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P-Brane EP

P-Brane EP
(Warp Records)

It was with their release of Double Figure last year that I finally really got into Plaid. Although I had and enjoyed nearly everything they'd released up until that point, with each release containing particular joys, I felt like they'd finally put together that rare cohesive album that I knew they could. Following quick on the heels of that popular disc, they're back again with just over 20 minutes of new music that continues much in the similar vein as their previous full-length. In addition to the four tracks, the disc also has a super duper high-quality quicktime version of the video for the track "Eyen" from their last disc. Watching it on a big monitor is a must.

If one thing is slightly different about the group on P-Brane, it's that they seem to be focusing a bit more on the rhythm than the melody this time around. While they've always been good at churning out toe-tapping beats and backing, it was their simple, yet hummable melodies that usually held tracks together. On the four tracks on this release, the group experiments even more with clickety clangy rhythm work and more minimal melodies.

Opening with "Coat," the track rumbles along with serious low end while garbled insect chatter sounding noises skim across the surface. Despite the lovely last few moments, the majority of the melody in the track is comprised of soft, warm drones. "Diddymousedid" stutters along with a stacatto melody and rhythm which works quite well, while "Stills" wanders around aimlessly for the first half before locking into a cutup pitter patter, drum and bass lite ending with swooping synths.

"Mfaus" takes it's time getting going as well, but once it starts rolling, there's no stopping as percussive elements layer on top of one another and four-note melodies overlap. By the end of the track, it's clanging along so loudly that you might even wonder who you were listening to if you happened to hear it first (it resembles early Aphex Twin work under the Caustic Window pseudonym). With that bit of jamshred acting as the final moments of the EP, it makes me wonder what the heck they're going to do next, but if they can keep the streak alive I know I'll be interested.

Rating: 7.25