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4.4 out of 5 stars40
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2000
the more i listen to this album, the more i absolutely love it. there is a certain innocent tone that engulfs the compositions, making this a highly complex, yet accessible work of art. gus gus were obviously noticed because of the hype that surrounded their friend and like-minded neighbor, bjork, but their talents deserve attention with or without her. this album, polydistortion, is an insanely addictive electronic masterpiece that jumps from one sub-genre to another by fusing each song structure's theme with tripped out electronics and lush, seductive, musically intelligent chord progressions and arrangements. While the songs with driving beats have brought about the most attention, I fell in love with the more ambient and sexy tracks like the unforgettable "why?". This song is a simple electronic piano and vocal arrangement that has soul just bursting out of the seams. Polyesterday is another favorite, featuring a very cool bassline and smart lyrics. Overall, the ambience of the record as a whole is unmatched by anything gus gus has done recently. (though i love 'this is normal', i feel polydistortion is superior in many respects.) for a truly significant electronic masterpiece of the 1990's, pick this beauty up.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2000
I was really impressed with this album. I can't tell you how many times I passed it up at the store too, because I just wasn't sure. I've been burned many times in the past taking chances on bands I'd scarcely heard. I hit gold on this one. I cycled through all the tracks the first time I played it trying to not get my hopes up. I had actually purchased "this is normal" first. I like this album more. In fact I love this album. The song Polydistortion it's self is a total groove that will keep some part of you body moving it's entire 6+ min. length. Theres only really one track on here I pass, and thats track 5. The last track "purple" is an unbelievably beautiful techno song that has the ability to put you in the most peaceful state of mind. This is a great album.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2003
Cuz I want some of it too. What a delectably ambient album. "Blur" meets "Depeche Mode" meets "Moby" meets "U2" of yore. Very different, goovy numbers. Try Polyesterday for instance which more than any other showcases Gus Gus' mild penchant for the four-to-the-floor electronic pulse and their psych-pop beats. Fabulous stuff.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2001
Much of what I feel about this album has already been put into words by many of my fellow critics. Thus, all I will say is this: I consider myself an extremely finnicky listener, and I definitely reserve my highest praise for works that I genuinely feel deserve such accolades. Having said that, this album is fantastic. In fact, I'm listening to it as I write this review.
I had few expectations when I first purchased the album. In fact, my curiosity about Polydistortion arose because two of the tracks on this CD appear on Sasha & Digweed's Northern Exposure II East Coast---which is, in my mind, the most finely crafted, technically sound, and emotionally consummate electronica album ever conceived. Thus, I thought I would give Polydistortion a listen. There is real art in their music. They blend so many elements and styles, and are never contained by a genre or preconception.
The opening track piqued my curiosity, which is important. "Believe" was very different from the mix used by Sasha and Diggers, but still very cool--the beginning rolls in with an almost-funk sound which created a different mood than in the aforementioned mix (which was more like dark, resonating lullabye). I dug "Cold Breath '79" which immediately brought up images of dark cobalt interiors of European castles, as well as a level from Castlevania 3 for the NES (apologies). "Purple" was, of course, classic and almost exactly per the usage of the track in Tranceport and NE2:EC. The track that really grabbed me was "Why?". It was pure cosmic jazz in the vein of Air. It was eerily reminiscent of "All I Need" off Moon Safari, though I prefer Beth Hirsch's vocals. Regardless, a fabulous haze of thick meloncholy and slow, tripping, almost aquatic tonalities. Perhaps my favorite track on the album.
At times trip-hop, other times dark groove, but always slick and melodically complex, this album takes the listener on a real voyage. A must have.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I was 17 when this album came out, and I remember seeing the videos to "Polyseterday" and "Believe" on MTV's AMP way back in the day, and I remember I used to record that show every week in hopes that I would catch them.

Now almost 10 years later, this album still rocks my socks every time I hear it. A lot of people don't like this album, or GusGus in general for that matter, but GusGus's music (especially around this era) is right up my alley.

Spacy, yet totally butt-shaking. Icy and dubbed, yet so hot it's on fire.

My favorites on this album are Believe, Cold Breath '79, Why?, Remembrance and Polybackwards (the hidden track at the end). But all the songs are great.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2000
This album is pure magic for your brain. Awesome, ambient almost logic-trance mixed with some damn fine vocals and sets a mood that is indescribable. Please listen to this album. You WILL love it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2000
I bought this 3 years ago and I have not tired of it for a minute. The first two songs have a relaxing and chilling vibe to them. Just like Bjork's "Homogenic," Iceland serves as the backbone to the album. The same feeling of the arctic was captured most perfectly on The Residents' "Eskimo." You can hear the wind and freezing temperatures all throughout this record. But the record isn't about the climate and landscapes of Iceland. They serve as a backdrop to Gus Gus' house party. The songs themselves blend soul, funk, ambient, and techno into their own unique and beautiful electronic textures.
Though "Barry" and "Remembrance" definitely aren't great (the latter has Siggi singing in a downright scary baritone) the rest of the songs more than make up for the slack.
This was made when Gus Gus was still 9 (sometimes 10) members. "This Is Normal" to me is dispensible dance music. There's only 3 songs on it that I can still listen to. And with tons of problems with the band whittling them down to 3 remaining members, the future of Gus Gus is uncertain. Luckily, they have released the old T-World tracks on their own album, so "This Is Normal" won't be their final words.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2003
Having taken me the best part of 4 months searching to track this down, I apprehensively approached this, wondering if it could live up to the multiple 5 star reviews....but I should have had more faith, as `Gus Gus'' first studio album (and their best), is a astonishing piece of ambient Electronica / Downbeat indie rock...alternating beautifully between "Believe's" squelchy beats & funky-laden riffs, it sets the tone for the towering quality & variety of tracks on offer here. "Is Jesus Your Pal?" is the musical opposite to "Believe" with it's very minimal barely audible beats, with singer 'Siggi Kjartansson' musing gently to create a confident fragile sound. Everything points to a band bursting at the seams with innovative ideas, that they fully realise in this album & provided you find a copy, this album stands as a shining example to others in the field of experimental Electronica.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2000
At times mellow, at times chilling, I was unsure how much I'd like this album. I'm glad I took the chance. This album creates a moderately hypnotic mood. I recommend it to those who prefer turning the lights out and raising the volume to semi-mellow trance music.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2000
What is it about Iceland that makes people make such great music? Every artist from there is just incredible. From the opening jazz tasting song "OH(edit)" to the incredible "Believe" and the everlasting great song "Polyesterday", this album is solid atmosphere. The beats are top notch as well(listen to "Barry"). The real secret of this album is the single version of Polyesterday called "Polymovie" which can be found on the single for "Polyesterday". This is the version that was used in the video and has an incredible since of fading in and out during the song. It is very similar to Alec Empire's "22:24". The other highlight of this album is the song entitled "Why?". As a whole, you should buy this album. It may not be your favorite album, but you'll be glad you have it for that day you need to clean your house/apt. The reason I gave it four stars instead of five is because I could do without the "house-type" programming in a couple of the songs ("Remembrance" and "Cold Breath '79).
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