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Wednesday, 09 July 2008

POP LEVI - Never Never Love, Counter Records

POP LEVI

Never Never Love

Counter Records

Format_dot_cdCD // £7.49

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: COUNTCD010

After the frankly rather disappointing 'Dita Dimone' as its lead single, Never Never Love seemed set to be a very different album than Pop Levi's 2007 debut The Return To Form Black Magick Party. The single seemed to abandon the charmingly Crème Brulee -ish tendencies of his debut LP in favour of some surprisingly flat '80s funk, but have no fear, the ludicrous '70s stomp of opener 'Wannamama' instantly resituates you in Levi's familiar world of anachronistic glam and grinding guitar riffs. It instantly brings to mind The Sweet, Mud and the like. Not one to rest on his laurels, he then hea… Read more
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POP LEVI - Never Never Love, Counter Records
VARIOUS / RAPSTER - Life Beyond Mars: Bowie Covered, Rapster
After their assault on the Prince back catalogue, Rapster gather together a group of suitably leftfield electronic artists to take on David Bowie. The results are interesting: Nordic jazz loons The Thing transform 'Life On Mars' into what sounds like... carpentry. The various creaks, squeaks and sawing noises are just about sufficiently punctuated by a bassline that plots out the rough melody of the song, while all other instruments lead you well and truly up the garden path. Strange but by no means unappealing. Far more accessible is Au Revoir Simone's version of 'Oh! Yo… Read more
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VARIOUS / RAPSTER - Life Beyond Mars: Bowie Covered, Rapster

Tuesday, 08 July 2008

VARIOUS / CD41 - The Home Front: British Broadcast Recordings 1939-45, CD41 Recordings
There's probably no need to keep banging on about how great these compilations are, but once again CD41 have come up with an utterly engrossing account of wartime Britain, this time via 150 minutes worth of broadcasted material (dating between 1939 and 1945, as you'd imagine) comprising addresses made by prime ministers Chamberlain and Churchill, King George VI and of course many testimonies made by civilians and journalists. As is so often the case with these releases, it's the verité recordings that are the most fascinating: take for example the docume… Read more
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VARIOUS / CD41 - The Home Front: British Broadcast Recordings 1939-45, CD41 Recordings
VARIOUS / LTM - Auteur Labels: Les Disques du Crépuscule (1980-85), LTM Recordings
This amazing compilation draws from the estimable back catalogue of Les Disques Crepuscule, as part of LTM Recordings' Auteur Labels series. The impressive list of artists is a pretty comprehensive reflection of the influential Belgian label's roster, covering the releases between 1980-1984, and featuring contributions from the likes of Michael Nyman, Bill Nelson, The Durutti Column, Josef K and The Pale Fountains among many others. In amongst those more enduring names you'll find great contributions from the likes of Mikado (whose sultry 'Par Hazard' is a de… Read more
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VARIOUS / LTM - Auteur Labels: Les Disques du Crépuscule (1980-85), LTM Recordings

Monday, 07 July 2008

MELVINS - Nude With Boots, Ipecac

MELVINS

Nude With Boots

Ipecac

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: IPC105

King Buzzo and co. are back for another helping of their patented brand of alt. metal, following on from their brilliant (A) Senile Animal LP, and featuring the same line-up responsible for that powerhouse of an album. Maybe I just haven't listened to the Melvins enough recently, but this sounds particularly awesome, benefiting from a double-drum assault courtesy of Dale Crover and Big Business' Coady Willis. From the retro-sounding '70s heavy rock opener 'The Kicking Machine' to the black metal-styled medieval prog of 'Dies Iraea' the band cover an awful lot of ground on Nude With Boots, and i… Read more
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MELVINS - Nude With Boots, Ipecac
VARIOUS / LTM - New Hormones (1977-82), LTM Recordings

VARIOUS / LTM

New Hormones (1977-82)

LTM Recordings

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: LTMCD2492

LTM's Auteur Labels series rests its spotlight on cult Manchester label New Hormones, an imprint founded by the Buzzcocks in 1977 to release the Spiral Scratch EP. From there the label would go on to release a total of 25 releases, which included - though was by no means restricted to - a variety of post-punk emissions from the likes of the brilliant Diagram Brothers, whose 'Bricks' rattles along like a Syd Barrett-fronted XTC. At the opposite end of the label's scope you'll find the likes of Ludus, whose 'My Sherry Is Cherry' although probably rooted in the anything-goes principle of … Read more
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VARIOUS / LTM - New Hormones (1977-82), LTM Recordings
VARIOUS / LTM - Factory Benelux (1980-85), LTM Recordings

VARIOUS / LTM

Factory Benelux (1980-85)

LTM Recordings

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: LTMCD2521

This instalment of LTM's Auteur Labels offshoot is dedicated to the output of Factory Benelux, the imprint set up as a collaboration between Manchester's Factory Records and Les Disques Crepescule. The label hosted a blend of all new recordings and licensed tracks from Factory staples such as the Durutti Column, Section 25, Crispy Ambulance and Minny Pops. This CD selects thirteen of the label's key pieces, and comes packaged with a detailed label history penned by Frank Brinkhuis, which takes in interviews and archive pictures. While Factory Benelux might be regarded as something o… Read more
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VARIOUS / LTM - Factory Benelux (1980-85), LTM Recordings
HERCULES & LOVE AFFAIR - You Belong (Derrick Carter Mixes), DFA Records

HERCULES & LOVE AFFAIR

You Belong (Derrick Carter Mixes)

DFA Records

Format_dot_cdCDS // £3.49

TECHNO / HOUSE

Cat. Number: DFAEMI2197CD

An obvious choice of single, 'You Belong' is one of the strongest entries on Hercules & Love Affiar's splendid DFA debut LP, eschewing some of the more zeitgeist-baiting disco moments Andrew Butler seems so preoccupied with, in favour of great, old school house stylings. From the vocal (lead by Nomi, with backing from Antony Hegarty) right down to the bass sound and the memorable main chord sequence, this is all very much redolent of vintage Chicago. On the CD format you get non-album track 'I'm Telling You', another compelling production, featuring gamelan-like ele… Read more
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HERCULES & LOVE AFFAIR - You Belong (Derrick Carter Mixes), DFA Records

Thursday, 03 July 2008

BECK - Modern Guilt, XL Recordings

BECK

Modern Guilt

XL Recordings

Format_dot_cdCD // £9.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: XLCD369

Clearly on the lookout for a change, Beck Hansen for the time being ceases collaborations with producer Nigel Godrich in favour of Danger Mouse, who supplies a fresh angle on the idiosyncratic songwriter's craft. From the beginnings of 'Orphans', Beck's sound is noticeably streamlined, having a close run in with the aesthetic of '60s beat groups, Dangermouse's simplified mushed up approach occasionally presenting the illusion that he's working in mono - certainly there are points in 'Gamma Ray' where you'll be led towards thinking everything happens in the dead centre of the mix. These sorts of strat… Read more
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BECK - Modern Guilt, XL Recordings
ARMS - Kids Aflame, Melodic

ARMS

Kids Aflame

Melodic

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: MELO054CD

Over the course of Kids Aflame you'll find yourself questioning whether or not this album truly is the handywork of just one man. Apparently though, Todd Goldstein pieced together this album over the course of a three-year period in various apartments. He might not like to admit it, but for much of this highly enjoyable record, the 26 year-old Brooklynite sounds like he's single-handedly trying to construct a hybrid of the first Killers album and Interpol's back catalogue, particularly on tracks like 'Shitty Little Disco' and 'Whirring'. Goldstein does a great job of sounding like a stadium-indie rock… Read more
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ARMS - Kids Aflame, Melodic
APSE - Spirit (ATP Edition), ATP/Recordings

APSE

Spirit (ATP Edition)

ATP/Recordings

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: ATPRCD29

**ATP VERSION FEATURES BONUS TRACK** Connecticut band Apse made their way to the All Tomorrows Parties label having produced a number of self-released EPs and one more formal outing for Acuarela. This splendid full-length captures the band in brooding, ominous form, shifting from the Slint-like 'From The North' to suspenseful post-rock passages on 'Blackwood Gates'. There's a bluesy undercurrent running through this record too, largely thanks to some particularly heavy bassline grooves, occasionally lending a metallic roughness to the band's sound, which when operating in conjunction with the m… Read more
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APSE - Spirit (ATP Edition), ATP/Recordings
ELLEN ALLIEN - Thrills, Bpitch Control

ELLEN ALLIEN

Thrills

Bpitch Control

Format_dot_cdCD // £9.99

ELECTRONIC

Cat. Number: BPC106CD

Back in stock! Based around a love of Ye Olde 808's and the infamous ARP 2600, 'Thrills' (produced in conjunction with Smash TV) leaves behind much of Ellen's previous dabbles with more complex and crunched-up electronics in favour of a more abandoned, analogue sound for the floor. "Thrills" is a club record through and through, complete with killer pounding basslines, teutonic vocals and the sort of transitional precision only a seasoned DJ with as much floor-filling experience as Ms Allien can produce. In the end, 'Thrills' does exactly what it says on the tin.
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SASCHA FUNKE - Boogybytes Vol.02, Bpitch Control

SASCHA FUNKE

Boogybytes Vol.02

Bpitch Control

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

TECHNO / HOUSE

Cat. Number: BPC128CD

Back in stock! Following on from Kiki's first Boogybytes installment, the flaming Bpitch mantle has now been passed to Sascha Funke - with the Berlin-based fella mid-headbang and poised to rock yon dancefloor. Stacked out with the likes of Villalobos, Voigt & Voigt, Sleeparchive and Zander VT, 'Boogybytes Vol.02' is a thematic gradient from Kiki's debut mix, easing you in gently through Efdemin's delicate piano-fed 'Jean', before all robot-hell breaks loose on the Blade Runner-flecked tech of Tomson & Daniel De La Curtis' 'Synthic'. Very much weighted towards the more euphoric end of th… Read more
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SASCHA FUNKE - Boogybytes Vol.02, Bpitch Control

Wednesday, 02 July 2008

TUNNG - Mother's Daughter And Other Songs (2008 Edition), Static Caravan

TUNNG

Mother's Daughter And Other Songs (2008 Edition)

Static Caravan

Format_dot_cdCD // £8.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: VAN88

*2008 Edition* Hugely anticipated debut from Static Caravan, this album from Mike Lindsay and Sam Genders has already been jumped on by every savvy critic and tastemaker in the land - and for once the hype is entirely justified. Tunng's production imbues the traditional structures and instrumentation of folk music with an electronic edge - though in the most unusual, retiring sense. Many comparisons have been made with early Beta Band - and its a good starting point. Much of the material on "This Is..." brings to mind the unusual compositions and layered vocals of th… Read more
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TUNNG - Mother's Daughter And Other Songs (2008 Edition), Static Caravan

Monday, 30 June 2008

SJ ESAU - Small Vessel, Anticon

SJ ESAU

Small Vessel

Anticon

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: ABR0085CD

Making a second long-playing appearance on Anticon, Bristol's own Sam Wisternoff sounds like he's settled down a bit, penning a more consistent, coherent album than his charming, but rather scatterbrained Wrong Faced Cat Feed Collapse. There's still an awful lot going on here, but this time around SJ Esau's eccentric electronic folk tapestries are undoubtedly more mature - although song titles like 'I Threw A Wobbly' would suggest otherwise. There's sufficient wit and insight in the musings of Small Vessel to prevent it all from teetering on the verge of triviality: 'Slate' is recorded, and for t… Read more
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SJ ESAU - Small Vessel, Anticon

Thursday, 26 June 2008

ONE LITTLE PLANE - Until, Text Records

ONE LITTLE PLANE

Until

Text Records

Format_dot_cdCD // £3.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: TEXT005CD

This album is bound to command a little more attention than most singer-songwriter debuts would: you'll notice the production credit is attributed to Four Tet himself, Kieren Hebden, who runs the Text label. One of the first things to strike you about the record is its not by any measure a run of the mill collection of songs, and while it does have its share of few folksy acoustic guitar moments someone along the lines of Bat For Lashes would be a legitimate comparison to make. Right down to Kathryn Bint's voice and her unorthodox song arrangements, she aligns herself with the more interesting f… Read more
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ONE LITTLE PLANE - Until, Text Records

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

EDEN EXPRESS - Que Amors Que, Holy Mountain

EDEN EXPRESS

Que Amors Que

Holy Mountain

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.49

DARK AMBIENT / DRONE / METAL

Cat. Number: HOLY7929

A trio formed by Kip Uhlhorn of Cloudland Canyon with Kelly Uhlhorn and John David Lovelace, Eden Express specialise in a particularly sun-kissed strain of psych-folk, laying down summery far-out-ness on the blissful 'Loneliest Person' and gauzy retro sounds on 'Ocean Samba', which sounds rather like one of Devendra Banhart's tropicalia jaunts from his last album. The breezy nylon acoustics, sitars and hand-played percussion of 'Kaleidoscope' have a real late-sixties sound, made that little bit weirder thanks to Kelly Uhlhorn's tremolo processed vocals. Further compounding the summery psyc… Read more
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EDEN EXPRESS - Que Amors Que, Holy Mountain

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

BACHI DA PIETRA - Non IO, DIE SCHACHTEL

BACHI DA PIETRA

Non IO

DIE SCHACHTEL

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: DSZ04

Italian drums and guitar duo Bachi Da Pietra (translated as The Stone Worms) make an interesting noise: part Einsturzende Neubauten, part Tom Waits, their music is rooted in both bluesy song craft and experimental, thudding percussion, perhaps ultimately resembling something from Jandek's discography. The heavy, compressed clanks of 'Altri Guasti' are especially effective, matching the barbed, at times Derek Bailey-esque string contortions of the electric guitar, while later tracks, like 'Fisica Elementare' go for a doomy Americana along the lines of Hex-era Earth. Bachi Da Pietra establish an e… Read more
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BACHI DA PIETRA - Non IO, DIE SCHACHTEL

Monday, 23 June 2008

A SUNNY DAY IN GLASGOW - Scribble Mural Comic Journal, MIS OJOS DISCOS

A SUNNY DAY IN GLASGOW

Scribble Mural Comic Journal

MIS OJOS DISCOS

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.49

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: NTNF006

In a musical climate where sounding like Jesus & Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine is all but obligatory, A Sunny Day In Glasgow have the odds stacked against them when it comes to bringing something fresh to that weariest and most specific of indie rock aesthetics. Much as Deerhunter had a couple of years before them, A Sunny Day In Glasgow take the core elements of those noisy, textured sounds of the '90s and inject a contemporary electronic sound. At their very best the band are capable of ecstatically dissonant pop like 'A Mundane Phonecall To Jack Parsons' - a … Read more
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A SUNNY DAY IN GLASGOW - Scribble Mural Comic Journal, MIS OJOS DISCOS

Friday, 20 June 2008

WOLF PARADE - At Mount Zoomer, SUB POP

WOLF PARADE

At Mount Zoomer

SUB POP

Format_dot_cdCD // £4.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: SPCD720

Wolf Parade have long been associated with Arcade Fire - partly because both Canadian bands were emergent around the same time, but in fact the band's genesis stems from Arcade Fire inviting Wolf Parade founder Spencer Krug to embark on a tour with them, and not having a band at the time, Krug contacted fellow songwriter and guitarist Dan Boeckner. Eventually a full band line-up was established, culminating in the acclaimed debut album Apologies To The Queen Mary, and Wolf Parade has been one of Sub Pop most prized acquisitions ever since. This sophomore long-player complicates the formula … Read more
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WOLF PARADE - At Mount Zoomer, SUB POP

Thursday, 19 June 2008

HEARTTHROB - Dear Painter, Paint Me, Minus

HEARTTHROB

Dear Painter, Paint Me

Minus

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.99

TECHNO / HOUSE

Cat. Number: M63CD

There's a lot more emphasis on 'tunes' and harmonic awareness in Heartthrob's work than the kind of rhythm-centric music his peers and labelmates might come out with, but this is still a variation on techno stripped bare, reduced to its most essential elements. At its most voluminous, the album experiments with detuning, Doppler effect synth chords, or on 'Out Of Here', flirts with unusual arpeggio rhythms via a squeaky synth pattern set in a wide stereo field. Good, strong stuff, this is sheer, abstract techno at its best.
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Wednesday, 18 June 2008

EUMIR DEODATO - Idéias, Emi

EUMIR DEODATO

Idéias

Emi

Format_dot_cdCD // £7.49

JAZZ / FUSION

Cat. Number: 2167312

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the creation of bossa nova in Rio's bars and clubs by Tom Jobim and Joao Gilberto, Blue Note/EMI Brazil are releasing a wide range of titles that include these reissues of classic albums from the birth of this brilliant form of music. Although over the years the impact of the style was worn down by countless "easy listening" interpretations of 'The Girl From Ipanema', these albums show just what a beautiful, stylish and heartfelt music this was and still can be. From the hugely influential 1956 recording of the Greek myth of Orpheus by Tom (Antonio Carlos) Job… Read more
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EUMIR DEODATO - Idéias, Emi
ELIZETH CARDOSO & CYRO MONTEIRO - A Bossa Eterna De Elizeth E Cyro, Emi
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the creation of bossa nova in Rio's bars and clubs by Tom Jobim and Joao Gilberto, Blue Note/EMI Brazil are releasing a wide range of titles that include these reissues of classic albums from the birth of this brilliant form of music. Although over the years the impact of the style was worn down by countless "easy listening" interpretations of 'The Girl From Ipanema', these albums show just what a beautiful, stylish and heartfelt music this was and still can be. From the hugely influential 1956 recording of the Greek m… Read more
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ELIZETH CARDOSO & CYRO MONTEIRO - A Bossa Eterna De Elizeth E Cyro, Emi
STILL CRESCENT - Along The Fringe of Starlit Frost, Make Mine Music

STILL CRESCENT

Along The Fringe of Starlit Frost

Make Mine Music

Format_dot_cdCD // £4.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: MMM044

More blissfully vaporous music from the increasingly excellent Make Mine Music imprint, this time from Sebastien Wright's Still Crescent project, which releases this EP as a second installment in a series of three. As the title would indicate, this EP is very much influenced by the stillness and crispness of winter, with much of this music characterised by a chilly absoluteness, combining soft drones with brittle crackling textures. 'The Sombre Spire' heralds a blurry mass of resonant, muted tones, an aesthetic probably best harnessed by 'Dreadful Martyrdom', a piece th… Read more
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STILL CRESCENT - Along The Fringe of Starlit Frost, Make Mine Music
ODD NOSDAM - Pretty Swell Explode, Anticon

ODD NOSDAM

Pretty Swell Explode

Anticon

Format_dot_cd2CD // £16.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: ABR0085CD

Prolific producer and remixer Odd Nosdam unifies those twin pursuits with this latest outing, piecing together a two-disc collection of remixes, B-sides and some eight new productions exclusive to this release. One of these exclusives is a remix of Bracken's 'Four Thousand Style', subtitled as 'growin' up in the Hood' in honour of the Yorkshire band, and it transpires to be one of the pivotal moments on the album - arguably the strongest track here. Another contender for that title is the 'Untitled Sketch' recorded with a Jessica Bailiff vocal that crops up towards the end of the album. … Read more
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ODD NOSDAM - Pretty Swell Explode, Anticon

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

THE LOOSE SALUTE - Tuned To Love, heavenly

THE LOOSE SALUTE

Tuned To Love

heavenly

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.49

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: HVNLP41CD

In the wake of the amazing Fleet Foxes album, you might see this debut album from The Loose Salute as part of an emerging pattern of West Coast '70s rock influenced albums coming your way this summer. Elsewhere, there's Dr. Dog doing a similar thing, tapping into the Laurel Canyon sound of yesteryear too, but The Loose Salute make all that stuff sound considerably more palatable to mainstream audiences, folk rocking like a super-breezy meeting of Tiny Dancers, The Thrills and Magic Numbers, while messily combining templates set out by Buffalo Springfield, Brian Wilson (particularly on th… Read more
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THE LOOSE SALUTE - Tuned To Love, heavenly
MARCOS VALLE - Samba , Emi

MARCOS VALLE

Samba

Emi

Format_dot_cdCD // £7.49

JAZZ / FUSION

Cat. Number: 2167422

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the creation of bossa nova in Rio's bars and clubs by Tom Jobim and Joao Gilberto, Blue Note/EMI Brazil are releasing a wide range of titles that include these reissues of classic albums from the birth of this brilliant form of music. Although over the years the impact of the style was worn down by countless "easy listening" interpretations of 'The Girl From Ipanema', these albums show just what a beautiful, stylish and heartfelt music this was and still can be. From the hugely influential 1956 recording of the Greek myth of Orpheus by Tom (Antonio Carlos) Jobim… Read more
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MARCOS VALLE - Samba , Emi
DONATO E SEU CONJUNTO - Chá Dançante, Emi

DONATO E SEU CONJUNTO

Chá Dançante

Emi

Format_dot_cdCD // £7.49

JAZZ / FUSION

Cat. Number: 2167332

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the creation of bossa nova in Rio's bars and clubs by Tom Jobim and Joao Gilberto, Blue Note/EMI Brazil are releasing a wide range of titles that include these reissues of classic albums from the birth of this brilliant form of music. Although over the years the impact of the style was worn down by countless "easy listening" interpretations of 'The Girl From Ipanema', these albums show just what a beautiful, stylish and heartfelt music this was and still can be. From the hugely influential 1956 recording of the Greek myth of Orpheus by Tom (Antoni… Read more
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DONATO E SEU CONJUNTO - Chá Dançante, Emi
MILTON BANANA TRIO - Milton Banana Trio, Emi

MILTON BANANA TRIO

Milton Banana Trio

Emi

Format_dot_cdCD // £7.49

JAZZ / FUSION

Cat. Number: 2167442

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the creation of bossa nova in Rio's bars and clubs by Tom Jobim and Joao Gilberto, Blue Note/EMI Brazil are releasing a wide range of titles that include these reissues of classic albums from the birth of this brilliant form of music. Although over the years the impact of the style was worn down by countless "easy listening" interpretations of 'The Girl From Ipanema', these albums show just what a beautiful, stylish and heartfelt music this was and still can be. From the hugely influential 1956 recording of the Greek myth of Orpheus by Tom (An… Read more
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MILTON BANANA TRIO - Milton Banana Trio, Emi

Thursday, 12 June 2008

ERIK LEVANDER - Kondens, Rumraket

ERIK LEVANDER

Kondens

Rumraket

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: RUM012

Swedish musician Erik Levander is probably hitherto best known for having made contributions to Efterklang's Parades album, but Kondens reveals the artist in all his solo brilliance, blending acoustic, classical instrumentation with electronics in a manner that's clearly compatible with the music of his Danish patrons. There's a strong emphasis on Levander as a composer/producer, lending Kondens a similar feel to the output of Valgeir Sigurdsson, most obviously his Ekvillibrium LP, which featured a similarly creative blend of digital trickery and more conventional melodic ornamentation. Using the… Read more
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ERIK LEVANDER - Kondens, Rumraket