October 8th, 2010 10:56am

Can Ambition Drive You Crazy?

Jumbling Towers “Ramifications Of An Exciting Spouse”

I like the way this song never lets you get a good idea of exactly what it is. It keeps mutating and shifting and adding all these musical elements that maybe shouldn’t add up. It’s like a person in a surprising outfit of mismatched items that work because they are good looking in a distinct sort of way. There’s a spot or two where the song threatens to fall off the rails — specifically the bit with the title phrase — but it snaps back into place and moves on to another oddball hook. This could do with a bit more finesse, but there is a great character to this music, and the catchy, interesting bits really do pile up.

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James Blake “Klavierwerke”

There’s a particular sound in this piece that really grabs me, and I can’t really describe it in musical terms. It’s the bit that sounds like someone being suddenly teleported somewhere against their will. It’s the part that sounds like R2-D2 unexpectedly running out of battery charge. It’s the noise that is like a little universe getting shrunk down to nothingness. Do you know what I mean? It’s ghostly and colorful and weird. The rest of the composition is like a frame for that one incredible sound.

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