Quiet Village: Silent Movie

Opening with “Victoria's Secret,” a bucolic evocation replete with water sounds, a nature-calling oboe, and strings so syrupy they verge on indigestible, Silent Movie asserts itself as an unusual hour-long outing, to say the least, by Quiet Village residents Joel Martin and Matt Edwards (aka Radio Slave). Though its mode of assembly invites the label “electronic,” the music is anything but: it's crate-digging to the extreme with the collaborators exploring radically diverse territory in a dozen tracks that stylistically graze upon lounge, soul, funk, disco, chill-out, country, reggae, and electro. Martin refers to Quiet Village 's music as “Balearic” in terms of its spiritual and warm qualities (something clearly heard in the trumpet and piano playing in “Too High Too Move”) and generally as “sophisticated adult exotica,” a label that neatly captures the material's feel. Much of the album's vibe recalls the ‘70s, with the Philly strings that swoop alongside the soulful reggae skank of “Pacific Rhythm” a case in point (the tune even includes the croak of a talk-box). Tracks like “Victoria's Secret” and the easy-listening “Broken Promises” are so over-the-top, they flirt with self-parody yet strangely manage to pull back from doing so when Martin and Edwards craft the material with such seemingly straight faces. Golden “oooh” harmonies meet a countrified hoe-down in “Free Rider,” while the second tune (“Circus of Horror”) introduces some semblance of normalcy in its breezy marriage of guitar-encrusted, soul-funk grooves with bluesy vocal riffing. One thing Silent Movie ain't is dance music—at least not as we conventionally know it—so anyone expecting something on the order of a prototypical Radio Slave mix disc (Creature of the Night or Misch Masch, for instance) is shopping in the wrong department.

May 2008