La Big Vic | Actually

Underwater Peoples (2011)
By LIZ PELLY  |  August 3, 2011
4.0 4.0 Stars

LBV

La Big Vic's Actually is thus far the most compelling avant-pop record to emerge from Brooklyn's inspired 2011 underground. The trio's laid-back retro-futurisism is urgent and new, rooted in classical and experimental influences. Vocalist-violinist Emilie Friedlander covers experimental music on her popular blog Visitation Rights and is the co-editor of Pitchfork sister site Altered Zones; synth player/guitarist Toshio Masuda is a former hip-hop producer who played with a major label J-Pop boy band; synth player Peter Pearson studied classical music and previously worked as an apprentice to Pink Floyd's live-sound producer Jeff Blenkinsopp. With this eclectic background, their first full length is appropriately diverse: seven Prismacolor kosmische-influenced soundscapes; a melding of swirling synths, atmospheric guitars, bright violins that soar like horns, the occasional hip-hop beat, and minimal, muffled vocals. The album starts with the two most melodic tracks — the metallic, blippy "LYNY" and infectious "Heyo." The violins stand out most when they create minor-mode Eastern filigree on "FAO" and on the instrumental track "Chinese Wedding." The album ends with the slowest, darkest song: the droney, 10-minute "Musica." Each of these genre-bending tracks is essential listening, each bursting with ideas.
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