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Telefon Tel Aviv
MAP OF WHAT IS EFFORTLESS
(Hefty)
Stars graphics

The formula seems hackneyed at this point: take a pulsing electronic beat, layer moans of mysterious purring divas on top, ring up a local orchestra to give the whole affair a cinematic feel, splice it all together in a lab, and youíve got a down-tempo album perfect for elevators or designer coffee bars. On their second disc, the Chicago lap-top duo Joshua Eustis and Charles Cooper (a/k/a Telefon Tel Aviv) display the necessary skill to reclaim these tried and true ingredients from the java-house milieu and make them sound sexy, campy, comical, and alluring again.

Although fellow glitch chemist Prefuse 73 roots his cuts in rough-hewn indie hip-hop soil, Telefon Tel Aviv aim for the above-ground with R&B crooners, thick production, and a Crystal-popping cadence likely to elicit a nod from the likes of R. Kelly. On "I Lied," Craig David facsimile Damon Aaron licks his lips and sings sweetly about love gone to seed while a fleet of SUV-sized beats rolls out behind orchestral sweeps. LíAltra maven Lindsay Anderson cops a Miss Kittin pose on the electro cut "My Week Beats Your Year" but comes up sounding bored and a little boring. "Bubble and Spike" marks the albumís sweetest moment, where Eustis and Cooper take Anderson on a plush Everything But the Girl limo ride, placing her sultry, passionate voiceovers front and center.

BY ANDREW KATCHEN


Issue Date: June 11 - 17, 2004
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