Album: Tiny Reminders
Artist: Two Lone Swordsmen
Reason Featured: #19 Album for Pitchfork’s Top Twenty Albums of 2000, #31 Album for NME‘s Top Fifty Albums of 2000
My Favorite Songs: Neuflex, Section, The Bunker, It’s Not the Worst I’ve Looked… Just the Most I’ve Ever Cared
Their Grades: NME (9/10), Pitchfork (9.3/10)
My Grade: 78%
When my brother walked into the room as I was listening to this album, he asked with a smirk, “Since when have you been into house music?” Calling Two Lone Swordsmen “house music” seems like a bit of a stretch. The strobes would have to blink pretty slow to stay in step for songs like these; this is music made for cerebral reflection more than lose-your-shit dancing. But his offhand remark does go to show how little I’ve exposed myself to records made by DJs instead of bands. Even recently, I missed Disclosure’s record by a mile last year and still don’t know what “Latch” sounds like. At least not knowingly.
My exploration into house, dub and DJ-centric genres is limited so I’m wary to make any bold pronouncements but this album gave me a bunch of Tiny Reminders (http://instantrimshot.com) as to why I don’t gravitate toward music like that in the first place. I can’t deny Andrew Weatherall and Keith Tenniswood’s talent in amassing and arranging these beats, beeps and breakdowns into such an inhuman yet pleasing aesthetic. So don’t jump down my throat yet if you just love Two Lone Swordsmen (do you people exist?) Repetition isn’t what turns me off here and neither is impersonality. It’s the lack of consistency which gets to me.
I’ve found records like these possess great moments but rarely great movements. The songs I really enjoy on here come about four or five tracks apart from each other and most of the tracks struggle with staying engrossing from beginning to end. For that matter, the only song I really love on here is “The Bunker,” dynamic, pop-oriented and Stephin Merritt synthy sans baritone vocals. Almost every song on here manages to scrounge up some stellar synth line or drum beat but they come and go like thieves in the night. When you make a record which sounds like the musical expression of binary code, you’re going to end up with as many zeroes as there are ones. Still, it’s “one” moments definitely make this worth listening to.