Broken Gadget, what is wrong with these people? (self-released, 2001)
[originally posted 6Dec2001]
The first thing to be said about this disc is “don’t let the song titles throw you.” What you see is definitely not what you will get.
Broken Gadget’s music is an odd, interesting blend of rough beats (“Jackdaw”), minimal soundscape (“Thunk,” “Downtown Rat Waster”), and microtonal composition (“Cave Life”). The shifting moods between songs can jar a bit sometimes, but anyone who’s ever attempted to listen to a full album of microtone will tell you it’s good to have other things thrown into the mix now and again. The album fits together well after a second or third listen, once your mind has had a chance to let everything mesh into place.
The music itself is much calmer than I usually listen to, nothing in either exceptionally high or low registers; waves of midrange synth work that put one in mind of soundtracks from European minimal dramas. Ingmar Bergman would have had a field day with this. (One wonders if a copy sent to Wim Wenders wouldn’t be a good idea.) Very easy on the ears, lends itself quite well to background music. This one will get repeat listens. *** ½
“Downtown Rat Waster.”