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Album Review
Trapezoids Away!

Trapezoids Away!
by KazaamBLAM!


Review Date
13th Feburary 2011
Reviewed by
Christiaan de Wit

Being a recent immigrant to New Zealand, I am only just starting to look beyond musical Aotearoan stereotypes. My keywords so far were 'Bob-inspired reggae' on the one hand and 'a massive pond full of garagey bands' on the other and my knowledge about the local electronic music scene didn’t go much further than Shapeshifter’s hands-up-in-the-air drum ‘n’ bass.

Over the last hour or so, my mental map of musical New Zealand changed rapidly. Just a few moments into Trapezoids Away! and I thought I had discovered down under’s answer to Germany’s Kraftwerk and Detroit’s analog 1990s electro act Drexciya. Yet a couple minutes later I realized Richard Falkner from Wellington – the man behind KazaamBLAM! - must have listened to much more than just abstract electro-funk during his music-obsessed youth.

No choices at all seem to have been made during the making of Trapezoids Away!. As if its creator expected that crafting an album was going to be a once in a lifetime experience and hence none of his dreams should be excluded from becoming reality on this unique occasion. The album contains a wide variety of samples as well as a plethora of melodies born out of synthesizers. References range from glitch pop greats like Dntel and Fennesz to the alternative hiphop of cLOUDDEAD and further on to bigger sounding predecessors like The Knife, Amon Tobin and Squarepusher.

On its debut album, KazaamBLAM! expresses an incredible amount of ideas of which the far out melodies and funky rhythms are particularly impressive. The band complements its mostly instrumental music with occasional singing and rapping – it is only the latter type of vocal expression that can’t keep up with the overall quality on Trapezoids Away!. And a relatively unfocused track like ‘Response’ could have been stronger had the excellent boogie feel of the song been its centerpiece rather than a mere bonus lasting only for the last minute or so.

Mind you, these are minor points of critique; a slightly smarter exploitation of the group’s best ideas could very well lead to a future release on one of the leading labels in the world of experimental electronic music.


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