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The musings of a teenage audiophile. Indie, Rock, Hip-Hop, Rap, Dance, Dubstep, Garage, Metal... music crosses all boundaries. The Cold Cut is devoted to giving you a taste of what's going on in music at the moment.

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A 17 year old taking his first tentative steps into the world of blogging. In my first year, its been up and down, from the slow first months to a busy time around the one year anniversary.

Beck- 'Modern Guilt' Review

7/10

More so than any other musician of the last two decades, Beck Hansen has never been comfortable in his own skin... He is driven by an obsession to continually reinvent himself between albums and tours. It's a dilemma which has garnered him tags of 'the most idiosyncratic musician alive' and 'alternative', coupled with his challenging, engaging and occasionally perfect music.

Beck- Modern Guilt (Link 2)

'The Information', his last release, was deemed underwhelming and was unsurprisingly compared (as all Beck's album's are) to the seminal masterpiece that is 'Odelay'. It came up short, and 'Guero' suffered the same fate. 'Modern Guilt' is a return to form, with regards to a high quality finish across all the songs- that's not to suggest that this album is singular in its approach... instead, it flits between speeds, styles and focus, and Dangermouse has obviously enjoyed the chance to work with a new vocalist: whereas Cee-Lo can make any lyric seem interesting, Beck must have presented more of a challenge, one that he has not shied from.

Beck's albums always resist classification, and every time he's anywhere near to being cornered he simply moves on. Each and every album in his repetoire rips on those that have come before it, and whilst his last few albums haven't converted his experience into enjoyable music, 'Modern Guilt' has come good . Musically, I think this is his most complete selection of songs since 'Sea Change', and only falls just short of that milestone.

'Chemtrails' was the first single taken from the album, premiering on Zane Lowe's Radio 1 show. As his most haunting single ever, it displays that even Beck realised that he has deviated from his usual standards over the last few years. 'Gamma Ray', however, as a more upbeat potential single, was more likely to catch the press' collective eye. It evokes feelings of psychedelia and is more reminiscent of his earlier albums.

Beck- Gamma Ray
(Link 2)

Dangermouse as producer is an inspired choice, and he recreates the eerie setting of ''St Elsewhere' with ease. Beck also seems determined to create something entirely new, and the result is slightly subdued, dominated by the sounds on the lower end of the register. Look no further than 'Volcano' for proof of this.

I liked 'The Information', not least for it's album artwork (or initial lack of) and seeing Beck really test his abilities as he wished. It wasn't captivating or enjoyable for long periods of time, but there were some moments of brilliance across its sprawling 61 minutes. And again, here some of the electronic elements have seeped into his conscience, notably on 'Youthless'. Notably, the album's numbers don't stack up- at 31 minutes, it's far too short, and Beck could have compromised with a few more songs. The large majority of the ten songs top out at 3 minutes, with the shortest- 'Walls'- lasting a mere 2 minutes 22 seconds. Unfortunately, it's an intensely enjoyable song, and was most likely murdered in the editing studio.

Beck- Youthless (Link 2)

'Modern Guilt' isn't perfect. The last ten years have seen Hansen become more involved in the experimental concepts of his music and progressively less interested in the performance (hence the distracting puppet show on his 'Cellphone's Dead' tour). 'Modern Guilt' is more consistently enjoyable than his last two albums, and in achieving this, Beck may have had to curb his experimental enthusiasm. Whether this loss is manifested in his live efforts instead remains to be seen. Neglecting this, 'Modern Guilt' is a more than passable stepping stone onto Beck's next endeavour.

'Modern Guilt' can be purchased from Amazon.

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