Review Summary: A masterpiece.
I don't want to bore you with background information about E*vax, so I will make this part brief. E*vax is the stage name of recording artist Evan Mast. He is one half of the duo Ratatat, the other being Mike Stroud (E*Rock).
Parking Lot Music is E*vax's first and (as of right now) only album. It is nothing short of spectacular.
During my family's long road trips to Colorado during the summer, my dad would put this album on. It was somewhat of a musical revolution for me, because at that time, my taste in music was bland, if not awful. The first thing that I tuned in on was the percussion. The way that E*vax sets this up is just beautiful. The various minimalist bleeps and tinks are layered in such a way that they put you in a trance. There are so many different percussive sounds happening at once or right after another, but it is not overwhelming because the music is so calming. Other things that drew me in to the percussion were the various odd sounds that are incorporated into the beats. E*vax often adds sampled sounds from everyday life into his music. At one point in "Neon & Aluminum," the sound of bubbles can be heard, and I'm pretty sure that one of the main parts of the beat uses the sampled sound of dripping water. Many of these sounds are quite ambiguous, which only makes the listener more curious and allows them to use their imagination to try and figure out what they are.
Adding to the ambiance and overall soothing mood of the album are the other electronic instruments used (pads, synthesizers, etc). The percussion is not the only hypnotizing thing here. The melodic and harmonic lines that overlay the beats do a great job of increasing the music's ability to subdue the listener. I remember during the road trips, it would only take a couple of these songs for me to be sound asleep. This album really does that. Even today, if I am having trouble sleeping, I just put on Parking Lot Music and I am asleep in no time. That's not to say that one cannot enjoy the whole album while awake, because that is very possible. All I'm saying is that if you are feeling restless and want to calm down a little, or if you are having trouble sleeping, this album can help.
E*vax was the first electronica album I ever listened to. I don't even think I knew what electronica was when I first heard Parking Lot Music. Needless to say, it was a fantastic introduction. Whether you are new to electronic music, or experienced in the genre, this is a must have album.