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Rank Plaid's discography from best to worst


President Squidward
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As you can probably tell, Plaid is my favorite IDM act currently in a genre filled with many amazing musicians. I've been obsessed with their music since last December, and I think I know how I feel about all of their albums to rank them from best to worst. All of my ratings for their discography are all pretty positive so even my least favorite record is still cool. I'm going to include the compilations I heard (Trainer) and their film soundtracks. Feel free to do it however you please, it doesn't have to be all their albums. You can also do EPs by themselves or include them with the albums. ?

Alright, here's my ratings for the LPs!:

Rest Proof Clockwork: I've always loved the hip hop style a lot of this album brings. I also feel this to be Plaid's happiest-sounding record. Buddy is absolutely catchy and I love the downtempo vibe it brings. Little People's melodies is some of my favorite Plaid melodies ever, Pino Pomo is incredible with its wild west sound and Face Me is such a pretty hidden tracks. Lots of amazing tunes in this album, not sure how long it will stay #1 as other albums are growing on me, but it's been my favorite for a while now. Super cool album artwork too, looks like a Nintendo/PlayStation rhythm game.

Spokes: I've seen some posts here before joining praising this album, and I'm happy I'm not alone. This album is probably their most consistent album for me. The opener, Ever Spring, has amazing vocals before a phenomenal beat comes in to blow you away. Zeal has so much wonder put into the production with it's dark sound sprinkled everywhere in the track, apparently the video version (is it even official? feels fanmade like its from some movie but I'm not sure) shown on the Warp site has an alternate ending for the track that's different than the album, personally I prefer the album version's ending but if they kept this ending it would probably be their darkest song ever. Still sounds cool either way!

#3: Polymer: This album really showed they still got it with this album being my favorite work this decade (though later on after Polymer's release their 2010s work really grew on me). Maru is an absolute banger, reminds me of Plaid going full-on Orbital with that melody. Los is one of my favorites by them currently, I love the way it progresses. Ops is like a sequel in Zeal with the female robot breathing. The Pale Moth brings us back to a Spanish western like Pino Pomo and features dazzling classical instrumentation to it. Dancers is fuckin amazing as well as it's video, kind of like a Sincetta sequel to me, another song I really love how it progresses. Recall is very mixed with a lot of people but I love it a lot even if it goes no where. That banging is catchy. And finally, All To Get Her has the usual awesome melodic Plaid and even features a few of those strange sounds in the beginning that I feel a lot of newer Plaid material lacks a bit (I loved hearing of all those alien-like sounds with the samples like they did in Rest Proof and Double Figure). All in all, my album of the year still.

#4: Scintilli: I actually never knew this album was announced all the way back to 2008 until a few months ago on here. Now I can see why some people on here and Rateyourmusic were underwhelmed by the final product. It's a shame tracks like Trail didn't make it to the album. But I really love how varied the sound is in this album. Somnl and Thank were my intro to Plaid way back in 2012 when I used to play Sleeping Dogs (I cannot believe I never tried Warp/Ninja Tune artists until 2017... wtf), with Somnl having cool bass womps in it, kinda like dubstep. It fits beautifully with the track. I also love all the tracks with the robotic female vocals, such as Missing, Founded and the finale, At Last (which now I wonder if the track was name that because of how long it took for Scintilli to come out). Talk to Us has a manic sound to it I love, and 35 Summers is a neat ambient track. African Woods was the first track to really push my buttons on first listen before everything else grew on me later on, I always love hearing tropical Plaid. Only skip-able track for me is Upgrade. Its not bad, but probably one of Plaid's most underwhelming track imo. Definitely rated too low on Rateyourmusic.

#5: Reachy Prints: This one took me a while to really love. It feels stripped back compared to any other Plaid album, but the tunes in this one work so well for me. Hawkmoth is pretty catchy, I love the production on that one. Nafovanny is a strange track but also works very well, I always love hearing how it ends. Slam is absolutely perfect althroughout. Very bouncy beats on that one, and beautiful haunting ambient behind it. Wallet gives me Tomorrow's Harvest vibes. Matin Lunaire reminds me of some old 80's synth music, an awesome track for sure!  Tether takes me back to Spokes honestly, and Liverpool St was an unexpected way to end the album on first listen, but absolutely magical. Super close to beating Scintilli for my second favorite of theirs from this decade.

#6: Trainer: A very awesome compilation to see what Ed and Andy were doing with solo projects and Plaid while in The Black Dog. Early IDM was pretty interesting to hear, from the breakbeat influences in Mbuki Mvuki to the more atmospheric sounds on Tura, Atypic (both from Andy) and Balil (Ed's solo alias), it's not my favorite era, but still very good stuff! I get kick out of tracks like Uland, Reishi, Prig, Summit, Fly Wings, Whirling of Spirits and a few more. I hope to see another Plaid comp one day. I still need to check out Parts in the Post, I've barely scratched the surface of their awesome remix work.

#7: Greedy Baby: This album was such a cool project, and probably features Plaid's most experimental songs yet. I love all the music by itself AND with the awesome videos. War Dialler isn't even a song but is a pretty creepy sound collage and a cool way to start the album, I Citizen The Loathesome is so fuckin neat, The Launching of Big Face's video is my favorite of the project and is an aesthetic of mine, Super Barrio is an awesome track and the animated video feels like a fever dream. So bizarre but also very cool. E.M.R. grew on me since first listen, I love how it progresses. There's this dropping sound around the end of it that makes me think of Autechre's Drane. Super Positions is also such a banging track! All in all, a great project that would be cool see done again!

#8: Not For Threes: A great start after their departure from The Black Dog. If Abla Eedio was from 1995, then was that the year they got newer equipment, because it sounds so different from their songs from the early to mid 90s on Trainer. It's crazy, I love that track. Headspin was also one of my favorite tracks on first listen. Extork has a cool industrial feel to it, and while Lilith isn't my favorite track, it still has a cool beat to it. I want to check out Bjork eventually. Fer and Ol are new favorites. Plaid did a great job doin a 4/4 track on Ol.

#9: Double Figure: Yes, yes, I know this one is a fan favorite. I appreciate it a lot, it's album art is so ancient-looking too. It's probably my favorite album artwork of all time! Anyway, lots of cool ideas and sounds goin on in here, but I feel the execution ALMOST hits. A lot of the tracks sadly hit an 8/10 for me sadly, but I will give credit still. Eyen is a legendary track, Silversum is another one of those weird tracks but its great, Light Rain is spectacular, Tak interludes are neat, Sincetta has a hypnotizing drum beat and progression. One of their top tracks for me. And Ti Bom gives me noir vibes. I would love to see longer Plaid albums like this again, I can see the appeal for it even if its not my favorite album from them.

#10: Tekkonkinkreet: My favorite film soundtrack compared to Heaven's Door. There's a lot to enjoy in here and it shows Plaid needs to make more film scores, because they do a great job on it. I need to relisten to this again soon, my favorite tracks are Brothers Chase, Where? and the beautiful symphonic White's Dream. This film looks interesting too, I hope this can get a digital release like Heaven's Door.

#11: The Digging Remedy: This album feels like Plaid's most chill album, probably because of Benet Walsh appearing in a lot of tracks. ? Do Matter is a grower opener, I love it a lot. Dilatone fuckin bangs and reminds me a bit of Autechre. I always love it when Plaid makes these tracks with stranger rhythms. Me lifer is a beaut, same with Reeling Spiders and Yu Mountain. A great album, but currently I feel is my least favorite of the 10.

#12: Heaven's Door: Nowhere near a bad soundtrack, I quite enjoy it, but a lot of it is more good than relistenable. I think I need to go back to it. I love Tokyo Drive and Durban Pain a lot, same with the opener Masato Shuffle.

I will make a separate post for EPs later. I'm tired writing lmao, may do it once Peel Session 2 comes out.

Edited by President Squidward
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  • 2 weeks later...

Mine varies quite a bit from yours. I took a quick stab at it when I saw the thread title, prior to scanning yours. It's hard for me to to fully integrate the more recent albums with past ones as I've had less time with them - I just know that they haven't resonated with me as well as the classic albums did. And a lot of factors have gone into that. But unfortunately it just means they're all in the 2nd half of the list.

  1. Double Figure
  2. Rest Proof Clockwork
  3. Not for Threes
  4. Heaven’s Door OST
  5. Tekkonkinkreet OST
  6. Scintilli
  7. Spokes
  8. Reachy Prints
  9. Polymer
  10. The Digging Remedy
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2 hours ago, sidewinder said:

Mine varies quite a bit from yours. I took a quick stab at it when I saw the thread title, prior to scanning yours. It's hard for me to to fully integrate the more recent albums with past ones as I've had less time with them - I just know that they haven't resonated with me as well as the classic albums did. And a lot of factors have gone into that. But unfortunately it just means they're all in the 2nd half of the list.

  1. Double Figure
  2. Rest Proof Clockwork
  3. Not for Threes
  4. Heaven’s Door OST
  5. Tekkonkinkreet OST
  6. Scintilli
  7. Spokes
  8. Reachy Prints
  9. Polymer
  10. The Digging Remedy

Double Figure is my #1 as well. Incredible album IMHO. The rest would look similar too, only I haven't heard the soundtracks.

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I'll leave the best to worst part to others. It's impossible for me to put them in some order as I appreciate them for different reasons. I will say though that I kinda lost interest right around Spokes. And since then there hasn't been the love I had before. There are the remixes and the individual tracks I still love. But entire albums, less so. For various reasons. I'm not a huge fan of OSTs, for instance. So, as albums They don't work for me. Even if I love what they did for the movie.

And from Spokes on, albums sounded like products of dayjobs. Based on routine and predictability. Although their last two were more about experimenting again. At least to my ears. But that might have had to do with equipment and techniques, and less with the music itself. Which is a shame, because it sounds like they're still getting better at what they do. But it's just that they've already been there before. To my ears, at least. 

So, yeah. More a fan of their older work, I guess. With a recent renewed interest in Rest Proof Clockwork. That Saturday morning cartoon style goofiness didn't sit well with me at first. But the juxtaposition of classical melancholy, plaid rhythms and cartoon goofiness is still unique. And very appreciated. ?

 

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  • 2 years later...

lol here's how I currently feel

Scintilli > Greedy Baby > Spokes > Rest Proof Clockwork > Polymer > Reachy Prints > The Digging Remedy > Not For Threes > Trainer > Double Figure > Tekkonkinkreet > Heaven's Door

though, again, that's just pretty much ranking 10/10 to 7/10

Edited by President Squidward
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  • 2 months later...

really hard to rank their albums , all are really good . my favorite is not for threes because of nostalgic memories . also remix compilation "stem sell" is very good , really enjoyed that . and also I really enjoy their recent albums , don't understand why some people don't .

Edited by maxwellsq
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  • 2 months later...

1. Double Figure: So great all the way around.
2. Not For Threes: Pretty perfect, especially the U.S. release with "Undoneson"
3. Trainer: Unbelievable tunes, especially the Balil work
4. Plaid remixes: Parts in the Post: so much creativity and verstility
5. Spokes: Short amount of tracks, but they all hit hard except for the last two.
6. P-Brane: Every tune slaps, but especially "Coat" and "Stills"
7. Peel Session 2: Love every tune
8. Booc: Booc and Cost III. Wooo.
9. Rest Proof Clockwork: Definitely not as impactful to me as the albums before and after, but still really solid.
10. The Digging Remedy: Much more consistent than Reachy Prints.
11. Polymer: Pretty good overall, but highs aren't as high as earlier work.
12. Reachy Prints: Inconsistent, but a return to form for sure
13. Tekkon Kinkreet: Pretty great, but soundtracks limit them
14. Heaven's Door: never listened to this that much
15. Greedy Baby: Couple good tunes ("Super Positions") and interesting ideas ("War Dialler"), but overall pretty weak
16. Scintilli: Only really like "At Last"

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1 hour ago, Rubin Farr said:

1. Double Figure

2. everything else 

when Warp20 was being compiled in 2009 there was a website created for fans to vote on their favourite tracks. you could choose ONE track per artist, and Plaid's Top 10 was flooded with tracks from Double Figure. Eyen was the track that got released on the final comp, representing Plaid.

 

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1)Double Figure

2)Rest Proof Clockwork

3)Reachy Prints

4)Spokes

5)Polymer

6)The Digging Remedy

7)Scintilli

8)Not For Threes

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Don’t think I’ve immersed myself in Double Figure much, so I think I shall remedy that. The opening three tracks on Reachy Prints is some of my favourite music on Warp. Beautiful tracks.

Edited by beerwolf
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hmm. surprising to see so many putting DF at the top. to me it’s over-long and fails to feel coherent. some good tunes, some meh tunes, does not kick ass like other records. 

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1 hour ago, Alcofribas said:

hmm. surprising to see so many putting DF at the top. to me it’s over-long and fails to feel coherent. some good tunes, some meh tunes, does not kick ass like other records. 

I agree. Yet I feel an 8/10 on it. Something about the stuff they did for the rest of the 00s is more interesting, prettier and fun. It's why I'm so invested and love Spokes and Greedy Baby, makes me wonder what they would've went if they kept going down that route. The less is more approach to later albums like Scintilli and Reachy Prints are fantastic too though. I'm always not sure whether I think Double Figure or Digging Remedy are my least favorites, still great albums, but the sound either feels a bit samey (Digging Remedy) or the songs don't completely impress me (Double Figure)

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