Monday, 01 February 2010
Originally released as a tour-only release, circulating in 2005, Inside The Shadow now gets a proper reissue from Dominick Fernow's Hospital Productions. Here, C. Spencer Yeh (operating under his Burning Star Core moniker) unleashes purely organic soundscapes, carved out of violin plus bells and other such sonorous textures. The album's quarter-hour title track eschews electronic sound sources in favour of gruff, overdriven string drones and a turbulent cacophony of jangling metals. It all sounds somehow ritualistic, even devotional in tone, perhaps carrying an air of gamel… Read more
While he'll still carry around the tag of 'noise musician' in some quarters, Carlos Giffoni's recent creative trajectory has seen him venture ever deeper into the realms of more formal and austere minimalist electronic composition. Severance follows on as a natural successor to 2008's Adult Life, prompting comparisons to the analogue stringency of Mika Vainio and Pan Sonic at their most experimental whilst also doffing a proverbial cap to academic 20th century synthesizer music. The album is broken up by a series of concrète miniatures, the first of these being 'Severance I', which com… Read more
A brand new album from one of the most revered and acclaimed ambient composers of our time, Vivian & Ondine takes the form of a single, three-quarter hour piece, once again constructed from William Basinski's signature style of tape loop manipulation. While the narrative ebb and flow is largely pinned to a single tape fragment, Basinski merged a further "dozen or so" that sunk into the mix in just the right way, adding to the aura of fluctuation and continuous evolution that's so essential to this man's work. The central theme that repeats and quivers its way through the track soun… Read more
Upferrit club tackle from Riva Starr, providing a whole album of jaunty tech-house mutations for Made To Play, including the terrific 'Dance Me' featuring Grime MC Trim! It's hard not to giggle or have a jig to the gypsy pump of lead cut 'I Was Drunk', and 'China Gum' is definitely one of the better bits of electro-house bounce that we've come across on our travels. 'Bulgarian Chicks' meanwhile pulls out the oompa-brass over Diwali riddim style claps, and the killer single 'Dance Me' invites Grime MC Trim to play with Chicago housing toms and a wriggling acid lines. Funky chicken time.
Posthuman are invited onto the Cursor Miner-curated Dub Plate sessions for Uncharted Audio, contributing a lovely deep techno track backed with a Cyan 341 remix. Its quite a change of pace and style for the Posthuman duo, but successfully so, cruising through electric indigo atmospherics on a subbass driven house rhythm, part Convextion and part Louis Guillaume. On the flipside Cyan 341 ups the tempo to drive through a slightly mutated landscape with vistas of heavy industry off to the side of slightly contoured European highways.
The incredibly industrious Chihei Hatakeyama cues up yet another sublime collection of introspective ambient electronics, having given us his previous effort (the no less delightful A Long Journey, on the Home Normal label) as recently as last week. Ghostly Garden combines new sound sources with older, recycled files that have appeared in prior releases, yet Hatakeyama's music retains its freshness, achieving that rare sense of stillness and depth that only the very best exponents of micro-drone come close to. First track, 'Shadows' is typically seductive, transmitting hypnoti… Read more
Keeping it in the family, Rick "Poppa" Howard, father of Tevo, steps out with four classically trained Chicago house joints from the very deepest end of the gene pool. Featring some arrangement assistance from Tevo 'I Won't Lay Back' comes in three alternate versions using those uplifting keys and soul-aching vox over burbling 303s and raw drum machines in classic Larry Heard style. 'About Fourteen' finishes on a more melancholy vibe, still driven by muted 303s and roland drums but with melodramatic strings and keys.
Soul boy Al Kent is at the wheel for a proper boogie down trip through 18 rare disco joints on BBE. It's a 70's-centric selection, giving new life to choice dance cuts from a tonne of names we're not familiar with, which is surely the whole point of the project? Black Rock's dubby and psyched out 'New York City Bump' is a total killer, with the same to be said for Ross Carnegie & Co's jazz-funk infected 'F Minor Disco', while more soulful styles come on Patricia White's 'Cosmic Disco' (where do I recognise that bassline from??) and The Midas Touch hit gold with 'The Nightlife'.
Strut Records pay dues to the pivotal NYC producer and studio owner Bob Blank with the first retrospective of his career, selected by Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton. 'Blank Tapes' traces the history of one disco's foremost architects and a figure who remained at the centre of the NYC music and arts scene with his independent studio of the same name. After playing guitar on of the first disco records, Jimmy Sabater's 'To Be With You', his newly opened studio became a port of call for the Ze records bunch, from August Darnell to Lydia Lunch, and a… Read more
Megan Remy's U.S. Girls returns with a sophomore album for Siltbreeze, launching an assault on all standards of taste and decency within the sound engineering community by serving up one of the scuzziest, most smudged out, inky records of the moment. When first I heard Remy's work (last week), mentions of Grouper immediately sprang to mind, and that's certainly still the case, but while Liz Harris tends to use her auditory smog as a coquettish veil for whatever beautiful ephemera lies beneath, Remy always seems to converge on the rawer side of lo-fi tape treatments and vocal manipulation. "Th… Read more
Stephen Hitchell rekindles an old flame with a return to his Vivace alter ego accompanied by Jackie Kay. The sublime '2 Need U' makes a marked departure from his numerous other projects with a prominent, slapped-electric-bass line lending a piquant sharpness that isn't often there with Hitchell's material, plus chopped vocals hinting that this project embraces the capabilities of the CPU more than his hardware sessions. The Soultek 'Quick Fix' mix dubs up a heavy grooving Chicago house version, while on the flip Brendon Moeller gives a bright and breezy dub-house ver… Read more
'Apropos' first appeared on CD via Curious Music, a label set up specifically by Iowan kosmiche fanatic Russ Curry for its release. It arrived nearly ten years after 'Curiosum', their previous album together, and is the first document of their near-wholesale switch from analogue to digital studio set up - of course they had both worked independently with digital equipment thru the '80s, but never together. Thusly it's got a markedly different timbre to their previous work, but the vibes are still very much Cluster; an inquisitive meld of 4th world/new age signifiers and classical sensibi… Read more