Instant 0 in the Universe ep
/duophonic; 2003/



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This EP is Stereolab's first release since 2001's Sound Dust and their first since the death of Mary Hansen. I didn't know what to expect, but now the Groop have their own studio in Bordeaux and they've produced a gorgeous slab of sun-gold pop.

One of the things I like about Stereolab is that I never like their music on first hearing. Then it creeps up on me and I learn to love it. It's like meeting someone who's intriguing but hard to understand and you don't know why and before you know it you find yourself wishing they were around instead of the boring people you're with. But that's enough about my social life.

"Jaunty Monty and the Bubbles of Silence" is one of the most ridiculously happy tunes I've ever heard. It's just on the right side of the border between the sublime and the cheesy, and that's not easy to do. "Suddenly Stars" also flows with hope and optimism - lyrically, too, Laetitia Sadier develops the warmth of her Monade adventure and songs like "The Black Arts" on Sound Dust to produce a most un-Stereolab sense of feeling and emotion. Ms Sadier's voice is all the more affecting because it sounds as if she's just woken up and is trying to remember a dream but can hardly be bothered to sing - though I do miss Mary's sweet voice.

"Good is Me" is more rocky, relying on a foregrounded structure of drums and bass for the catchy lyric: "I am good before good is me/He's not me therefore he's not good" - this may be a Sartrean thing about existence preceding essence or it may be about people's inability to relate to others, or it may just be that I haven't a fucking clue what I'm talking about. 

I think "Mass Riff" is the weakest track, but only by comparison with the magnificence of "Suddenly Stars and Jaunty Monty" - it's quite a disco-ey track and vaguely reminds me of Saturday Night Fever. But don't let that put you off.

On this form, Margarine Eclipse should be wonderful.

-Andrew Russell

/feb 1st 2004/