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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
DARK CAPTAIN LIGHT CAPTAIN - CIRCLES EP, LOAF
Only the second single from this promising quartet, now further bolstered for success with the addition of drummer Chin Keeler who adds a muscular rhythmic element to the blend of fragile vocals and restrained guitar work. The Remote Viewer immediately spring to mind when listening to 'Robot Command Centre' for their intuitive command of blue melodies, finding a happy place betwixt the two, while 'They be underwater' places them next to nu-folk heroes Tunng or Denis Jones which should induce the right amount of swoon in your average folk fiends.
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OSBORNE - Osborne, SPECTRAL SOUND

OSBORNE

Osborne

SPECTRAL SOUND

Format_dot_cdCD // £10.99

TECHNO / HOUSE

Cat. Number: SPC54

Here are facts I learned about producer Todd Osborn: he owns an electron microscope, flies planes, speaks Japanese and is currently finishing building a hovercraft. These sorts of playboy exploits might lead you to believe his techno exploits as Osborne are just another notch on the bedpost for this fellow, but this record serves as ample proof that he's no dabbler. 'Detune' sports a synth melody that at times comes close to sounding like Depeche Mode's 'Enjoy The Silence', but mostly just floats along on a cloud of blissful '80s hedonism. Right down to the sleeve art this album displays a willingness t… Read more
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OSBORNE - Osborne, SPECTRAL SOUND

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

WILD BEASTS - Limbo, Panto, Domino Recording Co

WILD BEASTS

Limbo, Panto

Domino Recording Co

Format_dot_cdCD // £4.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: WIGCD204

One of the more eccentrically geared bands on the current Domino roster, Leeds-based quartet Wild Beasts release this debut LP filled with titles like 'Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants' and 'Vigil For A Fuddy Duddy', which should give some indication of how militatntly wacky it all sounds. Beneath the superficial silliness there's some thoughtful, rather poetic songwriting at work though: 'Cheerio Chaps, Cheerio Goodbye' sounds like Anthony Burgess drafting up a suicide note for a circus performer in droog speak, with talk of being "just left bereft, well walloped, wanting to have warwhoopful… Read more
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WILD BEASTS - Limbo, Panto, Domino Recording Co
HALVES - Haunt Me When I'm Drowsy, HATE IS THE ENEMY

HALVES

Haunt Me When I'm Drowsy

HATE IS THE ENEMY

Format_dot_cdCD // £9.99

INDIE / ALTERNATIVE

Cat. Number: HITECD02

As with the previous release we've had in by Halves (their eponymous debut EP), the packaging of Haunt Me When I'm Drowsy is incredibly lavish. In fact, you might say: these post-rockers don't do things by Halves... Wow. That's an all-time low, huh? Across these seven tracks the band do a splendid job of avoiding the formulaic tendencies of the post-rock fraternity, instead exhibiting sufficient diversity and skill to avoid being yet another quiet/loud Mogwai knock off.. You simply can't avoid certain references, however: right down to the vocals, there are clear cut Sigur Ros approxima… Read more
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HALVES - Haunt Me When I'm Drowsy, HATE IS THE ENEMY
ROBIN SAVILLE - Peasgood Nonsuch, Static Caravan

ROBIN SAVILLE

Peasgood Nonsuch

Static Caravan

Format_dot_cdCD // £12.49

FOLK / ROOTS

Cat. Number: VAN160CD

The promotional blurb Static Caravan uses to introduce this album really doesn't do it any justice. Instead of getting to the heart of the matter and reminding you that Robin Saville is one half of Morr Music lifers Isan, the text announces him as a "social worker turned gardener". Irrespective of the day job, Saville remains a master of warm, melodic electronica, occasionally calling upon a handful of conventional instruments like guitars and glockenspiels, all tangled up in a sticky web of glowing synth tones and punchy analogue drum machines. Isan have always been so much more than … Read more
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ROBIN SAVILLE - Peasgood Nonsuch, Static Caravan

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

VARIOUS / UNDERSCAN RECORDS - Now, Underscan

VARIOUS / UNDERSCAN RECORDS

Now

Underscan

Format_dot_cdCD // £11.99

ELECTRONIC

Cat. Number: US012

This compilation brings together a series of four 12"s released by Berlin's Underscan imprint, drawing on the work of featured artists Frank Bretschneider, Scanner and the like whle also scoring contributions from such well-established electronica acts as Funckarma (also appearing as Quench), Lambent and Fibla. It befalls the Funcken brothers to initiate proceedings with the relentless beat yammering of 'Brim', which exhibits all the hallmarks we've come to expect from these guys: principally, hyper-elaborate drum programming mixed with a vaporous, quasi-ambient melodic presence. There's … Read more
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VARIOUS / UNDERSCAN RECORDS - Now, Underscan

Friday, 06 June 2008

6BLOCC / LO DUBS - Lo Dubs Presents: Analog Clash (Mixed by 6Blocc), Lodubs
Dutty dubstep demons 6Blocc knock one up for the rave ith a blend of classics from American dubstep flag bearers Lo Dubs. Rolling up some pressure with opener 'Chalice dub' culled from DZ's recent 12", we're dumped headfirst into Starkey's massive crunkhall banger 'Dementia' and lurch forwards through a barrage of 'step tempo rave killers including an exclusive from Vex'd, and a beastload more from South3rn, Bombaman, 6Blocc, Hoodz, Pacheko and XI. The American sound has obviously picked up on the steroid pumped and cartoonishly evil side of the dubstep spect… Read more
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6BLOCC / LO DUBS - Lo Dubs Presents: Analog Clash (Mixed by 6Blocc), Lodubs
NIGHTMARES ON WAX - Carboot Soul, Warp Records

NIGHTMARES ON WAX

Carboot Soul

Warp Records

Format_dot_cdCD // £9.99

BEATS / HIP HOP

Cat. Number: WARPCD061

Review to follow shortly…
PREFUSE 73 - Vocal Studies and Uprock Narratives, Warp Records

PREFUSE 73

Vocal Studies and Uprock Narratives

Warp Records

Format_dot_cdCD // £9.99

BEATS / HIP HOP

Cat. Number: WARPCD83

Scott Herren is Prefuse 73 - from Atlanta and now residing in Brooklyn NYC. Multi- talented - as a hip hop producer he has been name checked by Lucy Pearl and Destiny's Child and also writes as Savath and Savalas (Warp/Hefty) and Delarosa and Asora (Schematic). By now we all know the deal with this abstract hiphop/electronica fusion and the likes of Push Button Objects and Machine Drum have served as worthy reminders of just how satisfying this subgenre can be. Herren succeeds in obliterating hip-hop traditions while retaining absolute respect for its origins and form. Cut … Read more
PREFUSE 73 - Vocal Studies and Uprock Narratives, Warp Records
SQUAREPUSHER - Music is Rotted One Note, Warp Records

SQUAREPUSHER

Music is Rotted One Note

Warp Records

Format_dot_cdCD // £9.99

ELECTRONIC

Cat. Number: WARPCD057

Review to follow shortly…
SQUAREPUSHER - Go Plastic, Warp Records

SQUAREPUSHER

Go Plastic

Warp Records

Format_dot_cdCD // £9.99

ELECTRONIC

Cat. Number: WARPCD85

Go Plastic sees Mr Jenkinson unbuttoning his shirt and pimpin' it with a little bit of the funk, a little bit of fusion and a large obliterating dose of pure breakbeat cut-up business! Following the deep and free excursions of Music is a Rotted One Note and Buddakahn Mindphone, this LP finds a return  to the junglist mayhem that solidified Squarepusher's allure with the release of his debut LP for Rephlex almost 5 years ago. Kicking off with the still-killer 'Red Hot Car', 'Boneville Occident' and 'Go Spastic' freak into junglist drills complete with uber-aciditic Basslines that Jenkinson seems t… Read more
SQUAREPUSHER - Go Plastic, Warp Records
NIGHTMARES ON WAX - Mind Elevation, Warp Records

NIGHTMARES ON WAX

Mind Elevation

Warp Records

Format_dot_cdCD // £9.99

BEATS / HIP HOP

Cat. Number: WARPCD95

Ahhhh, with summer's last gasp Nightmares On Wax return to offer an alternative soundtrack to the stress and strain of modern living. 'Mind Elevation' follows on from the scene stealin classic of its kind 'Smokers Delight' and the more recent 'Carboot Soul'. Long since one man dream, E.A.S.E. - George Evelyn drops downtempo gems neither overstuffed with obvious samples or stipped to oblivion - just right is wat i'm tryin' to say. Opener 'Mind Eye' continues in the vain of 'Les Nuits', soundtrack styled crisp beats and lush string drops, the single 'Know My Name' gets better on every list… Read more
NIGHTMARES ON WAX - Mind Elevation, Warp Records
LFO - Sheath, Warp Records

LFO

Sheath

Warp Records

Format_dot_cdCD // £9.99

ELECTRONIC

Cat. Number: WAPCD110

There's very definitely a sense of occasion here, greeted by much curiosity and anticipation for what must be one of the most eagerly awaited and long overdue third albums to have come out of the Warp stable since its inception. The dancefloor exorcet of the mighty "Freak" single is offset by the opening album track "Blown" - a melodic acid drop that revolves around distorted and treated vibes and percussion that could have easily been lifted from Autechre's debut 'Incunabula', an oddly spacious number that sets the scene for what's to follow with much soul and aplomb. "Mum-Man" adheres to a rigid Aphexian m… Read more
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LFO - Sheath, Warp Records