Little Plastic Pilots
First, a quick aside. Some musicians really need to run themselves through a pretension detector before they start giving quotes for their press releases. Case in point, Sam Nelson, whose brainchild Little Plastic Pilots is, had this to say about the project:
“It is a reflection of my life, encapsulating my dreams, hopes and memories while giving me a soundtrack to experience from. It is a perfect representation, in musical form, of who I am.”
Normally, that sort of moody wank would make me want to lock the man into a dance club with a couple of ABC records on the sound system for his own good. But the album is just good enough to avoid that fate, though it’s a near thing sometimes.
The songs … well, it’s hard to call them songs, really, if you take the classic meaning of songs as things to be sung. But for the sake of argument, let’s call them songs. Interpreting them in the terms Nelson gave us above (which is likely to make a picture as accurate as Monty Python’s definition of a Llama*):
He is some sort of underwater robot who surfaced in Buenos Aires, listened to a reggae band for a minute or two (at best), then dived again and, guided by his memories, tried to recreate the experience through technology.
They’re subtly orchestrated, with “Words and letters in color” and “Love song” particularly endearing, and build on the same kind of fuzzy keyboards as a Dr. Who score.
But electronic music, at least of the non-pop or dance variety, is often in danger of becoming a collection of sound effects or abstract mood pieces. The former is just a novelty; the latter can take the concept of “easy listening” to the non-intrusive extreme that a Doonesbury character once called “air pudding.”
It lacks an identity; there’s a reason why so few pop stars have emerged from the genre (there’s Brian Eno, Tangerine Dream, and…um…)
*“The Llama is a quadruped … if you see one where people are swimming, you shout, ‘Look out, there are Llamas!’”