Exposé Online banner

Elephants on Tape — Lightweights
(Kick the Flame, 2018, CD / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2018-05-22

Lightweights Cover art

One manifestation of the impact of modern technology in music is the kind of meticulous production used on most pop recordings, where you’ll find such things as kick drum sounds that are composites of seven different samples, bass guitar that is doubled by multiple synth parts and run through six different ProTools plugins, and other such digital manipulation. Another side can be found in a group like Liepzig’s Elephants on Tape, where live processing and modern trickery are integrated with real musicians playing real instruments into a seamless variety of art-pop that is eminently listenable and intelligent enough to satisfy both listeners and dancers. The overall sound is reminiscent of classic trip-hop like Morcheeba, Massive Attack, and so on, with smooth, easy grooves, breathy female vocals, and vaguely psychedelic production touches like echoes, backwards instruments, and the like. Each song maintains a stylistic consistency while having its own identity, with different keyboard tones, varying guitar sounds, a horn section, and mixtures of acoustic and electronic percussion. Sometimes there’s a bass guitar, sometimes the low end is handled by a synth. There’s a good mixture of tempos ranging from mellow chill-out (“Traffic Lights,” “Now I Understand”) to bouncy grooving (“Microscope,” “Somethingends”) and stages in between. Nearly all of the lead vocals are by Lisa Zwinzscher, who has an appealing and expressive voice that reminds me a little of Beth Orton, a little quirky in phrasing at times, but never sounding forced. This young band presents a vision of what pop music can be in today’s world if musicians can have the freedom to pursue their dreams independently of the mega-producer system. It is both organic and electronic, and the result is intensely human.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Elephants on Tape

More info
http://elephantsontape.bandcamp.com/album/lightweights

Latest news

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Bill Frisell - Ghost Town – Despite the fact that this disc is six years old, this all-solo album is a vital indicator in the Bill Frisell catalog. The guitarist’s penchant to merge Americana stylings with country and...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues