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Gridlock - Formless


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Got this album on CD in 2003, not long after I first got exposed to IDMTM.  Many listens from 2003 - 2008, so much that as I'm listening now after not hearing it for years, it still sounds very familiar. Formless was their last major release, and sort of completed an album arc that transitioned from a more aggressive instrumental industrial /electronic sound with occasional harsh vocals in the background to this IDM/ambient/industrial hybrid sound. Lots of bitcrushed drums, bursts of highly distorted sounds, and tons washes of ambient pads and "nice" minor key-ish melodies (music theory illiterate, sorry). Beats are pretty mid-tempo IDM, but yet often straightforward and locked to grid. *dadjoke


Revisiting today to see how well it's holding up. 


Positives: Nice seamless album flow, great production, mixing and stereo work for the time, at least to my perception. Some moments and elements that still hold up well, in particular, there's a build up and sonic burst on Chrometaphor that I still love, though I could see how it seems a bit cliche. Probably the strongest point of the album to me though. Nice compositional elements of building and transition throughout, you might say, even if not particularly experimental in this aspect. Also, actually an album that works pretty well for semi-active listening. 


Negatives: Sound design that seemed interesting to me at the time, but not really holding up compared to something like Draft 7.30 from the same year (tough standard of course). The combination of ambient pad washes and distorted percussion starts to feel a bit like a tired formula  after a while. I think overly bitcrushed sounds in general really haven't held up.... and there's some moments, like the first short untitled interlude track, that seem to almost be putting it on display for it's own sake. For my taste now, the ambient washes and melodies are often a bit too up-front, frequent, and dominant... could have worked better being a bit more tamed and subdued.


Overall, I still do like this album, especially when taken as a sum of parts, rather than examining the individual sounds and elements, but overall not doing quite as much for me now as it did back then. I recommend it for at least a one time listen.


/end lackluster album review by eczem. carry on

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I really enjoyed that review and pretty much feel exactly the same as you. Used to love this album around the same time, caned the fuck out of it so much so I never went back to it, but I might have to give it a spin soon.


Also I spoke to Mike Cadoo over email for a short while. I mentioned how much so love Pallid and he said it was made in 24 hours. One of the weird moments where the tune just poured out of them and was complete in one day. Doesn't sound like it.

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Cool, thanks for reading. I sort of wanted to pump the album up more just out of how important it was to me back then but had to be true to how I experience it now. Yeah, Pallid definitely sounds like it would have taken more than a day, such a killer opening track. Always magical when it just pours out like that.


I think I might spin some of their other records again soon as well.

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