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

2019-11-07
Glenn Smith RIP – Glenn Smith, founder, mandolinist, and primary composer of the DeLand, Florida based prog / fusion band Magnatar, passed away on October 18th 2019 at the age of 68, after a brief illness.  » Read more

2019-11-04
Dino Brassea RIP – Word reaches us of the passing of Dino Brassea, who sang and played flute in Cast for many years. By our count, Brassea appeared on 11 Cast albums between 1994 and 2002. He also released music as a solo artist. » Read more

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

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


Previously in Exposé...

Andy Summers - The Last Dance of Mr. X – What's this? Former Police-man Andy Summers fronting what is essentially a power trio? And with a backing band consisting of monster bassist Tony Levin and Gregg Bissonette on drums? Perhaps the...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues