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How To Dress Well - Love Remains

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How To Dress Well is the stage name of songwriter and producer Tom Krell. Krell’s burgeoning career began in 2009 when, having just moved from Brooklyn to Berlin, his songs began to emerge online via a hugely prolific string of free, digital EPs posted in anonymity on his blog. Combining a gorgeous falsetto with fractured R&B-influenced beats, an instinctive ear for subtly ... Read more in Amazon's How to Dress Well Store

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Product details

  • Audio CD (31 Jan 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Triangle
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 245,794 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. You Hold the Water
2. Ready for the World
3. My Body
4. Suicide Dream 2
5. You Won't Need Me Where I'm Goin'
6. Can't See My Own Face
7. Walking This Dumb
8. Date of Birth
9. Escape Before the Rain
10. Endless Rain
11. Lover's Start
12. Mr. By & By
13. Decisions
14. Suicide Dream 1

Product Description

BBC Review

How to Dress Well is the recording alias of Tom Krell, a philosophy student who splits his time between Brooklyn and Cologne, Germany. When he’s not writing about Kantian epistemology, he’s listening to RnB, the hi-tech variety ranging chronologically from the late-80s swingbeat era to today’s The-Dream and Drake/Kanye, loving that strand of solemn synthesizer soul that no one has quite got around to terming "keymo" yet, with an unironic vengeance.

And while he’s waiting for his dream to come true – for Kanye to produce his music – he’s created his own 808s & Heartbreak. Love Remains is released by Tri Angle, the label behind releases from Balam Acab and oOoOO, and there is confluence here with America’s "witch house" boys, while the hiss and static deliberately left in the recordings by Krell, presumably to make them sound even more like faded sonic snapshots, suggest a commonality with Europe’s glitch techno and dubstep kids. Really, though, this is something new – lo-fi electronic RnB, ghost-soul muzak with added murk, sung by Krell in an agonised, androgynous falsetto as though from the other side. It’s like hearing R Kelly in hell, or Fleet Foxes if they’d grown up on a diet of Ralph Tresvant and Al B Sure!.

Many of these tracks initially emerged via online EPs, so this is effectively Krell’s first Greatest Hits. The album opens with You Hold the Water and a snippet of dialogue from Todd Haynes' film Safe: "There’s nothing to really worry about aside from being a little run-down." They could be talking about Krell. He sounds ill, which is about right, because this is illwave. Krell is barely there, washed out. On Ready for the World, the melody is swathed in reverb and delay as Krell recalls the titular 80s R&B band through a spectral haze. My Body is a funny title considering how unphysical this music is, a pale, evanescent take on that most robust and passionate of genres, soul. 

There are two songs here concerning rain, which makes sense given the sonic drizzle. Some have decried the use of clicks and fuzz, but they’re surely half the point in this exquisite album-length disquisition on memory and desire, love and loss.

--Paul Lester

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By dipesh parmar on 2 Feb 2011
Format: Audio CD
How To Dress Well is Tom Krell's project. `Love Remains is his debut album and certainly an oddity. Tom sings in a high falsetto, sometimes layering his voice against itself to create an almost paranormal effect on the songs. The music is full of haunting synths, teetering reverb and a dubbed out sound. Imagine Prince remixed by Deathprod.

How to Dress Well follows a similar path made by some other new musicians influenced by RnB, from Forest Swords, James Blake, to oOoOO.
This is not an album as such, more a re-recorded collection of previous EP releases, so to some this album is already quite familiar.
I didn't think I would like this album but I've surprised myself, there are certainly more highlights than low. `Suicide Dream 2' is a perfect name for this song, Krells angelic voice swoons over a delicate synth loop full of dreamy fuzz and distortion. Its hard to know what he is singing about but the emotion just oozes throughout this song.

`You Won't Need Me Where I'm Goin' is just charmingly simple, the distortion sounds as if it will break the song into 2 but manages to somehow keep it's shape. A perfect pop song.

'Walking this dumb' is the crowd-pleasing killer track, a live number where Krell's vocals work a treat with the deep drum and bass thump to produce a truly uplifting doo-wop-style tune, perfect for getting you in the mood before you go out for a good time.
To call `Love Remains' disjointed is an understatement, but it's a good quality. You never quite know if each song is going to succeed. Sometimes it doesn't work, such as on 'Mr. By & By', where Krell's high-pitched vocals just extend a bit too far into a squeal that just ends up annoying you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jarrod on 20 Feb 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
in a good way that is. it's not often one gets one's head so turned by a new album, but this did it for me. Excited for the first time in ages. Lo-Fi, atmospheric, thoughtful, accomplished. follows a wonderful narrative, so needs to be listened to with attention and in its entirity. So Lo-Fi you may check your speakers a few times. Even in all that has some catchy hooks and brilliant melodies. If you like band comparisons to guide purchases, then imagine MGMT and mercury rev selling all their instruments and spending the money on a library van, listening to old hiphop and gregorian chant on the broken tape player. then making a record.
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0 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Martin Reid on 5 Sep 2011
Format: Audio CD
An interesting album let down big time by the poor recording quality which at times makes the album unlistenable. This needs to be rerecorded in a proper recording studio with the help of people who know how to get the best out of the studio equipment. It would then be a great album.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Best I've heard all year! 15 Sep 2011
By sharpie_twin_tip - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a terrific album; something that can be listened to in its entirety - front to back - repeatedly. The mix of sensual R&B and lo-fi digital aesthetics is strongly compelling to me. I don't understand why the harsh clipping that envelops many of these tracks is considered a sour point with many reviewers. Not being an R&B fan myself, I think Love Remains would be a lot less interesting without such artifacts. Yeah, perhaps he can simply adjust his levels, but the atmosphere would be considerably diminished in my opinion.

Even among Tri Angle's catalog, this album stands out for its genuine tenderness, fragility and simple, effective delivery.
12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Not What I was Hoping For 4 Nov 2010
By Red Badge - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Between songs posted to the artist's blog and Pitchfork's fawning praise, I expected the songs on the cd to match, if not exceed the loveliness of "Suicide Dream 2" and "You Won't Need Me Where I'm Going." I expected the distorted/ clipping vocal levels were either something that would be cleaned up with a proper release or particular to those tracks. Instead the opening track "You Hold The Water" shows a poor attempt at the low grade quality of early Guided By Voices 4 track recordings. But with today's technology, even the most basic home recordings can avoid such poor distortion and computers do not have the warm feel of analogue tape when it comes to distortion. What one is left with is a few tracks that are unlistenable such as the opener and "My Body".
The second track "Ready For The World" shows a bit more respect for the listener with tracks that retain the haunting quality of "2" and "You Won't Me" with only a bit of the speaker straining gimmicks in the beat. (A bit like having large condor wings flapping in the ears.) Of course, the distorted vocals and a crackling whistle make it half way through which, I suppose, could be the artist using his recording studio as an instrument.
Obviously the artist is using the trend of those such as Burial with a bit of buried glitch in the purposeful low-fi sound.
Far from making the collection a wreck, it is one that requires being taken in small doses - at least until the ears and the mind adjust to the intentional levels in the red.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A Worthy Contender 20 Nov 2010
By Xanamax - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This is a soundscape of stoner astral planes and chill wave beats. It has rhythmic beats and emotions that are both hypnotic and make you wanna rub your face into a fluffy faux velvet pillow. HTDW is Tom Krell.R&B mixer and philosophy student from Cologne Germany. That makes you wanna say, oh wait yes, this album is definitely Euro. Not so at all, it's better then just dubbing it euro chill wave/electro whatever crap, because I know what youre thinking -bad things....This has a life of its own but it might be different from what people were used to from Krells blog, in all honesty. I still love this friggin album.

Notable tracks:
Lover's Start
Ready For The World
Mr. By and By
Suicide Dreams 2

Other HTDW worth checking out: "HTDW-Ecstasy With Jojo"
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Lo-fi R&B Filled With Soul and Nostalgia 25 Nov 2010
By Dray - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Tom Krell a philosophy major who splits his time between Brooklyn and Cologne, Germany has created one of the most intriguing and wonderfully haunting albums of the year under his moniker How To Dress Well . Whether its his gorgeous R&B falsetto burning up or blaring out the tracks or his wonderful usage of down tempo club beats and distorted but memorable melodies and samples he just seems to have reached a great mix of elements. Lots of albums this year have been called innovative or completely unique (Sleigh Bells- Treats, Baths-Cerulean) but to be honest Love Remains is the true original of this year. The lo-fi production may be off putting to some but to be perfectly honest it's not as grating as the production on say a Times New Viking release and to be honest anyone who can't see past a simple aesthetic choice in order to look towards what Krell is trying to do shouldn't even bother with this album. Krell is creating a warm, fuzzy and distorted collage of mid-nineties R&B through the nostalgia conjured up by home-made recording quality and simple yet enchanting lyrics. Standout tracks include the low down and danceable Ready For the World, the distorted pop sensible You Won't Need Me Where I'm Going, The layered falsettos and wall of sound of Decisions and my personal favourite the short but incredibly moving My Body. To be honest the lo-fi aesthetic has been applied to just about every genre imaginable and we can thank Tom Krell for applying it to yet another and making one of this years finest debuts.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Great Music, Terrible Recording 15 Feb 2011
By Juan Carlo - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I have to agree with what others have already said about distortion on this album. I usually love distortion. Even with music that might not seem the best candidate for distortion (i.e. anything that's not fuzz rock), it can still sound great if done right. Love Remains gets distortion wrong, though. Instead of being a warm, inviting, layer of analogue fuzz, this entire album is suffuse with the awful sort of ear grating, digital screeching, style of distortion that just sounds like all the songs were recorded, converted to mp3 at like 12 kbps, then were rerecorded to CD by playing these 12 kbps mp3s on an old boom box in front of a 5 dollar radio shack computer microphone. At first I thought that this might be the intended effect (i.e. perhaps Krell is purposely using this at certain points just to create a musical effect, which I wouldn't mind if done artfully), but after listening for a while I realized that it happens so uniformly that it has to be a result of the way it was recorded rather than any intentional manipulation. Everything has that awful, tiny, digital, ear-grating quality to it in which every time the album hits a high note or an especially loud beat or musical crescendo it distorts into a series of awful sounding scratches and screeches which give the impression that you're playing it through some blown out speakers. This might not be such a problem if this were a rock album, but it's an R&B album and given that Tom Krell (the singer/composer) sings in a very high falsetto stuff like this happens every 5 seconds on the album, rending many songs unlistenable.

Which is a shame as musically this is an absolutely incredible album. So good, in fact, that I've continued to listen to it at length even despite the fact that the recording of many of the songs makes my ears bleed. Krell is undeniably talented and he creates incredible soundscapes on this album, the exact sorts of dreamy and hazy soundscapes which sound best with a certain level of distortion--but he needs to learn how to do distortion right in order to make it add to the music rather than ruining it.

So anyways, even though I love this album I'd have a hard time recommending it to people just because of the recording quality. I think Krell has a huge future in front of him, but before he releases a follow up album, I'd first like to see him rerecord this one. This album is so good that it deserves to be recorded properly. But hopefully this version will sell well enough that he'll be able to rent a proper studio next time.
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