Mischa Lively - Pillow LP
Nashville producer/percussionist Blake Barton has taken the amusingly irreverent stage name Mischa Lively for Pillow, released on Nashville, Tennessee-based RACECAR, Ltd. The EP convincingly melds live percussion with modern production techniques in a way that electronic producers across the beat-oriented spectrum would do well to explore. Stylistically, Barton is working on the minimalist side of an experimental techno vein, with nice deep bass when it does arrive, making for a controlled and mature sound. The beats are the star of the show here, with Barton thankfully eschewing self-indulgent virtuosity in favour of restraint and composition. Surprisingly, the most obviously "live" moments are brief, usually during quick fills or breaks before things firm up once again. Despite this programmatic approach, the fact that each drum-tone was recorded live does make a difference. You can never hit a drum the same way twice, and these infinite variations in attack lend the beats subtle dynamics that belie the more schematized rhythms Barton employs. It's a compelling combination.