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coverpic flag US - California - Full Moon 170 - 07/26/10

The Electric Mist
Just Records

Metaform is American Justice Aaron, a musician/songwriter/producer hailing from Los Angeles, CA, but currently based in Tokyo, Japan. Under the Metaform moniker he presents cool and vibrant electro-trip-pop, slightly Western-meets-Eastern style. He's been compared to Massive Attack and DJ Shadow. Maybe not with the mass-appeal of the former, but indeed holding the breezy coolness of the latter. Justice for all?

The Electric Mist is Metaform's second album, following his acclaimed debut Standing on the Shoulders of Giants (2008) - which was an entirely samples-based album. Aaron grew up listening to his dad's and mom's records, giving him doses of Leonard Cohen, Simon and Garfunkel, and Ravi Shankar as well as Whitney Houston and Curtis Mayfield. He played piano from age 7, and picked up the guitar at 13. By 16 he played in a heavy metal band, covering Metallica and Slayer. He then turned to punk, via The Breakouts, started rock band Team USA (with audio engineering classmate 4X-ampL), before finding the electronica path with Razed High (a duo consisting of 4X-ampL and Hai-Ding, a.k.a. Metaform). Various engineering jobs gave him the opportunity to experiment with electronics and dig into hip-hop, as well as working with acts like DJ Jazzy Jeff, Afrika Bambaataa, Pharcyde, Hieroglyphics, Living Legends, and many others.

Metaform's The Electric Mist kicks off with "Electric Eyes", a catchy song with a slow dance-beat, and he's now moved away from the fully instrumental path he was on with Standing on the Shoulders of Giants (even though there are a few instrumental intermissions included here as well). "Revenge of a Nerd" follows, and he for sure comes up with catchy electro-pop hooks, even though the effected (vocoder) vocals sometimes can be too much. Metaform makes me somehow imaging an electronic Tears For Fears (not among my favourites, but...). Or, maybe, Tears For Fears meets KLF? The more bouncing, quickstepping "OCD" should appeal for sweaty dance floors. Some tracks sound a bit too slick to my ears, and Aaron's for sure into the more 'dramatic' pop. 'sultry and sexy Electro-Pop', he calls it himself. "Premonition - 2010" (featuring Azeem) is the most rap/hip-hop song, on an album I feel should be edited a bit.

The Electric Mist is quite comforting and partly appealing, without being totally mind-breaking or ground-breaking.

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