Monday, 07 November 2011
Bradford Cox, frontman for Deerhunter delivers the quietly positive pop glow of 'Parallax', his 2nd solo album for 4AD. 'Parallax' is imbued with a personal, introspective yet un-self-indulgent sound, fleshing out a classic soundscape influenced by original '50s pop hooks and space-age S-FX but always with an ear for more modern, slightly avant sensibilities. There's a gentle psychedelic aspect to his music, sharing something of a mild lysergic element with the likes of Ducktails, but with a "better" studio production, recording at NYC's esteemed Rare Book Rooms for a subtle yet detailed pla… Read more
Benoit Pioulard might be best known for his decomposed pop songs, but beneath the tacit vocals are the thrums and swells of something more ambient. ‘Plays Thelma’ is Tom Meluch’s first beatless record, and he manages to conjure up the kind of textures you’d expect from a shelf of William Basinski albums. These delicate sounds have been re-recorded to tape so many times only the lifeblood remains, but what life. Breathing through the dense hiss are chords that are sculpted simply to melt the hearts of the needy, and Meluch has already proven that he’s well versed in that skill. ‘Plays… Read more
A new EP from Brian Eno on Warp, continuing the collaboration with poet Rick Holland reprised on this year's Drums Between The Bells LP. The six tracks on offer apparently "explore how lyric and song-writing are perceived in the post-everything era." Not sure what that means, if indeed it means anything, but there's no doubt that this is some of Eno's most immediate and affecting work of recent years, spoken vocals threaded through plaintive instrumentals that lean more towards the ambient side of his catalogue. Suffused with an urban melancholy and a longing for a lost pastoral sublime, this is undoubtedly our favourite Eno offering on Warp so far.
It’s nice to see Kompakt staring further into the italo/posh trance void with this latest from Coma. ‘Gravity’ seems to take the movie soundtrack work of legendary synth bloke Georgio Moroder as Bible, and let these tracks develop around those key texts. Synth melodies rise and fall like it’s 1979, and with the kind of melodic push we last heard from Kompakt label-mate The Field this threesome of silky goodness is certain to capture the hearts and minds of heads the world over. Cosmic!
Emil Beaulieau is the long-standing pseudonym of noise veteran and general all-round important figure in the scene Ron Lessard. Besides running the RRR record label and store, he’s found time to document a good amount of his avant experiments, and ‘Moonlight In Vermont’ is one such documentation. It emerged initially in 2005 on CDR, then on vinyl co-signed by Thurston Moore for his Ecstatic Peace! Imprint, and now appears on Dominick Fernow’s on-form Hospital Productions label. Those familiar with Lassard’s pioneering experiments will already know the focus; that kind of Japan… Read more
Hulking leftfield Techno from James Ginzburg and Paul Purgas aka the indomitable Emptyset. 'Avichi' picks up where their 'Demiurge' album and 'All Together Lost' single left, erecting oppressive 4/4 Techno sound designs influenced by the schematics of Pan Sonic. Remixing, Monoloc curbs their more abstract tendencies for the 'floor, remoulding the original elements for a concussive, Industrial-strength workout.
Hamburg's business class Techno duo deliver their anticipated 2nd album for Cocoon. Since their 2005 debut, Arne Schaffhausen and Wayan Raabe have been seen healthy demand for their robustly functional productions and with 'In Aufruhr' they've honed their formula to a widely appealing electronic dancefloor sound. As an album, 'In Aufruhr' showcases the breadth of their styles, from funked-up, glitchy rollers like 'The Next Little Thing' through cooler breakbeat ravers on 'Division Dunkel' and 'Blendwerk I', sculpted mnml Techno 'Herz Aus Blech' and big room propulsion like 'Swallow The Leader', even touching on fragmented Dubstep dynamics with '808 Slate'.
Brittle 2-step swing from the Funk Ethics & Lucid Directions alliance, backed by Von D's warmer, rolling remix. The original's a neat piece of fractured, minimalist steppers' soul, kinda from that same vein as Koreless, James Blake or Joy O - all sparing rhythms and fluid vibe convections. The remix fleshes it out for the dance with expanding subbass shapes and more rugged rhythm programming to drive dem bones.
Southern Lord seem to have left the doomy drones of their past behind, at least for 2011. Heartless continues the label’s trek into contemporary hardcore metal, and ‘Hell Is Other People’ is an expert splinter of the genre, with the Pennsylvania act tramping through thirteen songs in a mere twenty-one minutes. Not a second is wasted as they bring to mind the best of ‘Scum’-era Napalm and more contemporary metal-core activists Raspberry Bulbs or Bone Awl. Those with a need for pounding, guttural axe wielding should check immediately.
Horizontal Ground continue to command the more clued up techno floors with two heavyweights from anonymous operators. There's definitely a b*cking Chicago flavour to these tracks, nodding to the tougher works of Green Velvet or Dance Mania releases with maximised kicks and snares configured for clubs with sweaty walls and pummeling sound systems. The A-side kinda sounds like Ben Klock in a frisky mating ritual with a coy clanger, whereas the flipside goes darker with sinister vocals and brutally brittle drum patterns built with an optimised hi-hat arrangement that Rob Hood would be proud of. Fiercely functional tracks, for the DJs and the dancers. Ace.
Craftier dancefloor constructions from Manchester native Christian Wood aka Woody aka Crowhead. UK Hip Hop heads and northern sulphuric soul types might know him from his productions on Grand Central and Atic Recordings back in the day, but in 2011 he's hitting a different groove, mixing disco, electro and rave in a tasty audio hot pot. A-side there's the infectious piano house vibes of 'Mearsk' and the gritted Electro-meets-Oldskool grind of 'Norea Son'. Flipside he engages with some kinda dubbed-out Italo-Electro dread with strange hints of Cylob or vntage Rephlex, tipping out at the slow, twinkly 'Frost'.
Not a cover of R. Kelly, unfortunately, but a really dynamic and varied long-form synthesizer piece on Touch-affiliated Ash International from Joachim Nordwall, a member of noise heroes Skull Defekts. There’s a real butchness and bite to this work that’s just completely blowing us away: Nordwall’s sticky, tactile analogue interventions range from monkishly reserved ambience to jutting techno pulsation, and all the while the sense of dread is unrelenting. It’s rare to hear this much presence and authority in this kind of work; fans of Lustmord, John Carpenter, Senking’s List, Eduard Arte… Read more
Slick two-tracker from a new name on the Frozen Border roster, Joe Cocherell. The A-side 'Who Are You And Where Do You Come From' is a little frothier and more proggy than we're used to hearing from this label but equally with a wider appeal than their darker and more experimental Techno. Flipside, 'Paia' is more hypnotic, arranged with a very tidy Latinized shuffle akin to something from Raíz or Function, and layered with teasing, pirouetting dub chords to lock you in.
A straight ace from the hugely in-demand KiNK and his pal Neville Watson featuring vox from Hercules & Love Affair's Kim Ann Foxman. The main mix is a proper peach: fat-assed Fingers-style square bass and cascading synths with a lethal, succinct breakdown and perfectly measured vocals. The flipside dub strips it all back to essentials for the dancers, concentrating on body-movin' drum coordination with loads of room to show what you got.
Kurt Vile likes to keep himself busy, so much so that here’s yet another release from the prolific performer, and to top it off it’s not bad at all. This EP contains five original songs from the ‘Smoke Ring for my Halo’ sessions, and one smashing cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Downbound Train’, so you should know you’re in for something really special. While the songs don’t exactly add anything new to Vile’s sound – they work as a sort of addendum to the last record, and anyone who found themselves drawn to that will no doubt be enamored by this little gem in the same way.
**Supple digital dub music, rich with blooming pads and produced with clinical attention to detail. Includes two bonus track on this digital release which won't appear on the CD** "Following numerous digital releases during the past, Lars Leonhard's full length debut album "1549" will be released on BineMusic on Nov 7th 2011. Its name derives from US Airways Flight 1549 which was ditched in the Hudson River after a bird strike about three minutes into the flight in January 2009. The overall theme runs like a common thread through the album, with Leonhard mostly working with warm, deep pads and… Read more
Sound new EP on Instra:mental's NonPlus from one of European house's most consistent and compelling voices, Jens Kuhn aka Lowtec. Over the last decade, Kuhn has developed a warm, swinging slow-house sound that's yielded widely acclaimed releases on labels like Playhouse, Smallville, Laid and especially Workshop. Coldred is his second drop on NonPlus, following 'Wonderkidd' from earlier this year, and showcases three distinct sides to his sound: 'Twizel' is the kind of brushed, deep 4/4 groover that will appeal to fans of his Workshop tackle, while 'Darrynane' is on more of a broken, shuffling flex… Read more
Number 2 of a 4 part Ann Aimee series presenting diverse and solid Techno from respected producers. There's a couple of heavyweights on this one: hotly-tipped Parisian Marcellus pumps out the skipping mechanics of '24/7' and Area Forty_One frightens with the frozen reverbs and physicality of 'C.N.T.C.T.'. Elsewhere there's a grungy schaffel groove from Redshape and monotone repetitions from London's Sigha. One for the DJs and the connoisseurs.
James Kumo's K-Music catch Ozka in a more melodic groove on the 'Snow Squad EP'. The title track finds a cool crux point between warm, shifty, bass-driven House rhythm and chilly, expansive atmosphere, whereas 'Defo' dives into a fluid Dub Techno current. James Kumo's remix of the latter adds hypnotic melody and ace, zapping, strafing synth sounds to a more streamlined, kick-powered rhythm.
In the month of Tresor's 20th anniversary celebrations, Pacou unleashes a mean four-tracker of his signature, diverse Techno styles. A-side features the classically-learned pummel of 'Connection', all flying 909 hi-hats and lethal bass - a signature Tresor track if we've heard one - besides the delayed gratification of 'Transmitter' a filigree Latin-Tech shuffler with elliptical syncopation primed for craftier DJs. Flipside holds the tweaking acid Techno finesse of 'Response', and the warm dubby swing of 'Default', which was made over ten years ago. Heavy.
Debut album from the San Fran-dwelling lo-fi synth duo, appearing on Art Fag, the label what brought youse Best Coast and Dum Dum Girls. Much like the Maria Minerva or Salem albums, 'Dreamers' sounds like it was recorded in a bedsit, but what they lack in fidelity, they make up for in hooks and charm. Their garage-psych single 'A Love That Kills' is included, next to the Minerva-esque dub-pop lite of 'Long Lost Lover', their sinister take on The Crystals' 'He Hit Me And It Felt Like A Kiss' and the hollowed '60s pop impressionism of 'Skyway'. Check!
To Rococo Rot helmsman Robert Lippok comes good (again) with an engrossing solo album on Raster-Noton, based on a live performance he gave at Villa Massimo in September of last year. The ricocheting marimba tech-noir of 'inphase' sounds like Steve Reich jamming with Monoton, while 'sugarcubes' connects the digital minimalism of R-N with the plangent post-rock moves of Lippok's 90s work, while 'nycycle' and 'whitesuperstructure' offer the warmth of vintage deep house through a sound design of chilly, spotless futurity. The skill and humanity that Lippok puts into his digital synthe… Read more
Three-tracker of dizzying jump-up dance music wrought out of live percussion. 'Lone Raver''s hectic breakbeat attack is vaguely reminiscent of early Four Tet or even Squarepusher; we're far more impessed by the moodier 'Black and Blue', which goes easier on the drums and allows the beautifully reverbed melodies room to swirl and breathe. 'Steel Drummer' takes the middle way, arriving a sort of techno-inflected math-rock sound with hints of Battles, Zun Zun Egui and the like.
The mercurial, shapeshifting talents of Sam Kidel come correct on his most esoteric and best release to date, the 'String Loops' EP for A Future Without (home to Throwing Snow and Kahn, innit). We've heard him doing Bass-heavy electronica for Immerse and a more cosmic variant for Astro:Dynamics with his buddy Vessel, but every time you think you've grasped his sound, he reappears on some other tip entirely. On 'String Loops' he explores an obvious affection for the drone-pop of Fennesz, Keith Fullerton Whitman's darker experiments and the electro-acoustic manipulations of Tim Hecker, a… Read more