Unlike their previous releases, fixed::context sounds far less microscopically scientific; this time, their approach is noticeably more melodic and even old, but not in a dated sense, like technological campfire music. Although their cleverly dabbing use of electronics still floats about, it is the more the result of how engineer Steve Albini captured traditional instruments like guitars that also creates another dichotomy about this disc. Renowned for his mastery of microphone choices and placements, Albini adds a powerful clarity to the album that accentuates every minute detail of reverberation and age-old effects like tremolo. What is analogous and 'traditional' becomes almost exotic and futuristic. Sure, countless reviews of Labradford discs constantly refer to them as being parallel to the likes of Ennio Morricone's twangy Western film music. If I had to go on the filmic reference trip (I mean, I could say at times it sort of sounds like The Thing remake soundtrack), this album would be more Ingmar Bergman than anything. Beauty on all levels. [It reminds me of Eno's Apollo soundtrack. -LC](www.kranky.net)

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

Or Learn More