Album Reviews

inc. – no world

on March 01, 2013, 12:01am
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inc. isn’t only minimalist by name. The L.A. duo comprised of producers and brothers Daniel and Andrew Aged specialize in spacey, shimmery hip-hop beats meshed with half-whispered vocals, and their first full-length, no world, compiles 11 tracks in that very vein. None, however, are particularly distinctive from the rest, and while that’s not always a bad thing, it can get frustrating fast when an artist’s single weapon is a certain narrow, half-awake affect. Two releases in, inc. seems to have no intention or interest in branching outward from there at all.

no world opens with “The Place”, a surreal dream of a track (“I feel like we’ve been here before”, the chorus appropriately repeats) with an excessively reverberated beat and inches-from-ear vocals that almost set the exact pace and schtick for the entire album. Any shifts from that are subtle and scarce; it’s not until the closing number, the soporific soundscape “Nariah’s Song” and its dense grand piano chords layered over surging ambient noise, that they finally throw in a palette cleanser. There are no true standout tracks here, no sharp left turns, no energizing moments – just 42 minutes of inc.’s syrupy, sci-fi-esque take on smooth R&B.

Sound familiar? If you’re conscious of a certain R&B revival currently garnering focus in pop music, or any of the artists credited with ushering it in – whose names will be spared so as to avoid at least one more unnecessary mass lumping – it likely does. And while that’s quickly becoming an exhausted, even dubious talking point in pop music, there’s just no denying that inc. is willfully falling right in line with it – albeit towards the back of that line. It’s an auspicious wake to swim in, sure, but if they have any intention of making their own mark, it wouldn’t hurt the Ageds to find their own fresher waters to tread.

Essential Tracks: “5 Days”

1 comment

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Ben E. Frank
March 30, 2013 at 12:13 am

Please , please stop writing music reviews. You may have a great novel in you somewhere but you don’t understand a thing about music/musicians. You think real musicians track, or place themselves in some trend, like a health food fad. Real musicians play music. And the more they play the more they learn and hopefully the better they get. Then when they come out with something SOME people need to exploit it and label it, for their own lack of effort as some sort of “R&B Revival” or whatever. Shut off all your distractions and LISTEN TO AND HEAR the music. Then maybe find out about the musicians and what they are about and then issue opinions and give recommendations, or better yet, don’t. Instead, start on that novel! Lay it all out for the world to see. Put your heart into it and, oh yeah, make sure it fits the current “trend”.

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