Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Download: Niobe--"Give All To Love" MP3
So, Tomlab pretty much rules the roost. This is shaping up to a banner year for them, what with Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, Final Fantasy, Les Georges Leningrad, and more releasing/released in 2006. Niobe's White Hats is the real capper for them. This is an odd and endlessly intriguing album. I love Joanna Newsom and Ys and everything, but I honestly think that Niobe's put out the more interesting album here (and it's quite a bit more succinct). It's just such a bizarre, undefinable listen and yet everybody I know who hears it agrees that it's great.
Who is Yvonne Cornelius/Niobe? Is she an electronic artist? Sure, there are elements of that and she did sing with Mouse on Mars once. But the term "electronic" seems pretty limiting to me. Hell, John freakin' Mellencamp had drum loops in a song of his ten years ago. I think we've come to the point where "electronic music" has thoroughly permeated the musical landscape that we need to stop defining artists in the often exclusive category. You say "electronic" to someone and they think you have to sound like Moby.
So is Niobe pop? Err, yes, but in the more traditional sense of the word "pop" and less the indie rock definition. She's a true musical omnivore, coming off as a warped Andrews Sister or long-lost descendent of a black sheep Gilberto. She's got a Nico-like chanteuse-ness, but everything is filtered through a gauzy false nostalgia that's faked for good reason. It's like cherrypicking the best from each decade of the 20th century and pulping it.
Check out this video to get a good feeling for the Niobe aesthetic: