ScintilliAlbum | Plaid (band) By Stewart Mason
Half skittering dance beats, half meditative instrumentals.
Never the most prolific band even at their height of productivity, UK production duo Plaid hadn't released an album (barring a couple of obscure film soundtracks) for over eight years before Scintilli. That's several dozen mini-trends in the ever-shifting world of electronic music, so in a way it's heartening that much of Scintilli sounds so much of a piece with Plaid's earlier work. The problem is that the most interesting parts of the album come when Andy Turner and Ed Handley drift away from their dance floor roots into an almost meditative sound that feels influenced by vintage European film soundtracks. Weightless, often beatless tunes like "Missing," "Craft Nine" and "35 Summers" explore an uncharacteristic calm; simple without being minimalistic and featuring an ethereal sense of melody, these delicate tunes sound even more appealing against the competently-executed but over-familiar IDM beats that underpin the rest of the album. A weirdly bipolar album that doesn't sound like it was even meant to cohere, Scintilli can be a frustrating listen as a whole, but listeners who prefer one shade of Plaid to the other can edit it into something more to their liking.