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Emperor Tomato Ketchup


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Audio CD, April 9, 1996
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$18.59
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Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Metronomic Underground (LP- Wagon Christ Mix) 7:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Cybele's Reverie 4:40$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Percolator 3:47$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Les Yper-Sound 4:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Spark Plug 2:29$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Olv 26 5:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. The Noise Of Carpet 3:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Tomorrow Is Already Here 4:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Emperor Tomato Ketchup 4:37$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Monstre Sacre 3:44$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Motoroller Scalatron 3:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Slow Fast Hazel 3:53$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Anonymous Collective 4:32$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 9, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Elektra / Wea
  • ASIN: B000002HK2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,172 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

You want retro? Get a load of their equipment, from the vintage Farfisa and Vox organs to the ever-lovable Moog synthesizers. You want futurist? It's the sound of not-so-well-oiled machinery, churning and sputtering into space age bachelor pad heaven and postindustrial hell. You want pure pop? Dig how they mine mod sounds of the '60s, from Burt Bacharach to Françoise Hardy, and pull melodies straight out of a bubblegum wrapper. You want avant garde? Check the blatant liftings from '70s krautrockers Neu! and Can, plus their appropriations of Philip Glass's disjointed wordplay and Ornette Coleman's jagged alto sax.

You want meaning? These are songs loaded with optimism, progressivism, humanism, and dashes of Marxism. You want nonsense? There's plenty of "la-la-la's" to lead us into oblivion, and head vocalist Laetitia Sadier sings half the time in French.

You want a groove band? Tracks like "Metronomic Underground" and "Les Yper-Sound" cast a funk trance heavier than voodoo and at least as danceable as any neo-hippie tripe. You want a band that rocks? Try "The Noise of Carpet" for its rug-burning guitar and acceleration drum whacks. Yesterday, tomorrow, now: Stereolab's the one. --Roni Sarig

Customer Reviews

It's a strange, enigmatic form of pop music that somehow works.
Samhot
Since Emperor Tomato Ketchup, Stereolab has continued to release one great album after another, but there has always been a slight sense of disappointment.
Matthew E. Olken
I won't go into each song because there is no good way I can describe this album, it is just amazing.
swriter7

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Mike Newmark on December 26, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Stereolab got positive notice all the way back in 1992 with Peng! and the Low-Fi EP, but 1996's Emperor Tomato Ketchup marks the point where they transformed from hip college-radio band to pop revolutionaries. Where earlier albums featured a consistent sound and raw, crackling textures, ETK is a polished, gorgeous, and remarkably varied affair. It sets a new standard of complexity for the band (one which they have not reached since) and certainly for pop music, which is nowadays all but devoid of innovation and intelligence. Though it's not the Stereolab of 1993, it's hardly a 180 either, as they refine their techniques and add new layers instead of altogether changing their approach. And this means that Emperor Tomato Ketchup should strike a positive chord with early-Lab devotees, while sweet melodies and catchy hooks throw new listeners on the bandwagon.

This is Stereolab at their most ambitious and most realized, and they sound confident enough to try new things. From the get-go it appears they've taken a new direction entirely, opening with the head-nodding dub/hip-hop of "Metronomic Underground," but power-pop gems "Cybele's Reverie" and "The Noise of Carpet" remind listeners of the Stereolab of old (with extra doses of energy and complexity), the former employing a string section to great effect and the latter featuring Letitia Sadier's most direct vocal delivery on record. Socio-political lyrics are in full force as always, but you would never be able to tell this on sweet, playful songs like "Motoroller Scalatron." If a "centerpiece track" could be picked out, it might be the five-minute "Tomorrow is Already Here.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Samhot on August 10, 2003
Format: Audio CD
My oh my - how does one even begin to describe music like this? Complex yet accessible. Impenetrable yet engrossing. Avant-garde yet melodic and engaging. Stereolab are known for taking elements of the past and transmutating them into something fresh, futuristic and utterly indescribable. For starters, imagine hearing the Avant-funk of Can, the eerie keyboard textures of The Doors (and/or other 60s psychedelic bands), the baffling odd-timed rhythms of Gabriel-era Genesis, angelic and precious vocal harmonies that can smack of The Beach Boys, and while we're at it, how about we add in sprinkles of Chamber music, Dream pop, 20th Century classical, Jazz, Alternative rock, Baroque pop and primal amounts of synthesizer ambience floating around. And last but not least - a good dosage of catchy pop music. Throw all of these in one gigantic blender, and the result would come out to about only a teaspoonful of the enigmatic sonic beverage/shake known as Stereolab.

Just take a glance at some of the other reviews below, and you'll find countless other artists that this band seems to remind listeners of; it's a mysterious cornucopia that sounds so familiar, yet so fresh and new at the same time. The description in the above paragraph doesn't even seem to reach the half of it. This is music so vast and aurally intangible, sonically speaking, it'll probably take centuries for anyone to come up with a label in exactitude. What'll also get your head spinning is how accessible, infectious and engaging this music is, despite including musical elements that are clearly for the acquired, not to mention that you can find some ethereal, sensual female voices singing lyrics in French and English. It's a strange, enigmatic form of pop music that somehow works. Futuristic pop? Maybe.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Matthew E. Olken on April 28, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Before Emperor Tomato Ketchup was released, I was a big fan of Stereolab, especially of Transient Random Noise Bursts. Mars Audiac Quintet followed and I took it to be Stereolab's definitive statement; it seemed to say "We are Stereolab and we like to play droney rock, so that is what we are damn well going to do on every single song." I felt that after Mars, that was it: Stereolab had picked out their little niche in the world and they were going to stay there.
Then came Emperor Tomato Ketchup...
This was something new. It still had many of their trademarks - vintage synths, a mixture of the old and new, dual female vocals, french accents, marxist lyrics, very poppy, and, yes, even some droney rock - but it was a wholely different beast from any music by Stereolab or by anyone else that had come before. It was super funky, it was electronic, it had dense layers of a whole army of cool instruments. The sounds on many songs build up one on top of another until the songs almost burst with insane energy. This is their most edgy album with sonics that try to push the listener over the brink. Witness the apocalyptic guitar feedback on Metronomic Underground, the stabbing synths and strings on Cybele's Reverie, the frantically disonant sax on Percolator, the overdriven riffing on Noise of Carpet, the pounding drums on the title track, the swaggering funk of Sparkplug.
Since Emperor Tomato Ketchup, Stereolab has continued to release one great album after another, but there has always been a slight sense of disappointment. Perhaps they just set the bar too damn high with this one. No more could they get by with merely great albums. Nothing short of a total 180 degree turn could possibly top this. It will always be my favorite.
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