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Caribou, Our Love

12-16-2014 | By Michael Mercer | Issue 76

Caribou Our Love

Some records, I find, are best described as a sonic journey, a whole, rather than dissecting each track (though, admittedly, I'll be doing some of that), as Caribous' Our Love rarely got stopped while playing on any system I cranked it on! Now, the challenge here, is going to be describing the wonderful variety in this record, though it could easily fall into the electronic dance music classification (hence, now referred to as "EDM" cough cough)—but I hates F-in musical classifications—they just muck it all up. Our Love flows, it bangs, as in, the bass has wicked velocity sometimes, and it stops and goes. It's a grand sonic experience. I would definitely describe it as electronic music to somebody if they asked me what it was at an audio show (happens a lot—great to hear sixty-year-olds love Eskmo) but that alone doesn't describe the soul of this record. There's soulful male vocals, female, and modern instrumentals that just washed over me. It's been a refreshing record to imbibe at the end of my work day.

This albums' told me many stories as I listened, or maybe I told myself a ton of stories in my head while I was listening—either way: it was engrossing, even mesmerizing at times. The album kicks off with this future r&b-sounding track "Can't Do Without You"—a magnificent audible collage of male vocal samples and simple, airy, electronic compositional sounds (wavy synths, and, eventually a kick-drum with a stripped-down drum-kit vibe) and a grand build-up. It's full of energy, and that energy ascends before dropping back to the mellow, wavy sound that kicked it off. The next track it what grabbed me for the whole record, I didn't wanna stop listening. "Mars" is, well, as aptly titled as it can be: An atmospheric electronic instrumental track that brings in bobbin', panned flute-like synthesizers, blends in some velvety, deeper mid-bass, and then drops a kick drum that sounds, through a resolute sound system, like a bass-stack at a dance club. A good one, not the two-dimensional meathead/Hollywood kinda club—the spot where the underground music scene that feeds the commercial world lives. "All I Ever Need" has gone on my current audio acid test list (meaning: my current reference tracks list). It's a wavy, drivy, ocean of beats and flowing synths that all seem to connect, but also leave room for dynamic movement and layering. It's sounds creamy, detailed, but like a wool sweater, it's warm and slams at the same time. I can't get enough of it. Every time I listen to it I hit repeat at least five or six times. It's an excellent headphone track, especially.

This record is like the mood of "All I Ever Need" peppered with dashes of future disco and R&B. There's also a world music kinda vibe, but it's difficult to describe how that fits, as that occurred to me more as a feeling than an observation. Future disco, or r&b, to me, means the soul of classic r&b, just using modern tools of sound to create the groove. The vocals, whether male or female are beautifully captured and rendered. It's definitely a fantastic looking glass into some of the wondrous sounds and moods that are created in the electronic music scene. There's a global community built, piece by piece, person by person, through this music. We're a global tribe. I cherish the times we got to spend traveling the world, playing records to move people. Our Love feels like the underground stuff we'd hear in the best chill-out rooms at real raves in Brooklyn, NY—but it sounds like that music maturing, or matured. Every different style, or genre, classification within a certain kind of music all stems from the same thing. Whether it's tech house or dubstep, the drive is the groove. The goals always been, well, for me and my friends who live listening to this stuff, to escape, release, and expand our minds letting it go on the dancefloor. And I'll say it: Raving saved my life. The music; electronic dance music, is a constant celebration. It's celebrating that you're here, that we exist, and lets do something together. Sounds crazy I'm sure, but that's how I feel when I listen to this music. I think of so many dancefloors and nights with dear friends. Our Love speaks to some of that, don't you think? It's upbeat, it's not in-your-face non-stop crazy warbly basslines and kicks! I know that commercial crap to. This isn't that—this is like, if Soul II Soul grew young again and put out a record today. I know I'd wanna listen to that.

If you dig goin' out dancing, check out Caribou's Our Love. I don't think you need to be a fan of any particular genre if you dig a good groove. This albums got plenty of those. It progresses nicely, and takes the energy back down, making it an interesting record to soak up. Though the music maybe synthetic, and I'm not honestly sure how much of it is, I never felt disconnected from it. That happens sometimes, when I hear a track, whether it be modern country or dirty south rap, if its so completely artificial there's nothing to grab and hold my attention. I had the opposite problem with Our Love. I loved it. It's also sequenced masterfully, an art-form that seems to be lost on many production teams today unfortunately. But it was a grand listening experience. My wifey and I even danced to it in my office. Maybe that says it all.