Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cooly G - Landscapes / It’s Serious

1. Landscapes (ft. Simbad)
2. It’s Serious (ft. Karizma)

Cooly G re-enters our orbit on two stellar collaborations with House allies Simbad and Karizma. Looking every bit the futurist dancefloor queen on the sleeve, it's a stone-set reassurance - if needed - of her unique prowess when it comes to sumptuous yet rudely sensuous rhythm vybz. With Simbad on 'Landscapes' she scopes a stunning scene of tucked, Gurley-esque drum programming and astro-planing synth washes graced with her silk-cut vocals. It'd almost be a disrespect not to shut your eyes when dancing to this. Equally 'ardcore debted, and ruffer still 'It's Serious', produced with Karizma, locks off a more dextrous, ruthlessly cut-up tribal shake-down, pivoting off pointillist drums and steppin' on landmine bass plosions. In other words: f**kin' lethal. Highly recommended!...www.boomkat.com

GoldFFinch - Red Mask

1. Red Mask
2. Ovale

Funked-up ElectroTech from Belgian duo, Goldffinch, rolling right off their 'Dirtybird' drop for Airflex Labs. 'Red Mask' is an intensely taut and locked-on piece of dancefloor science, carving a fluid, frictionless groove from rolling, inter-locking synthlines and robust bass synced for bodily gratification. 'Ovale' is more reserved, working a jacked-up Electrobass sound powered by metronomic subbass throbs and stickier percussion. Test these on a big rig for optimal satisfaction...www.boomkat.com

Monday, October 31, 2011

Danny Brown & Black Milk - Black and Brown

01 Sound Check
2 Wake Up
03 Loosie
04 Zap
05 Jordan VII
06 Dada
07 WTF
08 Lol
09 Dark Sunshine
10 Black & Brown

To say that Black and Brown, the new collaborative EP from Detroit indie-rap producer Black Milk and shock-rap loose cannon Danny Brown, feels "half-finished" would be over-generous. Covering 10 tracks in a scant 22 minutes and bearing a forehead-slap obvious title that probably existed before the project did, Black and Brown is hastily assembled, thoughtlessly sequenced, and conspicuously truncated. There are two songs, back to back, titled "WTF" and "LOL". Four songs don't exceed the two-minute mark. The overwhelming impression is that the EP exists because an assistant stumbled across an "in-progress" folder of mp3s on Black Milk's desktop and leaked the results.

And yet, Black Milk is one of indie rap's best and most reliable producers, and Danny Brown, fresh off his brilliant XXX, is riding a white-hot creative streak: which means that Black and Brown is 22 hastily assembled, thoughtlessly sequenced minutes of vivid beats and incredible rapping. Black Milk's beats are boilerplate Black Milk-- post-Dilla instrumentals hitched to hard-knocking drums-- and Brown brings none of the songwriting skill or emotional range that marked XXX, with its tales of stripping hot water heaters from abandoned houses and harrowing accounts of substance abuse. It's a low-stakes affair, aiming at nothing more than head nods, but it induces some deep ones.

Brown tamps down the keening high edge in his voice, with the result that he sounds more like Pharaohe Monch than usual. Lyrically, he mostly coasts, but even on autopilot he remains absurdly quotable. "Morphine metaphors make you do the shoulder lean," he spits on "Loosie", and the line is a finely tuned mini-marvel of alliteration and craft. Few rappers are as creatively disgusting as Brown-- his missing tooth is "perfect for lickin clits," he informs a potential partner-- but even his shock raps hit their target, more often than not, through some deft bit of linguistic three-card Monte: "Used to make out with runaways in crack houses/ Now I run away from making out with brick houses," he leers on "Loosie". Got that?

Black Milk's production, meanwhile, continues his career-long argument for the power of immacuately prepared comfort food. His work gathers a lot of strength from old-fashioned flipped samples, but the sound he wrings from them is compellingly tactile, as if the samples were made of some dense-but-yielding material only he knows how to manipulate. His drums have so much character and texture they almost seem to hit twice; "Zap"'s bone-jarring backbeat lands somewhere indistinct in headphone-space, over a feebly quavering mini-choir of chipmunk-soul voices, and it sounds like you could reach out and run your fingers over it. Milk switches the beat up every one or two minutes, like impatient channel flicking, which both reinforces the beat-tape feeling of Black and Brown and handily keeps it from getting boring. The whole EP is over seemingly as soon as it begins and is the definition of a simple A+B proposition, right down to its name. But it works, and if it means there's a more considered full-length from these two on the way, even better...www.pitchfork.com

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Real Estate - Days

1 Easy
2 Green Aisles
3 It's Resl
4 Kinder Blumen
5 Out of Tune
6 Municipality
7 Wonder Years
8 Three Blocks
9 Younger Than Yesterday
10 All The Same

For a mix of songs made at different times, Real Estate's self-titled 2009 debut was impressively consistent. Given how well the New Jersey band fused disparate moments, you had to figure they could reach even greater heights were they to craft their next set all at once. They did just over the last winter, and the result is indeed a step forward. Cleaner, sharper, and just plain stronger, Days is like a single idea divided into simple statements-- a suite of subtle variations on a theme.

Its coherence sounds remarkably effortless, as if stringing together catchy gems is as easy as, in the words of one song, "floating on an inner tube in the sun." Interestingly, Real Estate actually acknowledge this sense of ease. The opener is bluntly titled "Easy", and references to carefree simplicity abound. As singer/guitarist Martin Courtney puts it, "If it takes all summer long/ Just to write one simple song/ There's too much to focus on/ Clearly there is something wrong." But the band's celebration of the uncomplicated is less about how Days was written than about the beauty of life seen in retrospect, especially young life in small towns.

Like the stirring scenes of suburban Texas in Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, these songs find meaning in daily mundanities-- in houses and gardens, phone lines and street lights, names carved in trees and leaves pressed by footsteps. "All those wasted miles/ All those aimless drives through green aisles," sings Courtney wistfully. "Our careless lifestyle, it was not so unwise." That sentiment was evident on the band's debut, but here they've honed it to its essence.

The music bears a simplicity to match. These aren't minimal songs by any means, but the layers of cycling guitar, rolling rhythm, and gentle echo are always understated, more about conveying feeling than showing off the band's considerable chops. There's also a smooth efficiency in these rich tunes. No note feels wasted, and nothing happens at the wrong time or in the wrong place. Much of this precision comes from guitarist Matt Mondanile, whose nimble playing adds color to each song's shape. It's most noticeable in the insistent "It's Real", but I'm even more taken with his sonic smoke rings in "Out of Tune", and how his shimmering guitar evokes sunrays mingling through branches and sparkling off pools.

That idyllic tone permeates Days, and in lesser hands could deprive it of tension or variety. But Real Estate have such a knack for classic-sounding melody that every song quickly engages on a musical gut level. It's a quality their music shares with the jangly hooks of early R.E.M., the breeziness of later Pavement, and the garage twang of the Fresh & Onlys. But their closest kin are New Jersey forefathers the Feelies. That group's undying ability to mine repeated chords and Zen phrases is matched best by the album's closer, "All the Same", a looping study of how night and day are merely sides of the same coin. Lasting over seven minutes, it might be Real Estate's first epic. But it's as subtle and unassuming as anything on Days-- more evidence from this band that great music doesn't have to sound hard to make, even if it is...www.pitchfork.com

Rangers - Pan Am Stories

01. Zombies (Day)
02. Zeke's Dream
03. Sacred Cows
04. John Is The Last Of A Dying Breed
05. Bronze Casket
06. Jane's Well
07. Zombies (Night)
08. Luncheon Ghana
09. Khyber Pass
10. Podunk Baal
11. Conversations On The Jet Stream
12. The Mule
13. Bad Flan

After clocking up huge plaudits from Fact Magazine, The Wire, SImon Reynolds and Altered Zones for their 'Suburban Tours' release, Rangers arrives on Not Not Fun with his 2nd album proper, 'Pan Am Stories'. The mind-child of one Joe Knight, Rangers deal in especially evocative soft-psych charms which share a clear love of '80s MOR culture with James Ferraro and Ducktails. It's reflective of the music most Americans (we'd imagine) have absorbed by some kind of as-yet-unidentified radiopathic osmosis; the soul-absorption of thousands of criss-crossing radio transmissions beaming 24 hour soft rock and cable stations emitting unending re-runs of mood-manipulating TV theme music and vibes. But most crucially Joe's music has filtered only those most warbly, hooky parts and sifted out the cloying earnestness of so much coffee table Americana, yet retained its sun-smacked and soulful intentions. And it's the sly, wry glaze of electronics and occasional overblown noise which gets warped in transmission that does it for us, an empathic hypnagogic affect which translates to European tastes very well. If there's anything to distinguish this album from the last, there's perhaps a more blown-out grunginess, not in terms of fidelity, which is actually higher here, but just a burnt twilight tone which feels moodier and more autumnal than say the last Ducktails, and like a pop refined version of Ferraro's immense 'Last American Hero'...www.boomkat.com

Water Borders - Harbored Mantras

01. Tread On Them
02. What Wiwant
03. waldenpond.com
04. Bad Ethos
05. Even In The Dark
06. Feasting On Mongeese
07. See Bank
08. Miners
09. Antechamber

Another compelling entry from Tri Angle Records, who've cleverly snapped up the frightening debut album by Water Borders. With 'Harbored Mantras' the San Fran-hailing duo of Amitai and Loric use the rhythms of contemporary ritual dance music to resurrect the occult soul of Coil and their cabal in unique and succinctly pop balanced new forms. A couple of mixtapes - both self-released and for the brilliant DIS magazine - display their influences quite clearly, working in a circle of influence ranging from Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson's eerie Threshold HouseBoys Choir to James Blake's chamber pop and the rhythm schematics of Doc Daneeka or DJ Elmoe, and it's fair to say this album sums up all of those and more. The opening palette cleanser 'Tread On Them' crosses swords between gamelan, narcotically-blunted House and a deeply uncanny channelling of Jhonn Balance-like vocals, whose inspiration looms large into the stunning 'What Wiwant', practically scratching at the hairs of the neck with vocal anguish over the tuffest 'ardcore subs and clammiest ambience. We could happily play this on repeat this until the national grid shut down. That chilling vocal continues to pervade deeper in, with 'Bad Ethos' summoning depth charge Bristolian Dubstep in a tableau of sneering choirs and poltergeist shrieks, and to sour effect on 'Even In The Dark' and the 'Feasting On Mongeese', beautifully sustaining the aura of affected gothic torment. In the closing rites, this poise is held to elegant effect in the sepulchral space of 'Seed Bank', MIDI sax bleat circling abyssal 808 bass hits, and to exotic infusions of 'Antechamber' leaving us to dreams of grotesquerie even Pasolini would be proud of...www.boomkat.com

Ursula Bogner - Sonne = Blackbox

01. Sonne = Blackbox
02. Jubiläum
03. Nach Europa
04. Trabant
05. Or Dor Melanor
06. Uranotypie
07. Strahlungen
08. Der Chor Der Oktaven
09. Illusorische Planeten
10. Permutationen
11. Shepard Monde
12. Signalfluss
13. Homöostat
14. Refrain für einen Formanten
15. De Planetarum Influxu
16. Liner Notes

Germany's answer to Daphne Oram or Raymond Scott - or more likely an elaborate wind-up perpetrated by Jan Jelinek, on whose Faitiche label her "archive" recordings sporadically appear - Ursula Bogner is back. Whether or not it's Jelinek behind the Bogner corpus (and I think by now we know the answer to that), there's no disputing the consistently brittle beauty, dizzying complexity and easy charm of her radiophonic constructions. You certainly get a lot of Bogner for your buck on Sonne = Blackbox, with 15 tracks showcasing her brand of primitive electronic composition and tape manipulation. On 'Or Dor Melanor', 'Shepard Monde' and the title track, Broadcast and Stereolab immediately come to mind, while the eerie synthetic ramble of 'Trabant' is like the Ghost Box crew relocated from Belbury to Berlin. There are killers throughout: 'Signalfluss' and particularly 'Uranotypie' with its combo of droning, minimal electronics and Teutonic spoken voice, sound like vital cold wave (cold war?) artefacts, while the playful, impish quality of 'Der Chor Der Oktaven' and 'Permutationen' (before it lapses into a kind of slanted techno groove) invoke the BBC Radiophonic Workshop's John Baker and Delia Derbyshire. If there's a dead giveaway that this is Jelinek's work through and through, it's the heaviness of the sub-bass and the attendant dub-head's sense of space, both hard to imagine in late 60s and early 70s Germany. Whatever you want to believe, make no mistake, this is a truly delightful collection of off-kilter electronic music and quite simply a must for all dedicated heads...www.boomkat.com

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Nils Frahm - Felt

1. Keep
2. Less
3. Familiar
4. Unter
5. Old Thought
6. Snippet
7. Kind
8. Pause
9. More

There's a very literal reason for the title of Nils Frahm's new album, Felt. He wanted to play the piano during the dead of night, without disturbing his neighbours, so he layed thick felt in front of its strings to muffle the sound. Rather than being frustrated, he unexpectedly found himself enchanted by this dampened sound, and it opened up new compositional as well as playing possibilities for his inquisitive mind. The resulting work is varied in style but it all has a close, confessional, nocturnal quality that's beautifully wrought and expertly recorded: from the Reich-a-like layered arpeggios of 'Keep' and 'More', to the wistful, jazz-tinted Glassisms of 'Familiar', there are plenty of grand harmonic gestures, but these are nicely
interspersed with, and balanced by, eerie ambiences like 'Pause' and 'Less'. Really lovely music for the arriving Autumn days, and recommended for fans of Machinefabriek, Isan and other masters of subtly romantic electro-acoustic sonorities...www.boomkat.com

Soul Clap Social Experiment 002

1. Lee Foss - Foxy
2. James Teej - Galaktik Option
3. Miguel Campbell - Kiss & Tell
4. Nightplane - Parallel Lines
5. Teeloo - Sooo Oooh
6. Soho 808 - Just To See
7. Jonny White - Rainsong (Rainbeats)

Soul Clap are a DJ/production duo from Boston, which is notable only because Boston would probably finish somewhere between third and fifth in a straw poll of "least techno-y cities in America." Nonetheless, Cnyce and Elyte have been stirring there for several years now, releasing a handful of singles and edits as well as venturing out on a few tours. Social Experiment 002, both the first commercially available mix the duo has produced and the first mix on Art Department's Jonny White's No. 19 Music label, should kickstart a busy year for Soul Clap. (Social Experiment will be proceeded quickly by a DJ Kicks mix Soul Clap created with New York up-and-comers Wolf + Lamb.) While Soul Clap are arguably the most visible electronic artists from Boston in some time, one thing they are not is a harbinger of a new or exciting style or scene; their success as DJs (and producers/remixers) is predicated on an elegant, elastic mix of house and techno.

Soul Clap are also not classicists: Social Experiment mostly features tracks from young East Coast and European producers. They're kin to DJs like Seth Troxler and Wolf + Lamb in their sly funkiness and preference for making folks dance over making a statement. Social Experiement is not an exercise in momentum, studied repetition, or steadily building toward a climax. They favor quick-striking, vocally oriented tracks over tension and release. Nothing here qualifies as an anthem: even the most melodic tracks tend to be self-contained, or seem so in this context. To borrow a sports term, Soul Clap "play within themselves," never reaching for catharsis or exultation. The mix picks up quickly-- the brief cuts that dominate the early minutes are smart-- and stays tense and alive throughout.

That might make Social Experiment sound easy or even pandering, but Soul Clap avoid those trappings. There's plenty of challenging, off-kilter music here. It's just that Soul Clap are particularly adept at spinning it into warmhearted, bright-eyed jams. SECT's "H.T.A.D." is a lurching acid-bass track but any lingering salty aftertaste is exploded by Michael J Collins' whooshing, Kraut -y "Schizotypal" (and then extending the bliss with Night Plane's "Parallel Lines"). They swing the reverse trick too, leading Benoit & Sergio's silky pop-house track, "Principles", blindfolded into Tanner Ross' "4 U", a choppy, psychedelic churn. Clashes like these provide the tiny combustions that keep Social Experiment rolling.

Social Experiment is a mix without an obvious agenda. It sounds like it wants to make me dance, but it's not pushy. It's not a label showcase or a genre exercise; the only two summary descriptions I can really pin on it are "fresh" (most artists here are relatively new to the scene) and "North American" (for its creators and their choices: Art Department, Benoit & Sergio, Jimmy Edgar, Lee Foss, Seth Troxler, and Nightplane, among others, hail from this side of the Atlantic). All of this makes Social Experiment 002 unlikely to represent anything more specific than "Hey, Soul Clap: pretty good!" a year from now, but asking for anything more from a mix so contented and hardworking seems in poor taste...www.pitchfork.com

James Blake - Enough Thunder EP

1. Once We All Agree
2. We Might Feel Unsound
3. Fall Creek Boys Choir (With Bon Iver)
4. A Case Of You
5. Not Long Now
6. Enough Thunder

Brand new six-track EP, an addendum of sorts to James Blake's widely-acclaimed debut album. Most notably 'Enough Thunder' contains his sought-after 'Fall Boys Creek' collaboration with Bon Iver, and his cover of Joni Mitchell's 'A Case Of You' recorded for Zane Lowe's Radio 1 show, but for us the best moment is found in the Footwork-inspired fusioneering of 'We Might Feel Unsound'. It also includes three other new songs 'Once We All Agree', 'Not Long Now' and 'Enough Thunder'...www.boomkat.com

Tickles - Call 4 Backup

1. Call 4 Backup
2. Da Growler
3. Crater Face
4. Zombie

Surefire Funky 'floor shakers from the Tickles production unit. 'Call 4 Backup's a bit of a beast, working the simple but deadly formula of Dutch Rave synths and infectious Funky swing, while 'Da Growler' tucks into a more percolatin' sort of dutty ruffige, and 'Crater Face' piles in with roguish bleeps and hardcore drum programming for the get down. Tip for the Funky fiends!...www.boomkat.com

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Lando Kal / Stillcold Mysteres - Rhythm (Version) / Opinwide

01. Lando Kal - Rhythm (Version)
02. Stillcold Mysteres - Opinwide

Fresh from wrecking us with that Electroid monster for Rush Hour, Lando Kal slices up 'Rhythm Of The Night' on a wicked 808 tip for Stillcold. The first in their white label series features the Lazer Sword dude ripping the main motif over cracked woodblocks and busy bass hits somewhere between Girl Unit-style Hip Hop rave and juke muzik, strictly for the dance. Flipside Stillcold's Mystéres project debuts with an iced fusion of hypercolour boogie swing and throbbing Techno, and most importantly, it works. Mastered at Berlin's D&M for optimal impact...www.boomkat.com

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Daphni - Ne Noya / Yes, I Know / Jiao

1. Cos Ber Zam - Ne Noya (Daphni Mix)
2. Yes, I Know
3. Jiao

Jialong is a new label operated by Daphni aka Caribou. Like his Resista label it's also an outlet for his rewired dancefloor edits, but there's perhaps a more synthetic bias to these three aces. On the A-side is a remix of Cos Ber Zam's 'Ne Zoya', snatched from the 'Afro Beat Airways' compilation and shook down with bumpin' subs and cascading radiophonic synths to deadly effect. Flipside, it's his 'Yes, I Know' ace from that classic RA mix, playing rough with biting Funk-Rock samples and screwed acid lines for a proper ass-whipping 'floor mover, while 'Jiao' cuts loose to an exotic fusion of kosmic synth spirals and Far-Eastern melodies with a psych-techno burn. Limited edition, be quick!..www.boomkat.com

Monday, October 3, 2011

Kuedo - Videowave EP

01. Take Off (Remix)
02. Starfox (Illum Sphere's Re-fox)
03. Glow (Clark Remix)
04. Shutter Light Girl (Heterotic Remix)
05. Oh

'Videowave' marks the conclusion of phase 1 in Kuedo's oeuvre. Backed with remixes from Illum Sphere, Clark and Heterotic, he presents two brilliant new tracks conceived and executed between 2009 and 2011. His 'Take Off Remix' was (air)borne as a remix of a Slugabed track, but the original schematics were so far from the original that's it ended up here, and its techy arpeggios contrast quite sharply with his other new track 'Oh', whose flighty slowfast programming and sweeter melody almost feel like they're from a different artist. On the remix tip, Illum Sphere offers a symphonic rework of 'Starfox' full of cascading synths and bulbous bass shapes, while Clark redraws 'Glow' in a staggeringly vast 3D sphere and Heterotic takes 'Shutter Light Girl' for a beautifully romantic 808 trip...www.boomkat.com

Emika - Emika

01. 3 Hours
02. Common Exchange
03. Professional Loving
04. Be My Guest
05. Count Backwards
06. Double Edge
07. Pretend
08. The Long Goodbye
09. FM Attention
10. Drop The Other
11. Come Catch Me
12. Credit Theme

The eagerly anticipated first album from Berlin-based, Bristol-hailing Emika, who's impressed over the past two years with singles and EPs that occupy the kohl-eyed space between electronic pop, dubstep, techno and minimal house, meaning she's equally at home with the Ostgut Ton crew (whose Funf comp she provided field recordings for) as with Ninja Tune, who are issuing this fine LP. There's a darkly sultry edge to all the tracks here, perfectly evocative of messed-up wee hours in some Kreuzberg basement, and the best tracks really ramp up and exploit that future-noir vibe. At times there are echoes of Emika's West Country forebears Portishead ('Professional Loving'), while 'Be My Guest' is a Subloaded/DMZ-friendly stepper with an injection of feminine pressure, and elsewhere the combo of heavy subs, spaced out snares and emotionally ambiguous vocals is pure Various Production. For all these reference points, Emika has cultivated her own sound here, and she keeps it tight throughout, refusing to deviate from the near-gothic moodiness but experimenting with rhythm and texture all the while. A bruising, seductive debut that pulls off a rare and remarkable trick: opening up dubstep to pop influence without pandering to the requirements of the mainstream...www.boomkat.com

Oren Ambarchi & Jim O'Rourke - Indeed

1. Indeed A
2. Indeed B

Following their work together on remixes and in trio with Keiji Haino, 'Indeed' is the first proper full-length collaboration between Oren Ambarchi and Jim O'Rourke. Recorded in Tokyo, January 2011, the piece takes form as one long electroacoustic meander with both artists operating at the more meditative and reserved end of their respective abilities and disciplines. The label compare the session to "...the warm post-minimalism of composers like Alvin Curran, David Behrman and Luciano Cilio" and "...the collective textural and melodic personality of their respective solo albums filtered through the highpoints of the Lovely Music catalogue", which we'll happily concur. Side A opens though a passage of frictional electro-acoustics before calmly coursing along rich, humming subbass tones joined by quietly rippling marimba-like rhythms and dissolving into languorous drones and deft spatial detailing. Side B continues to meditate on these drones before more playful, high-pitched dissonance carries to the end. Marvellous...www.boomkat.com

Pole - Waldgeschichten

1. Wipfel
2. Wurzel
3. Wipfel Dub

Good to have you back Pole, where've you been lad? Germany's foremost practitioner of crackle-infused dub atmospherics seems keen to emphasize his music's reggae DNA here: the organ melody of 'Wipfel' sounds like the hook from a Jahtari digi killer put through the Berlin blender. 'Wurzel' is similarly bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, but with a fiercer skank on it, and a more minimal, focussed sound design. The highlight for many though will be Pole's own dub of 'Wipfel' - in which he hollows out the original, filling the space with extra sub-bass pressure and some rude echo FX. It's the sound of a master at work and demands to be heard LOUD...www.boomkat.com

Gemmy - Too Far / Da Dodgems

1. Too Far
2. Da Dodgems

Future-fresh Dubstep-Boogie weight from one of Bristol's most colourful producers. The one to check is obviously the massive 'Da Dodgems', finding a sweet spot between jerkin', late '90s Timbaland-style R&B and rolling Dubstep-Boogie like few others we could think of. The flipside 'Too far' is a cool and kinda unusual piece of halfstep funk, but trust us, you simply need this for the B-side!...www.boomkat.com

Goth Trad - Babylon Fall EP

01. Babylon Fall (ft.Max Romeo)
02. Falling Leaf
03. Itinerant Priest
04. Sublimation

The Far East assassin drops his most substantial work yet for Deep Medi. The lead cut features legendary JA vocalist Max Romeo on one of Goth Trad's sweeter riddims, but there's still enough menace and bass weight to hold it down in any of the bigger dances. The rest is back to meaner business, from the hard rolling Techno vibes of 'Sublimation' to the fluctuating double time flex of 'Falling Leaf' and the Coki-style, wile-out rave pressure of 'Itinerant Priest'...www.boomkat.com

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Blue Daisy - The Sunday Gift

01 Distance (Once Upon A Time)
02 Firewall (feat. Anneka)
03 Fallin Prelude
04 Fallin (feat. Heidi Vogel)
05 Descend
06 Shadow Assassins
07 Psyche Inquiry (feat. Hey!Zeus)
08 Raindance
09 Only For You (feat. Stac)
10 Spinning Channels (feat. Anneka)

Impressive debut album from Blue Daisy, sidestepping post-dubstep, post-FlyLo trip-hop cliche and fashioning his own distinct sound, one that's surprisingly full of harsh textures and hard angles. There are some lovely moments on here; we're instantly drawn to 'Spinning Channels', featuring amorphous vocals from Anneka, which begins in synthetic drift-psychedelia mode before organising itself into a nicely nocturnal, dubbed, boogie-house groove. Heidi Vogel's vocals are also treated and cut up to the point of abstraction, a wail of humanity echoing through the cavernous reverb of 'Fallin'. The Stac-sung 'Only For You' is the only outwardly pop number, and even that's weighed down by a palpable veil of melancholy. It's really refreshing to hear a contemporary debut from the beat-head sphere that's unafraid to wallow in emotional ambiguity and, at times, out-and-out darkness. Engrossing stuff, and definitely worth checking...www.boomkat.com

Jasmina Maschina - Alphabet Dream Noise

1. Scott Free
2. Noise is Noise and Feelings Are Feelings
3. Forgotten Wood
4. Sun
5. Retrospective Hallucination
6. The City is Moving Like a Map
7. Crying Dream
8. Invisible Rays
9. Marry Me
10. Community
11. Nina's Feelings

Jasmina Maschina is Australian Jasmine Guffond, and ‘Alphabet Dream Noise’ continues her voyage into shimmering avant pop territory after 2008’s killer ‘The Demolition Series’. Through noisy field recordings, chattering guitars and her own gorgeous vocals we are led on a journey that is neither pop music, rock or drone – and like fellow Aussie Sanso-Xtro she manages to emerge with a sound that defies easy classification. There’s a little bit of Empress, a little bit of Hood, a little smattering of Slowdive, a hint of Stina Nordenstam – but nothing in ‘Alphabet Dream Noise’ sounds nostalgic or retro. Rather this is an album with both feet in the unsettling misery of 2011, and one that isn’t afraid to represent this with music just as woozy as its setting. Gorgeous stuff...www.boomkat.com

Friday, September 30, 2011

Andy Stott – We Stay Together EP

1. Submission
2. Posers
3. Bad Wires
4. We Stay Together (Part One)
5. Cherry Eye
6. Cracked

'We Stay Together' is a brand new doublepack from Andy Stott, a companion piece of sorts to the radical inversions of the 'Passed Me By' EP released earlier this year. Its predecessor left many heads dazed upon impact - in the best possible sense - and these six tracks, produced in its wake, amp the pressure to throttling degrees. Entering the digital compression chamber of 'Submission' you become a willing participant, before the lights are cut and you're forced to adjust to the humid atmosphere and bruising, muscle-contracting darkroom throb of 'Posers'. Suitably initiated, the EP's fearless centrepiece 'Bad Wires' plunges into full on mud-party mode, dropping the tempo while intensifying the kinaesthetic funk with slow, clusterf*cked syncopation until you're drowning in synthesized oil and crushed-glass textures. Fully submerged by 'We Stay Together (Part One)' time becomes elasticated like worn VHS tape, calling to mind Jamal Moss and James Ferraro soundtracking a rave in a sodden, flooded sauna, before inescapably tumbling into the sheer black hole of 'Cherry Eye' and left to the slompy jack of 'Cracked'. Blatantly, we rate this record massively, and although it's not for everyone, those looking for a more visceral, intense form of dancefloor pressure would do very well to check in...www.boomkat.com

Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire

1. Dirty Rain
2. Ashes & Fire
3. Come Home
4. Rocks
5. Do I Wait
6. Chains of Love
7. Invisible Riverside
8. Save Me
9. Kindness
10. Lucky Now
11. I Love You But I Don't Know What To Say

After going certifiably loopy on last year's III/IV, a "double-album concept rock opera," the alt-country bard goes for the diametric opposite on this gentle crop of pared-down roots-rock ballads full of fitfully earnest emotions. Lead single "Lucky Now" literally revels in Adams' newfound reformation -- "Love can mend your heart, but only if you're lucky now," he sings with wizened nonchalance atop flickers of piano.And he puts that mature foot forward consistently on this record, from gorgeously spare harmonies with Norah Jones on "Kindness" to the barely audible twangs of guitar on "Come Home." He's purely elegant throughout...www.spin.com

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Korallreven - As Young As Yesterday

1. As Young As Yesterday
2. As Young As Yesterday (Panda Bear Remix)
3. As Young As Yesterday (Girl Unit Remix)
4. The Final Fantasy

Take a moment to honor Swedish Balearic beat-minders Korallreven’s Class A assemblage of talent on their new “As Young As Yesterday” 12″: The track itself features vocals from oft-collaborator Victora Bergsman, and and the extended single boasts remixes from Panda Bear and pinnacle Night Slug producer Girl Unit, he of the world-beating club track “Wut.” You’ve heard Panda’s ambient take; Girl Unit’s is, conversely, more appropriate for bodily movement...www.stereogum.com

Miguel Campbell - Baby I Got It

1. Baby I Got It
2. Something Special
3. Baby I Got It (Richy Ahmed Remix)

House hero Miguel Campbell releases his debut single on the ever-consistent Hot Creations imprint. ‘Baby I Got it’ - a mouth-watering mix of sexy disco-tinged house cuts with a dose of murky business from Richie Ahmed in the remix.

Kicking off the EP, title track ‘Baby I Got It’ is a teasing disco-house workout full of funky bass, and shimmering, cosmic streaks. Miguel’s retro bounce, richly weaved instrumentals and down-low B-line make ‘Baby I Got It’ a compelling introduction to Miguel’s future facing disco strut. Next up, ‘Something Special’ flaunts a sultry R&B vocal infused with a garagey house vibe. Set against a glitterball backdrop, the velvet ripple of “Something special sexy wonderful” coursing through the tide of funk-laden disco grooves just oozes soul and sex appeal. On remix duty, Richy Ahmed brings a dark and dirty edge to ‘Baby I Got It’. Driven by a chugging, druggy groove and warped distorted melody, this is moody tech-house built for after hours...www.piccadillyrecords.com

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Edit Murphy - The Motown Edits Vol. I EP

01. Mercy
02. It's Gonna Be
03. Morning Light

‘Edit Murphy‘ is a seriously cool name and with a name like that, you’ll need to back it up with some good tunage. Luckily, this guy does with his edits of classic Motown tunes.

Edits are not always going to be everybodies cup of tea. However, he has done a great job on these classic tracks. Check his work on Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy, Mercy Me” it makes for some pretty fun and quite hypnotic disco action...www.toomanysebastians.net

Butcher The Bar - For Each A Future Tethered

01. Sign Your Name
02. Bobby
03. Cradle Song
04. Giant
05. Alpha Street West
06. Blood For The Breeze
07. Silk Tilts
08. Sin So Sweet
09. X
10. Cornered To The Cusp
11. Lullaby

Joel Nicholson's first album under the Butcher the Bar moniker since 'Sleep At Your Own Speed' came out three years ago now, and was a triumph of calm, bedroom-produced pop music. Elliott Smith is usually the name that comes to mind when talking about Nicholson's songs, but this time around he sounds invigorated and fresh, and 'For Each a Future Tethered' is a collection of his best songs to date. There is an air of distinct Englishness about his music, and at times when Nicholson loses himself I'm reminded of Nick Drake, which isn't a comparison I'm prepared to bandy about loosely. The songs here feel far more assured than those on his debut, and while there are plenty of fans who will no doubt lament the loss of that bedroom sound, the songs will surely win them over in the end. There is almost an orchestral quality to Nicholson's writing, and while he never goes into Arcade Fire territory, the lilting compositional edge bears favorable comparison to Sufjan Stevens or labelmates Seabear. 'For Each a Future Tethered' is a gorgeous record, and for those of you who revel in unpretentious, summer pop music I can't think of many albums better suited to sitting out on the grass, Clarityn in tow with a pork pie and a glass of Pimm's. Jingle jangle...www.boomkat.com

Sóley - We Sink

01. I'll Drown
02. Smashed Birds
03. Pretty Face
04. Bad Dream
05. Dance
06. And Leave
07. Blue Leaves - Album Version
08. Kill The Clown - Album Version
09. Fight Them Soft
10. About Your Funeral
11. The Sun Is Going Down I
12. The Sun Is Going Down II
13. Theater Island

"Sóley returns with her first full-length, an album full of rhythmic makeshift creatures, of handclaps hidden in the undergrowth, tempting us to join in. The 13 tracks are sometimes incredibly catchy; amazingly quirky at other times: think cardigan-folk from the northern hemisphere, an ocean of stained glasses bopping up and down in the shared apartment's dishwater, leeward in limbo. The result is refreshing in its lack of edginess; think Joanna Newsom minus her harp, or the Casady sisters circa 2004, but then clearly better trained, less crooked. In other words: her voice, those loops moving around like wooden toys, and finally the piano – that's the backbone, the essence of her compositions; at least until some unexpected element appears elsewhere, a rhythmic creaking or the lack thereof, like a hidden Rube Goldberg machine, setting off yet another component, thus paving the way across the threshold and on into the next realm of sound. And thus we keep on sinking, deeper and deeper, until we stand on terra firma once again, realizing that somehow, next to us, above us, around us, a beat is laid out, hesitantly moving along at first, then careering…"...www.boomkat.com

Ben Westbeech - There's More To Life Than This

01. The Book feat. Georg Levin
02. Something For The Weekend feat. by Danny J Lewis
03. Falling feat. Lovebirds
04. Same Thing feat. Chocolate Puma
05. Justice feat. Motor City Drum Ensemble
06. Stronger feat. Midland
07. Inflections feat. Henrik Schwarz
08. Sugar feat. Redlight
09. Let Your Feelings Show feat. Georg Levin
10. Butterflies feat. Rasmus Faber
11. Summer's Loss feat. Rasmus Faber

Reinvention can be tricky. Get it right, and you can become a master of musical metamorphosis like Bjork. Get it wrong, and you end up with David Bowie's's drum & bass period. Most artists trying to scrape their way out of a pigeonhole go for one of two tried-and-tested routes. The first, which we'll "the Mark Pritchard method," is to adopt a different alias for each musical pie you stick your finger in. The second—"the Madonna method"—is to keep your name, but clutch at the coattails of credibility by enlisting the trendiest producers of the moment.

Ben Westbeech has taken both paths recently. Last year's UK funky anthem "Fatherless" by Breach—which took research to reveal was indeed the work of the Westbeech—was a far cry from the acid jazz-tinged 2007 album Welcome to the Best Years of Your Life. And now we have There's More to Life Than This, the second album to bear Westbeech's own name but one that bears just as little resemblance to his debut. Welcome's blue-eyed soul has been shown the door. The new Ben Westbeech has been given a house makeover by producers like Motor City Drum Ensemble, Henrik Schwarz and Rasmus Faber.

But does this new change of direction work? Yes, by and large...even if the "The Book" and "Something for the Weekend" initially make you think Westbeech has been reincarnated as Jamiroquai. The polished jazz-funk and daytime playlist disco aren't entirely unsuccessful, by the way. It's just that There's More to Life gets better from then on. "Justice" has the trademark wintry deep house atmospherics of Motor City Drum Ensemble, "Stronger" is a slowly building groove fashioned by Midland and "Inflections" adds speedily strummed Spanish guitar and rollicking percussion courtesy of Henrik Schwarz. Westbeech has chosen his new friends carefully: This sounds like a coherent album rather than a string of collaborations, with his creamy tones—and occasionally clichéd lyrics—providing a common identity throughout.

That identity doesn't seem as convincing or confident as his instrumental alter ego Breach, however. Indeed, you sometimes feel that Westbeech is hiding behind his producers. (Especially given that "Fatherless' proved he has the studio skills to produce something pretty spectacular—and more unique—on his own.) For the next album it'd be intriguing to see him drop the pseudonyms and the hired hands and combine both sides of himself to showcase the "real" Ben Westbeech, whoever that might be...www.residentadvisor.net

Zed Bias - Biasonic Hotsauce: Birth Of The Nanocloud

01. Birth Of The Nanocloud Scene 1
02. Yagga feat. Serocee
03. Do It feat. Dynamite MC
04. Phoneline feat. Rosco Trim
05. Fairplay feat. Jenna G
06. Koolade feat. Toddla T & MdCL
07. Birth Of The Nanocloud Scene 2
08. Trouble In The Streets feat. Mark Pritchard
09. Neighbourhood feat. MC Rumpus & Micky Prince
10. Birth Of The Nanocloud Scene 3
11. Koolnahman feat. Specialist Moss
12. Lucid Dreams feat. Falty DL
13. Night Lovers feat. Sam Frank
14. Salsa Funk
15. Badness feat. Skream
16. All Out feat. Mighty Moe
17. Birth Of The Nanocloud Scene 4
18. Sinner

A guest-heavy new album from the UK Bass music pioneer. The names on show read like a mega-rave line-up from all corners of the modern Bass spectrum, and the sound is equally diverse, yet dripping with crucial Biasonic flavour. Highlights have to be the massive 'Trouble In The Streets' with the man-of-too-many-names-to-mention, Mark Pritchard (ok, well Africa HiTech for a start); the tidy update of his 'Neighbourhood' classic now with vox from MC Rumpus and Micky Prince; a sterling moment with Falty DL on the dainty but rude skip of 'Lucid Dreams'; the Hi-tech Latin mechanics of 'Salsa Funk'; and the rudee ragga-House of 'Phoneline'. It's all tied up with some mad-scientist concept narrative which is a bit daft, but kinda works well for an end-to-end listen...www.boomkat.com

Farben - Xango

1. LesssseN
2. Xango
3. Parada
4. Eroten reiten auf eineN Delphin

New material from Jan Jelinek is always cause for celebration, and ‘Xango’ marks the second outing in as many years for his seminal micro-house project Farben, reactivated in 2010 after a six year absence. On first listen, the four tracks assembled here are on the kind of lo-fi, experimental house tip you'd more readily associate with STL or Jamal Moss, but on closer inspection their surface toughness conceals a depth and an attention to detail that's just staggering, and pure Jelinek: with its primitive palette of playful, vaguely aquatic, ping-ponging sounds, 'LesssseN' could've been made by his radiophonic alter ego Ursula Bogner, while 'Xango' is simply a raw, reduced, mid-paced groove riding acid bass as squidgy as jelly and twice as rude. 'Parada' is the kind of shuffling, sample-heavy but weirdly acousmatic techno miniature this guy's so good at, and closer 'Eroten reiten auf einen Dolphin' sounds like an industrial rave filtered through the minds and gear of David Cockerell's EMS...www.boomkat.com

Dro Carey - Candy Red

1. Candy Red
2. Hungry Horse

Deeply tripped and deadly Avant-Dance music from compelling anomaly, Dro Carey. Since dropping one of last years most un-categorisable and weirdly thrilling 12"s, the 'Venus Knock' EP for Trilogy Tapes, he's been relatively quiet, and it's kinda understandable because most labels are just way too conservative to deal with this amount of madness. So, huge kudos to Ikonika's Hum & Buzz label, for whose forward aesthetic really suits the rhizomatic futurism of this record. His A-side 'Candy Red' is a proper outsider take on Footwork, 808 Bass music, '90s R&B and fractal electronics, hyper-streamed through a Youtube'd and Tumblr'd mind to sound like a total trip. Flipside 'Hungry Horse' is also produced from a uniquely forward perspective, visually evocative of ultra-modernist, sharply contoured architecture, and built from brittle fragments of pointillist Juke percussion, glass-curtain synth pads and rapid-fire R&B vocal patterns, all arranged in blocks like some impossibly unstable lego superstructure. We've waffled too long, just cop it and freak the heck out! Strongly recommended for the futurists!...www.boomkat.com

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rustie - Glass Swords

01. Glass Swords
02. Flash Back
03. Surph
04. Hover Traps
05. City Star
06. Globes
07. Ultra Thizz
08. Death Mountain
09. Cry Flames
10. After Light
11. Ice Tunnels
12. All Nite
13. Crystal Echo

Over the course of only four years, Rustie has already churned through a whole range of different musical forms. Impressively, none so far have felt like missteps. Even as the aquatic hip hop of early EP Jagz the Smack dissolved into the out-there, razor-edged psychedelia of Zig-Zag and Bad Science, the Glasgow-based producer never overstepped the mark into self-indulgent excess. That's largely down to his knack for assimilating new influences into his music without diminishing what's already present, a technique he's distilled down to its essence on debut album Glass Swords.

Glass Swords, however, is undeniably self-indulgent. Effectively the sound of Web 2.0 information overload set to music, it finds Russell Whyte categorically refusing to reduce the breadth of his tastes into a manageable, coherent vision. Instead he simply piles everything on top of each other, often jamming five or six recognisable influences into a single four-minute track. The chemical reactions this process generates are chaotic, exhausting and a thrill to behold, as tiny signifiers of different genres lurch to the surface for a few seconds at a time before being swept away in the rush. The glossy synths and massive drum rolls of Timbaland RnB are present, as is the booming percussion of dirty south hip hop, and buried elsewhere in the melee it’s easy to detect fragments of dubstep, UK garage, classic Detroit techno and trance.

Album highlight Ultra Thizz is among the messiest of these fusions: it distends a trance-like synth riff until it takes on grotesque characteristics, before ramping up the tempo to an almost unbearable level. Through headphones it’s intense enough; its effect on a crowd is little short of electrifying, sending a flurry of limbs skyward as if someone’s passed several thousand volts across the dancefloor.

Like friend and fellow member of Glasgow’s Numbers collective Hudson Mohawke, Rustie’s music can be a little difficult to handle. Like Mohawke’s album Butter, the all-pervasive influence on Glass Swords is prog rock – both in the screaming guitar-style solos that cut though several of its tracks and in its commitment to pure, unfettered excess. Rustie’s vision, though, is far more successful in integrating its consistent elements into a coherent and involving listen. Just as with the rest of his music, Glass Swords shows just the right amount of restraint to prevent total disarray. Even if the album weren’t half as much fun as it is, that feat would be worthy of celebration in itself...www.bbc.co.uk

14 Tracks: Not Not Not Not Fun

1 Maria Minerva – Unchain My Heart
2 High Wolf – Dream Is Good
3 Peaking Lights – All The Sun That Shines
4 Psychic Reality – Elle / Elle Beat
5 Cuticle – Flair
6 Pocahaunted – Riddim Queen
7 Ensemble Economique – Red For The Sun
8 Xander Harris – Tanned Skin Dress
9 Pedro Magina – Shout In Your Face
10 Swanox – Cross The Water
11 Gypsy Treasures – Tadpole Walks Home
12 Holy Strays – Waves
13 Sex Worker – Without You (Couldn’T Be Alone)
14 Deeep, The – Mudd (Grand Am Version)

LA's Not Not Fun is an incredibly prolific label dealing in all manner of outré psych, synth and noise music. Both NNF and their 100% Silk sublabel are lovingly curated by Amanda Brown (LA Vampires/Pocahaunted) and Britt Brown (Robedoor) whose tastes run the gamut of esoteric underground sounds from a rhizome of artists across the globe. With over 250 releases (and counting) on vinyl, cassette, and digital, they've shaped a parallel hypnagogic reality where masticated memes from Dub, '70s psychedelic rock, Kosmische, '80s MOR pop and '90s dance music converge under the protection of gauzy tape noise and distortion. The label's resolutely Lo-fi stance is commendable, but never feels forced. It's more that they represent this scene as it should be, with dilated ears, a sincere sense of psychedelia and implacable intent. In our selection we've largely drawn from their recent diversions into Pseudo-Pop and soundtrack-y themes, featuring many taken from their super-limited cassette releases. OK, yeah, we're a bit jealous of their eternal optimism and über-cool LA disposition, but when the music's this good, we'll get over it...www.boomkat.com

We Barbarians - Headspace EP

01. Headspace
02. The Wait Is Over
03. Stroke By Stroke
04. Strange Overtones
05. Chambray

We Barbarians aren’t particularly original, drawing on plenty of famous sounds from the last 10 years, as well as other, older influences. There’s an opening guitar that reminds you of Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up”, and a final track that sounds like a New Order or U2 composite. These two tracks are the EP’s strongest. “Headspace” jiggles and jangles from that Arcade Fire opening gambit, floating into an affirming, dancing-about-in-your-room chorus that you can hum along to on any day. “Chambray”, again exhibiting a strong chorus, is the first of many instances of the band leaning toward U2. That proves to be a positive asset, as long as the band slows down the tempo, letting David Quon belt out slow, powerful vocal lines.

Even if there is a lack of originality, We Barbarians have produced a very good EP. The sense that they’re part of a “sound” doesn’t matter in the slightest. In fact, it may even be a strength.While it’s easy to pick out some of the possible inspirations for their music, there’s a sense that they’re very conscious of their influences, and, as such, use them respectfully. “Strange Overtones”, for example, takes on something of the Echo and the Bunnymen sound without stealing it. “Stroke by Stroke”, slowed down, might be Vampire Weekend-ish, but again, it’s very much its own song. Given everything that comes with “respectful use,” Headspace takes on a sense of depth that’s quite rare for an EP.

What’s more, everything is incredibly well-produced: clean, crisp, with just the right level of reverb. Everything that happens on these tracks occurs with serious clarity and purpose, both in the studio and in their mining of ancestral power...www.consequenceofsound.net

Depth Affect - Draft Battle

01. A Million Buzzing Locust
02. Unsult
03. Matter Of Tempo
04. Sugar Honey Iced Tea
05. Oil Rig Heli Pad
06. Draft Battle
07. I Guess
08. Dämmerung
09. Ten Devils
10. Club And Maces
11. Rivage Barbare

The french beatmaker have release a new album this summer. In case you don’t know them you better check their previous albums/ep. Especially Hero Crisis which is a great album (featuring Subtitle and Awol One).
Depth Affect

On that new and third album the vocals are almost inexistant. They stick to what they knew the best : electronic loops, heavy bass and a bit of eighties sound (on Matter of tempo). That album is also release on the great label Autre directions...www.mad-hop.com

Martyn - Ghost People

01. Love And Machines feat. Spaceape
02. Viper
03. Masks
04. Distortions
05. Popgun
06. I Saw You At Tule Lake
07. Ghost People
08. Twice As
09. Bauplan
10. Horror Vacui
11. We Are You In The Future

According to Martyn himself, it's a less intimate affair than his first LP, Great Lengths, which he describes as "very personal."

"A lot of the music and the themes behind [Great Lengths] were taken out of my daily life: my sorrows and my melancholy," he says. "For this album, I chose things that are further away from me: the Ghost People theme. There are references to DJing in general. Not the jet-set DJ life, but the old Paradise Garage DJ life, where people want to share and play the music they really love, regardless of if it's trendy. Nothing fancy or flashy. Just back to the roots."

Stylistically, the album continues on the same tack as Martyn's past releases, weaving between dubstep, funky, house and techno. It shows him teaming up once again with Erosie, the go-to visual artist for Martyn's label, 3024 (not to mention RA's recent X party in Sao Paulo). In addition to the cover art, Erosie has devised visuals to accompany Martyn's upcoming live sets, dates for which have yet to be confirmed...www.residentadvisor.net

Ayshay - Warn-U

1. Warn-U
2. Shaytan
3. Jemsheed

Without a doubt, Ayshay's 'WARN-U' is one of the most original and spellbinding singles of 2011, and an artistic step-up for the already formidable Tri Angle imprint. Ayshay, meaning "whatever" in Arabic, is a handle for Fatima Al Qadiri, a New York City-based sonic sorceress born in Senegal and raised in Kuwait, who also writes a fantastic column on contemporary world music for the bizarro DIS magazine, sometimes accompanied by her kaleidoscopic, 'net-foraging mixtapes. These breathtaking tracks comprise her first release, and although we've become deeply familiar with their youtube videos for over a year now, it's a blessing to finally have them in the physical realm for tactile gratification. Each song is built entirely from her own pitched and layered vocals in a manner distinctly reminiscent of Grouper's ethereal harmonising, but more intriguingly inspired by the Islamic religious songs she's absorbed since childhood. Their impact distinctly recalls the emotion-enhancing autotune effect favoured by so many North African and Middle Eastern pop artists for its emphatic effect, but is still seen as distasteful in certain swathes of supposedly "forward thinking" western ears. Yet in our opinion it refracts a transcendent emotive clarity which frightens us to be quite honest, and keeps us returning to this trio of songs more times than a sane person possibly should. Furthermore, the accompanying Nguzunguzu megamix gives the tracks a crafty junglist context in a lineage of Arabic pop/hardcore dating back to the likes of Lennie De Ice sampling Factory Records' obscure Algerian Rai release 'N'Sel Fik' by Cheba Fadela. Ultimately, for seekers of mystical sublime frequencies from the near future, this record is just beyond essential...www.boomkat.com

Young Man - Ideas of Distance

01. Enough
02. Nothing
03. Low
04. Only You
05. Fall
06. Then and Now
07. Tired Eyes
08. Felt

Young Man is a true American success story of the modern age. The solo project of Colin Caulfield (no relation to Holden), the upstart singer-songwriter began posting home videos of himself on YouTube, covering some of his favorite songs. These ranged from contemporaries like Bon Iver and Animal Collective to classics such as the Beatles and David Bowie. People started noticing. A record deal was signed. An EP was released. Tours were embarked upon.

Young men grow up fast these days. A mere two years after Caulfield began posting his homemade videos, his first full-length album, Ideas of Distance, is scheduled to drop on Sept. 27th via Frenchkiss Records. It’s actually the launch of trilogy that Young Man plans to roll out over the next 18 months. First, however, he has tours slated with Cold War Kids and Gardens & Villa, following his current excursion in support of Grouplove.

Caulfield wrote, recorded and mixed the record himself, but unlike the lo-fi approach of last year’s EP, Boy, this one comes with upgraded production value, which highlights the singer's layered vocals and ethereal guitar parts...www.rollingstone.com

Monday, September 26, 2011

Nautiluss & Lord Skywave - Ultraviolet / Blue Monday

01. Ultraviolet
02. Bleu Monday

New collaboration between Canadian producer Nautiluss and Lord Skywave aka the singer from Simian. The label seems to be heading for Chris Martin's BASS Music shelf again with 'Ultraviolet', a sickly combination of harmonised pop vox and finger-popping shuffle beat, while the flipside fares slightly better with the droning Reese bass and lilting Balearic percussion of 'Bleu Monday'...www.boomkat.com

Don Froth - Balboa / Von

1. Balboa
2. Von

Pure, 'floor-scorching JukeXGarage rinse-out from a rogue San Fran operator. To date Don's done Techy House fusions for Phonica's white label series and self-released a small clutch of Bass grooves besides engineering duties for DJ Harvey, but for our $, this is his best yet. A-side is a pumping number called 'Balboa' fusing springy bass hits with surging rave signals and canny sense of syncopation somewhere between Dance Mania's maddest moments and latinzied Joe-style groove. Flipside 'Von' is equally energetic, full of percolating club rhythms and mesmerizing Techno-Disco synthlines for the dancers. Sick!...www.boomkat.com

Walls - Coracle

1. Into Our Midst
2. Heat Haze
3. Sunporch
4. Il Tedesco
5. Vacant
6. Raw Umber Twilight
7. Ecstatic Truth
8. Drunken Galleon

Walls waste no time in following up their widely acclaimed debut album (MOJO's #1 Electronic LP of 2010) with a glorious set of eight swooning slow trance tinglers for Kompakt. 'Coracle' is as cute as the name suggests, yet perhaps with a keener dancefloor edge than we've previously perceived from their music. The sleek Techno engine which drove this album's predecessor is fine tuned to a Balearic tempo, but with a trustingly Teutonic dancefloor efficiency. From the top of 'In The Midst' the groove steadily purrs at a chugging 110bpm while sublime shoegaze guitar repetitions unfurl across the long, straight road ahead. On cruise control, they pass into the lushly mirage-like 'Heat Haze' before the beat reappears to propel the heart-fluttering arpeggios of 'Sunporch' to almost giddy heights, and we plane across the gazing Techno scapes of 'Il Tedesco'. Down the line 'Vacant' is more blissed, coolly riding the brakes into the elated second wind of 'Raw Umber/Twilight' and the majestic kosmiche disco dissonance of 'Ecstatic Truth'...www.boomkat.com


1. Ice
2. Crown 8vo
3. Words collided
4. a.m./soft focus
5. Blush mosaic
6. & our wild paths intersect
7. Fire dream
8. Peachy swan
9. Out the coast
10.Ndi bem
12.Rubylith film

London-based Patten has been operating on the fringes of electronic music for a couple of years now, with some reputable CD-Rs and other low-key releases under his belt, but this debut album proper for No Pain In Pop is a revelation, presenting a prismatic vision of narcotic, wonked-out, grid-dissolving house aimed at the cerebellum rather than the dancefloor. It's reminiscent of all sorts of things - the slanted techno of Diamond Catalog and Container, the hyper-kosmische of Bee Mask, the most disturbed Omar-S productions, and particularly the rich, isolationist machine-funk of Actress. It's chopped and glitched up to high heaven, but its grooves are true - we refer you to 'Blush Mosaic', which sounds like Boards Of Canada trying to make Chicago jack tracks through a hydroponic haze, or 'Fire Dream', with its hovering Detroit synth pads subjected to intensive Hud Mo or Rustie-style processing. The aesthetic is perfectly honed and executed: dense 4/4 psychedelia that is just madly engrossing. 'Out The Coast' is incredible, arpeggios and miasmic vocal layers – the perfect soundtrack for sunbathing on JG Ballard’s Terminal Beach. Elsewhere there's a diffracted, broken hip-hop quality that suggests superior mid-90s IDM re-wired for the hypnagogic generation. Disorientingly complex but breathtakingly immediate too, this will surely rank among the albums of the year for fans of the f*cked up stuff...www.boomkat.com

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Veronica Falls - Veronica Falls

01. Found Love In A Graveyard
02. Right Side Of My Brain
03. The Fountain
04. Misery
05. Bad Feeling
06. Stephen
07. Beachy Head
08. All Eyes On You
09. The Box
10. Wedding Day
11. Veronica Falls
12. Come On Over

At the end of the video for Veronica Falls' "Bad Feeling", Roxanne Clifford, the group's bob-haired singer/guitarist, clad in a dashingly fey polka-dot blouse, picks up an antique book-- the ultimate twee signifier-- and lights it on fire. Given indie rock's recent jangle-pop overload, and the comments that Veronica Falls have made in the press ("people like to romanticize about C86 [but] there were lots of rubbish bands associated with it..."), it's tempting to wonder aloud: is "Bad Feeling" the C86 version of that video where George Michael goes iconoclastic on us and sets his own leather jacket ablaze?

Well, maybe not, but at the very least it's a decent visual metaphor for the band's sound: expertly stagy revivalism with the slightest hint of mutiny. You could have said the same thing of Slumberland labelmates and fellow fresh-faced indie poppers the Pains of Being Pure at Heart when they first burst out the gates with Pastels badges on their sleeves-- the quartet's self-titled debut hits with the same sort of immediacy that that first Pains LP did. Both records do familiar things so well that, occasionally, momentarily, they actually trick you into thinking you've never heard anything like them before.

But, of course, you have. In fact, if you've been paying any attention to Glasgow/London hybrid Veronica Falls, you've actually heard some of these very songs before: The single "Found Love in a Graveyard" made the rounds almost two years ago, and then came "Beachy Head", "Bad Feeling", and "Come on Over" earlier this year. But after a run of strong 7"'s, their self-titled debut finally confirms that Veronica Falls are more than a singles band. Though they operate with a pretty limited sonic palette (boy/girl harmonies; dueling, reverb-drenched guitars; lots of tambourine), there's a sustained momentum over these 12 tracks that even manages to bring in some unexpected influences-- "Beachy Head" sounds like a zombified Mamas and the Papas thrashing at surf-punk guitars with shards of glass.

Given the group's penchant for ghosts and reverb, it's tempting to grab for a familiar collection of low-hanging adjectives: dreamy, ethereal, haunting-- except that, actually, Veronica Falls is none of these things. There's a striking physicality to these songs, and Guy Fixsen and Ash Workman's production makes every tambourine beat hit with the clarity of a shattering window. The guitar sound is immaculate: Clifford and James Hoare's strings don't jangle so much as bristle-- taut chords that dart restlessly in and out of each other's way. There's a clarity of texture-- a specificity even-- to every element of the band's sound. Which makes it something of an anomaly: shoegaze that looks you square in the eye.

Thematically speaking, shit's dark. There's a song called "Misery", there are not one but two songs in which the narrator's lover might be a ghost ("Graveyard", "Bad Feeling"), and though "Beachy Head" might sound like a carefree postcard from indie rock's current backdrop of choice, it's actually about jumping off a cliff and drowning yourself. Thankfully, the record ends on a high in every sense: "Come on Over" is perhaps the most hopeful-- and best-- track the band's got to their name. "Crimson and clover, I'll touch your shoulder," Clifford sings over the mounting tension of a furiously strummed guitar. It's the Veronica Falls aesthetic in miniature: the ghosts of pop past conjured convincingly and intimately enough to feel like flesh and blood...www.pitchfork.com

Paul White - Rapping With Paul White

01. Intro: We Make A Lot Of Noise
02. Right On
03. Trust ft. Guilty Simpson
04. Run Shit (ft. Marv Won)
05. One Of Life’s Pleasures (ft. Danny Brown)
06. The Doldrums
07. Life Is Flashing Interlude
08. Stampeding Elephants (ft. Moe Pope)
09. Rotten Apples (ft. Tranqill)
10. Thirty Days
11. A Weird Day (ft. Homeboy Sandman)
12. African New Wave
13. Indigo Glow (ft. Jehst)
14. Dirty Slang (ft. Guilty Simpson)
15. A New Way
16. Evasive Action
17. Wily Walruses (ft. Nancy Elizabeth)
18. Outro: We’ll Never End

Bonus Instrumentals:
19. Trust
20. Run Shit
21. One Of Life's Pleasures
22. Stampeding Elephants
23. Rotten Apples
24. A Weird Day
25. Indigo Glow
26. Dirty Slang

In case the album title's got you thinking otherwise: Paul White is not a rapper. He's a producer from London, a designation that, these days, might bring to mind dubstep and UK bass-- but despite some enthusiastic co-signs from publications that orbit around that scene, White ain't part of it. He works in sticky, abstracted hip-hop rhythms coated in THC resin; 2009's The Strange Dreams of Paul White, one of his earlier full-lengths (all of which can be heard on his Bandcamp page) found Captain Beefheart bumping up against weirded-out boom-bap.

Those previous releases felt homemade and somewhat amateurish, a distinction which makes Rapping With Paul White a bit of a coming-out party: there's equal parts mutant funk and dusty beats here, but it sounds like White's first true statement of purpose, his own preferred introduction to new listeners. Perhaps not coincidentally, it's also his first LP that largely features guest vocals (this is where the Rapping comes in); White's gathered names both recognizable (Danny Brown, Homeboy Sandman, frequent past collaborator Guilty Simpson) and not-so-recognizable (Marv Won, Moe Pope, Tranqill).

So this is a record that depends as much on what the spitters bring to the table as what White cooks up in the lab-- and, unfortunately, the rappers don't exactly come correct. Considering how he and White have a past history of collaborating, you'd think that Guilty Simpson and White would be firing on all cylinders by now; instead, the Detroit hardhead unfurls cliché after cliché and drops vague, autobiographical teases that don't reveal much in particular. (Though he gets points for the "murdering mic's like Conrad Murray" line in "Dirty Slang".) His performances are uninspiring enough to think that of last year's full-length collab with Madlib, the cleverly titled OJ Simpson, relied solely on 'Lib's beatcraft.

Fellow Motor City spitter Marv Won rides the chant-knock of "Run Shit" ably, but spoils the broth by getting corny about Heath Ledger; Queens native Homeboy Sandman, on the other hand, basically recounts a trip to England on "A Weird Day", which is about as thrilling as it sounds. Even Danny Brown, another Detroit rapper that is having a very good year with his excellent, audacious XXX mixtape, is smothered by the spiraling carnival melodies and game-show filth of "One of Life's Pleasures", his trademark excitability barely registering. The only rapper that comes out of this unscathed is White's labelmate Tranqill, whose cadences on "Rotten Apples" match well with White's searing, void-creating beat.

There are instrumental versions of Rapping With Paul White out there and I strongly suggest seeking out those versions, if only to feel the blunt impact of White's strongest moves (the spooky claps of "Trust" and "Indigo Glow", in particular). You could take a rap-less version of this LP and convince your friends that it's a beat tape from Madlib or Oh No, a quality that speaks as much to White's influences as it does his lack of a specific identity. Thing is, copping to Stones Throw influences almost seems quaint these days, as anyone with an ear to the ground has noticed that much of the underground hip-hop that's in vogue relies on quiet introspection, stronger drugs, and ambient, eerie beats made by people who inexplicably refer to themselves as Friendzone. The fact that Rapping With Paul White sounds so old-head suggests that the "Stones Throw sound," made most popular by the late J. Dilla's inimitable Donuts, is on the verge of transitioning from old school to just plain old...www.pitchfork.com