Plaid Polymer

Plaid Polymer
8
In a recent interview with Exclaim!, Plaid's Ed Handley described their musical approach: "It's always a bit of a balancing act — that conflict of making things both simple and complex." Handley could easily be describing IDM as a whole, but it's a perfect summation of Plaid's entire career thus far. Satisfyingly simple and intriguingly complex has been their modus operandi since the early '90s, and those qualities are still at the forefront of the duo's tenth studio album, (14th, if we're counting collaborations and film score work).
 
On Polymer, you're never too far away from a nostalgic hook. "Maru," one of the album highlights, offers up sweet swaths of ambience and endearing digital chirps, while "The Pale Moth" shows a more whimsical side of the group that actually sounds like something from Yann Tiersen. Yet, for every track that sounds fancifully French, there's an edgier one lurking around the corner.
 
Polymer is their darkest record to date. It still sounds undeniably Plaid, but tracks like "Meds Fade" and "Recall," which sounds like barrage of error messages knocking on your front door, will have you reaching for the light switch. Now they can add ominous to their established repertoire of complex and simple. (Warp)