- I really wanted to make some kind of "Oh my god! White Rainbow all the way!" joke, but there's nothing bright, vivid or full-on about Sei A's latest outing. But then again, I'm a hack and Glasgow's Andy Graham isn't exactly known for enthusiastic soundscapes. White Rainbow, Graham's sophomore effort as Sei A (which apparently is pronounced "Say A," beeteedubs) shares much with his debut. List of apt hashtags: #sleekmelodichouse, #predatorypercussion, #retardedvocals.
Album highlight "Body of Eyes" comes late in the meal at track 12, cruising out of your phones with the right mix of loping beats, sneaky plucked strings and yearning pads. There's an austerity here that seems to rise above earlier nightclub fare; it's a frustrating brush with brilliance achingly missing from the rest of the record. Of course, there aren't any lame/nonsensical dance cliches moaned here by robodivas (or Graham himself). Hmmm, the best track on the record is also the one sans vox. Coincidence?
I hope I'm not being unfair. I had the same complaint about 2008's Editing Shadows on Missive. On White Rainbow for Turbo Recordings, moronic and monotone lyrics range from the pidgin doggerel ("See my eyes see your friend / Sweet lies no friend" [from "Sweet Lies"]) to the vague platitude ("Stand up tall through this and that," from "Flylo,") to the straight up dumb ("Which color represents you / Which color you most open to" and "Symbolized ocean waves of caution" from "Out of Reason.") If Sei A could find a caliber of vocal content and styling to match his instrumentals (as he does on "Meth II"), he'd have a bombshell of a record on his hands.
Some tracks are just tight: "Out of Reason" marries shades of dubstep to a pumping bassline in a cavern of pops, clicks and whirrs. "Sweet Lies" is a filthy coffee grinder of a track, all slithery booty bass and weird string breaks. Some tracks are iffy: "Audio Roots" is a go-nowhere chunk of tribal-ish drum loop running under some kind of ethnomusicology spoken-word goop. And "Flylo," despite its promising title, makes only the weakest attempt to tap into bombastic broken beats ala Flying Lotus.
Some are goofy: "Who Dares Wins" is a woozy tech house outing that's marred by Graham's whisper-sung halfassery. And some are profound: As mentioned, the record finishes on a high note with "Meth II," a rain-soaked slow jam with brushstrokes of classic Orbital. A wormy LFO-delayed bassline squirms at the end of a long, sweeping string section. Ghostly voices coalesce into a more songlike structure and the whole thing sounds like it's going to struggle to its feet to dance right before it (awesomely) collapses into the mist. "Oh my god, what does it mean?"
01. White Rainbow
02. Sweet Lies
03. Little One Song
06. Rebel Without a Cause
07. Audio Roots interlude
08. Who Dares Wins
09. Out of Reason
11. Little Star Interlude
12. Body Of Eyes
13. Meth II