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Plastiq Phantom :: Enjoy The Art Of Lying Down Review


Plastiq Phantom/Enjoy the Art of Lying Down (Sweet Mother)

Dot-comer by day and electronic whiz by night, Seattle's Darrin Wiener (otherwise known as "qp") has made a name for himself as a local DJ, but Enjoy the Art of Lying Down is his first major statement. The title suggests an album for chillin', but this is somewhat misleading. In fact, one of the disc's striking traits is its lack of groove-based simmer -- the sound is more about shifting melodies and grandiose pomp than the sedate comfort of a pulse. Lying Down fits 17 tracks into just 58 minutes, reflecting an unusual stress on concise themes over sustained mood. Several cuts suggest a classical background, though Wiener's formal training is admittedly superficial. Still, it's hard to miss the stately, chamber-music ambience of "Slouch," "The Fifth Season," the canon-like "A Simple Chaos," and the almost too academic "Falling Through Windows."

Other pieces hint at Steve Reich's minimalist marimbas, while "492 Cups to China" and "Experimentations on Foreign Light" have a tangy Asian feel. Most surprising of all, the untitled bonus track is a hilarious novelty with exaggerated Latin beats, samples of Vangelis and Public Enemy, and public-service clips of children discussing sex.

Wiener's mix of clean melody lines and white-noise bursts becomes a bit predictable, but his focus on composition is refreshing in a realm where production tricks often rule the day.

--Eric Broome