Love And Other Planets – Adem

Label: Domino

I don’t know which I love more, the album itself or writer who describes the album as ‘a must for anybody that likes their experimentalism with a touch of poignancy and introspection’. Now I don’t know about you, but when somebody asks how you like your experimentalism, I rarely have the either the nerve or strength of conviction to offer, ‘with a touch of poignancy and introspection’. Same thing with toast. If someone asks me how I prefer my toast, I’m more likely to shrug my shoulders and grunt than I am to say ‘with a smile, a touch of kindliness and a good dose of sincerity’. You see, that’s the whole thing about experimentalism, and it’s arguably just as true of toast; you never know what you’re getting, and that’s precisely why you love it; it’s unpredictable, unkempt and yields a pleasure generally commensurate to how much ale you’ve had to drink.

‘Love And Other Planets’ – the second album from sometime member of Fridge, Adem – sees the multi-instrumentalist ripping stars from the very sky to satisfy his curious ache for the unconventional, the magical and the enchanting. And what a lovely ride it is too. Blending the pastoral elements of folk with a maverick lo-fi sensibility, tracks like ‘Launch Yourself’, ‘You and Moon’ and ‘Last Transmission From the Lost Mission’ spin like wild dilithium crystals in their own child-like zero-gravities, set idly against a background of tinkling wine glasses, humming noises, hobbycraft drum patterns, junk-shop jazz, vibraphones, xylophones and marimbas. Brought sharply into focus by some beautiful speculative thinking and some shockingly pretty melodies, it’s an intoxicating combination, and the sound of a man totally immersed in his art. Which is probably why the common threads of man, the universe and the overwhelming miracle of love and infinity tie this thing together so successfully; it’s Adem’s own primordial soup, his genesis, his own personal creation myth.

Being experimental is one thing though; being able to absorb the listener and make him or her feel at home in this alien world is quite another. The real success of ‘Love And Other Planets’, oddly enough, lies in Adem’s conventional approach to songwriting. The trickling arpeggios of ‘Something’s Going To Come’ and the skewed sonic nebulae circling around the gorgeous, ‘Love and Other Planets’ are built around old, established conventions, with tracks like ‘Crashlander’ and ‘Sea of Tranquilty’ even downright traditional by modern standards. But that’s the beauty of it. Adem provides a peek into a world that’s half-extraterrestrial, and half-familiar but one that speaks, we are pleased to learn, the one same language of love. Afterall, that is a universal thing, isn’t it?

‘Love And Other Planets’ is the natural extension of the Apollo Moon landings; fill Adem with more hypnogogic shapes if this is the kind of thing he comes up with, as this is a truly inspirational record and every bit as vital or as dreamy as anything put out by Four Tet, Stephen Jones, and that wisely John Cale combined. It’s a goody alright, mister.

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Release: Adem - Love And Other Planets
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Released: 21 April 2006