|Arcade Fire — Reflektor (3CD Edition) (October 28, 2013/2015)|
Arcade Fire — Reflektor (3CD Edition) (October 28, 2013/2015) ≈≡°≡≈ Zběsilá instrumentální argumentace, účast jednoho z prvních & největších fanoušků Arcade Fire a způsob, jakým Butler a Chassagne zpívají, činí z tohoto alba masterpiece kapely. Ani toto nebe jim však nebude stačit. Album získalo 9x #1 a 14x #TOP 10 celosvětově. V Kanadě 3x Platinum (240.000), ve Francii Gold (50.000) a totéž v UK (100.000) v oblasti sales/shipments. Dále je na albu česká stopa (FILMharmonic Orchestra Prague), účast takových jmen jako Owen Pallett a David Bowie. Těžko bych našel slabší píseň, žádné buchty ani vraždy tady nejsou. Pouze samé svině, což v mém žargonu znamená vrchol singer–songwriterství. © Credit: Guy Aroch
Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Album release: October 28, 2013
Recording: in Louisiana, 2011, Jamaica
Record Label: Merge / Barclay
Duration: 36:19 + 39:02 + 26:50 => 102:11
01 Reflektor 7:34
02 We Exist 5:44
03 Flashbulb Eyes 2:42
04 Here Comes The Night Time 6:31
05 Normal Person 4:22
06 You Already Know 3:59
07 Joan Of Arc 5:27
01 Here Comes The Night Time II 2:52
02 Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice) 6:14
03 It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus) 6:43
04 Porno 6:03
05 Afterlife 5:53
06 Supersymmetry 11:17
01 Apocrypha 5:18
02 Women Of A Certain Age 3:16
03 Flashbulb Eyes (Dennis Bovell Remix) 2:49
04 Soft Power 5:43
05 Get Right 4:41
06 Crucified Again 5:03
•−• Win Butler — lead vocals, rhythm guitar, electric bass, piano, synthesizers, banjo & mandolin
•−• Régine Chassagne — lead & backing vocals, synthesizers, piano, accordion, xylophone, hurdy−gurdy, drums, recorders & percussion
•−• Richard Reed Parry — rhythm and lead guitars, piano, synthesizers, organ, xylophone, accordion, electric & upright bass, celeste, drums, backing vocals & percussion
•−• Tim Kingsbury — rhythm guitar, electric and upright bass, piano, synthesizers & backing vocals
•−• Will Butler — rhythm guitar, electric and upright bass, synthesizers, piano, sitar, trombone, clarinet, panpipes, glockenspiel, musical saw, omnichord, concertina, backing vocals, percussion & gadulka
•−• Jeremy Gara — drums, rhythm guitar, piano, synthesizers & percussion
•−• Sarah Neufeld — strings, orchestral arr., backing vocals, vocals, synthesizers, piano
•−• Owen Pallett — orchestral arrangements, strings, piano
•−• Marika Anthony−Shaw — strings
•−• FILMharmonic Orchestra Prague — orchestra
•−• Colin Stetson — horn arrangements, saxophones
•−• Stuart Bogie — saxophones
•−• Willinson Duprate — additional percussion
•−• Verrieux Zile — additional percussion
•−• Baptiste Jean Nazaire — additional percussion
•−• Wilkenson Magloire — additional percussion
•−• Dieuveut Marc Thelus — additional percussion
•−• Wichemond Thelus — additional percussion
•−• Joey Lavoie — guitar, keyboard
•−• Rob Gill — guitar, bongos
•−• Kid Koala — sample manipulation (1.1)
•−• David Bowie — vocals (1.1)
•−• Jonathan Ross — vocal sample (1.6)
•−• Arcade Fire — production, mixing (1.3 and 2.1)
•−• James Murphy — production (except tracks 1.3 and 2.1), additional recording, mixing (2.2 and 2.6)
•−• Markus Dravs — production (except tracks 1.3, 2.1, 2.3, 2.4 and 2.6), additional recording
•−• Mark Lawson — recording, additional production (1.1, 1.3 and 1.4)
•−• Korey Richey — recording, mixing assistant
•−• Tom Elmhirst — additional recording, mixing (1.1, 1.2, 1.4, 1.7, 2.3 and 2.5)
•−• Damian Taylor — additional recording
•−• Pascal Shefteshy — additional recording
•−• David Farrell — recording assistant
•−• Eric Heigle — recording assistant
•−• Craig Silvey — mixing (1.2, 1.5, 1.6 and 2.4)
•−• Mark Lawson — mixing (1.3 and 2.1)
•−• Matt Shaw — mixing assistant
•−• Ben Baptie — mixing assistant
•−• Joe Visciano — mixing assistant
•−• Eduardo de la Paz — mixing assistant
•−• Ted Jensen — masteringArtwork:
•−• Caroline Robert — album artwork, photography
•−• Korey Richey — photography
•−• The album’s artwork features an image of Auguste Rodin’s sculpture of Orpheus and Eurydice.
•−• Consequence of Sound 7 Top 50 Albums of 2013
•−• Drowned in Sound 5 Drowned in Sound's Favorite Albums of 2013
•−• Gazeta Wyborcza 1 10 Best Foreign Albums of 2013
•−• The Line of Best Fit 15 Best Fit Fifty: Albums of 2013
•−• NME 7 50 Best Records of 2013
•−• Rolling Stone 5 50 Best Albums of 2013
•−• Stereogum 10 The 50 Best Albums of 2013
•−• Pitchfork Media 10 Top 50 Albums of 2013
≡°≡ The album was recognized as one of The 100 Best Albums of the Decade So Far, a list published by Pitchfork Media in August 2014.
≡°≡ Arcade Fire will accompany their upcoming documentary The Reflektor Tapes with an actual cassette soundtrack featuring six unreleased songs from that 2013 LP's session. The Reflektor Tapes limited edition cassette, which will ship around October 16th, features six non−LP tracks, including the gospel−influenced "Get Right" and a remix of Reflektor’s "Flashbulb Eyes" by dub practitioner Dennis Bovell and Jamaican poet Linton Kwesi Johnson. The cassette, as well as a limited edition "Get Right" seven−inch vinyl backed by "Crucified Again," is available to pre−order now at Arcade Fire’s official site. The Reflektor Tapes’ contents will be delivered digitally on September 25th, the same day a deluxe digital edition of Reflektor boasting all six unreleased songs will be arrive. "Get Right" and "Crucified Again" are streaming now over at Tidal, where Arcade Fire are co−owners (despite the "poorly managed launch").REVIEW
By Lindsay Zoladz; October 28, 2013; Score: 9.2
≡°≡ It’s likely that the first time you heard the Arcade Fire’s monstrously anticipated fourth album Reflektor, you were — to borrow a phrase that Win Butler spits out like a bite of bad food during the record’s disco−noir title track — "staring at a screen." This past Thursday, the band posted to Youtube an 85−minute video which cued up the entirety of the double−album to visuals from Marcel Camus’ kaleidoscopic 1959 film Black Orpheus. If something that happens on the internet can be considered An Event, then this certainly was one; in the same moment I saw the band's official tweet announcing it, two people simultaneously instant−messaged me the link. It was late afternoon on the East Coast, lunchtime on the West, and in that moment I did exactly what thousands of other people in those and all other time zones did: Stopped what I was doing, closed some extraneous tabs and programs, and listened. The auto−updating comments became a chronicle of knee−jerk first impressions: fervent gushing ("The bassline on 'Joan of Arc' is fucking epic"), groan−worthy puns ("I can't even reflect how excited this makes me!"), and egregious misspellings ("I don't understand what all the fuzz is about"). This scene would have seemed bizarre — and likely a little sad — to us decades ago, and it's frightening to imagine how quaint it will seem in the future. But this is how a lot of people at this moment in time — the one in which Reflektor was made, and the one it distrustfully interrogates — discover new music: Alone; together.
≡°≡ All four of the Montreal−based band’s albums have been about the tension between those two words, taking up subjects like suburban isolation and the false community of religiosity, but Reflektor is larger, at least in scope, than anything Arcade Fire have done before. Of course, the stakes have been raised considerably since we've last heard from them: Their previous album, The Suburbs, was the unexpected winner of the Grammy for 2011's Album of the Year. And yet, no one involved in this record sounds to be resting on the laurels of their achievements — that includes producer and LCD Soundsystem retiree James Murphy. Reflektor is a triumph, but not a victory lap; the band never sounds content enough for that.
≡°≡ This is instead an anxious, occasionally downright paranoid album that asks big, barbed questions aimed not just at the man who may or may not be upstairs, but the more terrestrial gods of rock history, too. With either Ziggy Stardust, the Fly, or maybe that first guy who played Daft Punk to the rock kids as their guide, Arcade Fire have spiked their usual clenched−fist earnestness with a small but welcome pinch of irony — and this is what makes it feel vital in a way that a lot of recent guitar−based music is not. "Do you like rock'n'roll music?" Butler asks in a mock−Elvis shudder at the beginning of glam−rock earthquake "Normal Person". "Cuz I don’t know if I do…" The only way to make a Big Rock Record in 2013 is to make one that is skeptical of what it means to be a Big Rock Record in 2013.
≡°≡ On their last tour, the Arcade Fire played for the first time in Haiti, the country where vocalist/multi−instrumentalist Régine Chassagne’s parents were born. Their time there served as the inspiration for Reflektor; Butler spoke recently about the experience of playing for audiences who'd never heard many of the classic rock groups we take for granted, and instead “connecting to people on a purely rhythmic, musical level…completely stripped of context.” You can hear the Caribbean influence in Reflektor’s emphasis on kinetic rhythms and deep grooves, but also in its somewhat irreverent attitude towards Anglo rock history. Reflektor is at once nostalgic for — its sense of sprawl feels like a throwback to the heyday of AOR — and iconoclastic about the past. It sounds like it has ingested a bunch of the great art−rock records you're "supposed" to learn to appreciate in your formative listening years — Low, Remain in Light, Exile on Main Street, The White Album, Here Come the Warm Jets — and thrown them into the fire, in an attempt to make new shapes from the smoke.
≡°≡ Reflektor’s sound is lush and imaginative, but never in a way that suffocates you with the fumes of its polish. It's limber and loose, as though the songs were performed live; the arrangements breathe, seethe, and sweat. As their detractors will be quick to point out, Arcade Fire’s greatest crime in the past has been sometimes coming off too stately and self–serious (The Suburbs in particular had a buttoned−up quality that failed to capture the frenzied energy of their live shows), but on the first half of Reflektor they often feel like they’re deflating their own sense of grandeur. It’s nice to hear a band that showed up on the scene quite literally dressed for a funeral now sounding like they’re having (at least a little) fun.
≡°≡ Goofy asides, unexpected left−turns, and tiny imperfections bring these songs to life: Check the odd, muttered phrases scattered throughout the intros, the parts on "Normal Person" when Tim Kingsbury’s high E string seems to get clipped by the fretboard, or, maybe most thrillingly, the tempo fake−outs in "Here Comes the Night Time". That song, one of the album’s best, begins with a celebratory Carnival beat, but then — the sonic equivalent to the tricks they’ve been playing in recent concerts and TV performances — suddenly switches to a slower, dub−inflected pace. There’s a charming scrappiness to that moment as the band reorients to the rhythm, like a marching band suddenly realizing they're going the wrong way and trying, calamitously, to turn around.
≡°≡ There's always been a physicality about the Arcade Fire’s sound — we’re talking, after all, about a band whose members used to find it necessary to wear helmets on stage — but the rhythm section has never popped on one of their albums the way it does here. That emphasis has Murphy’s stamp all over it (Butler says they all learned an important lesson early in the recording: "If you can get James tapping his foot, you know you're on the right track"), and so do the punched−up backing vocals. This is the first Arcade Fire album on which Chassagne doesn't sing lead, but her crisp, smartly arranged harmonies on songs like "Reflektor", "It's Never Over (Oh Orpheus)", and "Joan of Arc" make her a major presence. (Same goes for Colin Stetson, who did the album’s horn arrangements and whose uneasy bass sax is the title track's secret weapon.) Even Reflektor's most straightforward pop songs like "Joan of Arc" and "We Exist" are fractured and haunted, reminiscent of the way Achtung Baby summoned the ghosts that had always been dormant in U2. When people talk about Murphy's production on Reflektor, the Eno comparisons will be obvious, unavoidable, and earned.
≡°≡ Reflektor unfolds over two discs, and which you prefer will depend on how many packets of earnest magnificence you take in your Arcade Fire. Disc 1 is raw and grounded; Disc 2 is airier, more cosmic, and a little less self−aware. The record's most divisive song is the second half's centerpiece, "Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)", which — Julie Taymor style — aims to be nothing less than all the Beatles songs at once ("Hey Jude" and "Revolution 9" included). It inevitably falls short, but it's hard not to admire the effort. Lyrically if not sonically, the album's weakest link is the slinky "Porno", whose heavy−handed lyrics ("Take the make−up off your eyes…Little boys with their porno/ They don't know what we know") feel a bit too much like bleeding−heart teenage poetry. And yet, even if the shoulda−been−B−side "Porno" feels like a lapse in judgment, it springs from the same source that helps the band continue to be so vital. Arcade Fire are eternal, defiantly emotive teenagers, and that's what kept them sounding like genuine underdogs even as they've become one of the biggest bands in the world. Nearly a decade after Funeral, Butler still sings like everything is at stake. For this band, growing up has not meant cooling the flames so much as beckoning them higher. The figures at the center of the Side 2 suite of "Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice)" and the wonderfully Cocteau−glacial "It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus)" are not the Springsteenian everypeople of Funeral and Neon Bible, but instead the star–crossed lovers in a Greek myth.
≡°≡ And yet, even on Disc 2 it's hard to shake the feeling that Orpheus and Eurydice are just the B−plot; the great love story on Reflektor is the one between music and listener. With its clipped snippets of airwave chatter (the BBC’s Jonathan Ross makes a cameo), warped VHS hum, and retro−luminosity that nods to a time when synthesizers connoted un−jaded wonder and revelation, Reflektor is designed to be an homage to the many ways music is transmitted, discovered, and incorporated into people’s lives. Chassagne has said that her earliest and most stirring musical memories were “listening to [her] neighbor's music, the sounds coming through the walls” and then trying to replicate them on piano; in the same interview, the Texas−born Butler spoke similarly about U2’s (much maligned) Pop Mart tour. Reflektor’s scope is vast enough that it speaks to both of these experiences — and to our own. In the end, it doesn’t feel like a critique of this screen−glazed moment so much as a validation of it. They’ve given us something in the present tense that, these days, feels depressingly unfashionable: An Event — an album that dares to be great, and remarkably succeeds.
BY DAVID FRICKE September 27, 2013; Score: ****½
|Arcade Fire — Reflektor (3CD Edition) (October 28, 2013/2015)|