As I sat in my tiny computer room/closet, sweat dripping from my nipples
onto my stomach which was bulbous from a fine foccacia that evening, I
plugged in Big Calm for that final listen before rendering my
all-important verdict. I know you've been waiting far too long, faithful
Pitchfork reader, and I'm sorry. But just before I began to write, the
phone rang and I knew you'd have to wait a little longer...
She began telling me about her problems: the married guy she's fucking,
the divorce her parents are talking about. She reminded me of how
upset she gets and how she wants to be tough without the embarassment
of tears. Big Calm was cooing in the backround, and I kicked the
chair back and decided to let the Morcheeba in, baby.
I realized that I had fallen deep into Skye Edwards' voice, and had been
silent too long. She asked if I was watching TV or something. I hastily
said no, that I had a CD on. She asked me if I thought she'd been a freak.
I replied that certainly not, she hadn't (though I hadn't actually listened
to a word she'd said). It didn't really matter. I used to love her, but the
bitterness is gone now, replaced by an ocean of lazy apathy broken only by
islands of poorly recalled sexual desires.
Big Calm was an appropriate album for the conversation. It doesn't
hurry, just winds slow tapestries of vaguely interesting trip-hop loops,
sighingly slow vocals and obscure samples. Unfortunately, the production
value of Big Calm is significantly glossier than their debut, Who
Can You Trust?, removing an important, though hard-to-describe organic
element from their sound. Big Calm is competent, above-the-pack-but-just-barely
trip-hop with all the right elements in the chamber but no spark of intuition
or risk. It works in the background of the long-distance phone conversation
with your ex, but I suspect it won't impress too many new acquaintances.
-James P. Wisdom, July, 1998