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Review: antennasia - Qus-cus

antennasia - qus-cus


It's been quite a long wait for this new antennasia album 'Qus-cus'. Sure, there was that remix-album of their 2006 album '23 Bluebird Street, Velo-city', which kept their fans happy for a while, but it's always a pleasure to hear new material from this Japanese duo. If you've followed antennasia over the past ten years, this new album holds few surprises. The evolution of their musical style, which was always quite apparent on their previous albums, as well as the experimentation that came along with that, has made place for refinement. There's a bit of everything from every antennasia album prior to 'Qus-cus'. Little snippets and sounds that sound familiar, which should make any fan feel right at home. Producer nerve even grabs back at their dub/trip-hop roots at one point and makes it work, without letting it sound dated. It nearly feels like a compilation album: 'The very best of antennasia', apart from the small, but rather significant fact that these are all new songs. Terribly well written and produced songs, zooming neatly along that high standard we've come to expect from antennasia. And at this point it has to be said that these songs are by no means entirely build on history, but it's clear this duo now know exactly where their strengths lie.

Well, familiarity is fine, but that doesn't count if you're new to antennasia. In that case you've got a very mature production in your hands, which oozes with experience. And what probably drew you to antennasia in the first place, was that incredible voice. The voice of san, which is prominently the main instrument in all these songs. On previous albums she was often the warmth that was added to cold electronics, but on 'Qus-cus' she blends into the already solid arrangements. I have to say that on some tracks her vocals are too much layered with effects, but perhaps that's a non-issue, as it's entirely in line with their musical style. It does make one anticipate on how great some of these songs would sound if they would be performed acoustically. None of the songs here rely on gimmicks or are dependant on any electronics that are used. Without those seductively crispy sounding synths, these songs would still stand as firm as a house. Although there were tracks like that on previous antennasia albums, this time it's in abundance and that is exactly what makes 'Qus-cus' such a great addition to your collection.

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