Good music always sounds easier than it is. Briton Andy Turner, aka Aim, knows restraint. The 13 tracks on his sophomore album Hinterland are beautifully simple. Some sample artists like to layer as many sounds as they can on top of each other. Aim has kept the sonics down to the essentials.
Most songs ride along over a comfortable beat and may or may not introduce a melody or many layers of sound. “The Girl Who Fell Through The Ice” contains drums, a few piano and sax notes every so often and a sensuous string loop on the chorus. The beats are more or less straight ahead hip-hop, or trip-hop, breaks. The occasional mysterious percussion click and clack are added to the mostly organic sounding drums. Oakland’s Souls of Mischief and fellow Brit Diamond D each rhyme over one track. Singer Kate Jones, who sang on AIM’s first hit, “Sail,” provides some sweet vocals on a couple others. About half the album is beat-scapes and the other half is more complete songs, like the summer chiller “Good Disease.”
The whole thing flows together well and makes for a good play when you’re kicking back in any season. Hinterland is an entertaining work of restraint. AIM has captured a soulful sound that comes across better than a lot of the cookie cutter beat and generic sample-driven down-tempo out there.
Put Your Phazers on Stun; Throw Your Health Food Skyward
The press material accompanying this disc makes some lofty claims about this “mysterious musician.” If they’re all true, Zinger has had his hand in every major musical movement since the Beats. Which is why it’s probably a hilarious put on. If it’s not, and I’m just way out of the loop, I’ll eat my words and write a feature story. I don’t think that will happen though.
The album is also full of goofy put-ons about the “legend” from the title down to helium balloon vocal effects – this album is good for many laughs. Kitschy lounge swing, accordion bop and dubbed-out bass lines all mix with half spoken-half sung vocals. Zinger sings about an ongoing search for the perfect bass line and hiding from the “heaviest bass line ever.” Then there are frenetic funny songs about escaping from, and getting to, Ibiza.
He makes some clever comments, sometimes over some good music, sometimes over forgettable backgrounds. This disc is an entertaining listen and worthy of a few chuckles. It’s nothing musically amazing, but a good six songs or so are groovy enough to inspire more than laughter.