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Free the Robots – Ctrl Alt Delete (2010)

June 21, 2010

There’s a chance you might be familiar with the name Free the Robots from a 2007 self-titled EP, which was full of quirky, jazzy electronic tunes; that was when I and probably a few thousand other people fell in love with this Los Angeles producer. However, I and all of them were also really surprised when we heard his first full length album, because it doesn’t sound anything like that EP. So if you’ve already made a decision on whether or not you like this guy, you’re going to need to make it again.

Ctrl Alt Delete forgoes the jazz quirk and instead wraps up the goody bag of assorted sounds with heavy hip-hop beats and some seriously wonky dubstep. The jazz spirit is still there, but the nostalgic, scratchy, tinny throwback style he had on his old releases is mostly gone. By contrast this album is fucking huge – it totally surrounds and envelops you, getting into every nook and cranny in your ears and mind. It’s got a massive bass sound, and the louder you play it, the better it gets. This is the kind of album your entire body is supposed to throb right along with.

The jack-of-all-trades, offbeat mentality is still there though, and he does it all on this album. Track one “Sci-Fidelity” sounds like a modern take on a retro sci-fi film score – you can practically see the UFO that Free the Robots is flying in on, spooky alien sounds and all. It would probably sound goofy if it wasn’t so undeniably fucking cool, and that’s what’s always made Free the Robots great. Lead single “Orion’s Belt Buckle”, is the first totally surprising song, because, well, you don’t really expect a Free the Robots track to be a pummeling dubstep assault (but it’s not the last one of the album). “Select/Start” and “Mental Universe” might be what happened if chiptunes somehow got urban street cred, and the first half of “Granite Rock” wouldn’t be out of place on an LCD Soundsystem album. By the time you get to the 9-minute monster “Global Warming” with the unrelenting, pounding hip-hop beat and “The Eye” featuring Ikey Owens (of Mars Volta) ripping it up on drums for about seven minutes behind keyboard freakouts, you know this album is one that’s going to be getting played again. This is unlike the stuff I usually post, but give it a chance – you might be surprised.

  1. Sci-Fidelity*
  2. Turbulence*
  3. Jupiter
  4. Orion’s Belt Buckle*
  5. Wandering Gypsy*
  6. Select/Start
  7. Voices
  8. Granite Rock
  9. Mental Universe
  10. Global Warming*
  11. The Eye*
  12. Turkish Voodoo*
  13. Inter Arma


Try It

Previous Posts:
Free the Robots (2007)
The Prototype (2005)

From → Albums

  1. Schnookumz permalink

    Twee is gay.

  2. Love the cover art.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Top 20 EPs/Demos/Splits/Singles of 2011 « Watch the Tapes

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