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Monday, 03 December 2007

PORTER WAGONER - The Rubber Room, The Omni Recording Corporation

PORTER WAGONER

The Rubber Room

The Omni Recording Corporation

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.99

EARLY ELECTRONIC / SOUNDTRACKS

Cat. Number: OMNI-103

The inlay booklet accompanying this release features some of the finest album sleeves in the history of recorded music. FACT. 1967's The Cold Hard Facts Of Life features a particularly striking cover-image: Porter gets home from work to discover his missus huddled up to some other feller on his own couch. Within a single frame, Wagoner has managed to distil the misery of a cuckolded husband. Magnificent, really. A similar air of melancholy hangs over other sleeves (with titles like 'Soul Of A Convict' and 'Confessions Of A Broken Man', you can imagine the down-trodden). Wagoner is clearly… Read more
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PORTER WAGONER - The Rubber Room, The Omni Recording Corporation
THE STONEMANS - In All Honesty, The Omni Recording Corporation

THE STONEMANS

In All Honesty

The Omni Recording Corporation

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.99

EARLY ELECTRONIC / SOUNDTRACKS

Cat. Number: OMNI-109

With a recorded legacy that predates the carter family and a uniqueness that is still unequalled, the stonemans are both a curiosity and a phenomenon. Ernest Stoneman appeared out of obscurity in 1924 to release "“the sinking of the titanic", a disc (78rpm) reputed to have sold over a million copies at the time and certainly the most popular “hillbilly record of its era. With a prosperous recording and live performance career throughout the late 1920’s, “Stoneman was to see it all wiped out by the great depression and spent the next decades in dire poverty. in the 1960’s “he joined with fiv… Read more
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THE STONEMANS - In All Honesty, The Omni Recording Corporation
GIL TRYTHALL - Country Moog / Nashville Gold, The Omni Recording Corporation

GIL TRYTHALL

Country Moog / Nashville Gold

The Omni Recording Corporation

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.99

EARLY ELECTRONIC / SOUNDTRACKS

Cat. Number: OMNI-108

Brace yourself, this is every bit as foolhardy and preposterous an undertaking as the title suggests. In 1971 electronic arranger and academic Gil Trythall was commissioned by a particularly adventurous record company exec for this frankly insane album of Nashville hits, reconfigured for the Moog synthesizer and a host of other old fashioned electronic goods. The inevitable sequel arrived in 1973 with a similarly starry tracklisting of country chart toppers and standards, and here for your listening pleasure and convenience both volumes are compiled onto a single disc. 12-bar sh… Read more
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GIL TRYTHALL - Country Moog / Nashville Gold, The Omni Recording Corporation
NORMA JEAN - I Guess That Comes from Being Poor, The Omni Recording Corporation

NORMA JEAN

I Guess That Comes from Being Poor

The Omni Recording Corporation

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.99

EARLY ELECTRONIC / SOUNDTRACKS

Cat. Number: OMNI-111

If talent and sincerity automatically brought fame then everyone would know her name. instead, today norma jean is unjustly considered little more than a footnote in country music history. The fine recordings on offer here tell of a much greater story. Best known for her on and off stage association with porter wagoner and a string of moderate hit singles during the mid 1960s, by 1972 the spotlight had waned for norma jean. But 1972 is also the year that norma recorded her greatest album, the country-concept opus: ‘"I guess that comes from being poor"’. Lovingly remastered … Read more
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NORMA JEAN - I Guess That Comes from Being Poor, The Omni Recording Corporation
THE CURE - Three Imaginary Boys (Reissue Plus Bonus Track), Lilith
The Cure's awesome 1979 debut album, Three Imaginary Boys gets the reissue treatment, replicating the original release's tracklisting (as opposed to that of 2004's Deluxe Edition), with the previously untitled instrumental 'The Weedy Burton' now fully credited as the closing track. Three Imaginary Boys saw a short-lived power trio line-up for the band, with guitarist Porl Thompson getting dropped for not meeting the minimalist requirements Robert Smith wanted to impose upon the album's arrangement. Consequently, Three Imaginary Boys sounds unique within the band's … Read more
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THE CURE - Three Imaginary Boys (Reissue Plus Bonus Track), Lilith
AARKTICA - Matchless Years, Darla

AARKTICA

Matchless Years

Darla

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.49

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: DRL177CD

After a year of (often dismal) shoegaze revivalists releasing albums by the lorry load it's nice to hear someone tapping into a similar aesthetic and actually doing something fresh with it. Aartika's Jon De Rosa clearly has that same penchant for anachronistic usage of chorus effects and is very probably yet to find the 'off' switch on his reverb pedal, but the songs are several cuts above your standard nu-gaze foolishness. 'Seventy Jane' has a grand old chorus and a great, building sense of dream-pop excess. The tempo and density dissipates some for the no-less exceptional 'I Name You Sleep', … Read more
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AARKTICA - Matchless Years, Darla
JOHN CALLAGHAN - It Might Never Happen, Uncharted Audio

JOHN CALLAGHAN

It Might Never Happen

Uncharted Audio

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.49

ELECTRONIC

Cat. Number: UNCH014CD

You may recall wacky electronica songwriter John Callaghan from his single releases on Warp Records. 'I'm Not Comfortable Inside My Mind' and 'You've Got Your Memories, I've Got My Dreams', the video to the former having appeared on the WarpVision DVD a couple of years back. It Might Never Happen is Callaghan's debut album and comes across as a kind of outsider opus, almost as if Callaghan were a Robert Wyatt/Syd Barrett/Daniel Johnston style super-talent but with a laptop rather than more conventional instrumentation. Almost. Sadly the wackiness tends to outweigh the album's merits… Read more
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JOHN CALLAGHAN - It Might Never Happen, Uncharted Audio
SUN CITY GIRLS - Dulce (Original Soundtrack Recording), Abduction
Some very shady goings on from the Sun City Girls camp here. Dulce was a film directed by Hachiro Maki, supposedly "an associate" of the notorious Aum Shinrikyo cult (since renamed as Aleph) who came to global attention after their 1995 Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway. The band managed to recruit some help from Japanese rock behemoths The Ruins and avant-garde violinist Eyvind Kang for this project, resulting in a great deal of depth and improvisational clout all round. If you can tolerate - or better yet dismiss altogether - Alan Bishop's controversy-courting bac… Read more
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SUN CITY GIRLS - Dulce (Original Soundtrack Recording), Abduction
SUN CITY GIRLS - Juggernaut (Original Soundtrack Recording), Abduction
The now disbanded Sun City Girls composed a number of film soundtracks, ranging from 1988's The Big Eye to 2004's Male Fantasy. Somewhere along the way they even contributed to the soundtrack for Harmony Korine's documentary on David Blaine's Above The Below silliness (you remember: the thing where he suspended himself in a box over the Thames for 44 days). Juggernaut is an as yet unreleased film (at least in any official capacity) by Mark Roman Bodnar and Kyrill Kazemirovitch Protsenko, which featured this original score, recorded in 1993. Messrs Bishop, Bishop a… Read more
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SUN CITY GIRLS - Juggernaut (Original Soundtrack Recording), Abduction

Thursday, 29 November 2007

GHOSTFACE KILLAH - The Big Doe Rehab, Def Jam

GHOSTFACE KILLAH

The Big Doe Rehab

Def Jam

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.99

BEATS / HIP HOP

Cat. Number: 1741048

The return of Ghostface, and bar the comedy sleeve and title - the man is on FIRE. Hard to encapsulate precisely what it is about Ghostface that's so damned righteous - its just that more or less everything he does comes across as effortlessly cool. Take SUPA GFK, for instance - rather than do that same thing that's been done a million time by his peers he chooses to not bother sampling "Superman Lover" by Johnny Guitar Watson - instead just opting to play the whole damn original song from start to finish and spit his rhymes over the top. Lazy? nah, its just pure Ghostface Genius. Sur… Read more
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GHOSTFACE KILLAH - The Big Doe Rehab, Def Jam
VARIOUS / CD41 - USAAF at War 1942-45: Archive Radio Recordings Vol. 1, CD41 Recordings
Released as part of the same CD41 series that brought you the excellent Blitz, Dunkirk and Battle Of Britain volumes, this latest CD focuses on WWII Johnny-come-latelys the United States Army Air Force. All the usual documentary reportage is included on this disc, alongside radio news broadcasts and interviews. The tone is often startlingly different from the British broadcasts of a similar ilk, which are often comically preoccupied with restraint and decorum given the perilous circumstances of the recordings. This disc shifts away from the on-the-spot co… Read more
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VARIOUS / CD41 - USAAF at War 1942-45: Archive Radio Recordings Vol. 1, CD41 Recordings
MONTAG - Going Places, carpark

MONTAG

Going Places

carpark

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: CAK38CD

Back in stock. Coming out on the now excruciatingly hip CarPark label (home of Beach House, Panda Bear and so many more exciting folk) 'Going Places' has an utterly irresistible (and very long) list of contributors, we've got M83, Ghislain Poirier, Final Fantasy, Beach House, Au Revoir Simone, ISAN, Vitaminsforyou and many many more, in fact there's so many guest appearances it could almost be a mid 90s hiphop album. This is no bad thing though, Bédard knows how to harness the talents of his collaborators, and 'Going Places' is a surprisingly coherent album. The first thing you will notice is Bédard… Read more
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MONTAG - Going Places, carpark

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

VARIOUS / LTM - Chantons Noel: Ghosts Of Christmas Past, LTM Recordings

VARIOUS / LTM

Chantons Noel: Ghosts Of Christmas Past

LTM Recordings

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: LTMCD2426

This was the third major compilation from Belgium's Crepuscule label, following on from the discs From Brussels With Love and The Fruit Of The Original Sin (released in 1980 and 1981, respectively). This seasonal reissue comes with bonus tracks that featured on later editions of the compilation, and makes for an ideal stocking filler for your favourite followers of early '80s avant-garde and new wave. Festive contributions come from Crepuscule regulars such as Tuxedomoon and Paul Haig, as well as Factory artists like Durutti Column and Simon Topping. Bigger names such … Read more
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VARIOUS / LTM - Chantons Noel: Ghosts Of Christmas Past, LTM Recordings

Monday, 26 November 2007

BOSCOE - Boscoe, ASTERISK

BOSCOE

Boscoe

ASTERISK

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

DISCO / BOOGIE / FUNK

Cat. Number: ASTERISK004CD

More obscurities exhumed from the jazz-funk crypt by the Numero Group. This time from lost Chicago band Boscoe, likeminded spirits to the giants of '70s avant-garde jazz like Sun-Ra and the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Sadly, Boscoe's reputation never really made it outside of their local circle, and their legend was very much confined to their hometown. This, the band's one and only album recording is a combination of studio and live dynamics: the eponymous record was committed as was in Paragon Studios, Chicago. While not as emphatic on experimentation as some of their contemporaries, there's a hard-hitting… Read more
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BOSCOE - Boscoe, ASTERISK
FOOD - Molecular Gastronomy, Rune Grammofon

FOOD

Molecular Gastronomy

Rune Grammofon

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

JAZZ / FUSION

Cat. Number: RCD2069

Traditionally one of the Rune Grammofon label's purest jazz acts, Food are now two men down, reducing their line-up to a duo in the wake of Mats Eilertsen and Arve Henriksen's departure. In the absence of both the band's bassist and its trumpeter, Food seem to have morphed into a more experimental group than before. British saxophonist Iain Ballamy takes the lead for much of the record, laying down lyrical passages of both sax and alto flute that often get transmitted via the finely tuned machines and effects under drummer Thomas Stronen's command. Anyone familiar with Stronen's work as part o… Read more
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FOOD - Molecular Gastronomy, Rune Grammofon
BURIED AT SEA - Ghost, Neurot Recordings

BURIED AT SEA

Ghost

Neurot Recordings

Format_dot_cdCD // £8.49

DARK AMBIENT / DRONE / METAL

Cat. Number: NR054

The whole stoner rock/doom metal scene has flourished in the last few years with Sunn O))) at the forefront of the music, teaching young listeners that they can abandon the ADHD vibes sold to them by MTV and give themselves to a track that's thirty minutes long and only one note. Before Sunn though were Neurosis, and it is through their Neurot label that this lesser known chapter in the genre drifts out of the tar and mud into the waiting abyss. The band split up in 2004 after only a bare few releases, but these recordings come from 2005 and 2006 sessions, and is the first new material we've heard f… Read more
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BURIED AT SEA - Ghost, Neurot Recordings
ARCTIC SUNRISE - At Present Delayed EP, AIRVENT

ARCTIC SUNRISE

At Present Delayed EP

AIRVENT

Format_dot_cdCD // £6.99

ELECTRONIC

Cat. Number: AVMEP001

Back in stock! Released on the Airvent Media label, this imressive example of modern electronica production is one of those increasingly rare appearances of a contemporary IDM record, and what's more this is a particularly good one, evoking the sort of layered granular palettes you'd associate with late-period Arovane, alongside the sort of ambitious, Autechre-influenced beat designs you'd expect from a release within this genre. 'Glue Ear' fuses a muted synth pad melody against a system of springy, clockwork-sounding drum rolls and heavily panned, smashed up rhythmic manipulations,… Read more
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ARCTIC SUNRISE - At Present Delayed EP, AIRVENT

Friday, 23 November 2007

30HZ - Electric Sheep, LOT49

30HZ

Electric Sheep

LOT49

Format_dot_cdCD // £8.99

GRIME / FWD

Cat. Number: LOT49CD003

American-born, Brighton-based producer 30Hz will probably be best known from output via his very own Vertical Sound imprint, though this album sees him moving toward more commercially viable material, which although still vehemently gnarled around the edges, exhibits a more digestible tech house appeal than before. There are still darker elements lurking below the surface however, with the faintest hint of dubstep bass cropping up on certain tracks. In fact, making the transition from 'Concentrate' to 'Mutate' involves a certain amount of genre hopping. While the compressed microhouse of the former … Read more
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30HZ - Electric Sheep, LOT49

Thursday, 22 November 2007

ONUR OZER - Kasmir, Vakant

ONUR OZER

Kasmir

Vakant

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

TECHNO / HOUSE

Cat. Number: VACD02

Kasmir is a debut album for both artist and label: neither Vakant nor Onur Ozer have released full-length albums before. Of course, the old clichés suggest that techno and house music are genres that seldom produce decent albums, and are only really suited to the 12" format, but Ozer clearly approaches Kasmir with an overall vision, and this isn't some throwaway collection of unrelated tracks. The first thing that strikes you about Kasmir is the influence of a variety of musical traditions, ranging from Arabic and Turkish musics to jazz and even the odd plundering of the orchestral palette. After the p… Read more
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ONUR OZER - Kasmir, Vakant
SIMIAN MOBILE DISCO - Hustler , Wichita Recordings

SIMIAN MOBILE DISCO

Hustler

Wichita Recordings

Format_dot_cdCDS // £2.99

TECHNO / HOUSE

Cat. Number: WEBB153SCD

This latest release from Jameses Shaw and Ford is yet another hook-filled cut lifted from their much vaunted Attack Decay Sustain Release album, which compensates for its irritating vocal by offloading some sweet synth riffage along the way. This CD version includes the Armand Van Helden remix of the original, which keeps the vocal in but ditches the riff. Ouch! It's not nearly as tiresome as you might imagine though, featuring some Alter Ego-style laser beam oscillations and a solid, functional beat whose only real crime is that it doesn't really go anywhere. You also get B-side 'Party Goes… Read more
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SIMIAN MOBILE DISCO - Hustler , Wichita Recordings

Monday, 19 November 2007

ROY'S IRON DNA - Men In Wax Jackets, Alex Tronic

ROY'S IRON DNA

Men In Wax Jackets

Alex Tronic

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.49

ELECTRONIC

Cat. Number: ATRCD037

This oddly named troupe, hailing from various corners of Scotland, draw on a broad range of electronic influences with a hint of new wave running through their circuitry. Inevitably people will identify the impact Depeche Mode have had on these guys, particularly given the amount of dark electropop resonance but similarly there's more than a hint of shoegaze-style washout aesthetics and vocals that get carried away on the breeze. 'Same Old' makes for an interesting departure, slowing things down to a sort of trip hoppy Ian Brown-inspired groove (although it might just come across that … Read more
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ROY'S IRON DNA - Men In Wax Jackets, Alex Tronic
MIKE BONES - The Sky Behind The Sea, The Social Registry

MIKE BONES

The Sky Behind The Sea

The Social Registry

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.49

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: TSR046CD

New Jersey guitarist, singer and songwriter Mike Strallow has long been a respected member of the New York underground and the contributing personnel on this debut album confirms that: on The Sky Behind The Sea you'll find supporting players from White Magic, Oakley Hall, Anthony & The Johnsons, and even violinist for hire Samara Lubelski. You'll find plenty of praise for Strallow's guitar playing from his contemporaries and fellow scenesters, but significantly he holds back on the axemanship in favour of sounds that serve the flow of the songs themselves. On this album you'll hear ech… Read more
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MIKE BONES - The Sky Behind The Sea, The Social Registry
THE GOLDEN OAKS - Paradise, Music Fellowship

THE GOLDEN OAKS

Paradise

Music Fellowship

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.49

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: MF32CD

If you don't recognise the Golden Oaks moniker, you're sure to recognise at least one of the project's members straight away: only Hush Arbors' Keith Wood would be comfortable delivering the kind of radically wayward pitching on the vocals to opener 'Blue Werewolf With Rainbow Eyes'. It's the Neil Young inspired demi-falsetto that gives him away. Some listeners will find it utterly jarring, whilst others will absolutely love it. So many nu-folk types sing with a knowingly weird voice, but unlike Devendra and Joanna true outsider Keith has no respect for anything so square as an actual key. On t… Read more
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THE GOLDEN OAKS - Paradise, Music Fellowship
THE DRIFT - Ceiling Sky (Four Tet / Sybarite Mixes), Temporary Residence Ltd.

THE DRIFT

Ceiling Sky (Four Tet / Sybarite Mixes)

Temporary Residence Ltd.

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.49

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: TRR122CD

Some of you may remember a limited mini LP from a few months back that brought together Four Tet and Sybarite remixes of original compositions by The Drift. If you failed to snap that up, here's a second chance: this disc compiles those two monstrous cuts alongside an assortment of other rare or vinyl-only tracks. Also lifted from a limited 12" are opening couplet 'Streets' and 'Nozumi', both of which successfully manage to integrate a number of different genres into a single, coherent musical hybrid. The Drift are able to throw together jazz phrasing, electronic elements a… Read more
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THE DRIFT - Ceiling Sky (Four Tet / Sybarite Mixes), Temporary Residence Ltd.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

PSAPP - Tiger, My Friend (2007 Edition), Domino Recording Co

PSAPP

Tiger, My Friend (2007 Edition)

Domino Recording Co

Format_dot_cdCD // £7.49

ELECTRONIC

Cat. Number: REWIGCD36

Now finally reissued on Domino, here's what we had to say about Psapp's "Tiger, My Friend" when it was first released a couple of years ago on the Arable imprint : "This incredible debut from Psapp marks the label's first foray into the grown-up world of full-length albums, and without any fluster or awkward self-awareness has delivered the loveliest debut you could possibly have the pleasure of listening to this side of summer. The band features Galia Durant and Carim Clasmann, who have managed to put together a recorf with all the structure of traditional songwriting but with the ro… Read more
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PSAPP - Tiger, My Friend (2007 Edition), Domino Recording Co
GOWNS - Red State, UPSET THE RHYTHM

GOWNS

Red State

UPSET THE RHYTHM

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: UTR016

Not to be confused with Andrew McGregor's outsider song project Gown, this duo's latest full-length provides its own take on restructuring ballad formats and bedroom recording projects. 'Fargo' is an incredible opener. Erika Anderson's wincing, spoken delivery is like altered state poetry, disjointed and occupied with images small town locations and lost summers, plotted out in her long lists of prescription drugs and droning sonic backdrops. Similarly bizarre, the lo-fi songscapes of 'Rope' is jagged yet rooted in more conventional song craft, like an alt. rock reincarnation of Charalambides. It's no c… Read more
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GOWNS - Red State, UPSET THE RHYTHM
DEAD RAVEN CHOIR - My Firstborn Will Surely Be Blind, AURORA BOREALIS
Black metal outsider project Dead Raven Choir reconvene at the tail end of a triumphant year for Wolfmangler, whose Cooking With Wolves album managed to be at once ferocious and very musical. Similarly, this album finds Digger Smolken's cello skills applied to a fusion of folk and country song templates and trebly, bass-deprived black metal sounds. Yes, My Firstborn Will Surely Be Blind is a covers album, featuring reinterpretations of songs by the likes of Townes Van Zandt, Richard Thompson and even Neko case. You'd be doing pretty well to identify the sources without… Read more
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DEAD RAVEN CHOIR - My Firstborn Will Surely Be Blind, AURORA BOREALIS
PANTALEIMON - Mercy Oceans, Jnana

PANTALEIMON

Mercy Oceans

Jnana

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: DURTROJNANA007

This, the second full-length album by Andria Degens features a number of fellow folk travellers taking up guest spots, with the like of Hush Arbors' Keith Wood, Isobel Campbell and Baby Dee all reporting for duty. Degens' instrument of choice is the Appalachian dulcimer, which combines with her lulling vocal style for one of the more ethereal sounds on the current avant-folk scene. Mercy Oceans is made a little earthier by the presence of her collaborators, and certainly Keith Wood's fingerpicked guitar brings pieces like 'The Sun Came Out' and 'At Dawn' back into a more familiar language, but … Read more
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PANTALEIMON - Mercy Oceans, Jnana
VARIOUS / MINUS - Expansion contraction, Minus

VARIOUS / MINUS

Expansion contraction

Minus

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.99

TECHNO / HOUSE

Cat. Number: M58CD

A new compilation on M_nus is always something worth getting excited about, and EXPANSION/contraction is no exception to that rule. As with the Minimize To Maximize and min2MAX compilations, this latest takes its theme from the binary relationship between the definitive minimalist concern: the relationship between sound and the absence of sound, or as the label themselves would have it "The act of finding inspiration from a sonic molecule or the inaudible space around it". In keeping with this theme, Plastikman's 'Risk Assessment' is a track that relies upon a skeletal configuration … Read more
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VARIOUS / MINUS - Expansion contraction, Minus
IMANI COPPOLA - The Black And White Album, Ipecac

IMANI COPPOLA

The Black And White Album

Ipecac

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: IPC-94

You might remember Imani Coppola from her top ten troubling hit 'Legend Of A Cowgirl' (now some ten years old). Showing no signs of curbing her weirdness, Ms. Coppola returns with her Ipecac debut (her eighth in total). Somewhere between Kelis and a far less embarrassing Chicks On Speed, Coppola breezes through tracks like 'I Love Your Hair' only to end up at 'In A Room' with a guitar riff that sounds like something from an acoustic set by The Who. The tone of the record benefits from an amalgam of R&B influences and juvenile punk riffing (as heard on 'Woke Up White', which sound… Read more
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IMANI COPPOLA - The Black And White Album, Ipecac