Wednesday, 27 October 2010
In his notes for this record, Swans frontman and Young God label boss Michael Gira says: "To me, it's obvious Toth is animated with the same spirit that's moved through Willie, Waylon, Merle, and Hank." High praise indeed, but perhaps not quite as outlandish as it might initially seem. Having spent the early part of his career vacillating between lo-fi singer-songwriter records and sprawling improv outings with The Vanishing Voice, Wooden Wand (aka James Toth) has built up an impressive if erratic catalogue over the past few years, and Death Seat might just represent the peak of his output t… Read more
New to Jack White's Third Man Recordings is Tennessee-dwelling songwriter, "shreditorialist, unlicensed metaphysician, and polymathmagician" Daniel Pujol, who eschews the more customary Nashville leanings of the label with two blasts of underground rock & roll that owe much of their sound to garage-punk and Sonic Youth. 'Black Rabbit' stirs up memories of Love As Laughter in their prime, while 'Too Safe' could pass for one of No Age's finer songs, were it not so nicely recorded (Jack White takes the reins as producer).
This is a collaborative project that brings together members of Comet Gain and Crystal Stilts with guest appearances from Gary Olson of Ladybug Transistor and Hamish Kilgour of The Clean. Recorded last year in Brooklyn, this session breathed life into a host of originals penned by Comet Gain's David Feck as well as covers of songs by Vic Godard, The Chills, Dead Moon and Len Bright Combo. Teaming up with this bunch of hip Brooklynites was clearly a good move for Feck and his cohorts - the material sounds great and their presentation within the reverberating confines of Crystal Stilts' universe brings them right up to date.
Thursday, 21 October 2010
Subeena further develops her technoid post-dubstep sound on 'Neurotic', backed with Egyptrixx and Ghosts On Tape remixes. There's something of a bowing reggaeton flex to 'Neurotic', which Subeena really makes her own with the addition of a distinctive vocal accent. 'Wishful Talk' follows, focused on deep droning subs and rolling techno rhythms, again with her own vox. Egyptrixx takes this cut closer to the centre of the floor with bulky swing-jackin' rhythms and swooping bassline and Ghosts On tape dance around the matter with a cracking Broken Beat refix. One for fans of Ikonika, Altered Natives, Aramac, or the Night Slugs sound - recommended!
Brooklyn band Small Black rank alongside Washed Out as the leading lights of the chillwave movement, having given the ludicrously billed genre one of its key anthems to date in 'Despicable Dogs'. New Chain is the band's debut album, and it marks a distinct increase in the fidelity stakes since the release of their eponymous EP: the productions are full and colourful, delivered with far more recording clarity than their earliest dispatches. In fact, while the slightly woozy, gauzy quality of old is present to some degree, there's an unveiled mid-'80s worshipping crispness to a track like 'Sear… Read more
A double LP retrospective of the pioneering acid house label WAU! Mr Modo, curated by its founders, The Orb's Alex Patterson and Youth, of Killing Joke fame. The first two discs compile a selection of the label's key early releases from artists such as STP Twentythree, Eternity, Delkom, Paradise X, Sun Electric, Mystic Knights and, perhaps most famously, Zoe, whose 'Sunshine On A Rainy Day' gave the label one of its biggest hits. Patterson features too of course, and the very first disc begins with a never-before heard demo version of The Orb's classic 'Little Fluffy Clouds'.
Rolling in off two collabs with fellow Bristolians Komanazmuk and Appleblim, Deca Rhythm present Arkist's solo debut proper. 'What Do I See' is a smart introduction, cruising out on 4/4 techno steppers patterns with super clean, trance-tinged chord progressions and buffed synthline contours. Flip over for the leaner, and in our opinion, deadlier, 'Out Of The Sun', arranging deft and punchy 2-step rhythms with a glacial sense of space and unhurried groove, primed for sharp and clean mixing with your Submerse, XXXY or Duffstep cuts.
Fourth release from Headhunter's Transistor label, rolling heavy with two tracks from DJG. 'Time Is The Fire' shackles curling tribal drum rolls into a loping halfstep pattern with rugged slashes of junglist bass and a darker electroid breakdown. On the flip, 'Escape Pod' is a dreamier roller built with dainty dub chords and warmest subbass pressure.
The third single from their Tuning Echoes album, 'Norman's Eyes' finds Mock & Toof dispensing another dose of angular dancefloor pop. In addition to the weird and infectious original mix, there are reworks from Massimiliano Pagliara and Prosumer; the former stretches the track out, incorporating a firm bleeping bassline and washes of synth strings and vocal dissolves, while the Prosumer version serves up a kind of primitive, cryptic house track that absorbs some nicely judged midi piano stabs towards the end.
Rugged Junglist inversion inna Dubstep style from Seven. It's really all about Seven's remix of the title track - itself an version of Tek 9's Reinforced classic - finding that sweet spot between old skool jungle yardcore and halfstep pressure by basically swiping away the breaks to leave bulbous bass and tuff, minimalist rhythms. 'Think About It' follows on the flip with a more standard dread halfstep skanker.
**Now available on vinyl** Electronica maverick Cursor Miner deploys his fourth album, a journey into the lawless frontiers of pop music where just about anything can happen. Oddball opener 'Reject' is what you'd imagine Depeche Mode jamming around a campfire might sound like, while the more circuit-centric 'The Golem Of Bognor Regis' lurches more conscientiously in the direction of an electro influence, whilst also sounding a little like one of Atom TM's many guises in its absorption of chintzy exotica. One of the album's highlights, 'The Man With The Transparent Face' marks a tur… Read more
Wednesday, 20 October 2010
Big tracks from the Edit Select label - Mark Broom and Speedy J step in to remix Gary Beck's ultra-functional killer 'Consumed'. Mark's 'Bang Bang' remix keeps it dry and throbbing, focussed on hugely powerful bassline and arid atmospherics. Speedy J's remix works with a funkier shuffle and flying, filtered and flanged hi-hats with a squiffy subbass-driven breakdown. His 'Straight Faced Dub' is more kinetic, feeding us through disorienting reverb settings and propelled by a welting subbass pound. Serious stuff.
Cleanly refined, deep and minimal Tech-House from Pablo Tarno, following releases as Moforize for the Serialism/Mean/Essential Reload axis. 'On & Off at Buckingham Rd' gives a plush start with heavy rolling subs and involving loops, 'Cramberro' follows on a perky Tribal tip and 'Lift Me Up' goes a shade dubbier. Ekkohaus rounds out with the dub loosened and shuffly remix of 'Martini Bianco', probably the strongest track here.
Off-the-charts no-fi tape-haze drawl from Birds Of Maya man Mike Polizze on Woodsist, that finds the guitarist, songwriter and noise-monger penning some seemingly fearsome pop songs whilst under the influence of seriously malfunctioning cassette decks. 'Don't Try It', for example, is pretty much a perfect guitar-driven pop song, but it's warped and warbled beyond belief by some insanely screwy production values. In fact, Purling Hiss at times out-does Ariel Pink for this sort of schtick, carving up hair-metal loops for interlude 'Bedroom' before laying down flanged '80s fun… Read more
Monday, 18 October 2010
Courtesy of the same folks who reissued that crazy 'Killing Melody' LP comes an amazing outing from British bluesman Mike Cooper. Since the early 60s he's been active supporting American blues artists such as Jimmy Reed, and Howling Wolf on their UK tours besides earning a crust backing many homegrown R&B bands. He also mastered the steel blues and Hawaiian lap guitar before veering into more avant-garde territory during the 80s, consolidating his various styles into a unique sound. The tracks here were recorded in his kitchen in Rome onto minidisc and transferred to CD, displaying three var… Read more
Last heard on an Upset The Rhythm split release with Liverpudlian collective Apatt, lo-fi synth-rock du Peepholes get a new 12" all to themselves (albeit with two remixes on the B-side). 'Ladder' is an energetic and highly tuneful ninety-second blast of lurid keys & drums fronted by scorched and distorted lead vocals. All the more memorable is 'Lair', which sounds great on the original and perhaps even better in the hands of E*Rock, whose remix lends a more solid foundation to the reedy, arpeggiating organ riffs. Also included is the ace 'Chika', which reappears on the B-side, as performed by Eyes and remixed by E. Moline.
Thursday, 14 October 2010
'Blue Moon' was Moebius's (Cluster/Harmonia) last solo release for Sky Records. It is the soundtrack to a film of the same name, which neither I, nor Asmus Tietchens (who writes the sleevenotes) have seen, but it looks pretty cool from the stills on the sleeve - some kind of late '80s German crime thriller, possibly. Anyway, this is the only instance of Moebius writing a film score and as such it's defined by certain parameters which mark it from the rest of his work. The eleven tracks were created to fit the timing of the scenes, and are generally shorter, measur… Read more
**Marbled Purple Vinyl** Atmospheric slow disco and Balearic styles from Tal. M Klein, with remixes from Hardway Bros and DJ DRM. 'Without Her' errs close to the IDIB sound of tape-warm, early '80s analogue disco, also included in a more Latinized 'Cosmic Boogie' remix. Ont he flip Hardway Bros give a groovin' proto-House version and Brooklyn's DJ DRM spins out a neater, poppier mix.
Rolling, chords-driven Tech-House from Samuel H. Simpson, backed with a streamlined dubtech remix from F. We won't dwell on the original, because the remix is so much better - adding churning subs and bodylicious syncopations to bouncing dub chords in F's well-defined style. Heavy.
Remastered from the original tapes, Double Cut is the second album by electronic music legend Dieter Moebius and bassist Gerd Beerbohm, originally released in 1984. For this collection of recordings, the two musicians honed in on the most elemental aspects of their music - in particular its rhythmic constituents. From our current historical vantage point it's not too hard to think of Double Cut as a premonition of what was to yet come in the field of electronic music. As the album develops through 'Narkose' and especially the twenty-two minute epic, 'Doppelschnitt', you get the sense t… Read more
In the sixth annual installment of the world's most essential Dubstep compilation we find refined mongrel killers from Skream, Icicle, Falty DL, Benga, SBTRKT, and Alix Perez. For the dubstep congnoscenti this is like Christmas, Eid, and Hannukah all at once. We're immediately drawn to Icicle's rather outstanding 'Anything', following a flawless 12" on Shogun Audio with quicksilver sci-fi steppers sophistication. Skream is in fierce form too, delivering the soca-tek momentum of 'Rollin' Kicks' as a bold counterweight to his recent pop inclinations, while his production spar, Benga, offer… Read more
This Oakland quartet specialise in incredibly energetic, mercilessly brief punk-pop songs, all recorded under typically abrasive lo-fi circumstances. While the recordings are rough and ramshackle, the instrumental onslaught is ferocious, jolting through these melodic noise forays like a more tuneful, slightly less choppy Melt Banana. Perhaps Deerhoof would make for a better comparison: there are tendencies towards all-out noise splurges, but equally, there's a pleasing intricacy to how the instruments all link up. Relentlessly fun and massively refreshing, Invocation rarely lets up, but there are s… Read more
Numan makes a step up to Planet Mu with four unique examples of his dubstep fusion sound. Raved up releases on Wicky Lindows and Slit Jockey cemented the 18 year olds status as one to watch, and now under the wing of µ we can really see what's happening in his hard drive. The looped flute stabs of the title track bely his early Grime influences but soon morph into a cyber-sino road vibe more akin to Ikonika. 'Photograph' follows with a deep, swaying slice of 'lectronic soul music worthy of someone far beyond his years, before 'Voodoo' juxtaposes Juke-ish drum patterns with Balkan fiddle and … Read more
**Now available on vinyl** The sixth studio album from acclaimed indie rockers The Walkmen finds them relocated to a new home, at the Bella Union label. Considering the band's layout as a unit doesn't diverge terribly far from the indie norm, they've done a fine job of sounding curiously unlike their peers. The opening pairing of 'Juveniles' and ace single 'Angela Surf City' finds the band striking plenty of distance between their lonesome, quasi surf-rock guitars and muscular, bounding rhythm section, which sets out an unusual sonic template for what's to come. Continuing with the album's str… Read more
Radged dance agitators from Youthman and Bulletproof for the harder end of the Dubstep/Breakstep scenes. Youthman's 'Freestyle Maniac' welds B-More style breaks onto pendulous, boulder-shaped 4/4s and ruffed up synthline textures. On the flip New Zealand's Bulletproof go one harder with D&B production values worked into a reinforced Breakstep romper. Goin' on 'Aard!
Louche, mid-tempo, modern disco from Nick Chacona, backed up with a Name In Lights remix. 'Slice Of life' meshes rolling Italo bass with frayed dub swirls at an early evening pace, while Name In Lights perk it up some with sprightly hand claps and a tidy Balearic guitar chop.
Wednesday, 13 October 2010
Both firmly ingrained in the fabric of Nashville life, Lambchop's Kurt Wagner and alt. country chanteuse Cortney Tidwell have reunited for an album that pays tribute to the noble art of the country duet, with a particular focus on the music released by the Chart Records catalogue. Cortney's grandfather, Slim Williamson, ran the Cart label, for which her father, Cliff Williamson, eventually became an A&R man. The family connection is completed by Tidwell's mother, Connie Eaton, who recorded for the same imprint. Kurt & Cortney (blimey) select eleven cla… Read more
Nitro-fuelled rave naughtiness from the T&B camp; Supra1's 'Still Believe' backed with remixes from Brackles, L-Vis 1990, Gucci Vump and The Phantom. We'd recommend drawing for Brackles' sparser, itchy-skipping Future-step remix and L-Vis 1990's Night Slugs special. Gucci Vump's kinda reminds of Kingdom's epic sound, but the original and The Phantom remix are a little too garish. Still, heavy twelve!
Underwater Peoples is one of those labels you can really trust in - everything they've released to date has been quite magnificent, with the likes of Real Estate, Julian Lynch, Tennis, Alex Bleeker & The Freaks and Mountain Man all contributing to their catalogue. This latest long-player on the New Jersey imprint comes from former Titus Andronicus guitarist Andrew Cedermark, who presents an addictive collection of homemade singer-songwriter material and full-blooded, overdriven rock jams. Songs like the wonderful title track (vaguely bringing to mind Nebraska-era Springsteen), the chim… Read more
Tuesday, 12 October 2010
Melodic IDM/Tech-House fusions from Nottingham's Hizatron, a contemporary of Spamchop and the Blunted Robots crew. 'Telescope Dope' operates on the A-side, a hurky-jerky tech-house wiggler with bobbling kicks and surging synthline tricks borrowed from Mnml techno. 'Executive Ball Scratcher' gets a bit groovier, melding twinkling electro-marimba type sounds reminding of Caribou or the Border Community lot, mixed with ruffled Garage House patterns before 'Klondyke' contorts itself into a febrile ball of twitching percussion and discordant, morphing synthlines with a clever arrangement emerging from the chaos.