Thursday, 09 June 2011
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
David Sylvian's Manofon album, released last year, was a huge achievement in terms of both conception and execution: the erstwhile Japan frontman singing plangent melodies in his initimably rich timbre against beautiful autumnal soundscapes crafted with composer Dai Fujikura (a student of Pierre Boulez, no less) and such improv luminaries as John Tilbury, Keith Rowe and Christian Fennesz. For our money, this companion set manages to trump it - it's comprised of cuts that didn't make the album and Fujikura rearrangements of tracks that did, plus a couple of remixes by producers Erik Honor… Read more
Free jazz, two words that strike fear into the hearts of most music fans, but luckily not this lot who haven’t been afraid to inject their own personality into the much maligned genre. 7k Oaks are of course made up of experimental veterans, and in their number house members of Zeitkratzer and Zu among other acts, and their rawkin’ skronk would be a good way for jazz newbies to get a tantalizing taster of the sound. Y’see ‘Entelechy’ actually rocks, and shares as much with prog rock (at least to these ears) as it does with jazz – I’m almost reminded of Norwegian jazz/rock breakthrough act Shining, and that’s a very favourable comparison indeed. Recommended.
Planet Mu expand their Juke and party repetoire with a mixed bag by Chicago's Chrissy Murderbot. Riding with MC Zulu, Rubi Dan, DJ Spinn, Popeye, Mungo's Hifi & Warrior Queen, Johnny Moog & Coool Dundee, Chrissy sets out twelve party hybrids, taking in New Jack Swing and Bassline on 'New Juke Swing', discofied Juke on 'Bussin' Down', ruddy bashment on 'Pelvic Floor', booty slammers 'Heavy Butt', and hyper R&B with 'Jiggle'. Heaps of fun!
Grime's most relentless and uncompromising MC drops one of his most vivid statements to date on 'Overall'. The inimitable lyricist is on fierce form over eleven tracks, none more so than the eleven minute 'Battle Hype', a conceptual rap battle in four parts featuring Goodz slewing his rivals Wiley, Kano and Dizzee with shockingly precise impersonations. Tip!
Recorded on Guidecca Island in Venice, ‘Death by Water’ is a one-track voyage into the outer realms of musique contrete, and guiding us through this chaotic yet poetic experience are the expert hands of Italian sound artists Fabio Selvafiorita and Valerio Tricoli. Influenced by T.S. Eliot’s poem ‘The Waste Land’, the poem’s philosophy and feeling is conveyed through the hushed wind and water sounds, piped through the composers’ collection of effects and tape machines. A dense and inviting cloud of detailed, evocative sound is left – sometimes it sounds merely like fiel… Read more
Prosumer heads up the third Panorama Bar mix with an expertly curated sixty six minute selection cruising between timeless classics, rarified obscurities and some right curveballs. His DJ sets at P'bar have provided both moon-eyed dancers and tight-lipped shufflers with a wealth of House music epiphanies over the years, largely due to a pure and abiding love of the music he plays, and the way he plays it. This set embodies that spirit, taking in total classics like Theo Parrish's 'Twin Cities', QX-1's 'Love Injection', Romanthony's 'The House Of God' or Fingers Inc's 'Music Take Me Up', … Read more