Thursday, 14 July 2011
It's easy for Roedelius releases to get lost at the moment in the flurry of re-issues and Cluster-related titles, but this little gem is a record that deserves a closer look. It's a brand new album, and here Hans-Joachim Roedelius shows that he's just as handy with the piano as he is with the humble synthesizer. In the Eric Satie mode more recently explored by Max Richter, Goldmund and Sylvain Chauveau, Roedelius exhibits an unexpected subtlety on the keys which lighten these pieces lovingly and pointedly. It's hardly surprising that the name of the album is a reference to the term 'pianissimo'… Read more
Singer is Robert A.A. Lowe (Lichens, 90Day Men, Om), Ben Vida (Town And Country, Bird Show, DRMWPN) and Adam Vida (Central Falls, U.S. Maple). 'Mindreading', the follow-up to their 2008 debut fully embraces digital recording and production techniques under the auspices of Randall Dunn, who's best known for mixing and recording a ton of Earth and Sunn 0))) records. It's a distinct but natural evolution for the group, rendering their uniquely cross-pollinated style of progressive pop and avant-electronics with an organic HD quality.
Gauzy shoegaze loveliness from Echo Lake, following a lush debut 12" from earlier this year. There's only two tracks this time, and they're both really sweet. 'Lovely Day' is the upbeat, catchy number drenched in echo for lo-fi but widescreen effect, and 'Breathe Deep' is a fine homage to Cocteau Twins, powered by slow radiant drum machine patterns and dramatically layered vocals.
Captivating kNew Age "Gnomic" no-fi psychedelia from a Finnish supergroup including Jonna Karanka (Kuupuu), Laura Naukkarinen (Lau Nau), and Merja Kokkonen (Islaja). It appears on the excellent De Stijl records, which should be triggering lights in your head already, while the music within is like the sound of a dream within a dream. The trio have been touring together as Hertta Lussu ÄssÄ since 2005 with a playfully improvised live show, releasing micro-runs of tour only albums with names such as 'The Butterfly Fart Album', and 'You Are Such An [sic] Pretty Sucker', but unless you … Read more
Monday, 11 July 2011
Remastered rerelease of 'Reggae Vibes', female Roots duo the LOVE JOYS first album, initially released in 1981 on the Florida-based Top Ranking label (when it was also entitled Jah Light on the inside labels). It features 10 tunes produced and recorded at Wackies NY, ranging from Lovers Rock Reggae Style and uptempo dance vibes to roots and reality. Official cooperation and re-release program by Basic Channel (Berlin) and Wackie's (New York).
**Volume 1** Basic Channel continue on their mission to re-present the Wackies catalogue in full, both volumes of Reggae Goodies came out around 1977 on Bullwackies' City Line imprint, which celebrated the Wackies HQ, and the NY subway track ending at White Plains Road. They are based on a compilation of 7" a-sides, which had appeared over the previous few years on labels like Versatile, Rawse and Senrab. The original sleeve notes of volume one reflected that 'today, reggae music is reaching its peak and this album is a perfect example of the roots of its success. This an exceptio… Read more
Super 4 tracker from the immaculate Horace - this re-issue combines two twelves. Tribute To Bob Marley was originally released on the Top Ranking International label in 1981, soon after the Wailer's death in May, and provided an outstanding cut on Horace Andy's Exclusively album set issued the following year in London by Solid Groove. The flip side featured Jah Batta's DJ cut Great Super Star, uncredited on the original label. Lingering Spirit offers a completely different mix, first issued in England on the red Bullwackie's label in 1983 (its title more reticent now, after the hundr… Read more
Pinch and Headhunter are picked out for the latest Dubkasm remix session. A-side Pinch delivers a characteristically lean and moody stepper set a House-compatible pace but with all the requisite subbass pressure. Headunter's mix rolls at the same tempo but with craftier nudges and a cracking snare embellishment to accentuate the 'step. Canny moves, check!
"You never quite know what you're going to get from the cult Portland, Oregon psychedelicists, Jackie-O Motherf*cker. Are you going to be in for some deep brain thrombosis space rock? Are they going to prescribe you a dose of some heavily medicated camp re drone? Will they be hitting you with some improvisational and angular free jazz? Will they be traversing the entire planet to bring you some previously unexplored global frequencies? Well, on Earth Sound System, JOMF's 15th album, it's a case of all of this and a lot, lot more. 'In The Willows' starts proceedings off with bank… Read more
Thursday, 07 July 2011
Fresh from appearances on tunes by Julio Bashmore and Round Table Knights, Javeon McCarthy heads up his solo debut, backed with Brey and Phil Coollins remix. Bashmore is on the buttons again, evidently a formula that works damn well, bumping a seductive, electro-flecked R&Bass riddim under Javeon's upfront vocal. If we're not mistaken, the hotly-tipped Brey steps up here for his very first official remix outing, an impressively slick Bass Juker nodding to Jam City but with more dazed synths and unusual kinks.
Lovely new album from Memory Tapes. Dayve Hawk's sepia-tinged early work presaged the hypnagogic pop and chillwave explosion, but for this, his second album proper, he claims to have drawn inspiration from insomnia, social awkwardness and a relationship meltdown. Not that you'd know it just from listening: for all its melancholy undertones, this is an album with a strong, bright pop sensibility; tracks like 'Wait In The Dark' 'Player Piano' are wonderfully hooky and direct, but still sufficiently strange and skew-whiff to reward listen after listen. 'Yes I Know' is just beautiful: with its… Read more
This one just fluttered through an open office window...a reissue of Hans-Joachim Roedelius' six solo piano improvisations from 1986. Touchingly dedicated to his mother, 'Like The Whispering Of The Wind' is a luxurious suite of performances produced at his home and a friend's house in Vienna between 1983-85, and includes 'Beneath Blooming Trees', a cut from a live performance at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London in 1985. Lush.
Minimal mistress, Kate Simko presents her sophomore album through Hello Repeat. 'Lights Out' notably features three warmer vocal collaborations with Kevin Knapp, Brenda D and Franco Di Lorenzo, adding a necessary romance to her sometimes austere brand of mnmlsm. Besides the clinically produced instrumental highlights of 'Last Breath' and the hypnotic 'Cairo', there's also a fine beatless passage of electro-acoustic ambience on 'Machine's Mantra'.
**Limited edition LP - white vinyl** Crushing session from A Storm Of Light recorded in the Latitudes studio late 2009. Most notably, it features a guest appearance from Lydia Lunch and an expanded group line-up including Wolves In The Throne Room's Will Lindsay and singer Zohra Atash. It's also notable for the fact that this is the first Latitudes to feature a musician more than once int he series, with Josh Graham (Red Sparowes/Neurosis) making a second turn after his appearance on the Fallen Black Deer (GMT0:15). In sum, these four tracks make for a fearsome listen, summoning apocalyptic… Read more
Monday, 04 July 2011
Thursday, 30 June 2011
Deft drop from Kidkut landing on Brighton's Well Rounded outlet. 'Get Sum' works on a percussively-driven and piano-heated Funky pivot whereas the Fidget Mix of 'Luvin' U' nods to classic Todd Edwards templates much like Hot City.
Non-standard, roguish House creations from Portugal's ace Photonz duo. 'Lamborghini Funk' is the 2nd release on their One Eyed Jacks label, after last year's brilliant 'Aquarian Ball' romp, and features three skilfully skewed but damn effective DJ tools. That title track is the slowest of the lot, working out some crooked 110bpm swingjack akin to Zomby or Actress, while 'Xabregas' conceals a genuinely potent acid rave riff amidst uniquely finished and shifty rhythm construct. Don't sleep on this one! Flipside is dominated by 'Cascade', again deploying those sheer-finished closed hat… Read more
After a two year wait, Silk Flowers' much anticipated new album finally touches down in the UK (though why its taken literally months to hit these shores we'll never know), and it's a far poppier treat than expected. That's by no means a bad thing. In fact it's a tremendous thing, much enhanced by production from Amanda 'MNDR' Warner of Oakland's Triangle, and neatly reserving Aviram Cohen's distinctive vocals to be interspersed between a body of brilliant instrumental cuts. It would also appear that the clouds have broken on the overcast sound of their eponymous debut and Captured Tracks 12", … Read more
Freakishly good Berlin School electronics from 1979, with a strange and wonderful jazz influence worked into its future-thrusting sequences, all mixed by Harald Grosskopf of Synthesist fame. This is the kind of shit that people like Oneohtrix Point Never and Roll The Dice bug out to in their downtime, and in some cases rip off wholesale. Hard to pick favourites, but the fusion-y title track is a doozy, like Weather Report if Edgar Froese and Peter Baumann had joined their ranks. 'Magooba' is proper proto-techno, distorted guitars spurting across time-melting analogue arpeggios, while the 'Sequentia… Read more
"In the year of the saxophone, Santa Barbara's Gardens & Villa give us the flute. Gardens & Villa bang out instant classics, each crystal clear and immaculate, but no less sweeping or languid. Their debut is a youthful exploration of just how opulent and pop starkness can go."
Highly accomplished LP of skinny house reductions from the mighty Tobias Freund, new on Ostgut Ton. Freund has been at the forefront of advanced Berlin electronic music for aeons now, chiefly as collaborator with Max Loderbauer in Sun Electric and NSI., and as engineer/co-producer for the likes of Margaret Dygas and Ellen Allien, but it's a real treat when he flies solo. His sporadic dancefloor-aimed releases as Tobias. are always tip-top - his 'Street Knowledge' is one the illest house cuts of the past decade - so an album's worth of the stuff is very welcome indeed. These new producti… Read more
Indie dance-pop groovers from the Tigersushi bossman, including remixes by Discodeine and Dye. Solo singles from Joakim are few and far between these days, but always well judged to the mood of the modern 'floor. Thusly, 'Forever Young' comes prepped with an 'Extended Afro Mix', drawing a percolating and classically hypnotic synthline over offset, rolling groove while his vocals elegantly sail through with a sprinkling of joyous Animal Collective vibes. The original is briefer and pop sharp, while Discodeine's mix is a more minimal disco variant and Dye's built for a steadier elation.
*2 x 12" with 12" x 12" insert* 'The First Phase' collects six of Mark Pritchard's Nu-Jazz productions from 1998-2004. Styles range from crisp downtempo opener 'The First Phase' through atmospheric breakbeat styles on 'The Otherness' to the electro-bossa shimmy of 'The Switch' and his remix work for Stereo 'Stereo People' and his rare rework of Azymuth's 'Carambola'.
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.
Primed for immediate detonation, a dynamite alternative update of the 'Pow' riddim from Dexplicit his-self, featuring vocals from Big H, Nig Narstie, Durrty Goodz, Dot Rotten, Black The Ripper & Shizzle. The riddim, also included as an instrumental, is much tougher than the other pop-inclined version doing the rounds right now, and perhaps better suited to all the skeng chat. Fierce stuff.
Monday, 27 June 2011
The Very Best aka Esau Mwamwaya, Radioclit's Etienne Tron and Johan Kalrberg curl out the an infectious single heralding their next album. 'Super Mom' is a big catchy Pop number with joyful African vocals over glazed Euro synths and bubbling rhythm made for ecstatic impact ont he floor, or try-and-sing-a-long effect at home. The real killer for us is the flipside, morphing Esau's vocals into a syrupy, screwed drawl over club-owning, Kwaito-style bounce 'n bob rhythms.
Thursday, 23 June 2011
"'There Is No God' / 'God Is Love' is the new single from Bonnie 'Prince' Billy and features the musical talents of Emmett Kelly, Ben Hall, Pete Cummings, Peter Townsend, Billy Contreras, Cassie Berman and Rachel Korine."
Not Cluster, or Kluster, but Qluster, a project which sees Hans-Joachim Roedelius collaborating with Onnen Bock rather than his usual partner Dieter Moebius. Bock is a musician and sound installationist who has played in Zeitkratzer (the avant-garde ensemble known for their work with the likes of Carsten Nicolai, Keiji Haino and Terre Thaemlitz), and he's been exchanging musical ideas with Roedelius since 2007. Existing fans of Roedelius needn't worry: his gorgeous analogue keyboard improvisations are very much at the core of Fragen, but Bock really brings fresh character and emotions out of them by s… Read more
Soundspecies are Henry and Oliver Keen, a production/DJ/performance unit with a list of fans including Ras Kwame, Gilles Peterson and Mary-Anne Hobbs, and sessions at BBC's Maida Vale under their belts. 'Bamana Project' was inspired by Oliver's musical pilgrimage to West Africa in 2006, and more specifically by the sounds and people of Bamako, capital of Mali. With assistance from drummer Dave De Rose (Moloko, Mark Ronson, Mulatu Astatke), they serve four tracks of heavily rhythmic, cheerfully melodic and tight-but-loose grooves, all recorded live (with some post-production). If you picked up the Owiny Sigoma Band album this one is for you.