Thursday, 05 May 2011
You've got your take your hat off to Gang Gang Dance. In a short space of time they've gone from being the terminally sloppy darlings of the Brooklyn art-psych underground to something approaching pop stars, and without any particular compromise on their part. Sure, hardcore fans will always miss the incarnation of the band that unleashed the lysergic mayhem of God's Money, but it was a hard heart indeed that wasn't warmed by 2008's Warp offering, Saint Dymphna, which saw the band organise their jumble of influences into some kind of order (even managing to make a guest turn from Tinchy Str… Read more
The tireless Bureau B dig out and dust down another gem from the Roedelius catalogue for a top-quality reissue; this time it's Momenti-Felici, originally released in '87 on Virgin's Venture imprint. It's notable for its contributions from saxophonist Alexander Czjzek, which when combined with Hans-Joachim's breezy keyboard chords on 'Guten Morgen' inevitably put us in mind of Vangelis. It's one of HJR's most charming and organic records - beginning with the clustered (no pun intended) piano arpeggios of 'Aufgewacht', which has a similar rural fantasia vibe to, say, Penguin Cafe… Read more
The tireless Bureau B dig out and dust down another gem from the Roedelius catalogue for a top-quality reissue; this time it's Momenti-Felici, originally released in '87 on Virgin's Venture imprint. It's notable for its contributions from saxophonist Alexander Czjzek, which when combined with Hans-Joachim's breezy keyboard chords on 'Guten Morgen' inevitably put us in mind of Vangelis. It's one of HJR's most charming and organic records - beginning with the clustered (no pun intended) piano arpeggios of 'Aufgewacht', which has a similar rural fantasia vibe to, say, Penguin Cafe O… Read more
Bold and quite brilliant debut album from Bristol's Hyetal. Following largely unmissable collaborations with Peverelist and Shortstuff for Punch Drunk and a handful of unique 12"s, 'Broadcast' pushes the parameters of dubstep to immerse in vivid VHS soundscapes equally inspired by the ebullient Midi-funk of Games, the tension of John Carpenter soundtracks and the blazing-heart pop of Prince. While the Purple influence has always been explicit in his twitchy, Linn-like drum sounds, it's the inspiration he draws from the others, in lieu of typical 'step memes, that makes this album an immense and quite … Read more
The dark side has never been more in vogue and heavily populated than it is right now, and you could be forgiven for wondering if another album with a title like Black Earth is something you really need in your life. But take it from us: there’s real weight and authenticity to Implodes' invocation of evil and occluded energies. Hailing from Chicago, it's difficult not too see them as part of the city's post-rock lineage, and they share that scene’s godfathers’ rare ability to harness and corral seething, raging guitar noise into deeply textured and nuanced walls of sound. On the face of it, their … Read more
"When talking about Ska Music one group of musicians whose name always comes to the forefront of the conversation are The Skatalites. Formed around 1965 and named originally after the Soviet space satellite which was big news at the time and with a little help from band member Tommy McCook, making a play on the characteristic 'Ska'sound made by the guitar when following the 'after beat' of the music. The band would have a name to go with its distinctive musical style. The group had honed their skills by playing under various guises around Jamaica in numerous 'Hotel Bands'. When the big So… Read more
Sleepingdog is the collaborative moniker of Belgian singer-songwriter Chantal Acda and hallowed drone-God Adam Wiltzie of Stars of the Lid. 'With Our Heads In The Clouds and Out Hearts In The Fields' is their third album together, and probably the most successful blend to date of Acda's introverted songs and Wiltzie's instantly recognizable drones. They manage to rope in a couple of collaborators too in the shape of Touch artist and cellist Hildur Gudnadottir and violinist Chester Diamond, and this orchestral lilt adds just the right amount of lev… Read more
At this point it's hard to separate Odd Future frontman Tyler, The Creator's music from the hype that has come to surround him in the few short months preceding this album's release. His weirdly charismatic, cartoon personality has probably overshadowed his music, and you can be sure that there are plenty more people who know his face (and shorts) than have managed to get through the whole of his sprawling, controversial debut, 'Bastard'. He's an enviably smart kid mind, and though he's only twenty years old (a point that is triumphantly shouted loud and proud in any editorial scrawl about the… Read more
Endearingly angular and individual art-pop/punk from two bands rated enough by the Upset The Rhythm institution to share their latest Underground Series split. Housed in a unsettlingly weird picture sleeve and inner, both sides contain a garage-raw brand of punk truths. Spin Spin The Dogs' four tracks are quintessentially of an English post-punk lineage, built from skewed guitars and drums played with an intelligent and wry humour, and asserted by singer Vincent Larkin's deadpan delivery. London's Please trio take the other side, giving a confection of tightl… Read more
*Includes a download coupon for entire album redeemable from the label* Secret Stash seem to be shaping up like an American answer to Finders Keepers, and follow suit with this great collection of Iranian '70s Funk and Soul originals. All these songs were created during Iran's cultural renaissance prior to Ayatollah Kohmeini's imposed anti-western policy circa 1979 when studios were burned and many of its artists exiled. But, as the Ayatollah knew all too well, these artists had already created some badass funk, mixing Farsi and English lyrics with typically western instrumentation … Read more
Following the widely acclaimed 'Two Dancers', 'Smother' is Kendal band Wild Beasts next attempt at the mainstream, and luckily they have managed yet another full-length without properly succumbing to the mainstream. Their drive is as propulsive as ever, and the electronic pop sheen that graced 'Two Dancers' is back in full force, almost taking them into Cold Cave's coveted nu-wave zone. The Beasts always had a sense of indie-rock about them though, and their distinct Britishness really stops them from placing two hands on the current cold wave fetishism. There are real British songs here, and whi… Read more
Following the widely acclaimed 'Two Dancers', 'Smother' is Kendal band Wild Beasts next attempt at the mainstream, and luckily they have managed yet another full-length without properly succumbing to the mainstream. Their drive is as propulsive as ever, and the electronic pop sheen that graced 'Two Dancers' is back in full force, almost taking them into Cold Cave's coveted nu-wave zone. The Beasts always had a sense of indie-rock about them though, and their distinct Britishness really stops them from placing two hands on the current cold wave fetishism. There are real British songs here, and while… Read more
Barry Lynn's fourth album for Planet Mu effectively sees him disengage with Dubstep and embrace the esoteric strands of Jazz, Techno and Electronica which always richly informed his music. It's no surprise really, given that his previous album 'Arecibo Message' and singles on Kinnego Records have been moving towards a finer balance of electro and acoustic instrumentation for the last few years. Worry not though, he's not lost his head up his arse with over-egged "experimentalism", the 13 tracks of 'The Dissolve' are still definitively Boxcutter, but now rubbed with that same pseudo lo-fi aesth… Read more
Two bracing Drumfunk explorations from Paradox heralding his forthcoming 'Ramifications' LP. A-side 'Antilogy' opens out with searching, widescreen atmospheric pads and and heavily compressed drums before lurching into a full-on percussive battery. Flipside 'Black 69' has taken our fancy, running tightly tucked junglist syncopations with a feral but ultimately controlled febrility for the technical steppers. Ace.
Arriving armed with warm praise from Pitchfork and Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino (who called 'em "the best band ever"), No Joy make a debut entrance on the expertly aware Mexican Summer label. The original duo of Jasmine White-Glutz and Laura Lloyd (now expanded to a quartet), make dizzying shoegaze pop redolent of the classic touchstones - MBV, Lush, Sonic Youth - but with a jangle and slightly demented charm quite clearly of their own. They've achieved a wonderfully airy, ethereal sound without becoming too morose, finding a crux point between melancholy pop and a restrained but angsty guitar vi… Read more
Stagga made a barnstorming entrance with some nutty singles on Rag 'n Bone and Rossi B and Luca's Rudeez label in 2008. Since relocating from South Wales to Berlin he's honed a devilish style of warehouse-warped HipHop and Dubstep fusions displayed on 'The Warm Air Room'. After lulling us in with the bong-eyed 'ip-'op of 'Is This The Future', he coolly alternates the narrative pressure between hyper-bassed head-nodders such 'That's When I Jacked It' and 'The Black Hole', to stumblin' steppers like 'Prehistoric UFO Rhythm' and the Zomby-like bleepy bobble of 'Original Misty'. Mad stuff. We've n… Read more
Monday, 02 May 2011
Mordant Music present their 2nd 'Variables' compendium, including a striking MMix of Autre Ne Veut's 'Soldier' and original material by Sii and Ekoplekz. It's gotta be said, I'm a massive fan of Autre Ne Veut, and the Mordant reMMix injects it with some psychotomimetic substance to see it stagger around like a spiked indie kid at 6am in a dirty warehouse rave. Just the ticket! Meanwhile, Ekoplekz follows his widely acclaimed singles and tape pack with two deep fried electro-dubz: the churning arabesque 'Organite' and the killer Sun Araw-styled, barely-tethered… Read more
NHK yx is the solo project of Kouhei Matsunaga, one half of the deadly Japanese production duo NHK with Toshio Munehiro (you may remember their two recent-ish 12"s of ascetic techno for Raster-Noton and Important Records). Having released his debut album on Mille Plateaux yonks ago, Matsunaga has since collaborated with Merzbow and, more recently, with Mika Vainio and Autechre's Sean Booth on last year's terrific Telepathics Meh In-Sect set. His new LP for Skam (who seem to be enjoying something of a renaissance in the wake of that VHS Head album) is an absolute delight, taking his deep… Read more
'What Have We Learned' is one of the most anticipated LPs from the deep Techno quadrant this year. Rabih Beani's debut album arrives five years after those first head-turning releases on his Venice-based Morphine Records as Morphosis (also, later as Ra.H), and although he's only released about 1 or 2 records per year since, he's become a standard bearer for the esoteric and rarified tradition of analogue cosmic techno. His music is suffused with a sophisticated mediterranean melancholy, likely coming from his Lebanese heritage and current Italian locale, and connecting with an expe… Read more
Desto has been fairly quiet since his Oneman-lauded 'Disappearing Reappearing Ink' side on Ramp Recordings. He returns to the label with 'Glass Clouds', another icily melodic but Subbass-warmed and slinky skanker. 'Stay Strong' is yet more minimal, but doffing a cap to Burial and Zomby with zig-zaging synthlines and acres of precipitous space. Fellow Finn, Late chimes in with his own version, buckling the beats at the knees for a staggered Dilla-bump and working the melody with crispy Pole-like texturhythms.
Keysound enter the summer strapped with a run on Balistiq Beats ruffer roots cut 'Yardman Riddim', featuring version by Riko, Badness, Jamakabi & Killa P. The east end production duo are probably best know in their ends for grime productions graced by the likes of Trim, Wiley and JME, but they take a different tack this time out, hitting a sound somwhere betwixt grime, dubstep and dub reggae. Pick yer fave… BIG!
*The four tracks reissued here were exclusive to the seminal Relics album release and this is the first time they've been available on download formats. All four tracks are landmark techno pieces and considered to be among Derrick May's best output - comes in a matt varnish, die cut sleeve on a one-time run of 1000 copies only* Transmat and Rush Hour present a reissue of four timeless Detroit artefacts originally included on the Relics compilation. With the exception of a few cheeky booties, the tracks have been out of print since the early '90s, appearing here as one premium 12" for the 1… Read more
Jamie xx reroutes Adele's 'Rolling In The Deep' somewhere far cooler with an ace remix . The man-of-the-moment lifts Adele's vocal from the Paul Epworth production and settles her into a killer space oscillating between Diwali riddim-style claps and bumpy 4/4 slowhouse, keeping any melodic interventions super subtle to let the vocal really take root and dominate proceedings brilliantly. Surefire tip!
Absolutely classic album from Atom Heart in his LB guise - the best covers album ever?
Following a prolific run of releases since his debut for Styrax Leaves in 2005, Sven Weisemann collects himself for a sublime debut album proper on Mojuba's Wandering sub-label. Those releases displayed a tremendous breadth and adroit touch for a producer of his experience, incorporating elements of modern classical with minimized dub, deep house and Detroit techno, proving him to be an estimable character with a visionary sound in the crowded ranks of contemporary deep electronica. With 'Xine', Sven has created "an imagined journey through all elements of life", twenty tracks unified by an e… Read more
John Tejada, a man of too many pseudonyms to mention, comes to Kompakt with two melodic techno efforts. 'Unstable Condition' balances robust jack patterns in the mix against a richly colourful light display of piquant tones and drowsy bass, hitting a groove somewhere between Mathew Jonson and Kassem Mosse. 'The Living Night' is more uplifting, pushed by straight 4/4s and warming the atmosphere with a vintage, Kompakt-sounding melody that could only come from years of experience.
Dial step out of the dancefloor groove for a hot minute (or 40, as it happens) with two longform solo guitar drone bits by a member of Phantom Ghost and Tocotronic. Dirk Von Lowtzow's 'Tod In Theben' was created for Angela Richter's eponymous theatre production and features two glacial drone compositions in the vein of Barn Owl, Jim O'Rourke or Kevin Drumm, but maybe with a lighter feel, more manicured feel.
Fresh off the back of his split with Anstam, Phon.O unleashes his first solo single in four years! The former Detroit Underground and Shitkatapult contributor has switched wholesale to a breathlessly fluid swing sound on 'Slavemode', complemented with wide-eyed trance chord progressions for that sumptuous Burial/Submerse/Roof Light effect. 'Abbey Road' is more driving, urgent, and heads-down, pivoting off strafing snares and propelled by fat square bass stabs.
Souterrain Tranmissions' scouring of the US underground has born considerable fruit in recent years, the German label bringing us key releases from Zola Jesus, Marnie Stern, CocoRosie and Moon Duo. Its latest signing is EMA, erstwhile frontwoman with Gowns, who unveils a debut album of real class and assurance. From its title you might be expecting some self-flagellating goth gear, but what you get is unreconstructed indie-rock at its most atmospheric and penetrating. 'The Grey Ship' begins in a reverb-heavy, lo-fi style and then, just as you think you've got a handle on it, there's… Read more