Thursday, 16 June 2011
Following a solid EP at the tail-end of last year, Crewdson returns to Slowfoot for his debut full length - an organic, multi-facted take on bass music and micro production that sounds somewhere between Radiq and the squashed funk of classic Matthew Herbert. There's a mellow jazz-coloured heart to these productions, skewed by an asymmetric production style that harks back to the kind of post-everything sounds that were so prevalent at the start of this century - but with added bass weight. On 'Mime' you're even reminded of mid-period Pole, with the glitch quotient ramped up for a nice line in micro-pr… Read more
'The Errant Charm' is Vetiver's fifth album, and here we find bandleader Andy Cabic dipping his toes ever further into the pool of perfectionism. Apparently while writing the record he took pre-mixes and sketches around with him on the iPod, and proceeded to wander around San Francisco (no doubt with Burrito in hand) making changes to the lyrics or the arrangements. I'm not usually one for overworking music, but you really can't hear it - 'The Errant Charm' is Vetiver's freshest sounding set of compositions to date, and with precise but retro production to match, you should know you're in for … Read more
Friday, 10 June 2011
This is the one we've been waiting for!!! Following their ongoing exposé of Chicago Footwork, Planet Mu turn their keen ears to the 'floor and the sound of Bubbling; the hyper-futuristic Dutch dance craze perpetuated by the 2nd and 3rd generation descendants of Caribbean immigrants. We'll let the ever-knowledgeable Dave Quam explain the origins "At a party in the late 80s in The Hague, a local DJ by the name of DJ Moortje accidentally dropped a dancehall twelve-inch at 45RPMs, causing chaos in the audience. Not the kind of negative heckling you get when a record skipped, but the… Read more
Thursday, 09 June 2011
Pure fire from Analog Africa. Whether you're a connoisseur of West African music or a complete newcomer, know that this 1973 recording from Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou (try spelling that when you're drunk) is as vitally raw and psychedelic as it gets. Long regarded as Benin's most innovative outfit, OP-R (as we'll call 'em from here on in) have featured on numerous previous Analog Africa releases, but this is the very first airing of some of their most classic, foundational material. Working with the traditional rhythms of Vodoun and injecting some well-judged Wester… Read more
The consistently excellent Analog Africa turn out a reissue of the stunning debut LP by cosmic Ghanaian funk legend, Rob! 'Funky Rob Way' was originally issued in an edition of 500 copies on the legendary Essiebons imprint in 1977 and copies trade for silly money these days. But it's so easy to hear why. This gear is firing hot, combining the amazing talents of ambitious front man Rob, a trained pianist, with the army band, Mag-2, lead by the talented Amponsah Rockson. Together they hatched afiery, deeeeepl y funky sound blending a blazing horn section clearly nodding to the JBs, with spaced-out Moog… Read more
*SHIPS FRIDAY* Handy compilation scooping up DJ Harvey's recent spate of Locussolus singles, including remixes Lindstrom & Prins Thomas, Andrew Weatherall and The Emperor Machine. Where to begin? 'Gunship' harks back to Harvey's UK days spinning rave with the Tonka soundsystem, a squelchy, stripped-back acid house killer complete with rattle-snake percussion, clipped vocals and compressed guitar squall; Weatherall's dub makes it even more floor-focussed, but still pushes the mixing desk. 'I Want It' and 'Tan Sedan' walk the tightrope 'tween disco chug and lean, phaser-set-to-stun analog techno w… Read more
A lovely album of evolved alt.country from Singing Skies, the songwriting project of Sydney’s Kell Derrig-Hall. He might be from Oz, but this music is Americana, make no mistake, with a classy yet bleary-eyed Nashville vibe that really reminds us those recent Mickey Newbury reissues, and of course more modern standard-bearers likes Lambchop, Evan Dando and Whiskeytown. The songs are rooted in tradition, but buck convention and predictability: Derrig-Hall’s guitar playing is nicely elliptical and digressive, the downhome chamber instrumentation that accompanies him –banjos, piano, stri… Read more
Arriving with acclaim from Tiny Mix Tapes, Pitchfork and the BBC, the cult concern, Destroyer, delivers a potential classic referencing the '80s pop of Scritti Politti, Roxy Music, Prefab Sprout and New Order. This is whimsical, subtly ambiguous pop music at its finest, full of lush, and ever-so-slightly off centre harmonies, dreamy vocals and incisive lyrics with a prime production polish. Impressive.
Thursday, 02 June 2011
'Summvs' is the fifth and purportedly final collaborative album from the dream-team of Ryuichi Sakamoto and Carsten Nicolai (aka Alva Noto). Since 2002 the two musicians have fused their disciplines near-faultlessly, with Sakamoto's evocative piano-based compositions melting effortlessly into Nicolai's skillful digital rhythms and cautious manipulations. Each album has brought the duo slightly closer together, and 'summvs' (the title an amalgamation of the words summa and versus) sees their work reach critical mass. With Sakamoto apparently working on a rare piano (one of only fif… Read more
Ten years since his last album, Surgeon returns riding a nine-headed beast on 'Breaking The Frame'. A decade is a relatively long time in musical terms, and while his (increasingly uncommon) singles over that period have remained resolutely 4/4 and heavy, his DJ sets have incorporated a wealth of influence from Dubstep and Bass music in general. This album absorbs those influences and refracts them into an impressive spectrum of styles. His taste for Scorn-like halfstep manifests on opener 'Dark Matter', finding that dynamic tension between turbulent flow and hunchback lurch. Next 'Transpare… Read more
He's served tirelessly in the Moritz Von Oswald Trio, but now Sasu Ripatti takes centre-stage with his own improv ensemble, The Vladislav Delay Quartet. He's joined by Lucio Capece on clarinet and sax, Derek Shirley on double bass and - most interestingly, and most audibly - Mika Vainio on electronics. The Pan Sonic man's sonic signature makes itself felt from the off, opening cut 'Minus Degrees, Bare Feet, Tickles' driven by roaring industrial noise as only he can style it. Things get really interesting with 'Santa Teresa', Shirley's bass plucks conspiring with Delay's … Read more
What does a band do when its frontman and figurehead walks out before they've finished their sophomore album? Most would crumble, but Battles ain't no normal band, and while the abrupt departure of Tyondai Braxton must've bruised them, it hasn't stopped them putting together a record every bit as vital as their universally lauded debut; arguably more so. Certainly, the sound here is heavier and fuller than before - they sound less like they've shed a member and more like they've gained one. Admittedly there's not an immediate stand-out like 'Atlas' from the first LP, but thrills and spills abound: t… Read more
"45 vintage cuts decanted and mixed into a 56-minute Molotov cocktail of Bolshevik beats, Kollywood funk, ostracised ostrock and pan-Asian pop oddities by Doug Shipton (Finders Keepers Records/B-Music)...his long awaited debut mixtape 'Dedicated Swallower Of Fashion' - a cacophony of syncopated psychedelic madness that draws from his neviably expansive record collection and challenging DJ sets, dusting off handpicked fuzz-ridden-break-heavy platters from as far and wide as Malaysia, France, India, Germany, USA, Russia, Spain, Columbia, Italy and Indonesia. Not conten… Read more
Multiverse - the constellation of forward-thinking Bristol labels that also includes Tectonic, Kapsize and Caravan - reactivates its seminal Subtext imprint (best known for those mind-melting early Vex'd singles) for a daring new LP from Emptyset. A collaboration between Mutiverse boss James 'Ginz' Ginzburg and Paul Purgas, Demiurge is the second album by Emptyset, and finds them reducing their production process down to a singular signal chain channelled into a modulated analogue hardware line (or so we're told). The results are somewhere between drone, techno, noise, power electronics and the very … Read more
Everytime we've encounter a Hong Kong In The 60s record we're never anything less than charmed. Their debut album 'My Fantoms' does the same, taking the dinky melodies and lounge-lite styles of their Ghost Box 7" and collaboration with A Taut Line, and expanding them into 12 tracks of twee and breezy Bossa pop and Radiophonic electronics with a gallic sense of romance. Mei Yau Kan's fragile vocals fragrance the set with a sublime ambience while the gentle melodies reference Chinese pop and European soundtracks and even excerpts from a mouse opera for children. We recommend the lovers should definitely spend some time with this over the summer.
Not Cluster, or Kluster, but Qluster, a project which sees Hans-Joachim Roedelius collaborating with Onnen Bock rather than his usual partner Dieter Moebius. Bock is a musician and sound installationist who has played in Zeitkratzer (the avant-garde ensemble known for their work with the likes of Carsten Nicolai, Keiji Haino and Terre Thaemlitz), and he's been exchanging musical ideas with Roedelius since 2007. Existing fans of Roedelius needn't worry: his gorgeous analogue keyboard improvisations are very much at the core of Fragen, but Bock really brings fresh character and emotions out of them by set… Read more
Scandinavian synth maestro, Johan Agebjörn invites his mates Wolfram, Legowelt, CFCF, Fred Ventura, and of course, Sally Shapiro, among others, for a magical Eurodisco session. Highlights include Sally's stirring appearance alongside Lovelock on the title track, and again with Fred Ventura on 'Alice' (a marriage made in our frothiest dreams, now come to life), and most certainly on the slow-strober 'So Fine All The Time', crafted with Legowelt and Wolfram. 11 tracks total. Seriously satisfying.
Boris' 17th studio album 'Attention Please' is a syncretic amalgam of ideas siphoned from Techno and Shoegaze and slotted into their usual Rock framework. Of course, if anyone was going to pull this off it's one of Japan's most prominent and widely respected groups. Quite notably, all the vocals are handled by the trio's female quotient, Wata, which lends a sensitive cohesion to their experiments beyond the usual Boris sound. Almost ready for the dancefloor, you'll find pulsing 4/4 driven rhythms on the haunting opener 'Attention Please', and the almost-poprock thrust of 'Party Boy', while 'See … Read more
If 'Attention Please' is Boris exorcising their lighter daemons, 'Heavy Rocks' returns them to more familiar territory. You'll find grazing, grungy hard rock on 'Riot Sugar', psyched-out space rock on 'Galaxians', proggier epics on 'Missing Pieces' and 'Aileron' and blisteringly fun Punk on 'Window Shopping', all with the trademark hi-end production values to the fore.
Debut album from the former Balihu and Meakusma contributor. Fans of the slow sound should be on this in an instant. Massimiliano has got the chug on lock, keeping the tempo around a sensually sub-110bpm over 13 tracky grooves intended for the connoisseurs and the steamiest points of the night. Fairly simple stuff, but very effective. Reminiscent of everything from Harald Grosskopf to Mark E.
Sixteen dubs of classic tracks from the lead singer of legendary Rocksteady group, The Paragons. '500 Volts Of Dub' checks his most fruitful solo period around the late '60s to mid '70s, working with Bunny Lee and laying down a slower, more romantic sound which would heavily influence the lovers rock style. Tracklist: 'Rock With Dub', 'A Lonely Dub', 'Get It While It's Dub', 'Believe In Dub', 'Fell For Dub', 'A Man Needs A Dub', 'Kiss A say Good Dub', 'Street Jam Dub', 'Spring Time Dub','Forgot To Say Dub', 'Lets Dub It', 'No Man Is A Dub', 'Dub Days And Dub Nights', 'You Are Wrong To Dub', plus bonus CD tracks, 'Fancy Dub Make Up', and 'Walk Away From Dub'.
Since 2005 Mark E's productions have increasingly become the toast of a House scene looking for slower and more seductive tempos without losing the all important impact. Following two killer CD compilations of his celebrated 12" releases, Ghostly International serve his long overdue debut album. 'Stone Breaker' features nine forceful but funky mid-tempo productions primed for the 'floor. It's not really a home listening album, that is unless you've got a house full and everyone is lashed. It *almost* works as a DJ set in itself, striding from the scene-setting slow pound of 'Archway', slipping int… Read more
Thursday, 26 May 2011
Plenty of praise has been lavished on veteran musician, field recording expert and BBC sound recordist Chris Watson, and it would be hard to disagree with any of it. 'Cross Pollination' is his latest full-length, again for the Touch label that has been his home for many years, and sees him teaming up with Marcus Davidson for a surprising collaborative piece. Using Watson's recordings of bees in an English country garden as the backbone of the composition, Marcus Davidson had a choir re-interpret the sounds and tones as a kind of symphony. Davidson had noticed that the be… Read more
Cyber-exotic electrodisco brilliance from Korea's Nakion aka Nakyoung Sung. 'Oh Ah!' is pretty nuts, sounding like one of Skam Records' fractal wet dreams about Trevor Horn and Yellow Magic Orchestra come to life. We can't tell if it was made on a computer or hardware (probably both), but either way it's a compelling listen, strafing from liquid crystal electro on the title track to the awesome post-punk pop jaunt of 'Study Up!', through dynamic Hi-tech Electro-funk for 'Horse Track', blunted death-disco on 'Moon Song' and the neon glide of 'XXX'. If you've fallen for Maria Minerva, VHS Head or Autre Ne Veut we highly recommend checking this!!!
Hard-to-forget falsetto folk-pop and rock jams from the one and only Woods. "Woods is a two-headed dog asleep on the porch and a butterfly on the windowsill... a Janus, a Gemini and a screen door. The sun won't fade and the earworms will not leave, but the jams go on too long for the girl in the back who wonders if her friends are at another bar. Still, the ballads always make her cry. Woods is up there relaying the Woods-feel: Folk-rock, fuzz, tambourines, tapes and raw lunch pulled straight from the yard. Pop songs and other things: Sun and Shade." Glenn Donaldson.
Thursday, 19 May 2011
Nicola Ratti might be primarily known as a guitarist, but this time around he's decided to set his mind on eking sound from the wheezing circuitboards of electrical instruments (hence the album’s title). Ratti uses his electrical companions as simply the first step in a process, and proceeds to bend the source sounds into complex rhythmic forms ending up with tracks that sound like shuffling techno, rasping dub or the kind of chattering electronic manipulations you’d usually associate with Raster Noton. That’s not to say that ‘220 Tones’ is simply an exercise in postmodern digitalism; there is a… Read more
After the curious skip from episode #8 to #10, Madlib finally drops #9, a full fat boom-bap session featuring Detroit's Frank Nitt. As the label says "..."Channel 85,"...is far off most dials. This album's concept TV station runs one show only: the comic-drama, reality-musical called Nittyville, featuring Frank, MED, Oh No, Madlib, and a supporting cast of extras." It's fourteen tracks wide, ten of those are rap tracks and the other four are narrative interlude bridges. We guess Madlib mighta been smoking some new medicinal strains for this one, maybe his glauco… Read more
Julian Lynch's sophomore album 'Mare' had us floored with its fuzzy, transcendent devotional songs, and we weren't the only ones. Since then Lynch's music has found its way into far more places than he probably expected, and there is quite rightly a great deal of anticipation circling latest full-length 'Terra'. Thankfully the more expanded sound exhibited on recent live appearances is almost nowhere to be seen, and this brand new collection of songs is just as personal, spacious and weird as we've come to expect from Lynch. In fact it might be the most restrained of all his records to date; once th… Read more
Hyperdub badmen LV collaborate with vocalist Joshua Idehen across an album that has to rank as one of the most substantial yet winningly slinky artist albums to come out of the post-dubstep diaspora. Iden's half-sung, half-spoken lyrical style is probably most mischievous on 'Northern Line', which pays tongue-in-cheek tribute to each stop on the eponymous London tube route ("What do you know about Moorgate? I don't know anything about Moorgate! What do you know about Old Street? Some of the girls there are quite sweet...") LV's production, meanwhile, is just class throughout, muscular, agile an… Read more
‘Joy Flashings’ is a collaboration between American composer and trombone virtuoso Philip Corner, and Alter Ego flautist Manuel Zurria, and typically given the status and history of the duo involved, it’s heavy stuff. Apparently the idea behind the record was to experience the music as a whole, without limits or boundaries – and they certainly manage that here. A collection of instrumental drones, tempered electronics and odd field recordings (like police radio recordings, for example??) make the record more compelling than you’d expect from something with an academic standing… Read more