|AM & Shawn Lee ↔ La Musique Numérique (2013)|
AM & Shawn Lee ↔ La Musique Numérique
Location: London/Los Angeles
Album release: May 7, 2013
Record Label: PARK THE VAN/AM Sounds
01. Two Times (3:46)
02. All the Love (3:49)
03. Good Blood (3:01)
04. Suffer Like Me (2:54)
05. Replay (4:08)
06. In the Aftermath (4:20)
07. Automatic (3:15)
08. Special Disco (2:53)
09. Iron Leaf (3:13)
10. Louna (2:57)
11. Come Back to Me (4:10)
12. Steppin' Out (4:25)
13. Two Times (Instrumental) (3:47)
14. All the Love (Instrumental) (3:51)
15. Good Blood (Instrumental) (3:04)
16. Suffer Like Me (Instrumental) (2:55)
17. Replay (Instrumental) (4:13)
18. In the Aftermath (Instrumental) (4:23)
19. Automatic (Instrumental) (3:20)
20. Special Disco (Instrumental) (2:57)
21. Iron Leaf (Instrumental) (3:18)
22. Louna (Instrumental) (2:57)
23. Come Back to Me (Instrumental) (4:11)
24. Steppin' Out (Instrumental) (4:25)
¦ AM Composer, Producer
¦ AM & Shawn Lee Primary Artist
¦ Alfonso Carillo Sequencing
¦ Pierre Duplan Engineer, Mixing
¦ Brad Gordon Engineer
¦ George Horn Mastering
¦ David Ian Jackson Composer
¦ Shawn Lee Composer, Mixing, Producer
¦ Gerald Petit Cover Art
¦ Corey Watson Layout
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Ξ La Musique Numérique (French for Digital Music) is the second full–length record from Los Angeles/ London electro soul, retro–futurists AM & Shawn Lee being released April 2, 2013 (Park The Van Records (USA). LA Weekly, San Francisco Guardian, and the Seattle Weekly have lauded as and one of the ""best live bands of the year".
Ξ Let us welcome you to the latest sun–filled, space funk masterwork by AM & Shawn Lee: La Musique Numérique. The 2nd LP (following 2011's much heralded debut album Celestial Electric) sees the duo expanding their influences while simultaneously refining their sound. La Musique Numerique tightens up the production, blending early digital technology with decade blurring songwriting which transports listeners deeper into the sonic crates from which the music was born.
Ξ Album lead off "Two Times" introduces the album perfectly with a tip of the hat to Sleng Teng Riddim's technological origin: the Casio MT–40 keyboard. What follows is a pulsating sex groove complete with unexpected synth jabs and smooth soulful vocals: a space capsule where Curtis Mayfield and Sly & Robbie play the host. The album finales with an ambitious and successful rendition of Joe Jackson's 1982 hit "Steppin' Out", a version that sees the new wave classic taken deeper into the cosmos.
Ξ La Musique Numérique's interstellar journey takes you in and out of faded memories of disco, funk, soul and reggae but never sets foot on any of these planets; never colonizes one style. It's not a secret the duo dig deep into obscure musical wells gaining approval from other like minded vinyl obsessives and vintage Sound Library revivalists. However these out–sound influences aren't plugged into a computer program and spit out through modern day micro technology. The instruments are played, the vocals are sung and the songs are written, proving an even stronger connection to the past. AM & Shawn Lee proove how music is still a very physical process, something that has become apparent with the duo's growing live fan base.
Review by Matt Collar (Editor rating: ★★★★½)
Ξ The follow–up to AM & Shawn Lee's superb 2011 debut, Celestial Electric, 2013's La Musique Numerique features more of the band's dance–oriented mix of electronic and organic pop music. Lee, a longtime electronic and percussion experimentalist, and AM, a singer/songwriter in the classic soft pop tradition of Paul Williams, are an unlikely duo. However, as Celestial Electric proved, the pairing works, and together they have a knack for crafting evocative mini–masterpieces that benefit from their combined divergent skills and eclectic musical tastes. Whereas last time they focused on a vintage psychedelic aesthetic that touched upon Brazilian Tropicalia, '70s soft rock, and '60s sunshine pop, here they delve into an analog synth sound that touches upon disco, new wave, post–punk, and dub reggae. While that means more of an angular, somewhat robotic approach than the organic vibe of Celestial Electric, there are still plenty of catchy, melodic hooks here. In many ways, the album brings to mind the Moog synthesizer sounds of such early electronic innovators as Giorgio Moroder, Laurie Spiegel, and Kraftwerk, as well as the work of such contemporary and similarly synth–centric bands like Air and Phoenix. Sticking with the group's tradition of covering at least one pop song by another artist (last time it was Ozark Mountain Daredevils' 1974 hit "Jackie Blue"), here, AM & Shawn Lee deliver an inspired reworking of Joe Jackson's 1982 classic "Steppin' Out" — which is impressive, considering the original was an innovative example of early electronic programming in its own right. Elsewhere, tracks like "Two Times," "Good Blood," and "Suffer Like Me" are lightly funky, dance–club ready numbers with enough pixilated LED light atmosphere to seep deep into your brain if they don't find you on the dancefloor. Ξ While AM & Shawn Lee are clearly taking inspiration from past musical styles, La Musique Numerique never feels anything but fresh. (www.allmusic.com)
Ξ The latest album by disco–influenced AM & Shawn Lee titled ‘La Musique Numérique’ indulges in many typical disco and electronica song–writing elements whilst offering it in an incredibly refreshing and enjoyable way. Their latest album draws influence from a variety of different styles which results in an incredibly creative and enjoyable album. There’s simply a lot going on in this album, with some brilliant and groovy instrumentals pushing every track along at varying rates. There’s a fair few songs that stand out brilliantly, whilst others seem to just lag behind just that little bit. Ξ It’s fairly diverse at times, with many elements coming into play, yet it seems others aren’t picking up the pace as well as other elements, which seem to really work well for AM & Shawn Lee.
Ξ On ‘Le Musique Numérique’, AM & Shawn Lee present what could be described as conventional electronica disco–tracks, filled to the brim with pumping bass and keyboard effects that navigate the songs with wonderful depth. On top of a somewhat conventional style though, AM & Shawn Lee seem to also combine various other elements into the music, drawing influences not just from disco, but also from funk and soul. Everything is mixed up together to create an album full of versatility and creativity. It’s simply enjoyable music, with there being many elements to get people pumped up and moving. The music on the album never seems to be in the listener’s face, and instead just pumps around at a somewhat lower level, which simply keeps things comfortable, and fun.
Ξ AM & Shawn Lee are clearly capable musicians, with a lot of creativity that is present on their album. As with most albums though, it seems that only a handful of the ideas really work, and others seem to fall flat in comparison. The main flaw with ‘La Musique Numérique’ seems to be the fact that as the album progresses along, it becomes a little more lackluster every time. The album starts off brilliantly, with a tremendous amount of energy ringing out with the very first track. It’s therefore disappointing when most of the following tracks seem to fail to deliver such energy and enthusiasm as the first few tracks. There’s a few tracks on the album that do manage to achieve the same energy as the album’s opener, but the majority seems to be somewhat disappointing.
Ξ AM & Shawn Lee’s latest album ‘La Musiquie Numérique’ certainly delivers some brilliant disco–themed fun in a few of the tracks, but as far as full–album experiences go, it’s a little daunting after a while. There’s some fantastic tracks that fuse together a wonderful medley of genres, which create a brilliant dance experience. It’s here where AM & Shawn Lee’s talents truly lie, in their ability to create some tracks that just sound brilliant, which just drive along at a great level, without every becoming overbearing. If their latest album was filled with a few more tracks of this caliber, then perhaps it could be described as a great album. For now, it is simply a good album with a fair few flaws. Album Rating: ■ ★★★☆☆ 3/5
|AM & Shawn Lee ↔ La Musique Numérique (2013)|