Malachi Lui

Malachi Lui  |  May 14, 2022  |  4 comments
Last year, British electropop star Charli XCX tweeted, “rip hyperpop.” The tweet shocked many—especially coming from the artist who brought bubblegum bass and hyperpop to broader audiences through projects like 2016’s SOPHIE-produced Vroom Vroom EP or 2020’s quickly recorded quarantine album how i’m feeling now—but Charli has always gone at her own pace, on her own terms. Yet, her new album Crash presents her as merely another generic pop star, supposedly as a performance art piece about selling out that doubles as her last record on Atlantic (and therefore her as-of-now last chance to use those major label resources). Crash is Charli’s Let’s Dance: the album where a pop star fully embraces the mainstream after years of artsier excursions. Unfortunately, the end result lacks personality, trading her strengths for lyrically emptier and sonically blander songs laser-focused on mass appeal.

Malachi Lui  |  May 01, 2022  |  93 comments
There’s plenty already said about the musical content of Marvin Gaye’s 1971 classic What’s Going On so I’ll avoid redundancy and just say that its scope—from the sociopolitically-minded lyrics to the carefully assembled song cycle structure and luscious musical arrangements—pushed the boundaries of what a Motown release could be, and truly stands the test of time. It’s an endlessly relevant record (decide yourself if that says more about the album’s excellence or society’s failures), and also one of the most exhaustively reissued: in the past 20 years, we’ve seen Universal’s 30th anniversary 2CD featuring the original Detroit mix, more alternate mixes, and a Kennedy Center live recording from 1972; Mobile Fidelity’s SACD and 33rpm single LP releases; UMG’s 40th anniversary “super deluxe” edition adding further session material and alternate versions; quite a few run-of-the-mill digitally-sourced vinyl reissues of the core album, done at United for the US and GZ for Europe; an Abbey Road half-speed 4LP mirroring the 2001 2CD; and MoFi’s 45rpm double LP UltraDisc One Step cut from tape. That’s not including the “Vinyl Lovers” Russian reissues of dubious legal origin cut and pressed at GZ, the 192kHz/24bit hi-res download, a Blu-ray Audio release (remember that format?), and the Japanese SACDs, CDs, and MQA-UHQCDs featuring a flat transfer of the original master tapes (yes, really!).
Malachi Lui  |  Apr 28, 2022  |  First Published: Apr 28, 2022  |  35 comments
(Review Explosion, curated by contributing editor Malachi Lui, is AnalogPlanet’s guide to notable recent releases and reissues. It focuses on the previous few months’ new releases for which we don’t have time or energy to cover more extensively.)

Malachi Lui  |  Apr 12, 2022  |  First Published: Apr 12, 2022  |  39 comments
(Review Explosion, curated by contributing editor Malachi Lui, is AnalogPlanet’s guide to notable recent releases and reissues. It focuses on the previous few months’ new releases for which we don’t have time or energy to cover more extensively.)

Malachi Lui  |  Mar 24, 2022  |  52 comments
Mere months after his patience-testing yet rewarding opus Donda, Kanye West is back with its lazily titled sequel, Donda 2. Don’t expect to find it on streaming platforms or in record stores, however. The artist now legally known as Ye instead independently released it exclusively on the $200 Stem Player, a proprietary, Yeezy Tech- and Kano-developed device that allows users tactile interaction with his last three albums (more about that later). Most of Donda 2’s media coverage centers around the Stem Player situation, how everyone thinks Kanye is “crazy” to so highly value his art by making everyone pay $200 for it. Yet, Donda 2 itself doesn’t cost $200; it’s a free download accessible only via the $200 Stem Player, meaning he doesn’t technically have to pay anyone royalties or sample clearances. Kanye would tell you he’s winning, except it’s his own game designed to eliminate any threat of competition. (Either way, Billboard ruled the album ineligible to chart. Kanye’s decision to keep Donda 2 off streaming is immensely respectable, though I wish he also put out a more convenient $20 CD or tape.)

Malachi Lui  |  Mar 16, 2022  |  8 comments
Following a snooze-inducing headlining performance (based on the recording) at the 2000 Glastonbury Festival, David Bowie and his band (guitarist Earl Slick, bassist Gail Ann Dorsey, pianist Mike Garson, drummer Sterling Campbell, and musician/producer Mark Plati) entered New York’s Sear Sound to re-record his early, mostly pre-Space Oddity catalog highlights. Bowie intended the quickly recorded result, Toy, as a surprise release, though in 2001 the financially struggling Virgin/EMI balked at the idea and eventually rejected the album altogether. For the following year’s Heathen, Bowie signed to Columbia and left uncertain Toy’s future. Leaked in 2011 and recently officially released by his estate and Parlophone, Toy now has its proper place in his studio discography. Yet, is it worthy of its legendary—and in some circles, almost mythical—status?

Malachi Lui  |  Mar 01, 2022  |  11 comments
In November 2021, Radiohead combined their “twin albums” Kid A (October 2000) and Amnesiac (May 2001) with a previously unreleased outtakes collection, Kid Amnesiae, for the highly anticipated three-disc Kid A Mnesia. Several formats are available: US and EU standard weight 3LP pressings on black (standard) and red (limited) vinyl, a similar 3CD set, a Japanese 3CD featuring Amnesiac B-sides excluded from most other Kid A Mnesia releases, a Kid Amnesiette limited edition double cassette (also featuring those Amnesiac B-sides), and the sold-out “Scarry Book.” The latter, a super deluxe 3LP package, lacks the Amnesiac B-sides but features a 36-page large-format art book and the 3 LPs on 180g cream-colored vinyl.

Malachi Lui  |  Feb 28, 2022  |  First Published: Feb 28, 2022  |  7 comments
(Review Explosion, curated by contributing editor Malachi Lui, is AnalogPlanet’s guide to notable recent releases and reissues. It focuses on the previous few months’ new releases for which we don’t have time or energy to cover more extensively.)

Malachi Lui  |  Feb 25, 2022  |  4 comments
Four years after his addiction-and breakup-themed magnum opus Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, Spiritualized’s J Spaceman (Jason Pierce) reemerged with the band’s fourth album, 2001’s Let It Come Down. Greeted with high anticipation—and recently reissued as the final installment in Fat Possum’s Pierce-supervised Spaceman Reissue Program—Let It Come Down is now commonly seen as the moment when Spaceman lost the plot. “It all fell apart a little bit during this period,” he admits. Two decades later, Let It Come Down stands less as a great Spiritualized record and more as a product from the bygone era of expensive recording budgets and ample studio time.

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