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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2001
people keep comparing this cd to other groups and musicians which boxes it in and places loftly expectations on it. (if i were to compare it i would say think air's "remember" or "kelly, watch the stars!". vocoder vocals, funky 70s bass lines and simple synth beats. i know. . . i'm being hypocritical) so when i bought this cd i was expecting kraftwerk-like rhythms or autechre=like beats (after all they are on the warp label) needless to say i was disappointed at first listen. then, i threw all of the pre-concieved ideas that were shoved on me out of my head and listened to it again with a clear open mind. lo and behold! i discovered that this is one of the freshest, funnest simplest CDs i've ever bought. i won't try to explain the songs or describe the style (with the exception of my hypocritical comparison at the begining of this review), i just suggest that you buy it, listen to it, and enjoy it without paying any attention to what anyone has to say about the cd. you'll love it based on it's own merits. i did.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 1999
Those familiar with Plone's earlier singles should know what to expect from this album. Not only does it include two of the songs from those releases, PLOCK and PRESS A KEY, but the rest of the tracks are quite similar in nature. For curious electro-trainspotters this album is unlike any other in the Warp catalog, so dont expect any Squarepusher jungle, or Autechre bit-bleepage. Plone's simple "fischer price melodies" and "lego beats" (from Matador's promotional sticker on the wrapper) hark back to Kraftwerk and the 1980's electro-pop, while at the same time referencing current analog trendsetters AIR and I.S.A.N. That's not to say that Plone dont have a sound of their own or that this album isn't a worthy addition to anyone's music collection. "For Beginner Piano" has been worth the wait (for those few of us who have been looking forward to it all summer). Every song on the album is great. That said, I shall register my one complaint: about 2/3rds of the pieces start to sound very similar upon listening to the disc as a whole. On a record that doesn't break the forty minute mark, that's a little dissapointing. Its as simple as a favored chord change and melody (that lilting minor chord sort of Euro-sound from French and Italian records of the 60's), but you would think that such talented musicians would persue a little more variation on a disc of such brevity. If you like melodic music with a sense of humour (BE RUDE TO YOUR SCHOOL could be the uplifting theme from the end of an 8-bit Nintendo game) and analog synths, check out this disc... you will love it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2000
Listening to "For Beginner Piano" provides a fine opportunity to play "spot the influence". For me, at least, the closest antecedents to this album would be European instrumental music from the late 1960s through the early 1980s. From Kraftwerk-like abstraction, through stirring tunes that sound for all the world like old Ennio Morricone movie soundtracks, this album is a journey in nostalgia.
Every track on this album is immediately accessible, but I don't really feel like there's enough depth or variety to keep me coming back to it. Once you've listened to a given tune a few times, you're unlikely to get more out of it. The simplicity of the music is beguiling, but it also leaves "For Beginner Piano" bereft of lasting impact.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2003
since the lost days of the space pop electronica,a few albums could made us feel that nostalgia about the future.But with these guys of UK,our hearts will be sad for something that still hasn't happened..
For beginner piano is a masterpiece,melodic electronica,with a touch of 60's glamour,and the presence of jean jaques perrey everywhere.It's has been almost 4 years since this cd was released,but you are in time to hear the most wonderful album of electronic pop that you can imagine...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 1999
after a few listens to this album i've come to the conclusion that this is what the ventures would have sounded like if they had started in the 90's as opposed to the 60's.
the melodies are catchy and the lack of drum loops that warp is known for do not detract from this album. its like listening to music that you would have heard as a kid, the sounds are all nostalgic since their repotoire of instruments are from old analogue synths, over all im glad i bought the album,
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 1999
This is one of the best albums I have bought in a long while. For lovers of Air, Broadcast and Boards of Canada. These ten retro-synth laden tunes demonstrate both child-like simplicity and joy while evoking memories of old suspense/horror movie themes. If you are looking for something new that will rejuvinate your music collection then give this a try. I bought it on a whim and am not the least bit disappointed. Will become a classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Plone takes a refreshingly different direction from the typical Warp Records sound. From amid the cloud of heady music from Autechre, Chris Clark, and others, Plone emerges with something that sounds unmistakably human, even as they construct with music with synthesizers and vocoders. The most important difference from many of their Warp label-mates is the distinct analog sound. There is a nice array of classics, as well as some inexpensive, but charismatic instruments such as the little Casios that everyone used to have laying around.

It's easy enough to include a bunch of pop culture references, mix in a little Kraftwerk, and wrap it all up in a catchy, candy shell, but it's quite another to make a true confection - something that blends the elements together as if their juxtaposition was almost obvious. Plone has managed to do exactly that, all while exploring a sort of demented, but sincere children's "play-time" aesthetic. The happy, optimistic melody of Plock will always bring a smile, while Marbles sounds like a vintage synth cover of an old Sesame Street tune. You can just see Big Bird walking down the street.

Perhaps "For Beginner Piano" is a bit sentimental at times. That point is debatable, but I will say that it has never detracted from my enjoyment. It's less schmaltzy and more like fond memories. Boards of Canada fans will almost certainly enjoy this, as will many electronic music fans. It's not exactly a classic, but it's unique and memorable, two key ingredients of a successful album. Check it out and have fun!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2004
I've been listening to this album for about five years by now and I have yet to get tired of it. It's not for everyone, but for those people who like bloopy electronic childlike melodies, you should listen to this CD. I personally like "Top and Low Rent" the most but "Bibi Plone" is great too as an insanely happy sounding song that sounds like background music to some brightly colored alien land where all the inhabitants are blobs (okay, that's just my opinion...they might not be blobs). In general I enjoy all the songs, but as much as I love this album I'm giving it four instead of five stars because I think it could've been longer (otherwise, definitely a 5!). Nothing really compares to Plone in my mind but if you like them you may also like E*Vax, B. Fleischmann, Lullatone...and vice versa.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2000
First, one has to admit that this album falls short of a masterpiece. In the electronic genre, there are definately a few of them: albums like "The Richard D. James Album" by Aphex Twin and "Music Deserves the Right to Children" by Plone's labelmates Boards of Canada. This album probably is not in the same category as these....
But, in the pantheon of electronica, it deserves its own place. It is strangely happy music (albeit a twisted, perverse, strange happiness....) that sort of makes one feel younger.... like in primary school.... It sounds, in places, like Japanese film soundtracks trying to be played on Casio keyboards in the eighties, with minor, simple melodies added in as distraction. If the electronica of say Photek is akin to a samurai, majesctic, powerful, and precise, or Amon Tobin's music like Mickey Mouse on heroin... Plone is the five year old with a pink butterknife-- swatting at demons that look like Snuffelupigi and butterflies.... playing with malformed as of yet demons.... because one as of yet knows not better....
It's a totally worthwhile listen. This is the only CD that I own that without a doubt, can make me feel better.... make me regress.... with it's synth-pop nineteen-eighties repchage "Lego melodies and Fisher Price breaks" if you have a chance to get this disk, I totally would. Money well spent....
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on December 29, 2007
Now, let me start by saying this album is not for everyone, believe me, I've tried, not everyone digs the sound.

But seriously, it's the cutest, fluffiest, happiest, creepiest, oddest, video game-esque sounding music I've maybe ever heard. It's insane that music can sound so downright adorable, where suddenly you're imagining fluffy little bunnies batting each other on the heads with giant cotton balls or something (try bibi plone or marbles). Then they dive into something with a slightly more sinister feel, maybe a hungry crocodile comes slithering along, watching the bunnies hop and kick, getting hungrier and slitherier..(on my bus or busy working, perhaps?).

In any case, I find it to be very "visual" music and a lot of fun to listen to. It's a little strange, a little bizarre, quite colorful, and overall pretty enjoyable.

Also, if you think you might like the sound, but find it a little hard to get on board with, try some of Plone's other collaborations with Pram, Broadcast, or Mike in Mono.
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