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Plastiq Phantom :: Enjoy The Art Of Lying Down Review

CMJ New Music Monthly

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Out: January 30
File Under: Kitchen sink electronica
R.I.Y.L.: Plaid, Kid Spatula, Wagon Christ

Plastiq Phantom's version of chill-out music doesn't owe nearly as much to his European counterparts as you might think. While he's cited influence from notable IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) artists like Aphex Twin, Luke Vibert and u-Ziq, he pulls from less obvious sources on his debut album. In fact, for a callow 21-year-old Seattle-born DJ, Plastiq Phantom (a.k.a. Darrin Wiener) possesses a remarkably unique and unconventional style. Over the 17 tracks on Enjoy The Art Of Lying Down, it's apparent that he isn't so much interested in relaxing his audience as luring them in with pleasant melodies and then messing with their heads. But that's also part of Wiener's charm. On tracks like "Kicking Mister Bubbles," he updates Mike Oldfield's new-age anthem "Tubular Bells" before kicking his drum machine into hyper-syncopation mode. Shades of symphonic grandeur sprout up more than once, most notably on the piano and string-driven "Falling Through Windows" and the short Stravinsky tribute "The Fifth Season." By album's end, Wiener's sense is in full force on "Cultivated Oscillations," a collage of steel drum loops, Public Enemy samples, and snippets from a children's sex-education record that turns booty bass on its head.

-Kuri Kondrak