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Saturday, July 05, 2008

QUIET VILLAGE - Silent Movie

The duo that comprises Quiet Village are Joel Martin and Matt Edwards, the latter of which is also known in the dance world as Radio Slave. The pair met while attending Sir Dunstan’s College in South East London back in the early 90’s. One night Joel and Matt shared a car, en route to a drum ‘n’ bass club, and got to talking about music–particularly house and disco–and their mutual love of record shopping. A creative bond was formed. Now, nearly fifteen years later, that bond has spawned the ambitious debut LP, Silent Movie.

The name Quiet Village fittingly references Martin Denny’s groundbreaking 1959 exotica album of the same name. Denny’s influence here is magnum, as the duo freely admit that they “make the old sound new”, which is a perfect summation of their style. From the opening strings of “Victoria’s Secret”, a gorgeous aria to the sea, complete with the sound of crashing waves and crying seagulls, things sound familiar. Many of the songs on Silent Movie sound of another time, one where everything is laid-back, slow and easy.

With the exception of “Circus of Horror”, an uptempo psychedelic jam, the disc plays out like the soundtrack to a beachside cocktail party. Not unlike a “chill” DJ compilation, samples are a monumental ingredient to these tracks. Italo disco, contemporary house, and Mediterranean/Belaric Island sounds are interwoven throughout the original compositions, as recognizable hooks saunter in and out at just the right moments. Perhaps the finest example of this interplay is found on “Too High To Move”, an ode to the late 90’s downtempo lounge era, which features a slowed-down sample of Janis Ian’s 1979 hit “Fly to High”.

The second half of the disc descends into total ambience, with “Gold Rush”, a hypnotic interlude, utilizing a psychedelic guitar loop and a hauntingly echoed vocal to transport you to, say, an acid trip in the California desert circa 1968. On tracks “Singing Sand” and “Utopia” you are transported once again, though this time the environment is more like a vacation day spa.

Following largely in the footsteps of The Avalanches’ Since I Left You LP (2000), Quiet Village aren’t exactly doing anything new on Silent Movie, but the production is quite admirable. In fact, you could say this is 2008’s answer to Air’s Moon Safari-the ultimate chill out record, though at times it can border on easy listening elevator music.

-originally published at

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