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Mount Florida
Arrived Phoenix

I think that last year, I realized that I was starting to listen to less electronic music than I had been since I discovered it way back in late high-school. It wasn't because there wasn't good stuff coming out (I'm sure if I peeled back the layers enough, I would find tons more stuff that I enjoyed), but simply because I found myself going in different directions in terms of what tickled my ears. Several of the electronic releases that I did hear and like (one of them being Transition by Sad Rockets) blended elements of both live instrumentation and more traditional electronic music together in a way that wound me in and begged for repeated listening.

Although I'd read a little bit about Mount Florido prior to the release of this, their debut full-length (after a series of EPs), I was pretty surprised upon first listen just how interesting the group was. A duo comprised of M.P. Lancaster and Twitch (with a long combined history of DJing, sound installations, and even sountracks), the group not only manages to work that nice hybrid feel on several tracks, but they also stir up a whole other batch of tracks that spans several genre's while at some points conjuring up work by the Orb, while at others sounding a bit like Fridge or This Mortal Coil. They do the electronic music thing, but they also have musicians come in and play on a bunch of different tracks, and they're not even afraid to have vocals on tracks (and more importantly manage to pull it off quite well).

The album begins and ends with short bookend tracks that help to respectively fade the disc in and out. The album actually starts out in earnest on the rumbling low end and tripped-out samples of "Space.echoes." It's sort of a stuttering, rumbling track, punctuated by little bursts of radio frequency haywire, but the ethereal vocals offset everything nicely and it ends up fitting it's name quite nicely. On the track "Ultimo," the group brings more drifting female vocals into it, but they also entroduce some nicely tweaked guitar and bass parts and a sliding beat. After the somewhat less effective "Jamaican Street" (which still manages to work a nice dub groove), the group comes back with the one-two punch of the almost electronic jam tracks of "Celebration" and "Yo La Kinski." While the first one features some nice bass work and an excellent gradual build, the latter is a weird, orchestral touched track with semi-creepy vocals that eventually turns into a rumbling kraut freakout.

As if that weren't enough, the next track "Postal" sounds like something from Couch's Fantasy on an amped-up day while "Don't Do DaDa" is a spooky little stripped-down track with an eerie keyboard drone and muffled vocals. It's the final two tracks (before the outro) that are some of my favorite of the release, though. "Static Airwaves" is stripped down to string instruments and radio blips while a British fellow reads the words of Noam Chomsky (a particularly depressing part of his "Manufacturing Consent" documentary). That track mixes directly into more stringed instrument backing and sound samples of a lonely bell that fall in behind whispered vocals on "Radio Ocean." It's one of the prettiest sounding tracks I've heard this year or last.

After the final minute and a half closing track (that sounds like a symphony warming up underwater), the disc is over and you're left with a 60 minute release that starts on the more beat-heavy side of things before morphing into an altogether different beast in the middle (with plenty of guitars mingling in with the bleeps and bloops) before closing out with stripped-down beauty. Kind of a strange trip, for sure, but once that's worth it to take. Hopefully these fellows are prolific as well.

Rating: 7.75