Thursday, 12 July 2012
**High-quality bespoke box-edition reproduction of a seminal Brazilian bossa nova album** "Originally released in Brazil in 1964, The Tamba Trio's 'Tempo' is a masterpiece. This album is a fantastic mix of vocal harmonies and Bossa piano grooves. The blending of Bossa Nova and jazz with an unparalleled experimentalism made The Tamba Trio the key group to emerge out of Brazil's new Bossa Nova scene at the start of the 1960s. The young genius composer Luiz Eca leads the group on piano, and his arrangements of tracks like 'Boranda', 'Berimbau' and 'Consalacao' are stunning. The cover is also one of the m… Read more
Thursday, 05 July 2012
**Colourfully ecstatic psych-rock with synth-pop influence** "Hey kid, need a lift? Like, right up off the ground? Spill into Atmosphere is the freshest whitecap in the crashing-upward wave known as Wet Hair, the Midwestern duo-cum-trio that's been holding it down for years as a multi-stop repeat-shop-'n-hop psych-pop pin-drop right there in the dead center of everything and/or nothing, Iowa City. The Wet Hair discography having spired itself to a respectable vantage - shared releases with such powers as Rene Hell, Naked on the Vague and Peaking Lights, both via frontmensch Shawn Reed's … Read more
Barbara Morgenstern returns to her spiritual home, Gudrun Gut's Monika Enterprise label, for her sixth solo album proper, and her first sung in English. Mixed by T.Raumschmiere, its sound is incredibly plush, the minimalist arrangements fleshed out by robust bass textures and opalescent synths. Songs like 'Kookoo', 'Spring Time' and the soaring 'Highway' are perfect pop, off-kilter but not disjointed, while 'Hip Hop Mice' and 'Status Symbol' explore deeper shades of laptop electro, before things culminate in the epic, string-laden techno-romanticism of 'Love Is In The Air, But We Don'… Read more
**Deluxe Limited Edition First Press CD With Debossed O-Card.** It's hard to believe it's really been three years since Dave Longstreth's Dirty Projectors issued their defining statement 'Bitte Orca'. With very little fanfare the sprawling collective reframed 2009's casual interest in 'weird' music and allowed outsiders to get a look in, proving to take them to a new, still more hallowed level of industry staircase. Now inhabiting a similar room as legendary weirdos Bjork and David Byrne (both of whom Longstreth has collaborated with), we find the eccentric genius at his most penetr… Read more
**Double CD with 50-page booklet of archival photographs and liner notes by Jonny Trunk and Soul Jazz's Stuart Baker** "'TV Sound And Image' provides an overview of British composers who worked in television, film and music libraries the second half of the 20th Century... Aside from John Barry, whose work on the James Bond films made him a household name, or Tony Hatch and Laurie Johnson, the majority of composers featured here - Simon Park, Keith Mansfield, Reg Tilsley, Syd Dale, Keith Papworth - remain relatively unknown. And yet iron… Read more
Thursday, 28 June 2012
Geoff Barrow is a man who likes to keep himself busy, and not content with composing a (sadly unused) soundtrack to the forthcoming Judge Dredd movie, he's managed to piece together another full-length with his sometime Krautrock outfit Beak>. The sounds here shouldn't surprise anyone familiar with Portishead's phenomenal 'Third'; the dusty Can vs. Silver Apples percussion, the tape saturated atmospheres and the tangled basslines, but Beak> are not Portishead. '>>' is a more traditional Krautrock album in all senses, hitting the cyclic, hypnotic mode straight on the nose and running with it. In fact if someone h… Read more
Alexander Tucker (Imbogodom/Guapo) and Daniel O'Sullivan (Æthenor/Ulver/Guapo) reprise their Grumbling Fur alias for the Latitudes series following that excellent album for Aurora Borealis in 2011. Both artists have previously graced the series already - Tucker solo and with Ginnugagap, and O'Sullivan with Miasma And The Carousel Of Headless Horses - and don't disappoint with their latest session. O'Sullivan's mannered vocal eloquence is accompanied by loping breakbeats and pentatonic piano refrain in finest Canterbury tradition for opener 'Wylderness Waiting' and taken slower, swaying and swirling on the other side.
Sydney, Australia's Holy Balm trio jack out a heat-warped LP of avant-dance songs for Not Not Fun. 'It's You' feels like dance music that's been made in a hot country. It's got a faded, sun-bleached quality and drunk-in-the-afternoon sloppiness that's entirely endearing to our tastes. Their synth melodies are always prone to slipping saltily off-key and the beats are basically functional - lumpy kicks and squirmy, acidic synth pop bass - ridden with alluring nonchalance by Anna John in a hybrid of basement minimal wave and '90s dance pop memes. Repetitive, hypnotic, lo-fi and pebbledashed with off-t… Read more
*With exclusives from Egyptrixx, Monolake, Martyn, Anstam, Addison Groove and much more* The second bumper collection of bangers from Deutch duo Modeselektor's rapidly expanding Monkeytown imprint. The last comp was a way for the lads to explain exactly where they were heading with the label, where this seems more like a celebration - a kind of "yeah we f*ckin' did it". Dragging in a bunch of their mates to contribute big 'uns in amongst Monkeytown artists like Phon.o, Addison Groove and Mouse on Mars, 'Modelektion Vol.2' is a restless, widescreen representation of the current… Read more
Bureau B bring together two of the German avant-garde's most august figures, nearly 35 years since their Lilienthal group work with Conny Plank. In 2011 Cluster and Harmonia's Dieter Moebius - a man not shy of a collaboration or two having worked with Eno, Mani Neumaier and Mayo Thompson in his time - reprised his recording relationship with abstract explorer and musique concrète specialist Asmus Tietchens to produce the simply titled 'Moebius & Tietchens' session. Evidently both artists haven't lost their passion for venturing into the electronic unknown, veering deep into a world of alien sonorities and strange, awkward industrial rhythm sculptures.
James Clements further consolidates the boundaries between D&B and IDM with his latest LP as ASC. Sheer-hewn hardstep rhythms and physically functional synth dynamics are balanced in flux with expansive atmospheres and an artful appreciation of melodic and harmonic light and depth. Essentially this is the Autonomic sound, a phrase which is not used all so often now, but neatly sums up ASC's sharply defined style and exploration of the integers between established conventions on 'Out Of Sync'. Highlights have to be the skittish slowfast roller 'Glass Walls' and it's blooming chord sweeps; the Monolake-a… Read more
"Another gem from the legendary krautrock era: Guenter Schickerts 2nd album. originally released on Sky records in 1979. The music: Psychedelia with a "kosmische" touch, influenced by Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream etc. Lengthy pieces with complex layers of rhythmic-harmonic sequences, expansive echoes and reverberation and extrapolated improvisations. In spite of the clearly discernible influence of music from the so-called Berlin school (Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Temple etc.), Schickert is anything but a copycat. Schickert concentrated on pursuing his own ideas and pushing the boundaries of… Read more
Londoners Echo Lake have promised us a full length for ages, and here it is - a jangly collection of warbling indie pop, the kind you might expect to find on a Beach House record before they went 'mainstream'. Smoke-addled and gloriously nonchalant there's a defiant streak of late 60s Velvets about Echo Lake, and this is what separates them from countless other bands attempting to recreate a similarly molasses-slow brand of pop-rock. Imagine playing a Huggy Bear record on the wrong speed in one room, and 'Sweet Jane' in another and you might just about have it.
Kluster was a short-lived project of three musicians/artists/performers: Dieter Moebius, Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Conrad Schnitzler. They recorded two albums with Conny Plank in 1970, unprecedented in their experimental radicalism. Chaotic, apocalyptic (noise) improvisations (a sound later termed industrial), enriched with recited lyrics in places. The trio split up not long afterwards. Exchanging the K for a C, Roedelius and Moebius continued as a duo under the name of Cluster, whilst Conrad Schnitzler went solo. "Zwei Osterei" surpasses the earlier "Klopfzeichen" album by some distance in terms of its harsh noisiness and near brutal sonic attacks.
Thursday, 21 June 2012
Over the past couple of years a distinct micro-scene has built up around the industrially-inclined Perc Trax label, one which happily enfolds the brushed-steel techno of Perc, the swung beat science of ASC and the corrosive radiophonics of Ekoplekz alike. Patrick Walker and Smear's Forward Strategy Group are right at the heart of it all, and their debut album - arriving after a run of acclaimed 12" releases - is an event. They've not disappointed us, delivering a set of deep, exploratory techno strafed with noise and scum scraped straight from the factory floor, elegantly alignin… Read more
It's always a pleasure to usher in new work from Austrian auteur Fennesz, and this under-the-radar gem is especially interesting as it showcases a softer side to the usually noisy master. 'Aun' was put together as a soundtrack to Edgar Honetschlager's film of the same name, and as such finds Fennesz in subdued but fine form. While there are three tracks here culled from his collaborative venture with pianist Ryuichi Sakamoto, the rest of the material is totally new, and works as the perfect showcase for his more minimal mediations. From the very beginning it's clear that 'Aun' is an exercise in r… Read more
Excellent debut album proper from Polysick aka Rome's Egisto Sopor, who's previously released his ornate electronic creations on Legowelt's Strange Life and Manda Brown's 100% Silk label. 'Digital Native' is a lush-minded and gently fractal trip under the influence of exotic body musics - from cosmic disco to Detroit - and a wealth of spirited synth sounds from New Age to Library music and the 4th world avant-garde. It takes place in a carefully crafted fantasy hyperspace, swirling between sanguine disco pulses and warped electronica with an acutely visual aspect - you can easily imagine a floo… Read more
Moritz Von Oswald, Max Loderbauer and Sasu Ripatti play out a sterling third album as a trio, "their darkest and most driving... their best yet." The basic material for 'Fetch' was improvised and recorded in a four hour session at the end of summer 2011 and features additional live contributions from ECM's Marc Muellbauer (bass) and Tobias Freund (effects). Von Oswald later overdubs Jonas Schoen (flute, clarinet, saxophone) and trumpeter Sebastian Studnitzky to four uniquely fluid and spacious grooves. Converging in jazz-wise dialogue on opener 'Jam', Ripatti and Muellbauer's rhythm sectio… Read more
**Double gatefold CD edition of this sought after collection** Legendary Egyptian guitarist Omar Khorshid is the venerable subject of Sublime Frequencies' latest CD release, providing a dazzling 18-track insight to one of the most progressive Arabic musicians of the late 20th century. Born in Cairo, 1945, Omar showed a natural aptitude for music, playing violin and piano to classical standards. However, during the 1960s and the ensuing worldwide cultural revolution he was smitten with the electrified sound of the Beatles and Elvis Presley and quickly adapted himself to the electric guitar… Read more
Tri Angle presents the debut EP of another enigmatic young producer from the broadband underground, Howse. 'Lay Hollow' takes us deeper than we've ever been into the mournful electronic underworld that Tri Angle has so successfully colonised - hypnotising us with vapour-trail synths and footwork drums tranquillised down to a funereal andante, but keeping us ever so slightly on edge with the sound of distant crow-calls and Boards of Canada-style atmospherics. It's the extraordinary 'VBS' that provides the highlight of the EP - here there's footwork torque as well as texture, ghetto-shaking subs and ski… Read more
This one's been a long time coming - a bumper collection that finally puts a spotlight on the Bristol-initiated purple wow sound. Initially used to describe the collision of UK dubstep and Southern US hip hop pioneered by Joker, Gemmy and Guido, the sound later began spreading its tentacles - even spreading back into the genres that it emerged from in the first place. Joker might be the most obvious success story, and many of his breakout hits are here - 'Tron' (which appeared on his recent 4AD full length) is the best known, but we also get treated to the… Read more
*CD version includes bonus track not on the vinyl* A streamlined and revitalised SWZK (née Swayzak) present eight vigorous live Techno workouts on a handsome Tresor double pack. Those lusting for the former duo's (now just David Brown) House output will have to look elsewhere - this is a full frontal machine music exercise and it pulls few punches. The new sound is closer to Cristian Vogel or Sleeparchive than anything else, stripping back to an ascetic, purified take on Berlin Techno and Dub optimised with unswerving production values.
San Fernando Valley's oddest beatmaster strikes between the eyes with his most substantial trip to date. Thirteen hits heavy, 'SFV Acid #2' is his first album since 2009 and follows a glut of recent activity on 100% Silk and remixing the likes of Fur for UNO NYC, and Blondes for Rvng Intl. So, after the underground badges are spied on his lapel, what does the music sound like? Well, it's not quite as f**ked up as his mental 'New West Coast' EP for Post Present Medium', but it is more nuanced, groovesome, without ever succumbing to "normal". His recordings are tangibly analogue, from the malfunction… Read more
**Hand-stamped and individually numbered edition of 60** Subtly ambitious and charming debut of modern classical/electronica from a new, Manchester-based collective. With 'SLP001' the five piece ensemble, Points Of Light, have composed a serene and otherworldly suite where the David Tibet-like poetry and mannered vocals of Sam Quill are complemented by Eoin Roe's minimal keys and the mournful strings of Simmy Singh. But that fragile world likely owes most to the filigree electronic structures of label heads David Futer and Laurence Tompkins, whose deft, unobtrusive accompaniments of sta… Read more