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Thursday, 05 June 2008

VENETIAN SNARES - Detrimentalist, Planet Mu

VENETIAN SNARES

Detrimentalist

Planet Mu

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.99

JUNGLE / FOOTWORK

Cat. Number: ZIQ211CD

The Planet Mu press release blurb describes this far better than anyone else could ever really hope to. They brand this as "Venetian Snares' 332nd official studio album of disgusting ejacutronic rave horn", adding that "over 20 people were harmed in the making of this record". Perhaps dabbling more explicitly in proto-jungle, early breakcore and rave than some of Aaron Funk's more ambitious productions, this latest album sticks to its Amen break roots very closely, and sounds very much as you think it does, with tracks like 'Koonut-Kaliffee' and 'Sajtban' unashamedly thinking inside-the-b… Read more
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VENETIAN SNARES - Detrimentalist, Planet Mu

Wednesday, 04 June 2008

TETUZI AKIYAMA - The Ancient Balance To Control Death, Western Vinyl

TETUZI AKIYAMA

The Ancient Balance To Control Death

Western Vinyl

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: WEST049

While Tetuzi Akiyama's warped approach to the blues sounds magnificently 'other' when it comes to the anything-goes tuning policy that dictates his jolting guitar figures, the same policy cannot be applied to his vocals, which make an unexpected appearance on this album, multitracked with a confusing, overlapping polyphony that prohibits much in the way of sense being wrung out of them. Akiyama's voice is going to take quite some acclimatising to, and you may well find yourself trying your very hardest to focus on his inventive, unstable guitar playing rather than th… Read more
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TETUZI AKIYAMA - The Ancient Balance To Control Death, Western Vinyl
DAEDELUS - Love To Make Music To, Ninja Tune

DAEDELUS

Love To Make Music To

Ninja Tune

Format_dot_cdCD // £6.99

BEATS / HIP HOP

Cat. Number: ZENCD142

Returning with another LP's worth of adventurous hip hop and psychedelic sampler use, Daedelus drops 'Love To Make Music To' with the assistance of a host of friends, including Lilys producer Michael Johnson, Grammy winning rapper Paperboy, vocalist Erika Rose and members of Sa-Ra. On opener 'Fairweather Friends' Daedelus sounds as playful and inventive as ever, crafting patchwork melodies from far outside the perimeters of standard instrumental hip hop production, and next up, 'Make It So' bursts into life as if some lost 7" from a new romantic-era band. When he invites guest vocalists o… Read more
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DAEDELUS - Love To Make Music To, Ninja Tune
DORON SADJA - A Piece Of String, A Sunset, 12K
Review to follow shortly…
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Tuesday, 03 June 2008

THE DEAD C - The White House, Siltbreeze

THE DEAD C

The White House

Siltbreeze

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

DARK AMBIENT / DRONE / METAL

Cat. Number: SB40

New Zealand noise rock icons The Dead C return with a blistering new album for Siltbreeze. It's hard to determine exactly what the title (and corresponding sleeve image) are trying to tell us about US politics, so we'll make no assumptions. What certainly can be deduced is that this record some of the band's best work in some time, with ventures into early electronics oscillations on 'Voodoo Spell' and 'Aime To Prochain Comme Toi Meme' balanced out by all out scuzz songcraft on 'Your Hand' and 'Bitcher'. It's the outrageous, Forbidden Planet-style echo effects on those electronic pieces that… Read more
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THE DEAD C - The White House, Siltbreeze
BY THE FIRESIDE - Day Of The Burning, RED DEER CLUB

BY THE FIRESIDE

Day Of The Burning

RED DEER CLUB

Format_dot_cdCD // £5.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: RDC011

Another release notched up for Manchester' Red Deer Club, this time courtesy of London-based musician and producer Daniel Lea, who records under the guise of By The Fireside. Day Of The Burning sounds little like your usual one-man, self-recorded projects, at times sounding like Jim O'Rourke-era Sonic Youth ('Moon Lake'), Sparklehorse ('Nothing Gold') or one of Nick Cave's Western soundtracks ('The Burning', complete with spine-tingling, slowly building strings). Lea has pulled off some feat with this record, managing to demonstrate considerable flair as a producer as well as a write… Read more
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BY THE FIRESIDE - Day Of The Burning, RED DEER CLUB
CHESSMACHINE - Live In Los Angeles, Line

CHESSMACHINE

Live In Los Angeles

Line

Format_dot_cdCD // £9.99

ELECTRONIC

Cat. Number: Line_023

Back in stock! Accompanying the release of Steve Roden, 'Live In Los Angeles' is another high art concept from L-NE that you kind of wish would fail for being so ball-achingly pretentious... However the briefest of encounters with Chessmachine proves that any preconceptions are thoroughly unfounded. A collaborative performance project conceived and delivered by Richard Chartier and Ivan Pavlov, Chessmachine is "an austere and chilling tête-à-tête over the chessboard that reconstructs the somber milieu of a bygone Europe..." Riiiiight. Yet for all its wordy justifications, 'Live In Lo… Read more
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CHESSMACHINE - Live In Los Angeles, Line
TOMAS PHILLIPS - Intermission / Six Feuilles, Line
Back in stock! To give you an idea of Tomas Phillips' pedigree as a composer of abstract electronic minimalism, his first published work appeared on Bernhard Gunter's seminal Trente Oiseaux imprint; one of the most revered labels within the genre. Trente Oiseaux's Morton Feldman fixation has certainly rubbed off on Phillips, and this latest work directly references Feldman's Intermissions series, taking the form of a single lengthy piece that mutates slowly and with astonishing attention to detail. Intermission/Six Feuilles's unfolding narrative runs through a series of miniatur… Read more
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TOMAS PHILLIPS - Intermission / Six Feuilles, Line
VARIOUS / 12K - Blueprints, 12K

VARIOUS / 12K

Blueprints

12K

Format_dot_cdCD // £9.99

ELECTRONIC

Cat. Number: 12K1039

Back in stock! This compilation functions as a showcase for new artists on the 12k roster, previewing the sort of new sounds and influences we can expect from their 2007 release schedule. The label's earned itself quite a record for turning out brilliant compilations over the years and Blueprints is no exception. First up is a pair of new tracks by Christmas Decorations, who may be new to 12k, but devotees of Kranky will recognize them from their Model 91 album from 2002. The pieces here take on a distinctly more abstract form however, exhibiting a Fennesz inspiration in its balance of subtle … Read more
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VARIOUS / 12K - Blueprints, 12K
MOSKITOO - Drape, 12K
Featured CD

MOSKITOO

Drape

12K

Format_dot_cdCD // £9.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: 12K1041

Back in stock! The endearingly strange land of Japan has featured prominently on recent 12k releases; we've had albums from Sawako, Minamo, Fourcolour and of course Piana (on the 12k sublabel Happy), and now the debut release from Moskitoo, a musician and designer better known as Sanae Yamasaki. Hailing from Sappuro in Northern Japan, her compositions are a reaction to the cool climate and gorgeous scenery of this location, and we are introduced to the record in a cascade of icy synthesized sound, accompanied eventually by Yamasaki's gorgeous voice. An easy comparison would be to fellow Japanese electron… Read more
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MOSKITOO - Drape, 12K
HERIBERT FRIEDL - Track(k)_T, Line

HERIBERT FRIEDL

Track(k)_T

Line

Format_dot_cdCD // £9.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: LINE_031

Back in stock! In addition to running the Nonvisual Objects label, sound artist and lowercase electroacoustics composer Heribert Friedl has released a series of studies into the sonic timbral potential of the cymbalon as a sound source. Friedl has worked in collaboration with composers as formidable as Bernhard Gunter, whose meticulous genre-defining minimalism clearly serves as inspiration on this excellent disc. Friedl's working process incorporates a variety of different methodologies, nurturing a great breadth of material from this apparently limited source. Working both as an instrumental… Read more
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HERIBERT FRIEDL - Track(k)_T, Line

Monday, 02 June 2008

BULBUL - Bulbul #6, Exile On Mainstream

BULBUL

Bulbul #6

Exile On Mainstream

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: EOM036

Bulbul's Manfred Engelmayr and Dieter Kernhave enjoyed an especially bizarre career path, having a stint on that great Austrian basecamp for laptop noise, Mego (their 2004 Drabule EP) and recording a further five albums within the past ten years. This latest record boasts a production job from Patrick Pulsinger and, perhaps least likely of all, guest spots from Carla Bozulich. That's right: Pulsinger and Bozulich together at last. The alt-country singer fits right in with the tentatively paced electro-goth tendencies of 'Shenzhou', her vocal serving as a focal point for all the creepy percussion and di… Read more
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BULBUL - Bulbul #6, Exile On Mainstream

Friday, 30 May 2008

DJ YODA & DAN GREENPEACE - Unthugged:2 Electric Boogaloo, UNTHUGGED
Back in stock. I don't usually reserve a place for comedy records in my heart, but here's one that actually cracked a smile on my ever-serious visage. DJ Yoda & Dan Greenpeace run a radio show in London as far as I know, and I'm pretty sure I've seen Yoda DJ a few times (he's very good by the way) but I haven't managed to catch them together until now, and since the album's intro is pieced together in the hope that you'll realise they're taking the p*ss, I expected very bad things indeed. That was until I realised what the hell I was listening to, an album that has a… Read more
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DJ YODA & DAN GREENPEACE - Unthugged:2 Electric Boogaloo, UNTHUGGED

Thursday, 29 May 2008

CASSETTEBOY - Carry On Breathing, BARRY'S BOOTLEGS

CASSETTEBOY

Carry On Breathing

BARRY'S BOOTLEGS

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.99

ELECTRONIC

Cat. Number: BAZ014

More scrambled voxpop-culture mashups from the editing suite of legendary p*ss artists Cassetteboy. If you've heard any of their previous five mixes before you'll know exactly what to expect, but with an almost infinite amount of raw material surrounding them the results are always going to prick the bubble of expectation with a crude and blunt instrument. A personal favourite here would have to be the observation on homoerotic tendancies in the English football premier league with unfortunate soundbites from Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and all those other goons who manage to make 8 hours … Read more
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CASSETTEBOY - Carry On Breathing, BARRY'S BOOTLEGS
CHRISTOPHER BISSONNETTE - In Between Words, Kranky
This Canadian ambient composer follows-up his wonderful Kranky debut album, Periphery, with an evolved approach to orchestral/electronic soundscaping. For this latest set of compositions Bissonnette augments his electronic tones with a prominent use of field recordings and various spatially engaging sonic elements, such as the zen-like processed bell chimes of 'Tempest' or the symphonic precipitation heard on 'Orffyreus Wheel'. In keeping with this fusion of man-made ambience with sources from the natural world, 'A Touch Of Heartbreak' is (syn)aesthetically like some frost-cover… Read more
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CHRISTOPHER BISSONNETTE - In Between Words, Kranky
CLOUDLAND CANYON - Lie In Light, Kranky

CLOUDLAND CANYON

Lie In Light

Kranky

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: KRANK117CD

Opening your album with a piece of music called 'Krautwerk' doesn't leave much to the imagination in terms of pointing towards certain influences, but there's a lot more to 'Lie In Light' than its predilection for the motorik sounds of the 1970s. While that opener nails the krautrock sound with an uncanny authenticity, this second full-length album from Kip Uhlhorn and Simon Wojan is as accomplished as it is restlessly diverse, veering from the psyched synth textures of 'Heme' to the blissed out waves of guitar distortion and dueting vocals on 'Mothlight Part 1'with a consummate knowledge … Read more
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CLOUDLAND CANYON - Lie In Light, Kranky
ERRORS - It's Not Something But It Is Like Whatever, Rock Action Records

ERRORS

It's Not Something But It Is Like Whatever

Rock Action Records

Format_dot_cdCD // £4.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: ROCKACT36CD

At long, long last Errors have unleashed their debut LP for Rock Action, and it's no letdown. Poised somewhere between well crafted electronica production and good, old fashioned post-rock. Errors put a decidedly fresh spin on this most tired and tiresome of formats, getting mathsy like Foals on 'Toes', while the beats come thick and fast on 'Salut! France' and 'Dance Music', which although far from the genre-defining statement it ironically proclaims to be, sounds like a pretty convincing piece of indie dancefloor artillery nonetheless. A strong debut indeed, ideally suited to the beleaguered post-rock fan who's been exposed to one crescendo too many. Ace.
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ERRORS - It's Not Something But It Is Like Whatever, Rock Action Records
ANAT BEN DAVID - Virtual Leisure, Chicks On Speed

ANAT BEN DAVID

Virtual Leisure

Chicks On Speed

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: COSR38CD

You have to wonder if anyone would be making music that sounded like this were they not in the full knowledge that Chicks On Speed are almost certainly going to want to put it out. That's not designed as a slur (well, not much anyway), but Chicks On Speed really seemed to invent their own branch of spliced and diced electronica for girls, and while Peaches has been similarly influential in this respect, the Chicks tend to be that little bit more experimental, coming across as more in tune with the spirit of DIY and punk. Anat Ben David fits into this picture perfectly, making a bizarre el… Read more
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ANAT BEN DAVID - Virtual Leisure, Chicks On Speed
WOODEN SHJIPS - Vol. 1, Holy Mountain

WOODEN SHJIPS

Vol. 1

Holy Mountain

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: HOLY21345589CD

One of the most arresting bands on Holy Mountain's enviable roster, Wooden Shjips are pretty much at the forefront of contemporary psych and stoner rock. At times they have the minimalist abrasion of a Glenn Branca piece, while at others they sound like a particularly gnarled Black Sabbath, with a deluge of soaring fuzz tones coating their recordings with a phosphorescent gleam. This CD compiles all the early, self-released singles, and is every bit as indispensable as the band's much talked about eponymous debut. Highly recommended.
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SYCLOPS - I've Got My Eye On You, DFA Records

SYCLOPS

I've Got My Eye On You

DFA Records

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

INDUSTRIAL / WAVE / ELECTRO

Cat. Number: DFA2186CD

Rare grooving house and post-disco from DFA records new darlings Syclops with a fair amount of help from dancefloor supremo Maurice Fulton. The styles blend and blur between cosmic synth driven dancefloor fillers, driven by the intuitive jams of the bands four members on keys, bass, drums and various electronic tools, which are then moulded into prime dancefloor gear by Maurice Fulton's trusted hands. The best tracks here would have to be the fabulously gay house styles of '5 out', recent synth abusing single 'where's Jason K?' or 'Mom, the video broke' which sounds uncannily like Four t… Read more
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SYCLOPS - I've Got My Eye On You, DFA Records

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

THE WAR ON DRUGS - Wagonwheel Blues, Secretly Canadian

THE WAR ON DRUGS

Wagonwheel Blues

Secretly Canadian

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.49

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: SC167CD

Songwriter Adam Granduciel taps into the mindset of all the iconic American songwriters of the 20th century, aping Dylan, Springsteen and Tom Petty at various points over the course of Wagonwheel Blues. When it's done properly, that sort of copycat tactic can sound great, and defy any hankering you might have for 'newness'. Granduciel gets it right for most of this album, occasionally absolutely nailing it. Not content with a triumphant appropriation of trad rock & roll, he even goes so far as to incorporate a bit of studio-heavy ambient composition into the album, interspersing the li… Read more
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THE WAR ON DRUGS - Wagonwheel Blues, Secretly Canadian

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

ALICE COLTRANE - Transcendence, Warner Brothers

ALICE COLTRANE

Transcendence

Warner Brothers

Format_dot_cdCD // £9.99

JAZZ / FUSION

Cat. Number: 9362481832

"Transcendence is Alice Coltrane's most successful vocal album. Side two is especially mind-twisting for its use of surprisingly funky Hindu chants accompanied by Alice's organ and the Indian percussion of the singers. Purists might balk at calling Hare Krishna filtered through a gospel sensibility 'jazz,' but they're too busy arguing about Ken Burns' documentary to worry about Alice Coltrane reissues anyway. This is probably the most 'swinging' Alice Coltrane material since Ptah The El Daoud."
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Monday, 26 May 2008

THE CHAP - Mega Breakfast, Lo Recordings

THE CHAP

Mega Breakfast

Lo Recordings

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.99

ELECTRONIC

Cat. Number: LCD68

Back in stock! The Chap courted a good deal of attention thanks to their odd glitch pop aesthetic, as captured on albums Ham and The Horse, but this time around they've outdone themselves, introducing their new material via the barbershop quartet-meets-Hot Chip dynamics of 'They Have A Name', only to slip into the single 'Fun & Interesting', which sounds disconcertingly like Queen in its theatrical harmonised vocal execution. In fact, seldom does something so daft sound so lovingly crafted: just listen to the big production and the sweeping strings. They're hardly befitting a song that comically… Read more
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THE CHAP - Mega Breakfast, Lo Recordings
J-LIVE - Then What Happened?, BBE

J-LIVE

Then What Happened?

BBE

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

BEATS / HIP HOP

Cat. Number: BBECD65

It's album number five for New York underground rap hero J-Live, who follows up last year's Reveal The Secret EP with more eloquent rhymes and some solid production work from big hitters like DJ Jazzy Jeff and Oddisee. Recent single 'The Upgrade' still sounds great, with some deft sample splicing from the latter, while opener 'One To 31' features some heavyt brass cuts by the former. As tends to be the case with J-Live albums it's the lyrics and personality of the man himself that really shine through though.
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Thursday, 22 May 2008

B12 - Last Days Of Silence, B12

B12

Last Days Of Silence

B12

Format_dot_cd2CD // £12.99

TECHNO / HOUSE

Cat. Number: B1219

"Some 12 years since the classic "Time Tourist" album (Warp), the rightful follow-up to B12's critically acclaimed and landmark first LP Electro Soma (also on Warp) the recently re-launched B12 are back as both label and recording duo. Mike Golding and Steve Rutter release their first CD album consisting of new material, tracks only ever heard at their live gigs and music only previously available on limited edition vinyl. From the warm and moody 'Ashamed of Me' to the far eastern tinged strings on 'Hall of Mirrors', echoic deep bass on the break infected 'Magnetic Fields' and dancefloor groove… Read more
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B12 - Last Days Of Silence, B12
N.E.W. (NOBLE/EDWARDS/WARD) - Deadeye Tricksters, BO' WEAVIL RECORDINGS

N.E.W. (NOBLE/EDWARDS/WARD)

Deadeye Tricksters

BO' WEAVIL RECORDINGS

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.49

DARK AMBIENT / DRONE / METAL

Cat. Number: WEAVIL30CD

A new improv trio from drummer Steve Noble, bassist John Edwards and guitarist Alex Ward, N.E.W. marries the unbridled instrumental creativity of free jazz with the chaos and abrasion of noise-rock. Much in the same mold as the genre destroying Smalltown Superjazzz releases featuring Paal Nilssen-Love, Mats Gustafsson and their celebrity pals like Thurston Moore and so on, these recordings are brimming with energy and a revitalised, gleeful approach to the avant-garde. These guys have some serious chops to dole out, though: all three players exhibit an astonishing level of fo… Read more
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N.E.W. (NOBLE/EDWARDS/WARD) - Deadeye Tricksters, BO' WEAVIL RECORDINGS
VARIOUS / COSMOS - We Are All Circling The Stars, COSMOS
Great new double-disc selection of underground folk jams that brings together big names on the scene like Diane Cluck, Hush Arbors, Skygreen Leopards and King Creosote whilst showcasing a wealth of far less well-known talent. Inevitably, these sorts of affairs tend to be a bit hit and miss, but this is far more disposed toward the former than the latter, with predictable highs on the first disc coming from Skygreen Leopards' sunny psychedelics, Diane Cluck's sketchily recorded 'Dilapidalliance' and David Thomas Broughton's one man Gregorian chant excursion 'Good Dogs', but t… Read more
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VARIOUS / COSMOS - We Are All Circling The Stars, COSMOS
OUR SLEEPLESS FOREST - Our Sleepless Forest, Resonant
Having first come to public attention via the Type Records compilation 'Free The Future', South London trio Our Sleepless Forest have prepared a full-length for Resonant, home of the chilliest post-rock sounds around. This lot make an especially ambient variant of that particular genre though, setting their tuneful guitar runs amongst a backdrop of various outdoorsy sounds, as on 'The Tinderbox', which is fleshed out with sounds from echoing spaces and tweeting birds. None of this sounds particularly fresh or original on paper, but Our Sleepless Forest pull it off with more of … Read more
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OUR SLEEPLESS FOREST - Our Sleepless Forest, Resonant
FREE KITTEN - Inherit, Ecstatic Peace
Featured CD

FREE KITTEN

Inherit

Ecstatic Peace

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: E#FKTBC

You can forgive the fact that it's been 11 years since the last Free Kitten album; it's not as if the various band members have been resting on their laurels. Yoshimi and Kim Gordon have had a fertile decade or so in Boredoms and Sonic Youth, respectively, and ex-Pussy Galore guitarist Julia Cafritz has been sensible enough to get a proper job, pursuing a degree in teaching after the band's '90s heyday. After all that time in a state of dormancy, the band return stronger than ever with this third album proper. Bassist Mark Ibold (once of Pavement) has since departed the band, so on Inherit, Free … Read more
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FREE KITTEN - Inherit, Ecstatic Peace
ASCEND - Ample Fire Within, Southern Lord

ASCEND

Ample Fire Within

Southern Lord

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

EXTREME / NOISE / COMPUTER MUSIC

Cat. Number: SUNN93CD

This new Southern Lord band feature a line-up that boasts SunnO)))'s Greg Anderson, Gentry Densley of Iceburn and Eagle Twin, plus guest contributors including Soundgarden's Kim Thayill. The makings of this album stem back to the 1990s, when Anderson's band at the time (Engine Kid) toured and released a split album with Iceburn, leading both artists to establish a relationship based on common interests in experimental jazz as well as more song-oriented heavy rock music. All these years on, Ascend strives to manifest those ambitions the two artists shared back then. The resultant material carrie… Read more
ASCEND - Ample Fire Within, Southern Lord