steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


"Four Track Improvisations" CD

Defekt Records

Genres: videogame, lo-fi electronic, experimental

Dec 6 - 12 2004

A few years ago, a band named Oh No The Modulator emerged from the Toronto underground.  They got airplay on Brave New Waves, the premier Canadian radio show for "alternative" and "challenging" music (playing everything from Apples In Stereo to Farmers Manual), and turned up at a number of local venues.  All of their music was composed on an ancient Apple computer, and each song was short, simple, and unapologetically bleepy.  I still have their Semi-Formalizer album in my collection, and consider it one of my most prized musical artifacts.

Adi Gelbart (or just Gelbart) follows in the same vein as Oh No, using keyboards, drum machines, and guitars instead of outdated computers - except he does it better.  These songs are short, catchy slices of videogame-calibre electro, combining pop and jazz themes.  They are recorded directly to four-track, lending them a personal, full sound.  Despite their often simplistic nature, the majority of these thirty-two songs are surprisingly listenable - the various elements of each track combine to create a very complete atmosphere.  The songs often have a lounge-based nature (Tracks 4 and 24), while others are more pop-oriented (Tracks 1 and 11).  Track 15 could be the album's best moment - it's a doodly pop song with a really nice melody, accentuated by a solid guitar part.  Renditions of Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady," Thelonius Monk's "Ask Me Now," and Charlie Parker's "Little Suede Shoes" round out the 32-track album; each cover song is done extraordinarily well, in a neat futuristic lounge style.

Four Track Improvisations is a surprisingly satisfying album.  Despite its unusual style and erratic nature (thirty-two songs in forty-two minutes!), it is extremely listenable and consistently entertaining.  If you keep an open mind, this could end up as one of your most treasured possessions.  Track it down.  


Fun Fact: Gelbart's Four Track Improvisations is the first album Indieville has ever received from Israel.

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 32 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2003]