Plaid - Scintilli - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Plaid - Scintilli

by Rich Morris Rating:8 Release Date:2011-09-26

Finally returning to the IDM fray, electronica legends Plaid are back with Scintilli (Latin for 'I Am Many Sparks' apparently). There's been no ground-shaking rethink when it comes to their music; it's just great to have their otherworldly, delicately interlocking melodies and elastic, dappling beats back again. Effortlessly slipping back into their trademark sound (sort of 90s post-rave Autechre, mixing a hippy sensibility with a skewed, urban stoner view on the world), Plaid deliver one of their strongest sets with this album.

As before, there are touches of intricate folk guitar among the burbling synths, leading to fantastic moments such as 'Founded', which sounds like an English folk deconstruction of an early Prodigy tune. Opening track 'Missing', meanwhile, is gossamer chamber pop as remodelled by Wendy Carlos, it's disembodied, heavily-vocordered vocals very reminiscent of Carlos' score for A Clockwork Orange.

However, Scintilli is not all sweetness and light, and Plaid aren't afraid to move away from their folktronica template: 'Eye Robot', which follows 'Missing', is full of rough textures and creeping paranoia. Elsewhere, 'African Woods' ping-pongs about like a hyperactive gibbon, sounding very like an early Aphex Twin tune, while 'At Last' takes what sounds like a corrupted fairground organ parp and works it into a backdrop of slashing beats and twisting vocals. Perhaps best of all is 'Unbank', which lifts the immortal bassline of the Doctor Who theme, adds a repetitive guitar figure and turns it into the kind of globe-straddling, prog-synth opus Jean Michel Jarre would be proud of. It shouldn't work, but it's actually terrific fun, as is the album as a whole. It was probably a lot of fun to make too. Let's hope Plaid give as another before too long.

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