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Near the Parenthesis - L'Eixample

Near the Parenthesis returns just one year after “Of Soft Construction” with another stand-out electronica album of lush, warm, subtle, and pensive soundscapes.

In L’Eixample, Tim Arndt sticks even closer to his winning formula. Start with a swirling backdrop of reverberating, reversed, and modulating organs and guitars. Then, build a mild IDM beat, and fill the spaces with keyboard vamping and overheard conversations.

Perhaps they’re just reading the promo blurb on the cd case, but many reviewers hail this release as Arndt’s most focused and mature album yet, as inspired by his trips to the L’Eixample region of Barcelona. This is a fair claim, but doesn’t necessarily equal “good.” Bands that are bursting with all types of musical notions may need some maturing and focusing, but for such subtle electronica, it is debatable.  That is to say, I have a hard time picking any favourite tracks.

The entire album is lovely, and feels like it’s about to blossom into something amazing, but it never quite gets there. Pandora calls this “extensive vamping”—apparently my favorite variable according to their algorithm—but man! This album really vamps extensively.