Music, Movies & More: "Babel," "Looper" & "Until the Quiet Comes"

Jake Tapley

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“Babel”

Mumford & Sons

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Last week English folk band Mumford & Sons released its sophomore album, “Babel.”

Many fans of Mumford & Sons complained that the album is too similar to its debut album and that the band hadn’t evolved enough. While true – the album does sound like a continuation of the band’s debut album – it is far from a disappointment.

To say that the band hasn’t evolved, though, is a bit of an insult to these great musicians.


Stronger lyrics and more intricately orchestrated instrumentals evoke powerful emotions, perhaps more so than the first album does.

The first track, “Babel,” is riddled with powerful, honest lyrics and a strong lead banjo throughout. While listening to “I Will Wait,” it becomes apparent that the band has in fact developed from its previous album. Its use of a lead banjo throughout is something that really gives the album its strong sound.

Mumford & Sons is a band that has mastered the art of building up suspense and anticipation for an overwhelming climax, and the use of that tactic in this album is just a hair short of genius.

“Lover’s Eyes” is perhaps my favorite track on the album and is proof that, lyrically, the band has grown immensely. “Tame the ghost in my head/that run wild and wish me dead/shake my ash to the wind/Lord forget all of my sins,” is a haunting lyric and its use of dueling, harmonizing vocals gives me goose bumps.

The fact of the matter is that Mumford & Sons is a band that has found its sound. Unlike other bands that constantly evolve, trying to find a unique style, this band creates absolutely gorgeous music that is an undeniable work of talent.

In fact, had Mumford & Sons created a new sound in this album, I might have been disappointed. With that said, here’s to hoping Mumford & Sons doesn’t ever change.

By: LOGAN HURSH, Staff writer

 

“Looper”

Rating: 4/5 stars

This sci-fi action film, directed by Rian Johnson (“Brick,” “The Brothers Bloom”), was definitely worth the $6 matinee ticket I purchased – and then some.

In “Looper,” the protagonist, Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), works as an assassin (or looper) for a futuristic criminal organization that sends people back in time to be murdered – an efficient and virtually flawless system of violence.

But when he is assigned to murder his older self (Bruce Willis), Joe deviates from this system, acting out of his will to live. He then collaborates with his middle-aged counterpart in an attempt to change the future.

Like many other science fiction movies before it (particularly ones about time travel), “Looper” exhibits many existential and thought-provoking dilemmas. It doesn’t pose entirely new questions as much it expands on old ones by viewing them in a different light or tackling them from a different angle. I particularly enjoy this about the movie – that it uses innovation as a form of creative invention.

Aside from thematic scope, the film is aesthetically pleasing. It boasts great visuals and effect sequences, as well as superb performances from both Gordon-Levitt and Willis.

“Looper” is truly a rare breed of movie. Much like “The Dark Knight” trilogy, it has enough substance to make it formulaic and successful but still manages to fulfill the desires of filmgoers looking to be emotionally and psychologically changed.

Just try to stay comfy on the edge of your seat.

By: JAKE TAPLEY, Opinion editor

 

“Until the Quiet Comes”

Flying Lotus

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Striking the play button on the first track of a Flying Lotus album is, in its essence, surrendering to the whims of a most eclectic producer. Flying Lotus hails from Los Angeles, and the West Coast influence, as well as many others, makes itself apparent on his latest collection “Until the Quiet Comes.”

With a considerable amount of help from his label-mate and fellow producer Thundercat, who plays bass throughout the record, Steven Ellison brings a new dynamic to the alternative hip-hop vernacular. Though Ellison utilizes electronic means to produce his music, this album rarely feels robotic.

The organic vibe throughout is uncannily comfortable. One of the obvious contributing factors is the earthy rumble of the bass guitar on half of the tracks. When the bass guitar is absent, it is often replaced with a slightly more mechanical bass drone which could prove to be inaudible on a sound system with poor bass response.

Features on the album include Erykah Badu, Radiohead singer Thom Yorke, Laura Darlington and Niki Randa. The track that features Yorke’s vocals, entitled “Electric Candyman,” is a dark medley that begins with synthetic and heavily effected notes.

The jazz-infused number finds Yorke in usual form, singing drearily over a mixture of earthy and manufactured tones. “Say my name, say my name,” Yorke sings. Layers of Yorke’s croon drown in the mix, the main culprits of the soothing pollution being tribal drums and a strata of low-end organs and bass. Another standout, “me Yesterday//Corded,” comes in at track 17 and has the longest running time of all the songs on the album at just over four and a half minutes.

This new FlyLo effort emblazons new accessible territory in a genre old enough to have already fizzled out. With nearly 20 tracks, most of which seem to have their own musical theme entirely, “Until the Quiet Comes” is a veritable buffet of sound.

As with many of the musical delicacies under the EDM (Electronic Dance Music) umbrella, this collection is best enjoyed with bass-friendly headphones.

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