house, techno—and ends up being not much at all. These are tracks that would sound great blended together in a mix by someone like, you guessed it, Magda; you can even hear "Your Love Attack" at work on her Fabric CD, given new life by the interwoven beats of other producers. But on their own, Magda's tracks are simply missing something, and From the Fallen Page is a textbook example of a debut from an artist with more to say than she knows how to properly express.
  • Tracklist
      01. Get Down Goblin 02. Your Love Attack 03. Breakout 04. Entertainment 05. Lost in Time 06. Little Bad Habits 07. Doom Disco 08. Music Box 09. Distance to Nowhere 10. Japan