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Tuesday, 29 January 2008

SILVIA FÄSSLER & BILLY ROISZ - Skylla, Editions Mego

SILVIA FÄSSLER & BILLY ROISZ

Skylla

Editions Mego

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

ELECTRONIC

Cat. Number: DeMEGO 001

The first in Editions Mego's new limited edition series 'Demand', this release is a collaboration between Viennese artists Silvia Fässler and Billy Roisz who go head to head with their laptops blazing, summoning up the kind of digitised din that made the Mego label in its original incarnation such an important outlet for cutting edge computer music. Despite sounding challenging and very much a record of the present, there is something about the album that harks back to that old Mego roster, largely because it succeeds at being both experimental and oddly, rather fun too. After a ninete… Read more
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SILVIA FÄSSLER & BILLY ROISZ - Skylla, Editions Mego

Monday, 28 January 2008

ALEC EMPIRE - The Golden Foretaste Of Heaven, EAT YOUR HEART OUT

ALEC EMPIRE

The Golden Foretaste Of Heaven

EAT YOUR HEART OUT

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

INDUSTRIAL / WAVE / ELECTRO

Cat. Number: EYHOCD001

Alarm bells might go off after reading some of Alec Empire's sleevenotes. Here's a quotation from the Digital Hardcore supremo: "Oh yeah before I forget: this is an indie rock noise record... this is the music that I do in my spare time..." Great. Nothing like a disclaimer to sell a record, Al. All you Atari Teenage Riot fans might be slightly alarmed to discover the Gary Numan-meets-The Strokes tactics of opener 'New Man', but there is something quite appealing about this: Alec's vocal seems to alternate between Iggy Pop-style snarling and the awkward, anglicised intonations … Read more
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ALEC EMPIRE - The Golden Foretaste Of Heaven, EAT YOUR HEART OUT
THE BATTLE OF LAND AND SEA - The Battle Of Land And Sea, MIS OJOS DISCOS

THE BATTLE OF LAND AND SEA

The Battle Of Land And Sea

MIS OJOS DISCOS

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: NTNF008

The Battle Of Land & Sea is the recording alias of Portland's Sarah O'Shura and Joshua Canny, whose line in unadorned acoustic songs should really sound like old hat in 2008, but far from it, this debut is executed with a flair and charm that transcends the folk boom of 2005. Despite being very slight in scale and instrumental range, The arrangements avoid monotony thanks to some clever multitracking, particularly with regards to the vocals. It was with great disappointment that I discovered 'The Beautiful Ones' was not a Suede cover. It's still one of the album's h… Read more
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THE BATTLE OF LAND AND SEA - The Battle Of Land And Sea, MIS OJOS DISCOS
KID TWIST - A Bionic Yell, LOAF

KID TWIST

A Bionic Yell

LOAF

Format_dot_cdCD // £3.49

INDUSTRIAL / WAVE / ELECTRO

Cat. Number: LOAF12

Hailing from the small Scottish fishing town of Oban, Colin Bailey fashions a quirksome brand of electronic pop, sounding like a slightly deranged Calvin Harris on lead track 'I Can't Dance'. Already finding favour with Mary-Anne Hobbs, Bailey's clearly onto something with his unique bedroom disco. These five tracks serve as a precursor to the forthcoming Kid Twist album, which apparently is being overseen by none other than Howie B. It sounds like Bailey's doing pretty well on his own though, with angular, slow jams like 'Calculator' tapping into the Hot Chip zeitgeist and the sheeny, Solvent-s… Read more
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KID TWIST - A Bionic Yell, LOAF
DIEBOLD - Diebold, BANGOR

DIEBOLD

Diebold

BANGOR

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.99

DARK AMBIENT / DRONE / METAL

Cat. Number: BANG004-2

Montreal's Bangor Records, the label that brought you the Mile-End Ladies String Auxiliary, returns with an album of bass vs. drums jam tracks recorded live and coated - nay, caked - in a layer of fizzing distortion. Toughened up, low-end grooves are the order of the day, with tracks like 'Sure' and 'Usaid' bringing a real heaviness, with a sound mix that's so loud, and so far into the red that you won't even notice that there are only two instruments being played at any one time - the residual fuzz takes up the remainder of the bandwidth. 'Opera' marks something of a departure, and could almost be a So… Read more
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DIEBOLD - Diebold, BANGOR
NWA - Straight Outta Compton (20th Anniversary Edition), Priority
The definitive gangsta rap tome, NWA's Straight Outta Compton doesn't sound any more sedate twenty years on, though you can't help but wonder what Ice Cube makes of all this stuff, looking back: when he's sitting around on the set of Cheaper By The Dozen IV, or whatever he's doing for money nowadays, does he ever muse upon his creative past? Well, clearly someone does. This reissue features a number of bonus tracks, most notably Snoop Dogg's take on 'Gangsta Gangsta', and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's take on 'F**k The Police'. The original album itself remains the real d… Read more
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NWA - Straight Outta Compton (20th Anniversary Edition), Priority
WILLIAM EATON - Music by William Eaton, EM Records

WILLIAM EATON

Music by William Eaton

EM Records

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.49

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: EM1059CD

String-based multi-instrumentalist and experimental luthier William Eaton first released this music in 1978 with a limited run of 1000 copies. Each of the pieces was based upon on-the-spot improvisation, exploring the tonal capabilities of the various instrumental creations at his disposal. Eaton was a co-founder of the Roberto-Venn School Of Luthiery in Phoenix, Arizona, so consequently you can expect to hear some fairly bizarre timbres along the way. In his pursuit of renewing the guitar's sonic palette, Eaton used instruments ranging from the conventional 6 and 12 string dreadnou… Read more
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WILLIAM EATON - Music by William Eaton, EM Records
BAND OF HORSES - Cease To Begin, SUB POP

BAND OF HORSES

Cease To Begin

SUB POP

Format_dot_cdCD // £6.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: SPCD745

Back in stock. Band Of Horses started out their career opening up shows for close friend and labelmate Iron & Wine. Since then the band have pulled off a similar level of crossover success enjoyed by The Shins and other such members of the Sub Pop elite, clocking up airtime on Letterman and enjoying a nomination for the Shortlist Music Prize (a bit like the mercury Prize but internationally-minded) in addition to the expected, much deserved press adulation. Cease To Begin is the band's second album, reuniting them with Phil Ek, esteemed producer of their debut, Everything All The Time, who… Read more
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BAND OF HORSES - Cease To Begin, SUB POP

Friday, 25 January 2008

FRIDGE - The Sun, Text Records

FRIDGE

The Sun

Text Records

Format_dot_cdCD // £3.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: TEXT003

Back in stock! It's been absolutely ages since Fridge's last work (the incredible 'Happiness'), far too long in our opinion, but of course since then a certain Keiran Hebden has become something of a household name. Under his snappy Four Tet moniker he's managed to edge his way into public life as the acceptable face of the underground - championing jazzy improvisation, chunky electronics and chopped up post-hop messiness he's won over countless listeners with his unique style, something which sadly Fridge never really managed to do. Even bandmate Adem has made waves with his loving brand of nu-folk (don… Read more
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FRIDGE - The Sun, Text Records
EFTERKLANG - Parades, The Leaf Label

EFTERKLANG

Parades

The Leaf Label

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: BAY 58CD

Back in stock. Over recent years the Scandinavian nations have acquired quite a reputation for their expansive, orchestral pop music, with Efterklang being one of the most reliable ports of call for icy, string-based lyricism. Parades finds the band distancing themselves from the throngs of post-rock groups that emerged in the wake of Sigur Ros' success, instead focussing on a folksy, more up close and personal take on the genre. The crisply realised electronic sound design and church choir dynamics of 'Polygyne' typifies what Efterklang do best, occupying a grand scale yet avoiding the impersonal, s… Read more
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EFTERKLANG - Parades, The Leaf Label

Thursday, 24 January 2008

ADELE - 19, XL Recordings

ADELE

19

XL Recordings

Format_dot_cdCD // £6.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: XLCD313

Review to follow shortly…
HARRISONS - No Fighting In The War Room, Melodic

HARRISONS

No Fighting In The War Room

Melodic

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: MELO 052CDX

Rowdy Sheffield indie rockers Harrisons seem to have been threatening to make this debut album for years and years. Steadily releasing singles via Melodic, the band have established themselves as more than a mere also-ran act to Arctic Monkeys, having rubbed shoulders with like-minded touring partners The Twang and The Enemy, with whom they share a similar array of small town, working class preoccupations. As far as words go, sadly you'd be hard-pressed to find much in the way of insight or eloquence here: going back (inevitably) to Arctic Monkeys, while Alex Turner's grittier mome… Read more
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HARRISONS - No Fighting In The War Room, Melodic

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

LCD SOUNDSYSTEM - Sound Of Silver, DFA Records

LCD SOUNDSYSTEM

Sound Of Silver

DFA Records

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

INDUSTRIAL / WAVE / ELECTRO

Cat. Number: DFAEMI2164CD

Now at midprice for one week! For their second album, James Murphy and his cohorts certainly aren't out to radically overhaul their sonic identity. Instead, on Sound Of Silver LCD Soundsystem add texture to their patented formula and in so doing come up with a more narratively satisfying album. Opener, 'Get Innocuous' drops in with a bassline straight out of Telex's 'Moscow Disco' and includes some immensely entertaining Bowie-apeing vocal manoeuvres. While tracks like 'Time To Get Away' and 'Us V. Them' are very much a tightening of that DFA new wave disco sound, there are a few notable… Read more
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LCD SOUNDSYSTEM - Sound Of Silver, DFA Records

Monday, 21 January 2008

GZA/GENIUS - Collection of Classics, LIQUID SWORDS

GZA/GENIUS

Collection of Classics

LIQUID SWORDS

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.49

BEATS / HIP HOP

Cat. Number: 766362

Back in stock! 'Collections Of Classics' shares the same concept as 'Liquid Swords' as far as the track listing is concerned, with the back cover reading like a story instead of a regular song sequence. Apart from the collection of classic songs GZA has supplied over the years, there's also some new material. Besides the song 'Killa Hills 2004' performed by GZA's son Justice, there are also five more exclusive songs and a new beat for the intro by the newest Wu-Tang Element, Bronze Nazareth. All in all, it's a 26 part collector's item...
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Thursday, 17 January 2008

THISTLETOWN - Rosemarie, Big Bertha

THISTLETOWN

Rosemarie

Big Bertha

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: BIGBERT003

This is one of those albums you just know is going to get reissued in thirty years time by a label like Numero as a lost hippy folk touchstone - not so much because it's a classic in the making, but rather because it has that oddly generic, archetypical folk feel to it, much like that Propinquity album that got exhumed from the vaults last year. Strictly speaking, a review of this record could begin and end with a single line: it's a bit like Espers. That would be doing these guys something of a disservice though (however succinct and accurate an appraisal it may be). The album features a wealth o… Read more
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THISTLETOWN - Rosemarie, Big Bertha

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

CAT POWER - Jukebox, Matador
Featured CD

CAT POWER

Jukebox

Matador

Format_dot_cdCD // £8.49

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: OLE7942

A long-awaited sequel to Chan Marshall's The Covers Record, Jukebox finds everyone's favourite Chanel model tackling songs by Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, Billie Holliday, Janis Joplin and Joni Mitchell among others. As was the case with her version of '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction' on her last covers LP, Marshall takes a pop culture classic and radically reconfigures it for her album opener (Sinatra's 'New York' in this case), which drifts into the gorgeous, reverberant tones of Hank Williams' 'Ramblin' (Wo)man'. The song is framed by deep shimmers of lead guitar, playing off against Marshall's incredi… Read more
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CAT POWER - Jukebox, Matador
LIGHTSPEED CHAMPION - Falling Off The Lavender Bridge, Domino Recording Co

LIGHTSPEED CHAMPION

Falling Off The Lavender Bridge

Domino Recording Co

Format_dot_cdCD // £7.49

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: WIGCD186

*Initial copies come with bonus CD!* After a number of promising build-up singles Dev Hynes, former guitarist of the disbanded Test Icicles has delivered an impressively mature debut album as a solo singer-songwriter. Despite his fashionable Dalston-dwelling ways, Hynes is country through and through, seeking out Saddle Creek mixing board whiz Mike Mogis to engineer and produce the album. Far more ambitious than your standard solo debut album, Falling Off The Lavender Bridge (that sounds like a wartime euphemism for something mucky, doesn't it?) features a woodwind en… Read more
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LIGHTSPEED CHAMPION - Falling Off The Lavender Bridge, Domino Recording Co

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

LIGHTNING BOLT - Lightning Bolt, Load Records

LIGHTNING BOLT

Lightning Bolt

Load Records

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.99

DARK AMBIENT / DRONE / METAL

Cat. Number: LOAD026

The bass and drums duo of Brians Gibson and Chippendale made their full-length debut on Load's 1999 release of this album (often cited as The Yellow Album, for reasons too obvious to go into), and in so doing established a template for all noise rock acts to follow. The band's sound explores the extremities of scuzzed-out distortion, with Gibson's detuned bass pushing the boundaries of the instrument's tonal range whilst Chippendale belts out some of the most inventive, physically demanding drumming you could ever hope to hear. This reissue is the full version of the CD album, featuring bo… Read more
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LIGHTNING BOLT - Lightning Bolt, Load Records
NEIL LANDSTRUMM - Restaurant Of Assassins, Planet Mu
Featured CD

NEIL LANDSTRUMM

Restaurant Of Assassins

Planet Mu

Format_dot_cdCD // £13.49

GRIME / FWD

Cat. Number: ZIQ174CD

Back in stock! Neil Landstrumm has left his techno roots behind for this rather excellent new album for Planet Mu, honing his low-end dexterity for a collection of far-flung dubstep/rave/hardcore variations that cumulatively make for quite possibly the finest release in his long and illustrious career to date. "Kids Wake Up" starts the album as it means to go on, a true Hardcore aesthetic informing not only Landstrumm's sample selection but also his masterful use of BASS, the end result being a sound system destroyer of the most enjoyable kind, with even a bleeping acknowledgment… Read more
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NEIL LANDSTRUMM - Restaurant Of Assassins, Planet Mu

Monday, 14 January 2008

THE MAGNETIC FIELDS - Distortion, NONESUCH

THE MAGNETIC FIELDS

Distortion

NONESUCH

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: 7559799654

Stephin Merritt and co. return with a beautiful new album, inspired chiefly by the production style of the Jesus And Mary Chain's Psychocandy and the Beach Boys' surf rock era. That statement, while a fair evaluation of the general aesthetic, glosses over Merritt's incredible songwriting talent, which shines particularly brightly across Distortion's thirteen tracks, each one a deft pop sucker punch. There really isn't much in the way of misfiring on this record: from the introductory exuberance of 'Three-way' to the blissful pop misanthropy of 'California Girls', the album starts as it me… Read more
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THE MAGNETIC FIELDS - Distortion, NONESUCH

Thursday, 10 January 2008

FRANCIS PICABIA - La Nourrice Americaine, LTM Recordings

FRANCIS PICABIA

La Nourrice Americaine

LTM Recordings

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

MODERN CLASSICAL / AMBIENT

Cat. Number: LTMCD 2509

A pioneer of the Dada movement, artist, poet and theorist Francis Picabia premiered La Nourice Americaine at the Salle Geveau in Paris on May 26th 1920. The piece was designed as "three notes repeated to infinity". That, my friends, is one seriously long recital. If this disc is to be believed, 'infinity' lasts for about twenty minutes. There are two different versions of the piece on this disc, with both clocking in at around that duration. The first - the 'fast version' - is a bounding, unwavering repetition of a single triplet phrase that will make some people rethink how they … Read more
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FRANCIS PICABIA - La Nourrice Americaine, LTM Recordings

Wednesday, 09 January 2008

JONNY GREENWOOD - There Will Be Blood, NONESUCH

JONNY GREENWOOD

There Will Be Blood

NONESUCH

Format_dot_cdCD // £14.49

MODERN CLASSICAL / AMBIENT

Cat. Number: 7559799578

It's no longer a novelty to talk about Jonny Greenwood as a serious compositional force outside his day job as Radiohead's guitarist and soundsculptor-in-chief. Having been recruited by the BBC as their composer in residence in 2004, Greenwood has since gone on to be recorded by the London Sinfonietta and win the Radio 3 Listeners' award for his piece, Popcorn Superhet Reciever. One thing that seems to have followed him around from the very beginning is a close association with 20th century giants like Krzysztof Penderecki and Olivier Messaien, in part because Greenwood himself has p… Read more
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JONNY GREENWOOD - There Will Be Blood, NONESUCH
MOUTHUS - No Canal, Bottrop Boy

MOUTHUS

No Canal

Bottrop Boy

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.99

DARK AMBIENT / DRONE / METAL

Cat. Number: B-BOY 028

Brooklyn's Nate Nelson and Brian Sullivan deliver four new tracks of noise rock perversion, this time for the marvellous Bottrop Boy label. In a convention-defying rethink, Mouthus have temporarily set aside the remorseless caterwauling of their metallic feedback output for Load and Important in favour of more pensive, even new age-y electronic meanderings that are sure to provoke references to Popul Vuh, or the kind of metaphysical tonal explorations unearthed last year on J.D. Emmanuel's much talked about Wizards LP. Fear not though, you still get to hear blasts of Nate Nelson's anarchic drumming, an… Read more
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MOUTHUS - No Canal, Bottrop Boy
LUOMO - Paper Tigers, Huume

LUOMO

Paper Tigers

Huume

Format_dot_cdCD // £9.99

TECHNO / HOUSE

Cat. Number: HUUME10CD

Back in stock. Despite the fact that Luomo's music beats to a silicon heart, there is always something tacitly organic about his output - with the icy electronic creases and gliding synths bringing to mind a mist shrouded pine forest... Possibly down to the fact that Finland's Luomo (aka Vladislav Delay) is a lumberjack when not in the studio, this mental image of suspended nature pervades throughout 'Paper Tigers'; from the diffused beats and dub-noir of the title track, through to the closing dew shimmer of 'Make Believe'. Continuing to indulge his vocal leanings through the Luomo personality, 'P… Read more
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LUOMO - Paper Tigers, Huume

Friday, 04 January 2008

XASTHUR / LEVIATHAN - Split CD, BATTLE KOMMAND

XASTHUR / LEVIATHAN

Split CD

BATTLE KOMMAND

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.99

DARK AMBIENT / DRONE / METAL

Cat. Number: BKR006

Back in stock! Xasthur's Malefic has been belching out odorous black metal for some time now and has built up an impressive discography. Impressive enough to catch the well groomed ears of a certain Sunn O))) anyway who grabbed the doomy miscreant for their recent 'Black One' album, having him rasp and snarl over their one-chord take on Norwegian musical heritage. After accompanying them on their recent world tour, Malefic has built up a number of fans that may before have missed out on his strangely melodic take on the genre and now the painted one is back with a split record which sees him … Read more
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XASTHUR / LEVIATHAN - Split CD, BATTLE KOMMAND

Wednesday, 02 January 2008

PLANIVAAR - The Green Boat, Make Mine Music

PLANIVAAR

The Green Boat

Make Mine Music

Format_dot_cdCD // £4.99

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: MMM041

Having already come up with a full-length for Split Femur Recordings (now there's an "Ouch!"-inducing label name) earlier on in 2007, Mark Lippett debuts on Make Mine Music with this five-track, mini album. The Planivaar sound is bound to draw comparisons with Mùm's child-like electronic scrawl, taking in toy instruments, glistening xylophone melodies and scrappy bits of domestic ambience and odd electroacoustics. The titles probably push the point a little too hard, but don't be put off by 'A Is For Apple' and 'Brave Lion', it's not quite as cutesy as it might come across on paper (although ac… Read more
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PLANIVAAR - The Green Boat, Make Mine Music

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

EXAMPLES OF TWELVES - The Way Things Are, IMPOSSIBLE ARK

EXAMPLES OF TWELVES

The Way Things Are

IMPOSSIBLE ARK

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.49

JAZZ / FUSION

Cat. Number: IACD005

Bandleader and bass player Riaan Vosloo is the creative driving force behind fusion ensemble Examples Of Twelves. The band situate themselves between the more swinging outposts reached by coffee table favourites Cinematic Orchestra and the kind of drifting almost-ambience of some of Arve Henriksen's compositions. There's a nod toward more abstract techniques, with synthesizer flourishes and often rather heavy-sounding beats, with mushy, compressed cymbals filling the mixes with colour, but it's the interplay between the horns and keyboard textures that defines the album, establish… Read more
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EXAMPLES OF TWELVES - The Way Things Are, IMPOSSIBLE ARK

Monday, 17 December 2007

THE JOHN BETSCH SOCIETY - Earth Blossom, HEAVENLY SWEETNESS

THE JOHN BETSCH SOCIETY

Earth Blossom

HEAVENLY SWEETNESS

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.99

DISCO / BOOGIE / FUNK

Cat. Number: HS005CD

Parisian label Heavenly Sweetness has done a cracking job exhuming this 1974 Strata-East LP from the vaults. This was the only album to feature drummer John Betsch as bandleader, having been best known for making notable appearances with sax legend Steve Lacy. More than a conventional jazz record, Earth Blossom is an album that dabbles in hippyish tendencies toward the kind of improv you'd hear from an acid-munching rock band of the era. After the bustle and poly-instrumental chaos of 'Ode To Ethiopia' the sextet settle into a more experimental groove for the album's title track… Read more
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THE JOHN BETSCH SOCIETY - Earth Blossom, HEAVENLY SWEETNESS

Thursday, 13 December 2007

GUSSET / VARIOUS - Ask Dr. Kim, DEATHSUCKER

GUSSET / VARIOUS

Ask Dr. Kim

DEATHSUCKER

Format_dot_cdCD // £6.99

INDUSTRIAL / WAVE / ELECTRO

Cat. Number: DSR18

This remix compilation draws together reinterpretations of Gusset's Skidmark EP by notable breakcore production bods like Parasite, Shitmat, Jason Forrest and other such pranksters. Unusually for a collection of reworkings, Ask Dr. Kim carries off a very unified, consistent sound. If that comes across as a backhanded compliment, well, it is, because the level and depth and variety of production style is a tad underwhelming. Jason Forrest comes off with some credit, knocking out militantly tasteless '80s MOR rock with chopped-up glee on his 'Opus Fruits' cut, but otherwise, expect a deluge of homogenous beat dismemberments and dismal sample distortion.
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GUSSET / VARIOUS - Ask Dr. Kim, DEATHSUCKER

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

ROBOT NINJA DINOSAUR BASTARDS - Subhumanoid Meltdown, Wrong Music
New from the home of all things truly abysmal (I hope the people at Wrong Music wouldn't be too offended by that remark, I just figure it's kind of their raison d'être) comes this laptop thrash trio who fuse DJ Scotch Egg-style electronic noodling with pomp rock posturing and punky hollers. Opening with a song - actually, make that 'song' - that samples the Robocop soundtrack (a recurring theme throughout), the RNDB (sounds a bit like some Royal Society acronym doesn't it? Maybe something to do with lifeboats...sorry about all the brackets by the way) instantly assault… Read more
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ROBOT NINJA DINOSAUR BASTARDS - Subhumanoid Meltdown, Wrong Music