Sunday, 11 September 2011
Wiley's funniest, funkiest single this year, the snapping 808 romp 'Link Up', comes backed with a crispy, swaggering Alex D remix. Instrumental usefully included for the DJs.
'Lost In The Glare' is Barn Owl's 2nd album for Thrill Jockey, following a superb 12" earlier this year. Most notably they've added drummer Jacob Felix Heule to the line-up to anchor their majestic sound with a solemnly slow, purposeful pacing closer to the like-minded Om or Earth on a handful of tracks. Their compositions also feel more concise, still evocative of sprawling landscapes and ranging topographies, but with a more nuanced sense of narrative structure. They start with the molasses slow spread of oozing distortion and astral synth sighs on 'Pale Star', before Felix Heule's s… Read more
‘I Remember’ takes Brock Van Wey's beautiful blend of shoegaze and Berlin dub techno and pushes it into even further realms of dreamy bliss. The beats are all but gone, and Van Wey allows himself to experiment on this selection of long compositions. Each track is almost fifteen minutes in length, and Van Wey’s tried and tested ping-ponging samples breathlessly heave through oceans, stars and deep caves. Close your eyes and let yourself drift away – this is one for the dreamers.
This little gem might have surfaced on cassette back in ’06, but it doesn’t make it any less worthwhile now. Blue Control’s particular brew of nausea-inducing electronics and the kind of basement rock that went out of fashion in 1968 sounds just as vital (maybe more so?) than it did when I first heard it, and ‘Riverboat Styx’ is a great example of the band’s very particular style. Sure lo-fi might have eaten itself at this point, but the peeling wallpaper and faint smell of death on Blues Control’s productions is all part of the charm – it’s their fifth Beatle, if you like. As they c… Read more
Rinse's infamous all-style specialist has been noticeably absent on the production front in 2011, but makes up for it with two kinkily tucked rollers. 'Spider' as the names suggests, is all insectoid and skittery drum syncopation, but skillfully anchored by sparing bass stabs. 'Take Me Home' is more on a tropical tip, swaying to warmest synth swoons and mango-sweet female vocal while the rhythm is bustling but expertly held back for the rollers.
CANT is the new project from Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor in collaboration with Twin Shadow's George Lewis Jr, and Dreams Come True is their first full-length offering. With their employment of R&B tropes and hard-snapping syn-drums coupled with classic pop songwriting, CANT are to Grizzly Bear what Discovery were to Vampire Weekend (kind of). But where Discovery's self-titled LP was a celebratory record, Dreams Come True feels more plaintive and wounded, and it also paints from a far wider and more sophisticated musical palette. You really don't know what you're going to get from one moment… Read more
Dixon closes the excellent Live At Robert Jonson mix series with a finely programmed mix spanning ambient kosmiche to sexy mid-tempo disco-tech. The first half is largely a sanguine selection taking in the likes of Ursula Bogner's frothy radiophonica next to Hauschka's lovely' Wonder' and his own edit of Barnt's kosmiche Cologne experiments, before setting the tempo with Agoria's For One Hour' and Hatikvah's 'Big Mind', and stealthily building up to close on Todd Terje's 'Snooze 4 Love' via cuts from Mark E, Roman Flugel and Osunlade, among others.
San Francisco indie types Girls might want to think their sound is indebted to the glory days of Neil Young, Randy Newman and The Beach Boys, but while those comparisons aren’t a million miles away, I hear a lot more of the 90s than the 60s in their pop nuggets. There’s a sense that these guys didn’t just grow up through that decade, but grabbed onto every bit of rock history they could; there’s a bit of latter day metal, a sprinkling of the kind of slacker indie that made Pavement shine, a wink to grunge and even a knowledge of Brit Pop that gets thrown into a blender and ground to p… Read more
"‘The Wanting’ is Glenn’s first album for Thrill Jockey (and fourth album overall) and follows the instantly sold out ‘Even To Win Is To Fail’ LP (a split with The Black Twig Pickers released for Record Store Day 2011). Glenn Jones is a leading talent in the so-called modern “American Primitive” school of acoustic steel string guitarists, a school that includes the late great John Fahey, Robbie Basho and Jack Rose – all of whom were friends and collaborators of Glenn’s. · ‘The Wanting’ is a collection of original compositions for solo acoustic steel string guitar, six-string, 10- string and bottleneck, and 5-string open-back banjo.
Gui Boratto's snappily titled 'III' is, unsurprisingly, his third album, and finds him balancing his sophisticated Trance-Techno formula with a sleek, but grittily EBM/Wave-informed tilt. He starts out purposefully slow and sensually synthy, like John Carpenter for 2011, before the tempo builds with the brooding Big-room tension of 'Stems From Hell'. 'Striker' is where the EBM influence really bleeds through, driving out darkly sexy Bass guitar licks under cold and mechanical drums like Gatekeeper gone Techno, and finding sombre moments on the lonely pop drift of 'Soledad', before arriving at the… Read more
"Debut release from Ben Greenberg of NYC no-wave psych clan Zs. "Hubble Linger" lays down a full hour of cyclical and overlapping electric guitar workouts that are almost synth-like, but maintain their thrashiness throughout. The sound of guitar being used as a tool by a professional hypnotist." Topping the latest batch of cassettes from Burlington, Vermont's NNA Tapes, an immersive session of mesmeric, dissonant guitar noise meshing. Strangely church-like.
Kinder Scout unites the esteemed talents of Danny Norbury (UK), Ian Hawgood (Japan), and Jason Corder (USA) in a trans-continental collaboration. The three artists find a common link in Moteer's micro-run magnate, Craig Tattersall and the multifarious Miles Whittaker of Demdike Stare, who contributed artwork and mastering, respectively, to make 'The Writing Life' such a lovely album. It fuses a number of varied disciplines, Danny's rich strings, Ian's guitar, voice and expansive ambient processes, with Jason's fine electronics and organic sense of composition into a detailed tapestr… Read more
New solo effort from Keith Freund, one half of husband-wife duo Trouble Books and collaborator with Emeralds' Mark McGuire. Constant Comments is a collage of field recordings from Freund's immediate environment - "words said in passing, shards of birdsong, a glint of breeze, kids at play, the intake of breath" - interspersed with his thoughtful, McGuire-esque guitar responses to these sounds. It might look like a rather corny combo on paper, but the results are in fact quite moving, Freund's plaintive strums and drones coming over like intimations of mortality amid the sheer aliven… Read more
Dense noise and corrosive drone-rock from this Chicago trio, albeit tempered by a sophistication of structure, dynamics and melody that marks them out from the million other aspiring skull-crushers out there. The first four minutes of ‘Dort Ist Der Weg' are sheer black metal aggression, nowt but a wall of grotty overdriven guitar and some incomprehensible screaming buried deep in the mix, but thereafter a stately acoustic guitar riff enters from the wings and the drums take over, building quickly and intensely from standard post-rock andante to blistering blast-beat climax.… Read more
Marvellous and multi-tiered avant-pop from NYC's Mirror Mirror duo, following their debut album and FRKWAYS experiments with a daring ten track exploration of strange, psychedelic structures and cryptic lyrics. Notably, the album was recorded with two different sets of producers, yet for all it's diversity there's still a strong sense of cohesion thanks to David Riley's distinctive vocals together with Ryan Lucero's melodic imagination. One half was conducted with producer Chris Coady (Beach House, Gang Gang Dance, Zola Jesus) who apparently helped "realize an expansive sound Mirror Mi… Read more
A bit of grandstanding romanticism from Scotland's finest, with sweeping chamber instrumentation favoured over guitar shredding. 'Get To France' is an unreconstructed bit of neo-classical music, though it has something of the sinister, occult cabaret vibe of Coil and Kreng about it too. 'Hound Of Winter' pursues a nice vision of country-soul, all downhome acoustic guitars, twinkling pianos and harmonica; when the strings enter from the wings, it's easy to see this as the Mogs' response to the time-honoured American orch-pop tradition, from Jimmy Webb on through to Jim O'Rourke. 'Drunk An… Read more
Another excellent outing from Move D on Workshop, quite possibly his best and most diverse yet. The A-side is one of those insinctively jazzy numbers he specialises in, working in a distinct Afro-rhythmic lilt with bobbling marimba-like patterns around sensually tingling strings and light-headed guitar licks. Lush! B-side finds a more muscular House groove powered by chunky Toms and seductive chords corralled with an unmistakable expertise, and tips out to a down-slow Boogie soul joint in his deeply charming style. Very sweet. Tipped!
Killer collaboration between two revered programmer/composers, "A spontaneous, oddly rhythmic, slightly twisted summer storm of a hit." These two eleven minute+ tracks occurred during Mark Fell's visit to Vienna in june of 2011 and captures the two masterminds in playfully freeform but groovesome mode. Clocking in at just under 14 minutes, 'Kubu' is a rare instance of Mark Fell on a track with "live" sounding drums, tumbling in jazzy, motorik syncopation around abstract, kneaded electronics and what sounds like Radio 4 playing in the background. 'Zikir' again works with brushed, jazz… Read more
Radiq returns with three tracks in a warmer, jazzed-up and minimal House style for Musique Risqueé. Like his op.disc and Philpot 12"s, we perceive a richer sense of soul and organic texture here as opposed to the clicky mnmlsm of his earlier releases. It's clear to hear in the deftly layered keys and percussion of the title track and the spacious freshness of 'Pharoahe', while the clipped bass contours and sharper Tech House finish of 'Stolen Moments' finds a functional mid-ground between his old and new approaches.
Proper, mean-assed Slow Techno and Acid House from the one they call Redshape... With the pistoning stabs and highly irregular bassline pattern on 'Son Of A...' it feels like the masked one is on the brink of losing his head, but with innate skill he manages to keep his machines under control, serving one of his meanest, most delirious tunes to date in the process. Flipside, 'Kraken's Game' is a typically stealthy Redshape number, evading radar detection with ground-skimming minor keys chords and a muscular engine of electromagnetic percussion cloaking a subtle, but deadly dancefloor effect. Heavy.
Amazing archival release from Light In The Attic, presenting the multi-faceted work of cult South Korean guitarist, singer, songwriter. producer and arranger Shin Joong Hyun. Shin really is a one-off, and it's uncertain to what extent his colorful biography is the result of canny myth-making. Still, it's an irresistible story: beginning his career entertaining at a U.S. army base, he discovered LSD, introduced his home nation to psychedelic rock before being censored by the state. His music is all over the … Read more
Coming across like a weird hybrid of Dirty Projectors, Tom Waits and Susanna and the Magical Orchestra (really), ‘Strange Mercy’ is the third full-length from St. Vincent (aka Annie Clark). It certainly wasn’t what I was expecting either, with the critical (and most likely commercial, although I don’t have numbers in hand…) success of ‘Actor’, I wrongly assumed that Clark would ditch all her avant leanings in favour of some kind of post-Feist Levis fest, and that’s not even close to what we have on ‘Strange Mercy’. Rather Clark has honed her songwriting skills and allowed her imagination… Read more
Well I never expected to see these tracks appear again, and it’s a pleasure to see them available once more. Those of you with some advanced knowledge might know that Taylor Deupree (he of 12k fame) cut his teeth crafting minimal techno under a variety of different monikers (Alphabet Flasher, Prototype 909, Human Mesh Dance). Of course this was so long ago that minimal techno (as it is now, at least) didn’t even exist yet, but the rabid 4/4 pulse was clearly still beating somewhere inside of him as he flexed his chops for a sequence of 12”s on the Audio.NL label in the early 00s. Those of us… Read more
Rick Wilhite digs reeeeal deep for the second set of Vibes tracks with a stunner from Theo Parrish and treat from Ricardo Miranda. Theo's 'When I'm Gone' draws sustenance from rooted Blues and folksy, spiritual jazz to work up a proper heads-down houser. The kicks pummel with an age-old throb descended from gospel and timeless African music while his arrangements develop and bloom with an untouchable grace and intuitive touch. Just as you'd expect from this man, really! Miranda's 'Urbanism' on the flip offers a solid deep house drive through inner city terrain with a cool and swagger you're not going to find in 99% of the minimal-gone-deep that's around today. Tip!
‘Gangsta’ was easily my pick from Tune-Yards’ acclaimed ‘Whokill’ album which appeared earlier this year, and now it’s getting the single treatment it deserves. While some might still struggle with Merrill Garbus’s sandy delivery and hiccupping lyrical tics, nobody can argue with the hooks and genuine post-punk attitude on ‘Gangsta’. Even more interesting though is that the remixes come from Beastie Boy Ad Rock and turntablist extraordinaire Cut Chemist. Ad Rock is on form at the minute and his squelchy downtempo mix somehow brings to mind mid-90s Warp era electronica, while never losing its r… Read more
'Audible Approaches' is an ambitious and deeply sentimental project initiated by Israeli/German imprint C.Sides with a worthy agenda: they asked ten artists, including members of Efterklang, Khan, Gold Panda, Glitterbug, and Brandt Brauer Frick to "…create a humble contribution toward making this a better place through audible means." Of course, the effect remains to be seen, but they undoubtedly gathered some lovely music on this compilation. Each artist was requested to make a piece between ten and fifteen minutes long, resulting in five pieces per disc. Hi… Read more
This two-hitter of remixes comes as a tidy taster of Warpaint’s killer LP ‘The Fool’. The all-girl LA quartet have garnered plenty of attention touring with The xx and Zola Jesus, and ‘Undertow’ might be their best tune to date. Here we find mysterious producer Night Plane (aka William Raucher) stretching the original into a hypnotic eight plus minutes of transcendent New York house music. Letting the deadpan vocal he manages to conjure up boozy images of clubs been and gone, and channels post-punk without resorting to the usual ‘angular’ clichés. On the flip we get a sleazy version fro… Read more
I have to admit I’ve missed Iso68. Florian Zimmer and Thomas Leboeg’s charming instrumentals might not have been gone for very long, but their effortless warmth is a trusty constant in the contemporary music scene, and even this short single is worth rubbing your hands with glee over. It’s not breaking any boundaries for the duo, but their focus and simplicity is exactly what sets them apart from any ‘post rock’ they may have once been confused with. ‘Summer of Seven 6/7’ brings the most vital parts of the ailing Weilheim scene to the surface; the glitch-laden rhymic push, the near-dub … Read more
Sunday, 04 September 2011
The producer of the crucial 502 drop 'Shawty' - lean, moody and starlit garage-techno at its finest - decamps to Ramp Recordings for this stinging 4-track EP. You never really know what you're going to get from Teeth, except for the fact that it's going to be at once crisp and dubbed-out to all f*ck, and sure enough this 12" is all over the place, in the best possible sense. 'Frequencies' opens the ceremony tentatively, creating a captivating ambience out of little more than jeep-wobbling subs and eldritch vocal moans, one which sets the tone for 'OJ', a thumping garage roller br… Read more