Tøyen Did You Bring Me On National Television To Tell Me This Too?

[Racing Junior; 2004]

Styles: bollywood electronica
Others: Air, Zero 7, Thievery Corporation

Tøyen make their music on a Playstation 2. Yes, a Playstation 2, and the shtick might have been successful had it carried any discernable sound. Unfortunately, nothing here is that far removed from some shitty Paul Oakenfold remix. Essentially, Did You Bring Me On National Television... is another unnecessary slab of electronica, with the occasional deviation. There are the obvious video game blips, but aside from that, I can't really figure out what role the Playstation had in these recordings. One clue may be every song's premature ending, which is a consistent irritation. Pick any given track: it's about to reach its conclusion; yet as the final synth note rings out, or as the last snare hits... bam, the song cuts out one second too early, stripping it of that precious inch of resolution. It's as if someone went in and digitally clipped the tail end off of every track. This may seem like a minute detail, but when a lot of small missteps build up you start to have a real problem.

Tøyen have enlisted the help of Rita Augestad Knudsen of Xploding Plastix, who adds vocals to several cuts. Again, her addition was a miscalculation. A generic vocal line singing "Oh, oh yeah/ Love overwhelmed me!" over bouncy electronics and heavy synth-strings might have worked for a band like the Postal Service, but it doesn't fare too well here. Isn't anyone getting tired of second generation Lilith Fair vocalists making guest appearances on electronic albums? Please, stop. The other guest vocalist, Jon Platou Selvig, is more believable, churning out regimented lines in a Kraftwerk-like monotone.

Either way, Did You Bring Me On National Television... isn't a completely doomed endeavor. The label seems to be pushing Tøyen's Bollywood influence, and rightfully so; it's the most entertaining aspect of their music. To be honest, the opening cut, "1 of a Kind," really got my hopes up (which may be why I was so subsequently disappointed): When the manic beat comes in over the traditional Middle Eastern melody, it really works. If they would have kept a similar formula throughout the whole album, well, I would be writing a completely different review. Unfortunately, Tøyen seems content with treading familiar ground, which makes their blip on the radar just barely noticeable.

1. 1 Of A Kind
2. In Space
3. The Table
4. ABC Of Love
5. Pop Song
6. Café
7. Riip Miip Diip
8. (The) Face
9. Pakistan
10. The Girl
11. Oason
12. Schleswig-Holstein-Hau

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