Thursday, 02 June 2011
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
Billed as his 'LA' album, 'Demolished Thoughts' pits Sonic Youth frontman Thurston Moore against the fractured mind of Scientologist oddbod Beck who takes on the production duties. Far from the obvious 'Mutations' meets 'Psychic Hearts' excursion this could have been though, the first thing to stand out here is the lush orchestration of the album opener 'Benediction'. Bringing back fond memories of the incredible 'Trees Outside The Academy', the track is accompanied by the silky violin tones of the incredibly talented Samara Lubelski and the saintly harp of Mary Lattimore. Beck's dis… Read more
Sumptuous neo-classical/pop ambient selection compiled by Mule Musiq's Toshiya Kawasaki. This guy obviously has fine taste, evidenced by his picks from the likes of Porn Sword Tobacco, Donato Dozzy, NSI., Lawrence and Terre Thaemlitz, including an exclusive debut premiere of Kassem Mosse's new downbeat sound as Seltene Erden. The label's in-house ambient supremo, Koss opens the session with the subtly seductive 'Voyage', followed by an exquisitely spacious piece by Lawrence and the processed keys of NSI.'s 'Krakow 6'. Terre Thaemlitz's remix of John Cage, entitled 'Fa… Read more
Efrim Manuel Menuck might be the brains behind Godspeed You! Black Emperor and The Silver Mt. Zion, but it’s taken him this long to actually get a solo album together. I suppose he’s been a bit tied up since the early 90s when GYBE were formed, but it’s not really a good excuse, c’mon! Not as droney as Godspeed and nowhere near as orchestrated as The Silver Mt. Zion, ‘Plays High Gospel’ marks a new phase in Menuck’s songwriting. There are folk songs which are probably alluded to in the title, but Menuck’s mischievous sense of experimentation is present throughout, from the squeali… Read more
The sonic universe that they inhabit is an increasingly crowded one, but Zombi aren't about to let their thunder be stolen by young upstarts like Xander Harris and Umberto. These guys are old hands, and when it comes to creating fizzing electro that summons amyl-fuelled hi-NRG and Italian horror soundtracks alike, they're often imitated but rarely bettered. Escape Velocity is their seventh (mini)album proper, and from the moment the needle drops onto THE opener and title track, you know it's on: full-fat, pulsing synth arpeggios kept in check by live drums that exhume the furious, first-pumping c… Read more
Strut Records and 'Nigeria 70' compiler Duncan Brooker excavate a wealth of Afro-Funk, Highlife and Juju for a charming third volume of this sterling series. Drawn from a clutch of Nigerian label archives, this new edition illuminates the fusions between jazz and funk, soul, disco and rock music occurring in Nigeria in this pivotal era. None of the tracks have ever been officially released outside of Nigeria and take in everything from Don Isaac Ezekiel's tripper psyche funk groove 'Ire' to the sultry, slow and intoxicating 'Kinrinjingbin' b… Read more
A taste of NY's No Wave global performing art movement of the 1980's. This compilation does not hinge entirely on the most prminent bands connected to that scene but gives a broader overview of what more obscure artists - like Rosa Yemen & Lizzy Mercier Descloux - were doing at the time - File under "Chaos USA". Features: James White & The Blacks, Teenage Jesus & The Jerks, Lydia Lunch, The Contortions, Mars, Suicide,Rosa Yemen, Lizzy Mercier Descloux, Arto/Neto. Maverick music.
Thursday, 12 May 2011
A 2nd, KILLER presentation of assured Nigerian and Ghanaian highlife classics selected by the good, good people at Vampi Soul. It features nineteen tracks by essential artists of the genre such as ET Mensah & The Tempos, Dr Victor Olaiya, Prince Nico Mbarga, Dr Sir Warrior, and Rex Lawson, plus extensive notes by experts, Rita May and Max Reinhardt, and artist photos.
**Double gatefold digipak 24 track 2CD with artwork by Will Bankhead** Hessle Audio are surely the UK's finest forward-thinking dance label. Their ascent to the bassbin vanguard is cemented with '116 and Rising', a comprehensive double CD affair looking back over 12 of their finest moments from the last four years, and looking forward to 12 crucial exclusives from their deadly roster. Since 2007 their band of advanced sonic thinkers and bassbin assassins have produced a stream of achingly ON IT records, including no small amount of debuts and genre classics from figures who've come to m… Read more
It's hard to believe that 'Ascension' is only the third Jesu album (after 2007's genre-defying 'Conqueror'). Justin Broadrick and pals have kept up a steady stream of lengthy EPs and splits in the downtime, and I suppose I assumed that one of those must have been an album. Here's the news, it wasn't, and listening to 'Ascension' it makes perfect sense that Broadrick took the time to formulate a measured follow-up to his breakthrough record, and leave the experiments to the EPs. 'Ascension' appears on Mark Kozelek's Caldo Verde label, and somehow that makes perfect sense. Broadrick has cited Red House Pa… Read more