Sigur Rós - Ba Ba Ti Ki Di Do (2004)
Cover Front Album
Artist/Composer Sigur Rós
Length 20:43
Format mp3
Genre Alternative Pop/Rock; Experimental Rock
Label EMI
Index 4936
Track List
01 Ba Ba 06:12
02 Ti Ki 08:49
03 Di Do 05:42
Purchase Date 12/28/2005
Store Soulseek
kbps 192
Links Amazon US
Spars DDD
Rare No
Sound Stereo
Ba Ba Ti Ki Di Do, featuring music Sigur Rós were commissioned to write for the Merce Cunningham Dance Foundation, is not hard to like. The EP contains three pieces joined at the seams to form a single compact structure of ambience and incidental ping. Like many new electronic mood music artists, Sigur Rós use the music box, presumably to imply delicacy. In any case, "Ba Ba" seems delicate to me. It fades in on just a few plucked tones, eventually revealing a synthesizer pattern reminiscent of Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells". This is the music of crystals forming, or the moment water changes from liquid to ice: There are no sudden movements, just a mass gravitation towards an end nearly identical to its beginning, except that time dictates that we're in a different location than where we started. The band uses this phenomenon as both harmonic center and rhythmic loop; it's a clever way of making music. My only complaint is that Sigur Rós don't pull it off as well as some of their peers (cf. Mileece, Lullatone, even Björk).

As "Ba Ba" ends with smattering of pseudo-infant vocalizations, "Ti Ki" ushers in a recap of the opening music box tones. This piece puts the natural ambience of the instrument to better use than the opening track, allowing it to play alone for a couple of minutes before attacking it with software. Along the way, faint crackling sounds sneak in and out, and when the music box is cut up and spit back in reverse, the crackling is more dominantly featured. Unfortunately, Sigur Rós' deconstruction of this sound isn't far from its original form, and ultimately, the EP suffers from its monolithic landscape. "Di Do" admirably shakes the flow with a wavering, stereo-panned vocal drone, and stuttering, single-syllable accents ("Ba ba/ Ti ki/ Di do") that remind me of similar vocal splicing done by Asa-Chang & Junray. It ends with a shriek of feedback, and just as I perk up to see what all the commotion is about, the disc is over.

Still, I find reasons to come back. The tightly wound constructions and gradual, unhurried development appeal to the music theorist in me, and the sounds of music box, mutated human voice and analog synth appeal to the closet twee-tronica nerd in me. But I know this is temporary, and that it's only a matter of time before it makes its way onto the shelf, where it will be continually glossed over when I'm looking for something nice to put on. Sigur Rós indeed have found a method of enticing listeners to step inside their world, but have yet to master staying power.

-Dominique Leone, March 12th, 2004