Slow Transits
Trans-Atlantic Test Flight


4.2
excellent

Review

by figurehead of "built different" EMERITUS
October 6th, 2023 | 14 replies


Release Date: 09/23/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Renovated idioteques

Quick thought experiment: what's Kid A without the legacy? Strip off the context of rock-innovators-gone-techno-futurist, the scads of critics and fans gushing over its foresight re: 21st-century emotional atomization and isolation, and what's underneath it all? Far as I'm concerned, underneath it all we have a concise yet diverse set of moody, atmospheric tracks straddling the line between alternative rock and electronic, no more and no less. So when I say that Slow Transits' new album Trans-Atlantic Test Flight "sounds like Kid A", that's what I mean. It's a little bit of chilly programmed beats 'n' keys, a little bit of angst-ridden voice 'n' guitar, and a whole lot of interesting, production-driven soundscapes to immerse yourself in. Just like Kid A! Except, y'know, updated for two-plus decades of developing styles and shifting tastes in the wide wide world of independent music. And with less of a recording budget, I assume. Yay!

20 years is a long way from the days when the fussy, twitching arrhythmias of Autechre and the placid minimalism of Brian Eno dominated the conversation around rock-respectable bleep bloops, though, and thank goodness for it! The pulsing, abstract noise of "Shaking" is made all the sweeter by the way it melts off from the slinky, almost witch house-esque pocket of "Love Freaks Out", the shifts from danceable to meditative and back working to highlight the album's consistent vibe. Stylishly-integrated modern influences abound all across Trans-Atlantic Test Flight, from the vocaloids and glitching keys on opener "Zero Year" to the vaportrap nods and blown-speaker drum-n-bass climax of "Cancerous Planets", all tempered in a gritty, depressive DIY vibe. This album is at its hypnotic best when its stylistic flourishes work to imbue the gloomy moods on offer with some drama-of-great-contrast, with the buzz of music nerds nerding out over the sheer volume of electronic et al brilliance we've been blessed with since the new millennium. Slow Transits' more firmly rock-centric inclinations do suffer ever-so-slightly to this end; "Circle Breaking"'s spot-on 90s-alternative pastiche gets somewhat shown up by the spot-even-further-on krautrock pastiche "Telepon!", and "Parallel Moves" could have perhaps benefitted from a middle-eight of some sort, to give its elephantine march a bit more songwriting muscle to trample with. Thankfully, with the help of some solid lyricism (again, 21st-century emotional atomization and isolation- no points for prescience!), neither one kicks up a stink outright, merely falling a notch or two shy of the grooving excellence to be found elsewhere.

Put simply, Trans-Atlantic Test Flight is a real cool album and everyone with a taste for melancholy and/or stylistic omnivory should give it a shot. It's got the whole shebang- catchy ditties, an ear-pleasingly dense and diverse approach to mixing and mastering, words that might just make you go "damn, I feel that" once or twice. And if it ain't your thing, hey, you'll be in and out in 38 minutes. Eleven less than Kid A— now THAT'S what I call progress.




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user ratings (13)
3.5
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Kompys2000
Emeritus
October 6th 2023


9489 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

lil shorty for a cool thing i wanna spread the word about



been bumping love freaks out like all the time lately lol

MillionDead
October 7th 2023


5366 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is probably my kinda party.

Hawks
October 7th 2023


90689 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Bout 2 jam right now!

Hawks
October 7th 2023


90689 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is so fucking good men wow.

Kompys2000
Emeritus
October 7th 2023


9489 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

m/ m/ glad ur diggin hawks!

xxm
October 7th 2023


257 Comments


Wonderful review, Kompys.

Demon of the Fall
October 9th 2023


34924 Comments


you have my attention

funny how you ref Kid A quite obviously yet use different albums in the rec by reviewer segment, the inclusion of Blur is putting me off slightly, but otherwise this does intrigue

Kompys2000
Emeritus
October 9th 2023


9489 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thx xxm!



Yeah uh I usually try to make the rec section not stuff I explicitly reference in the review, partially because a zine I used to write for had that rule ig lol



Fun fact 3 of the 4 recs are courtesy of the band themselves! Can you guess which one was my addition?

Demon of the Fall
October 9th 2023


34924 Comments


I'm gonna go with Death's Dynamic Shroud just because it's the least obvious 'anti-cannon' pick / or most 'obscure', if you prefer

Kompys2000
Emeritus
October 9th 2023


9489 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Lol got it in one, I'm so predictable 😔

anat
Contributing Reviewer
October 14th 2023


5793 Comments


the kid A framing is a bit questionable but I love this kinda stuff, thx for bringing it to my attention!

Kompys2000
Emeritus
October 14th 2023


9489 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ive seen where non-questionable framing gets me as a critic, thanks but no thanks!



Glad ur enjoying 💜

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
November 18th 2023


61289 Comments


still tryna decide what I think of this record hm

neekafat
Staff Reviewer
February 15th 2024


26421 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

the suspense



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