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Thursday, 23 February 2012
Chicago's Disappears present their third album for Kranky, and it's a beauty. Recorded at Sonic Youth's Echo Canyon West studio in Hoboken, NJ, it's billed as the band's "love" album, though digressive lyrical allusions to Philip K. Dick, James Baldwin and Joan of Arc also abound. Stylistically it would be fair to say that Pre Language's basis is in post-punk - the barked, deadpan vocals are very Fall-indebted and the melodic tics scream suburban Britain circa '85 - but the guitars are given full rein to rock vociferously, making this album feel more in tune with the spirit of the early 90s and… Read more
**Lavish box set collecting Tindersticks' bespoke film scores - a whopping 75 tracks clocking in at over 3 hours!***. Ever since a chance meeting in Paris many moons ago, Nottingham's preeminent misanth-romantics Tindersticks had been providing subtly breathtaking instrumental scores for acclaimed French director Claire Denis. Now compiled by Constellation in highly collectible 5xLP and 5xCD box sets, these six feature-length soundtracks will obviously appeal to committed fans of the band, but really deserve to find a wide audience far beyond that. Like the films they we… Read more
**Truly stunning, obscure plugged-in pop from 1986-91 Kollywood (South India) and the dream-teaming of "Little Nightingale" K.S. Chitra, with maverick film score arranger/songwriter Ilaiyaraaja. Beautifully floral falsettos meet sweeping electronics, ornate drum machine patterns and fantastical sample orchestrations in a feverish dream for fans of that incredible 'Play That Beat Mr. Raja' oddity or Ilaiaraaja's bonkers 'Solla Solla' sessions. Highly recommended!** "There are few records you will hear this year that combine the sounds of a child's choir, a DX7 bass line, three types of drum mach… Read more
Slick sophomore album from one of Dubstep's darkest units. Since stepping into the 140bpm shadows with 'One Of Us', the duo have almost fully assimilated the scene's characteristics, yet retained clear traces of their D&B DNA. 'Can't Sleep' features thirteen exquisitely engineered tracks, from the uptempo swerve and swagger of 'Just After Sunset' to the sprawling dread vistas of '1000 Lost Cities'. Previous single 'Can't Sleep' is at the core of the album, Alys Be providing their first vocal on a deeply moody halfstep roller and also appearing on the Burial-esque rollidge of opener 'Brief Pas… Read more
RVNG Intl present the long awaited CD compilation of Blondes' three talked-about 12" singles, including two exclusive bonus songs, and backed with complementary remixes by Andy Stott, Rene Hell, Laurel Halo, SFV Acid and John Roberts, among others. Coming from a decidedly academic and experimental background - they studied studio art and electroacoustic composition at Oberlin College - Sam Haar and Zach Steinman were soon enough seduced and inspired by a stint in Berlin and the ensuing discovery of House and Techno's textural nuance to create a sound which straddled both the dancefloor and more cerebra… Read more
A highlight of JB's 'It's All True' album - the one with the really lush breakdown' You'll Improve Me' - receives impressive remixes from Caribou and Dem 2. The original features for good measure, but we can imagine more dancefloor burning up to Caribou's expertly extended version full of teasing peaks and grooves, and definitely Dem 2's deliciously dark and moody 2-step remix - the best thing they've done since the legendary duo re-emerged earlier this year.
Wednesday, 22 February 2012
**Truly stunning, obscure plugged-in pop from 1986-91 Kollywood (South India) and the dream-teaming of "Little Nightingale" K.S. Chitra, with maverick film score arranger/songwriter Ilaiyaraaja. Beautifully floral falsettos meet sweeping electronics, ornate drum machine patterns and fantastical sample orchestrations in a feverish dream for fans of that incredible 'Play That Beat Mr. Raja' oddity or Ilaiaraaja's bonkers 'Solla Solla' sessions. Highly recommended!** "There are few records you will hear this year that combine the sounds of a child's choir, a DX7 bass line, three types of drum ma… Read more
Another compelling entry from Tri Angle Records, who've cleverly snapped up the frightening debut album by Water Borders. With 'Harbored Mantras' the San Fran-hailing duo of Amitai and Loric use the rhythms of contemporary ritual dance music to resurrect the occult soul of Coil and their cabal in unique and succinctly pop balanced new forms. A couple of mixtapes - both self-released and for the brilliant DIS magazine - display their influences quite clearly, working in a circle of influence ranging from Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson's eerie Threshold HouseBoys Choir to James Blake's ch… Read more
20 years after its original vinyl release, the self-titled EP by Lego Feet - aka Autechre's Sean Booth and Rob Brown - finally lands on CD, with substantial extras, clocking in at a total of 70 minutes. The first ever release on Skam Records, for many this really is the holy grail of British electronica: pre-dating even the first official Autechre 12", 'Cavity Job'. Issued in limited quantities in '91, the vinyl has never been re-pressed and remains incredibly rare - there's currently an original copy listed on Discogs for £300. Save for a couple of short segments appearing on Skam compilations, no… Read more
Tuesday, 21 February 2012
The one we've all been waiting for! Anthony "Shake" Shakir and Oni Ayhun dissemble and rebuild highlights of the incredible Shangaan Electro comp with inimitable results. Face up, Anthony Shakir reworks BBC's 'Ngunyuta Dance' as an electrified and tribalist House rhythm, amping the kicks and shaking the percussion with a more Latin shuffle, Detroit-via-Shangaan styles. Flip it and you'll find Oni Ayhun shaping fragments of various compilation tracks into a skipping breakbeat House monster, twysted like some rude Shed riddim with a delirious case of sunstroke. Simply, they're sh*t hot dance trax and highly recommended!
Back in stock. Moritz Von Oswald is a name that needs little introduction to anyone who has followed Techno, Dub or any kind of electronic music over the last 15 years. Since the early 90's he's tirelessly applied his discipline to a range of styles and genres with seminal work as part of Maurizio, Basic Channel, Rhythm & Sound and his own name besides a mind blowing number of side projects, mastering jobs and engineering work. His most recent project has attempted to consolidate the studio processes which have defined the majority of his output with a live or improvisational e… Read more
Honest Jon's spoil us with a sort of dream come true: Chicago gone Shangaan! It's an international soundclash that had to happen, finding similar style and pattern in the high-speed velocities of each respective style with two distinctly different mixes from Footwork's meanest producers. A-side, scene elders Rashad & Spinn augment Tshetsha Boys with welting 160bpm bass and locked-groove stabs, pulling no punches for the 'floor. Flipside, for us, is better yet; R.P. Boo shredding Shangaan signatures with inimitable dexterity and connecting deeply with the physical Afro-futurist sentiment. Fiyah.
Monday, 20 February 2012
Black Acre offer the opening cut from Hyetal's ace 'Broadcast' LP, now revamped for nocturnal manoeuvres. His own 'Night' mix is primed to track dancefloor power moves with stomach-crunched bass arpeggios and shark-eyed mission synths finding the sweet spot between classic Italo and modern ElectroJak. The Stay+ remix boots this sound right up-to-the-minute with more brittle, snappy drums and tempered synth distortion and a colder, echoic sense of space for pure modern thrills.
'Ersatz II' is the 2nd LP collaboration between former Cluster and Harmonia component, Dieter Moebius and his sound artist/painter pal in the Forst/Weser Uplands collective, Karl Renziehausen. Originally released in 1992, two years post their first 'Ersatz' collaboration, it's defined by a surreal, pop-friendly charm, while still brimming with the creative quirks associated with Dieter's best work. There's a strong rhythmic backbone running through the album, almost dance-ably so, but the melodies and harmonies are, you might say, not so conventional, and laced with that queered, artsy G… Read more
Highly anticipated vinyl debut for the much hyped Bwana. Since only starting to produce music in early 2011, Bwana has attracted the attentions of everyone from Gilels Peterson to Sepalcure and signed tracks with the likes of Mad Decent and Montreal's Infinite Machine. He returns with three tracks flitting between future Garage/R&B on 'It Ain't Over Til It's Done', to sweeter, Boxcutter-styled Dubstep on 'When There's Nothing Left', and the spry 2-step chops of 'Sleeping In'. XI weighs in with a slower, more sensuous remix of 'It Ain't Done Til It's Over'.
The third recording from flamenco's leading light Estrella Morente, 'Mujeres' follows 'Mi cante y un poema' and 'Calle del Aire' with Morente paying tribute to what she considers the great female voices of her time - with the likes of Carmen Linares, Pastora and Nina Simone all coming under her sultry gaze. Dramatic in that way flamenco music is (I promise not to use the adjective "fiery" at any point in this review...), the likes of La Joya's 'Taranta', Nina Simone's 'Ne Me Quitte Pas' and Susana Renaldi's 'Nostalgias' drip with emotion - flitting in style between tender piano torch songs and … Read more
For this second solo album (released in 1974 - the same year as Here Come The Warm Jets) Brian Eno recruited a more solid backing band as collaborating musicians, lining up Phil Manzanera, Robert Wyatt, Brian Turrington and Freddie Smith as the central personnel. As with its predecessor, critics were quick to lavish the album with praise but this is a slightly more earnest affair, taking the Maoist Chinese revolution as a key theme and coinciding with the development of Eno's famous Oblique Strategies card system. Despite the flirtations with concept-based heaviness from t… Read more
Thursday, 16 February 2012
You can rely on F to bring the lean, teched-out steppers when you need 'em, and he's back on 7even with with a smart new brace of cuts. A-side 'Full Threat' is a fat-free electro breaker in the vein of Boddika, doing serious damage with nowt much more than an 808 and a bad attitude. 'Slow Down' is painted from the same palette but rhythmically speaking is on more of a garage flex, and will sit nicely alongside recent Pearson Sound and Joy O tackle. Two ruthlessly cold, stripped-back takes on post-dubstep dynamics, craftily executed.
Stones Throw's Baron Zen gets the Skweee treeetment from Daniel Savio, remixing two track from Zen & Tekblazer's 'Electrik Surgery' EP. Frontside is freaky version of 'Bass Attack', clipping the rhythm for sharper moves while the the vocals inhale a concoction of helium and weed to dope effect. Flipside, 'Good Times' featuring Megabusive is deep fried in 8-bit butter to a tweaky, dotty schematic. Aces.
Wednesday, 15 February 2012
On 6th November 2010 Flemish psyche-troupe Sylvester Anfang, best known for their releases on the excellent (K-raa-k)³ label and Aurora Borealis, entered the Southern Studio to lay down what would become the five jams on this LP. It's an attuned, raw, and meditative session culled from three hours of pure improvisation, instinctively wandering wide-eyed and dosed up across desert rock mantras to hallucinatory, Kraut-ish visions of freak folk and kommunal drone/noise. They're in possession of an enviably "free" sound, a flowing confluence of lysergic guitar and motorik bass & drums channel… Read more
Ed DMX returns to the Rephlex fold with 'Wave Funk Volume 1' contuing his mission to tweak out every possible sequnce of patterns and melodies from his banks of vintage analog equipment. DMX Krew has always, and unapologetically, sounded like the sum of his influences, but executed to a very respectable level. Here we have seven tracks ranging from AFXian funk to Dopplereffekt style slow-electro, joining the dots in between with pulsing sequences and highly infectious melodies made with that ounce of wrongness and perfectly (mis)placed notes that makes this a total Rephlex release. Cool.
Tuesday, 14 February 2012
A stunning tapestry of field recordings from the master, Chris Watson, with his fourth album appearance on Touch, and his first since 2003's acclaimed Weather Report. Originally aired in a BBC Radio 4 broadcast last year, the sounds that constitute El Tren Fantasma (The Ghost Train) replicate the cross-country, coast to coast, Pacific to Atlantic FNM train route from Los Mochis to Veracruz. This line, a high watermark of Mexican engineering, no longer exists as a passenger route, but Watson beautifully recreates and evokes it using archive recordings. Watson spent a month on board the tra… Read more
Monday, 13 February 2012
Twenty years since its original release, Bruce Gilbert's 'Insiding' returns to blow our heads off once again. It comprises two extended tracks commissioned for film and dance pieces and offers a rare opportunity to catch the former Wire guitarist and now-legendary experimentalist really stretching out over sprawling industrial rhythms and glooming atmospheres. The first piece was commissioned by The Royal Ballet in 1990 to accompany Ashley Page's ballet 'Bloodlines'. At over twenty five minutes duration, Gilbert uses his time wisely and patiently, using the first few minutes to gestate unstable … Read more
Tuesday, 07 February 2012
Music For The Gift collects four of Terry Riley's most significant tape works: the titular 'Music For The Gift' (recorded live in Paris for Radio France, and featuring Chet Baker), Bird Of Paradise (a five part tape assemblage - a forerunner of 'I'm Gonna Rain'-era Steve Reich), the woozy, pharmaceutically-inspired 'Mescalin Mix' and finally 'Concert For Two Pianos and Five Tape Recorders', featuring La Monte Young. Any follower of Riley's work, or 20th century minimalism in general, will already be aware of the significance of these recordings, but this music's more than a time capsule, … Read more
Weird and wayward R'n'Bass music from the Franco-Brazilian deejay and co-founder of the ClekClekBoom label. Much like the label's previous instalments from Coni and French Fries, Ministre X is ploughing a unique sound, taking inspiration from the UK Bass scene to make mutant, dislocated, yet dancefloor-primed grooves. The A-side 'Calling Me' works warped vocals from Sana Zeineddine with frickled percussion on a slinky 2-step bubble somewhere close to James Blake's Harmonimix edits or a Jamie xx production. B-side 'Just To Please Ya' is more stripped down, slower, creating a brittle-yet-st… Read more
It may well be the case that the whole modern classical scene suffered from a possibly fatal case of over-familiarity and over-exposure these last few years, but it would be a shame if a genuinely gifted musician and composer like Iceland's Ólafur Arnalds was lumped in with the vast majority of his contemporaries - the guy is just the real deal. And if there were any doubts about his talents, Arnalds created and released a new song a day for one whole week during the month of October this year. The songs were recorded and filmed live in the living room of his Reykjavik apartment and re… Read more
Friday, 03 February 2012
The high priest of reggae music is given one of his most definitive retrospectives by Trojan, collecting 44 groundbreaking classics spanning the most crucial 7" cuts of his ouevre, all recorded at the legendary Black Ark studio, from solo productions to his innumerable classics for Jamaica's finest singers and MCs. The discs are divided into two specific time zones, 1974-1976 'Sipple Out Deh', and 1977-1978 'Vibrate Onn', each containing more seminal cuts than you can shake a massive spliff to. It's almost pointless running through track by track, just take it on trust tha… Read more
Thursday, 02 February 2012
There's no shortageof psychedelic rock bands these days, but Wooden Shjips have to rank among the more interesting, inventive groups operating within that genre. For one thing these guys manage to sound heavy and robust without resorting to piling up the fuzz levels, but beyond that they manage to capture the same spirit that made this music so vital in its '60s and '70s heyday. Their equipment and effects pedals might be vehemently retro, but the Wooden Shjips sound is far more forward-thinking. The tightly wound, propulsive grooves suggest a progressive slant to the band and the elaborate guitar … Read more
Styling Funky, reinforced house and bruk techno excursions from Doc Daneeka and Benjamin Damage, new on Modeselektor's 50Weapons label. It's a moody affair, more so than you'd expect, and beautifully produced - opener 'No One' sets a high standard, a vapourish, Burial-esque intro giving way to a tough, foursquare house groove, coming over like Maurizio with a Croydon makeover. Abigail Wyles' impressive vocals feature on three tracks, notably the spectral breakbeat techno cut 'Battleships' and the ambient centrepiece 'Halo'. Still, the threads of melancholy and sophistication runni… Read more
Strong collaborative album from UK techno veterans James Ruskin and Mark Broom. You know you're in good hands with this duo - Ruskin in particular excels at album-length projects - and The Light Box is sterling stuff from beginning to end. Much of the album - notably 'Antiarc', 'Guv 1' and 'Pinhead' - ploughs a twitchy furrow between Ae/AFX-style IDM and austere dubstep rhythm mechanics, but we're left in no doubt that this is TECHNO first and foremost: 'Ax' and 'The Quick And The Dead' recall the hydraulic syncopations of Ruskin and Regis's O/V/R material, while 'Mas' is stripped warehouse f… Read more