Monday, 06 June 2011
Plenty of praise has been lavished on veteran musician, field recording expert and BBC sound recordist Chris Watson, and it would be hard to disagree with any of it. ‘Cross Pollination’ is his latest full-length, again for the Touch label that has been his home for many years, and sees him teaming up with Marcus Davidson for a surprising collaborative piece. Using Watson’s recordings of bees in an English country garden as the backbone of the composition, Marcus Davidson had a choir re-interpret the sounds and tones as a kind of symphony. Davidson had noticed that … Read more
Beautiful suite of neo-classical choral ambience from Brooklyn-based Kyle Bobby Dunn. There's a highly trained mind at work here, operating in the template of minimalist scholars such as Morton Feldman and LaMonte Young to elicit the most sublime strains of harmonic bliss. 'Ways Of Meaning' comes in the wake of releases on Low Point, Kning Disk and Moodgadget, among others, to present six patient and deeply rewarding compositions, heck, profound, even. This is genuinely beautiful music, and should be highly recommended to fans of of everything from Oneohtrix Point Never's more serene moments to Stars Of The Lid or even Arvo Pärt.
Arresting solo outing from Cooper Crane of Bitchin Bajas and Chicago's Cave. 'Water Wrackets' is Crane's score to a remake of the Peter Greenaway film of the same title. He scored the piece after only watching a 30 second clip of the upcoming film, conceiving a six track suite of truly beautifully harmonised drones and spiritual psychedelia recalling the work of Eleh, or even Terry Riley, Cluster and Leyland Kirby. For the most, it's a beatless affair, layering soul-lapping kosmiche drones on 'Water 1' or the warm and warbly 'Water 3', while the stunning 'Water 3' sucks us into stoic… Read more
The first ‘proper’ widely-available album from Portugese composer and pianist Tiago Sousa, ‘Walden Pond’s Monk’ balances itself on the idealism and revolutionary spirit of Henry David Thoreau. While this might be initially hard to hear in an album of mostly solo piano, as the songs seep into the soul it becomes easier and easier to decode Sousa’s messages. There is a mourning, but hopefulness to these compositions, and in contrast to solo piano records from Gonzales or Goldmund it feels like an intensely somber affair. I could almost imagine this album dropping on the ECM label, th… Read more
John Chantler offers his most substantial solo recordings in over seven years. Housed in lustrous, silk-screened sleeve, 'The Luminous Ground' glows with a deeply instinctive feel for bewildering, alien harmonics and psychoactivated tunings arising from processes of modular synthesis. A pulsing and glimmering collision of oscillated tone, filtered textures and syncopated rhythm, John guides his captivating patterns with a playful but sincere intent, clearly fascinated by the sounds his machines make and with the compositional intuition to give them a semblance of human form, ar… Read more
Everyone's favourite Nu Old-skool Chicago player works out four craftier rhythms for the 1st release on his freshly minted eponymous imprint. 'Arena' features well-tucked and rippling triplet roll synched with teasing synth arpeggio, while 'Systematic Journey' crisply jacks out a bobbing acid House pattern. Best of all, 'Mechanical Disco Heart' pumps to a unique electro-disco beat, sorta like Moroder-meet-Cybotron, and 'Global Communication' experiments with more spaced-out electronica, but still with a warm Chicagoan soul.
Sumptuous R&B/House fusion from A'dam's Tom Trago with silky vox from Romanthony. 'Steppin' Out' is lifted from his forthcoming and much anticipated 'Iris' LP, and features a sophisticated melding of lithe R&B soul swing with a solid Chicago engine.
'Space Traitor 2' continues Starkey's bass cadet odyssey with seven sci-fi themed original productions plus remixes by Innerpartysystem, Om Unit, Darling Farah, Distal, Monky, and the Elementz. The title track notably features ascendant star Charli XCX autotuned to a cyber-pop ace with a dazzling drop, while 'Street Rockers' experiments with anti-G jungle breaks reminding of Skream and 'Starkbotbeats' is a more ambitious beatless narrative. Make sure to check for the twysted Distal remix of 'Cockroach'.
Techy-edged crunk electronics reminiscent of Hud Mo, Eskmo or Eprom. 'Simon & G-Funk' is the debut release by British Columbia, Victoria's Monolithium, and swaggers between Lorn-like synthline bangers on 'Selfish Lil' Crunk' to somethign like a half-speed verion of 'Hyph Mngo' on the title track, or hyperspace playa beats on 'Swag Equity'. Remixing the title track, Ango goes for a kicks and sawtooth synth-driven Funky roll while Prison Garde tips his cap to Dam-Funk.
Deeply rooted reel-skool House music from Mike Taylor aka Disco Nihilist, following episodes on Love What Yo Feel or Construction Paper. The guy's got a distinct style, drawing what he needs from original Chicago and Detroit templates to create six tracks ranging from tuff bucks like 'Keep It Simple' and 'Greasy Grind' through to juicy acid-dub on 'December 5th' or the Tevo Howard-esque melody of 'Coffee And A Worn Paperback'.
Sophisticated remix package for the Panorama Bar resident's debut album, courtesy of Staffan Lindberg, Lone and The Analogue Cops. Staffan Lindberg is a new name to us but clearly capable of turning out an ace remix, giving 'Yours' a lick of authentic early '90s House with a moodier edge. Next, Lone takes 'Arms' and refries it with his saffron-flavoured twist, giving the drums his patented dreamy reverb and glazing the melody beautifully. The Analogue Cops aka Restoration Records' label owners, Marieu and Lucretio finally give 'You Own My Mind' a sexier reduction with grinding bass and hypnotic intent.
The mysterious Versalife saga continues to unfold with a sterling selection of electro-techno comparable to Convextion. From an outpost in Northern Holland, Versalife forges the deepest strains of electronic music, sculpting incredibly crisp percussion patterns and carving out the widest bass manipulated from an array of vintage hardware. Of course, there are many who operate in this style, but the twilight melodies and robust finish are entirely individual to this producer. For those who know. Includes download code redeemable from the label.
‘Move On’ was a stand-out moment on veteran electro-poppers’ Lali Puna’s last full-legnth ‘Our Inventions’ and sounds even finer singled out as a spiffy 7”. It does exactly what the band do best; crisp rhythmic electronics, lilting melodies and Valerie Trebeljahr’s unmistakable monotone vocals spread over the track like maple syrup on a waffle. As an extra bonus, the band have dropped in a treat in the shape of exclusive B-Side ‘After All Stop’, which also sees them on classic form. A slow-burner that gradually develops through a skitter of electronic percussion and synthesizer m… Read more
Slugabed makes his solo Ninja Tune debut with his most impressively organised release to date. Folding in factors from warped VHS music, lazer-guided R&B and destabilized UK Bass, he's clearly on a proper orbital trajectory with the 'Moonbeam Rider' EP. His sound has become increasingly cleaner since the 'Ultra-Heated' EP on Planet Mu and successive remixes for the likes of Eprom, Starkey and Eskmo, managing to stealthily control the chaos without compromising his off-key agenda. That title track is a beaut, diffusing chromed-out R&B and dynamic in some 3D geometric cy ber-space, while… Read more
With EPs from Headhunter, Orphan 101, Arkist and now Bloodman, Bristol's Deca Rhythm have set a distinctly dystopian aesthetic. Bloodman upholds the vibe perfectly with the 'Launch EP', skulking through Bass-weighted horror synth zones akin to moments of Hyetal's debut album on 'Worn Smooth Into Forever', and grooving to moodier Deep House strains of 'Rafter'. The title track is more dub dynamic, spaced-out with spooky organ motif and surging synths over propulsive steppers bass, while 'Darkest Secret' is infested with a swarm of wickedly dissonant strings.
When Dial launched Laid back in 2008, we couldn't quite see how it was going to distinguish itself from its parent label. But over the last three years it has: whereas Dial is about a very European, at times almost gothic romanticism, Laid offers a more grooving deep house sound with an explicit debt to the US - the presence of Michigan super-hero Rick Wade on the roster is telling. Yep, slick, sensuous deep house doesn't come much better than Laid product, and this compilation takes on a journey through the highlights in the catalogue to date. Lowtec's 'Use Me' sets the tone, all d… Read more
Dubbed-out and heavy steppin' contemporary Krautrock from drummer Andreas Peter and his childhood buddy, DJ Jens Strüver (of Borngräber & Struver). The pair used to play in a football team together as kids before meeting in Berlin's Kreuzberg district 20 years later and realising they shared a passion for music. Together they've developed a smart fusion of crisp, uptempo motorik rhythms and drowsy dub bass, colouring the spaces between with acousmatic samples and some truly sublime synth pads, keeping a beautifully restrained tension between driving momentum and refined stillness.
Chilly Gonzales offers some sophisticated disco contrast to the usual Boys Noize shenanigans with 'Knight Moves', backed up by sterling remixes from DJ Koze and Lone. Pizzicato strings, plush keys and fluid, rolling disco drums make his original an enticing proposition, but we're more seduced by the remixes. Koze adds another notch to his illustrious remix catalogue with a bumpin', mid-tempo boogie remix, rebuilding the beat with crisp claps, shredded string edits and quaking bass hits, whereas Lone settles into a melancholy, breezy beach strut vibe on the flip and there's also a solo piano version from your boy Chilly. Charming.
'Recipe Book Volume One' showcases 12 up-and-coming D&B producers featured on the excellent Ingredients series. Unfortunately there's no recipes attached like with the singles, but there's enough hi-tech D&B to keep you sustained. The disc dips from 'Outlook' by unknown Russian boy-wonder, 2sides, to the shark-eyed and agile 'step of 'Domepiece' by Manchester's Dub Phizix, through Skeptical's powerful subs on 'Refraction', the darting syncopations of Mute & Mako's 'Rorschach' and Villem's destabilizing 'Splinter In Your Mind'. Big support from dBridge, Loxy, Grooverider, fabio, Bailey, Flight, Spectrasoul and more.
Brownswood present a charming introduction to the lambent downbeat Garage/Electronic sound of Gang Colours. Coming from Southampton, he's almost like the inverse of that city's Grime wunderkind, Royal T, all about smudged and ambiguous melodic tones over drowsy 2-step beats, instead of sharp-cut Garage/Grime. 'Village & Boy' strings his sound somewhere between Mount Kimbie and Sepalcure, working woozy synth reflections around a blunted double Garage swing. EP highlight 'Fireworks In Pocket' makes canny use of a classic acapella snatches in a moist mesh of descending bleeps a… Read more
It might be a case of imperfect recall, but we're pretty sure we've seen Matias Aguayo enjoy a fag or two in his time. Whatever, this record is something of an event, being his first proper EP since 2009's 99 Seconds on Soul Jazz. 'Dance Machine' is pure party music for the 'floor, with tom-heavy percussion inna old-skool Chi-town style and an irresistible vamping melody that sounds like it's been sprung from a classic Mike Pickering Hac set. Big. 'Comeme Riddim' pays homage to Aguayo's own label and club collective, in a severely stripped, Latin-spiced drum groove just begging to … Read more
Hi-tech tribalism from Angola/Portugal's finest export. Backed with remixes by Tony Senghore, Oui'Wack and Swick, BSS's dramatic 'Hangover' hinges on a radioactive rave bassline welded to acid-squirting sirens and swaggered Kuduro drums. If the rap's doing your nut in, dip to the instrumental for a pure Technoid killer. Tony Senghore's remix factors more dynamic electronic processing with virulent Dutch synth stabs and trance-rushin' snare rolls while Oui'Wack's gallops in hard contrast with Swick's DVA-compatible bubbler.
Soul-stunning, hyper-fluid D&B futurism from two deeply talented producers. The last 12 months have seen both producers mature and hone their sound into something acutely affective, with Indigo dropping the diverse yet focused 'Zero Point EP' and Synkro producing some of his best material to date for dBridge's Exit label, and Blackout Music. Over two years since their last collaboration on 'Heaven' they've pared back their sound to a lushly dynamic style, structuring ultra-spacious D&B rhythms to hold sweeping chord changes, hovering subbass and fragrant vocal samples. The more spacious 'G… Read more
What does a band do when its frontman and figurehead walks out before they've finished their sophomore album? Most would crumble, but Battles ain't no normal band, and while the abrupt departure of Tyondai Braxton must've bruised them, it hasn't stopped them putting together a record every bit as vital as their universally lauded debut; arguably more so. Certainly, the sound here is heavier and fuller than before - they sound less like they've shed a member and more like they've gained one. Admittedly there’s not an immediate stand-out like ‘Atlas’ from the first LP, but thrills and spills abo… Read more
Slick disco fusions from the Tuscan trio of Dino Storai, Nicola Lopetuso and Simone Fedi. 'Galactica' effortlessly combines elements of disco, rock and punk with a refined and synth-driven Italo nature. Classic-sounding styles abound, from the symphonic post-punk inflections of 'Endless Time' to raunchy Moog jams on the title track, through synth-squirting PunkFunk 'A Ferry To Hell' and straight-up cowbell rollers like 'The Prophecy'.
The latest single to be taken from Ariel Pink's 4AD album Before Today is the wonderful 'Fright Night (Nevermore)', backed with a whipsmart Dam-Funk remix and instrumental. The original is Pink at his most unashamedly radio-friendly, an eminently hummable synth-pop anthem that's agreeably washed out with being burdened by any serious distortion. Less meta-pop and more just...pop. We like. On the flip, fellow California-dweller Dam-Funk recasts the song in his inimitable boogie-funk mould, foregrounding those pastel synth shades and supporting them with a wheedling P-fun… Read more
Debut album from the former Balihu and Meakusma contributor. Fans of the slow sound should be on this in an instant. Massimiliano has got the chug on lock, keeping the tempo around a sensually sub-110bpm over 13 tracky grooves intended for the connoisseurs and the steamiest points of the night. Fairly simple stuff, but very effective. Reminiscent of everything from Harald Grosskopf to Mark E.
Jeff Derringer returns to Perc Trax with the mesmerizing Techno roll of 'Exit Sound', backed with Milton Bradley and Dino Sabatini remixes. The fluid actions of the original will work a treat for the 3am jackers, while the Sabatini remix is a more muted, aqua-planing reduction landing somewhere between Regis and Marcel Dettmann's respective styles. Milton Bradley's remix is the one for us, a clammy, stalking inversion with dank, BC-like dub treatments and colder intentions. Ace.
Mysterious Isle of Wight singer-songwriter Puzzle Muteson sure has talent, but he might well have passed under the radar had he not been discovered by producer and Bedroom Community boss Valgeir Sigurðsson and his buddy Nico Muhly. Sigurðsson - whose past production credits include Bjork, Maps, CocoRosie, Magic Numbers and Ben Frost - has now recorded an album's worth of songs with Muteson, setting his tremulous voice and finger-picked guitar in an honest but exquisitely reverbed ambience, with Muhly's bold, beautifully-weighted string arrangements lending real grandeur and emotional heft… Read more