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Milk of Human Kindness

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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The Milk of Human Kindness
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Audio CD, May 3, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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Dan Snaith's Manitoba project is back with a new name but his hypnotic music hasn't changed. Caribou, like Manitoba, is still heavy on electronic jam sessions, with peculiar swirls of sound and stoned instrumental wanderings leading you who-knows-where. The Milk of Human Kindness also has that faint whisp of ‘60s bubblegum pop (see "Bees") and Stereolab-like drone present on Manitoba records like Up In Flames. Such reference points provide welcome toeholds in the midst of all the laptop anarchy, preventing the whole thing from drifting off into the ether. Snaith puts a few other twists on Milk, with mixed success. On the plus side, the sharp opener "Yeti" is a quick burst of fun, while "Lord Leopard" knocks up the beat a notch toward hip-hop territory. The lamentable "A Final Warning," however, falls off the deep end into an almost comedic dead-end. Still, Snaith continues to show off boundless creativity, and when he conjures the right mix of chaos and cohesion like he does on "Brahminy Kite," the result is a glorious noise all his own. –Matthew Cooke
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 3, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Domino
  • ASIN: B0007ZSH4O
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #164,893 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This new record from former Manitoba involvee Dan Snaith is a relatively short, naturalistic trip. The track titles, artwork, and music evoke usually-innocent pastel mind-wanderings, complete with background saturation and effects. Several of the tracks are short interludes which despite their short length are very enjoyable to listen to. "Subotnick", "Bees", and "Hello Hammerheads" employ sparse vocals which lend the album a more personal feel. "Lord Leopard" employs a straight hip hop beat to carry a nearly Baroque harpsichord melody, resulting in an ironically catchy product. Other standout tracks include "Drumheller" which is likewise a very short track but is calm and evoking with its soft melodies and unique sixteen beat. "Pelican Narrows" is perhaps the best track, utilizing Four Tet-esque analog acoustics to create a fuzzy, warm, happy feeling.

Perhaps the only negative aspect of THE MILK OF HUMAN KINDNESS is its relatively short length. However, it is certainly a well-worthy purchase.
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Format: Audio CD
I am truly amazed at what Dan Snaith has put down. He is one brilliant man. Up In Flames may have been a rock meets electronica affair but Milk of Human Kindness is electronica that's got a bit of funk, folk and FM.

This album starts off with a fast moving romp that will probably be the closest thing Dan will actually get to recording a dance track. If Madonna had done some experimental drugs when she was recording Ray of Light, it might have sounded like this. It then takes some bends and turns touching on 50's and 60's doo-wop, 70's funk, 80's hip-hop.... It's really a journey through a lot of musical styles. It puts a really interesting spin on the music as does his hypnotic Beck-like vocals.

This is definitely one of the best this year. All the songs are great but the standout tracks are YETI, LORD LEOPARD, BEES, DRUMHELLER (a small town in the heart of the Alberta badlands where the dinosaurs roamed - very cool landscape up there) and PELICAN NARROWS.
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Format: Audio CD
The smooth lounge-like electronics of Manitoba's first album, "Start Breaking My Heart" gave way to beats with a harder edge and more potential dance-floor use on the accompanying EP, "Give'r". The shift was an exciting one, but didn't foreshadow the complete revision in sound that the next album "Up in Flames" was. While the influence of psychedelic rock was heavy, it was laced with the laborious attention of the laptop artist/producer, producing a beautiful piece of ear-candy. (I initially gave "Up in Flames" a tepid review that I now regret posting, FYI.)

With this new album, Snaith has closed the circle, bringing back the hip-hop and dance aspects of "Give'r" while reinvigorating the folk-rock with clearer vocals and more live instrumentation. One of the things that I was disappointed with in the previous record was the lack of variation throughout the album, but here that problem has disappeared. The presence of some pretty damn funky interludes helps to split apart the spaced-out folk tunes into more discreet chunks. While there is still plenty of sprawling wall-of-sound rock, the mix is tighter and the song structures more focused. I've compared this band to the Beta Band and Beck before, but now it is clear that the torch that those two have dropped has been picked up by Caribou. This is his best album, yet, in my opinion.

By the way, the live show that this band puts on is blistering. I mean BLISTERING, they rock out and have great animations. That's why I listen to this record very loudly.
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Format: Audio CD
This music has no boundries or categories. It's almost Debussy like in it's expansiveness and seeming lack of traditional structure. You just have to check it out and get pulled in like a vortex.

I saw Caribou as an opening band recently and the live show is nothing short of jaw droppingly amazing. They totally blew the headliner off the stage and into the next state (and the headliner is one of my all time favorite bands). Don't miss Dan's Caribou when they come to your town, unreal.
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Format: Audio CD
What can I even say about an album this terrific? You have to buy it. Buy it! Buy it, buy it, buy it! Caribou is the best thing in electronic music today, and one of the best things in music in general. Those who hear Caribou, love Caribou. Buy it, buy it, buy it. If you like electronica, buy it. If you like classical, and are open to the idea that the master composers--the Mozarts, the Beethovens--if they were alive today, would make use of today's instruments, buy it. If you like rock, folk, pop, buy it. If you like hearing things done with sound that have never been done with sound, if you like music so inventive it makes you laugh out loud, buy it. If you like music so complex you hear something new in it every time you play it, buy it. Buy it, and then put all your money in a box, and send it to Dan "Mantiba/Caribou" Snaith now. Listen to this album, and listen well, and I know you'll agree he deserves it.

Note: I especially recommend listening to this album (or any Caribou album) while driving on a winding dirt road late at night. It seems made for it.
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Format: Audio CD
Dan Snaith is someone who is far ahead of his lo-fi/experimental/synth rock genre, and he does it so well. For someone that far into the game like Dan, his album, "The Milk of Human Kindness", triumphantly cooks; as this newly treasured genre really picks up. For those just new into the genre, I would not suggest starting here, as you may become overwhelmed, and unsure of your new found love of the genre. I suggest early Manitoba albums, or perhaps Sufjan Stevens, or Russian Futurists, or even The Decemberists.

I loved the album from start to finish, and cannot skip a track.

"Yeti" is the perfect start to the album with the yawning voice and snappy beats. While I enjoy the hip-hop flavor in the track "Lord Leopard", it's perhaps the keen piano style loop that does it for me and keeps me enthused 3 tracks in. From "Bees" to "Brahminy Kite" I am kept contented and feeling well fed of the musical smorgasbord he has delivered thus far.

Then he gives us "Drumheller"...and having lived in Edmonton for 4 years, and have been to Drumheller...ooh half a dozen times, the beats and style he gives you on the c.d. are almost that of the sound of that place, itself. Sad sounding, depressing, but alive, and self preserving, it hits home. He ends off on "Barnowl" and he keeps us full with his dessert ending, playfully reserved, closer.

In all, Dan Snaith is a musical genius and I think that music has found it's new modern day Mozart of Lo-Fi music, and I have a feeling he could go down in the books like Mr. Mozart himself.
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