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

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the ago of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Canned Heat / John Lee Hooker - Hooker 'n' Heat, Historical Figures, Ancient Heads, & The New Age – If you don't dig the blues and you don't boogie, skip this review. Canned Heat's stock in trade was merging classic blues with rock, and in the late 60s nobody did it better, due in part...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues