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Ewan Pearson - We are Proud of Our Choices

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Artist: Ewan Pearson

Album: We are Proud of Our Choices

Label: Kompakt

Review date: Feb. 15, 2010

Attention indie-ish college sophomores walking across the quad on a bright spring day listening to your iPod and reminiscing on the many changes you’ve been through this past year: Kompakt has the DJ mix for you. Coming at’cha with about as much intensity and swagger as a tasty smoothie from Jamba Juice is Ewan Pearson’s We are Proud of Our Choices. A thoroughly pleasant affair, it’s sure to put a little pep in your step, especially if strategically shuffled between, say, a XXXchange remix and "My Girls." The rest of the world — younger teens who just wanna rage, fully-grown adults who value their time too much — can decisively sidestep Pearson’s entry into the annals of unambitious, fashionistic blandness.

Each song sounds nice enough, the builds come when they should, the transitions not too soon nor too late. Sometimes Pearson keeps a part going across a number of tracks, as with the self-actualization type speech that he loops for a few minutes about a third of the way into the set. After the relatively quick clip with which he cuts through the first five tracks, it gives a sense of contrast, of open space and a shift in the experience of time. It’s the exact right thing to do at that moment. It feels natural, or rather, familiar. In the most workmanlike sense, it works, and no one will fault him for the gesture. It’s not good, though. It’s stale, predictable, and pedestrian in its fussy perfection.

And so it goes the whole time. Starting blissed out in some post-IDM wash, getting "deep" into house cheese, then shifting gears to slightly darker, more allegedly-banging fare with hints of squelch before settling on a coda of two jazzy, semi-cosmic pop numbers, Pearson predictably fashions his set as a journey of sorts. Too bad the narrative thread that runs through his selection is about as tired and rote as any committee-penned rom-com, complete with resolute three-act structure. As such, it makes for a depressing listen. I could have done with more ravey silliness or a deeper chill, harder drums or maybe some melodic saturation. I would have enjoyed minimalism or maximalism, Berlin’s dubby abstraction or the Hague’s riotous electro, France’s unabashedly sumptuous filtering or some moody dubstep. Really, anything would have been nice, as long as it was partisan, particular, ornery, jocular, joyful or depressed, focused or manic, but mostly not so damn polite.

But I suppose there’s a whole audience out there that specifically seeks this stuff out. Writing as I am from San Francisco, I can count more than a few Burning Man-centric sushi restaurants run by coked-out Gen-X entrepreneurs who would jam this mix in a heartbeat. So maybe the sophomore’s aren’t alone, after all.

Still, it’s a drag. The arrival last year of, among many others, Dam Funk’s Toeachizown, Omar-S and Don Q’s "Lift Him Up," and the Hyperdub anniversary double disc confirm that we are in a particularly verdant moment for electronic music right now. Pearson, at best, comes off as a dinosaur. Why bother?

By Daniel Martin-McCormick

Other Reviews of Ewan Pearson

Sci.Fi.Hi.Fi. Volume 1

Piece Work

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