Archive for the 'Electronic' Category
9 of 12 tracks remixed from the group’s 1996 Songs of Love and Hate album. This vinyl is a 2008 re-release/ re-master of the 1997 Earache Records original album. Inspired by the UK band Killing Joke, England’s Godflesh began in 1988 as a duo with guitarist/ singer/ electronic programmer Justin Broadrick (currently in Jesu) and bassist Ben Green. Later they added live drums with member Ted Parsons (Swans, Prong, Jesu). Drummer Bryan Mantia (Primus, El Stew, G’n’R, Buckethead) is the credited drummer for this album only, and first studio drummer on a Godflesh release. Robotically precise industrial drumming style, barkingly livid vocals, trance like looped bass lines, lo-fi at times recording, & infinite dub layers shredded through keyboards and your choice of favorite mid-90’s pedal effects. Exploding bass drum heads and bang on a can cymbals live drumming from Bryan Mantia rescue the album.
Oakland DJ & Producer AmpLive (of Zion-I) illegally sampled and remixed Radiohead’s In Rainbows album, but managed to get it released as a free download after a tangle with Warner/Chappell. This bootleg features lyrical persuasions by rappers Del the Funky Homosapien, MC Zumbi, (Zion-I) Chali2na, (Jurassic 5) Too $hort, and Codany Holiday (SF R&B/rapper). Obscure and underground, but not deep enough to swim in, AmpLive’s mashup provides puddles of old school bay area hip-hip stars to jump in. Song #5 All I Need is the most innovative interpretation to the original song; a dub-remix with live horns and a solid reggae beat. Track #3 Nudez (would be more appropriately named as the chorus: Don’t Lose Your Head) is Too $hort & MC Zumbi together, featuring a beat like 2Pac’s Keep Your Head Up, Too $horts standard vocabulary (freaks, hustle, & lil’ homie), and lyrics giving a good introspective into Oakland’s street mentality full of hustlers & hoes, flashy rims & gang warfare. The album is endorsed by Radiohead and you can leagally download all the tracks and the album artwork for free on the 1776 Label website.
Funky first series of instrumental beats by newly signed artist James Pants. This set follows the success of his single Ka$H, which came out in Aug. ’07. In a style similar to Madlib, or Peanut Butter Wolf this Spokane, WA artist hits on everything from electro to soul. Many lo-fi moments with lonely hand claps, finger snaps, early hip hop sampling & retro keyboards from the very start of the album. Dreamscape sounds as Pants mans the drums, & keys. Most of the album programmed on the JP-8000 (crudely drawn on the cover of the album along with fake sticker marks and pressed record stains on the back of the jacket) with mixing and scratching layered in by James as well. Some jams are like slowed down B Boy music with ancient sounding vocals “yeah” and “come on”. At the end of side one, there’s even a tribal beat track with sleigh bells and some oscillated vox.
Self-released CDR by Providence Rhode Island’s Raphael Lyon, aka Mudboy, is neurotic noiseter with releases on lables (Foxy) Digitalis & Not Not Fun. Mudboy sports custom bent instruments, self-built hybrid electric organ/digital keyboard (called the Mudboy Mini), & even composed/performed on a Wurlitzer for a free live ’05 performance at the PPAC in Rhode Island. This release is the second volume of Mudboy BEATS (series II) feat. DJ Jassy Jexx, and mashes up heavy industrial drone with Freakcore loops, drips and cuts. Two long tracks 20-minute tracks and 2 shorter 4-minute ones dissect heavy hitting bass, hip-hop & obscure sound clips, to construct homeless shelters for lost Burning Man’ers experimental minds.
Drum Machine Mayhem meets electric avant virtuoso guitar. Solo release by NYC’s Mick Barr of Orthrelm, The Flying Luttenbachers (formerly) & Crom-tech (duo with Hella drummer Zach Hill). takes the butt-rock out of metal guitar and births instrumental madness. I challenge any listener to discern time signature in any track. Nine songs (3,4,5,8,9,10,15) are purely guitar as this Fullforce Composer Series release by TZADIK seeks Guitar Hero status among hipsters and D&D fans alike. Produced by John Zorn, expect to be thoroughly impressed and confounded by the speed and compositional creativity evoked through the hands of a reincarnated Chopin or Beethoven.
Teenage brothers Jordan and Jamie make up this alt-rock duo, Future Future from New Jersey. This EP release by the same name combines Jordan’s vocals and production with Jamie’s drumming, and it embodies the attention to the noisy melodic elements and embracing of electronics that characterize 2000s alternative rock. Somehow, this stuff reminds me of Muse (if the band decided to go with a noisier, faster sound). Track 1 “Television Glow” is characterized by danceable drumbeats and Jordan’s powerful vocals. Another notable track “My Machine” with a more electro take on alt rock. In all, the EP feels pretty short, but it’s just about the right length for these high energy rock songs. Future Future is out May 8, 2009, and is available on the duo’s MySpace.
Drums. Percussion. Rhythm. These make up the base of the organization of sounds known as music. When I was in high school band, there was something special about being a part of drum corps. When we played parades, the rest of the band would shut the hell up every couple of pieces, and let us percussionists show off the precision of rhythm. On Ensemble delivers that mysterious, hypnotic attraction to beats with the release Ume In The Middle. Melding together traditional Japanese Taiko music with modern electro and jazz, the CD delivers delectable beats and blips with a dash of drone.
The album opens up with the first two tracks “Yamasong” and “Hisashi,” keeping it nice and slow with droney chants and traditional-sounding flute. I was fooled into thinking that the rest of the CD would be the same, but I was treated to breakbeat paired with chopped-up samples in track 4 “Hiroya vs. Miniboss,” electro blips and beeps in track 7 “Silverback,” and downtempo instrumental goodness in track 9 “Yamasong (Remix).”
Rhythm transcends stylistic differences and is present in almost all forms of music; therefore, it’s nice to see On Ensemble proving this point with the ability to skip through different types of genres (and varying complexity in the rhythms). For example, track 7 “Silverback” sounds like material by WARP’s Plaid (if they had access to some really cool drums, of course) with the ensemble’s appreciation for IDM, and track 3 “Waiting” included plenty of sunny vocals and bright chords. Track 8 “Bounce Back” is something for drum corps members to appreciate. Combined with a splash of flute, the percussion shows off how On Ensemble plays as one with the precision that all percussionists strive for.
Ume In The Middle is slated to be release May 5, 2009, so keep your eyes open!
Forget what you think you know about electronic music and enjoy something different and refreshing yet freakishly familiar. The Dino Soars offers laid back hip hop beats alongside some sugary dance tracks inspired by the hot days of disco where music wasn’t held back by genres or being typecast as ‘electronic’ ‘indie’ and therefore limited to a esoteric musical audience. For Stegosaurus Rex, every listener is equal and he offers audible appetizers in this, his first of many albums to come. Instead of releasing 4 individual EP albums, this mega CD compiles and mixes them all into something almost random at times, with wild mood swings and gentle downtime.
Listen closely to his single on the album, track #13 “Nowhere To Run” and you may notice similarities to Ladytron’s “Seventeen”, but scarier still is its connection to Crystal Castles and their track “Crimewave“. While the self-titled Crystal Castles album was released one month earlier than The Dino Soars, the single “Nowhere to Run” had been out 2 years earlier as a single. Whether or not they took any influence from the track is inconsequential in the end because the two bands are obviously contemporaries with roots following back to Ladytron, Miss Kitten, and likely Kraftwerk. When asked of the similarities between the tracks however, Steg Rex comments, “I didn’t know who Crystal Castles was 2 years ago when they friended me on Myspace, after I had released the Nowhere To Run Single.” So it is possible that Stegosaurus Rex inspires bands like Crystal Castles. Either way, each band shoots off into different directions as Rex moves into the French inspired disco house realm with amazing cuts like “Fleeting Disco Do” and “Polar”. One of my personal favorites is “Mike Myers”, inspired by Michael Myers Halloween series, its IDM leanings have me respecting Steg Rex’s wide array of musical taste. Check out the video for Nowhere to Run on Youtube.
Mr. Oizo, is smart if anything, signing with the explodingly famous Ed Banger records, run by the former manager of Daft Punk. Not that Mr. Oizo needs any boosting from the label’s success of MTV acts like Justice, because Mr. Oiza, aka French music producer (and recent filmaker) Quentin Dupieux has been making international hits since 1999 when he had electro beats featured in Levi’s commercials. He’s been cleaver enough to remix Scissor Sisters, & Cassius, and on this release, he reworks the track “Do It At The Disco” by Gary’s Gang, calling his work Patrick122. Dupieux has a sickly dry, yet immature sense of humor, much like Wesley Willis with a prior track called “Last Night a DJ Killed My Dog” and an upcoming track for his new album called “Bruce Willis is Dead.” This disc is electro disco loopy magic, narrated by a robotic voice, the self-declared reincarnation of Michael Jackson. “Transexual” is slightly dark and mysterious underneath its pop beat hard candy shell. Inside is something even scarier. It’s a whole race of A sexual, bi sexual transsexuals, and dare I even say, the final evolution of human sexuality, TRI-sexuals!
The Scarecrow Frequency is the project of Seattle musicians John Argetsinger and Erica Sherman, combining placid melodies and vocal media appropriated from various classic sources. Claiming to be shoegaze, the music takes austerely powerful, yet mellow soundscapes and combines them with beautiful pop elements, in a way quite similar to Jesu or Eluvium (but bridging the gap between the heaviness and softness, respectively). The opening track Transponder Parallels gives a small taste of the CD with a sample of a Richard Nixon Vietnam War speech. Interspersed throughout the release are various quotes about America, with a bittersweet and nervous look backwards. The tone of the music fits in with this theme of nostalgic remorse, wrapped up in commentary about the nation. And yet through some of the brighter melodies, a sense of determination may be felt.
A formidable release of American shoegaze/avant-pop, this CD will feel at home with fans of shoegaze in general.
The Scarecrow Frequency - Ivory Skeletons Of Dark Horses
Lucrecia released the digital EP Like Being Home in summer of 2007 from the Colombian label Series Media. Charming lyrics coupled with muted electronic-acoustic sounds define the 5 tracks. Hailing from Pereira, Colombia, Lucrecia Perez puts together simple melodies that could embed itself into the being of any warm-blooded human. As a guitarist-vocalist-producer, Lucrecia is able to put together all the disparate elements of acoustic pop into a finely polished product, complete with her her own pretty voice topping the compositions.
Track 1 “Let’s Pretend” opens with claves and guitar, with percussion and other sounds slowly layering over, working up to a simple love song. Track 2 “Like Being Home” has slightly more in terms of Lucrecia’s electronic music background, with some synths layered in. Track 3 “Counting Backwards” is arguably the best track on the release, quietly driving forward with its beautiful, subtle piano and drum combo, with Lucrecia’s sweet vocals repeating the catchy little chorus. Track 4 “Changing The Weather” changes the direction of the release, toning down the energy with intricate, mellow drums playing triplets. Finally, track 5 “Millones” is a quiet, slow lullaby that closes out the EP with memory of the aural sugar of the last 20 minutes.
While Like Being Home is quite short, it is quite possibly one of the best electronic-acoustic pop releases from Colombia (it will definitely be hard to top by anyone), and is definitely worth a listen. The fact that it is a free download from Series Media means that there will be no excuses for missing this one.
Lucrecia - Counting Backwards
Fusing improvisational Java music performance and electronic composing is Gregory Taylor of Madison Wisconsin. This is his first musical work, piecing this 7 track CD together live by creating samples and loops of an improv. electronic composition in the vein of Post Modernist and gamelan style music theory. Ambient and soft sounds ring like a cross between soft glass harps and organic wooden church bell. Glitch influence breathes lightly over the entire album that is free from silence and seamless throughout. Minimalistic in ways much like Brian Eno yet closer to Phillip Glass, Taylor uses synth tones performing in both Indonesian pentatonic scales Slendro and Pelog. Many of the track titles come from the Javanese note names of the Slendro and Pelog scales whose 5 notes were named after body parts. Note #2 – gulu – meaning neck, note 3 dada – is the chest, note 5 – lima – is hand or five fingers, and - nem,- note 6 referring to the male genitalia. The scales sad sound sets the mood of this album as its use in countries such as Bali were for cremation ceremonies. Celebrating Indonesian traditions and expanding it into the digital age, watch out for the easy New Age classification of his 25 year devotion to the sounds of Java.
Bienvenidos a Miami as Will Smith would say, yet somehow this trio didn’t hear him and dumped a blown out garage band in your lap full of cute art J. K. Rowling-esk lightning bolts, robots assembled out of the remnants of The Brave Little Toaster and as promised, bunnies. Drumstick hits tap out the start of this recently made OOP 7” delivers the robotic electric side of the bunnies. Loopy varying speed vinyl sounds with vocoder vocals and rock loops like Trans Am if someone made them record on a 4-track. The 2nd track features a short punk track with snotty Vandals style lyrics about how its “not about my sweater, not about my shoes…. I’m wearing beautiful pants”. Glad to know life is so simple over in Florida. Flip this over to find subtle psych behind bass driven lo-fi garage like slower instrumental Clash meets a druggier instrumental version of The Cure. Fun times ten as the album ends with some planned or unplanned cell phone to speaker interference. With all the choices of sound directions to go in, the Bunnies leave you wondering if in the future they’d rather open up for Abe Vigoda, Moldy Peaches, or Justice.
Blame Xiu Xiu for being so good that that they will have follower groups for the next 20 years. Eyes is one of those bands, but thankfully they don’t even try to polish themselves and come off sounding much more like I.B.O.P.A. the earlier project of Xiu Xiu frontman Jamie Stewart. The group is a duo plus many, made up of Nail In The Coffin label head Jorge Tapia and William Harris. From their Midwest headquarters in East Molina Illinois, Eyes aren’t your average corn herders, with their heads stuck in cassette tape culture a indicated by the infinite amount of OOP releases and lathe cuts on their discography, not to mention an upcoming comp alongside artists Zombi. They’ll have upcoming shows with the Chinese Stars and are inspired by Sun Ra as you can hear from the acid jazz breakdown of track 5. Soular Lust. Much of the other sounds on this album tributes 80’s electronic and New Wave with hyper Halloween tremolo vocals and over-amplified everything (piano, guitars, drum machines). Expect the tremolos to keep coming with each track in the album as if an old sweaty pair of yellow and black adidas sweatpants anthropomorphized into a rainbow garden of gay core fannypack dance team hand slapping professional B-boy image assistants, who’s primary duties include making sure everything you drink is fluorescent and no actual beads of sweat form on foreheads across the nation.
IVG is the third release by French label Poutre Apparente featuring more than a baker’s dozen of tracks split between various artists. This CD version put out by Born Bad Records (tracks are in a different order) is for those who prefer listening digitally to their experimental music. The themes and sounds of the CD are certainly disparate, spread across the release in haphazard fashion. Blending together tracks from some of the most experimental of the avant-garde artists of the time, IVG shows us the temporal uncertainty of an almost undefinable genre, being created in a time that was post-industrial, post-modern, and certainly post-punk. Instead of being melded together as a cohesive movement, the electronic, poppy, and punky tracks on the CD are like islands reaching towards each other through the receding waterline, almost-but-not-quite joined. In this same way, we see all the different types of influences to New Wave/No Wave on the release. A few different tracks stand out for different reasons. For example, track 4 “Indicateur Ou Drageur” by Nini Raviolette references French mod pop and 1960s rock ‘n’ roll with its fuzzboxes and heavy reverb. Track 11 “La Roue De Bicyclette” by D.D.A.A. is a droney, minimalistic presentation of hypnotic repetition. Finally track 12 “Le Manoir Du Chat Noir” by Atom Cristal is quite synth-heavy, exploring the on-the-verge world of synthpop atmospherics and analog drum machines. IVG is by no means an easy listen, and even at its roughly 40 minutes might seem lengthy. However, with each new listen, one can find beauty and musical order in the apparent abrasiveness of the tracks, and come to understand a whole era of music a bit better.
Bitcrush is a solo project of Mike Cadoo, focusing upon rock-based musical elements. Shimmer And Fade is a remastered reissue of the 2005 digital release of the same name (this time out on CD, limited to 1000 copies) and it includes 4 bonus tracks. The art references the original, but it is slightly different, being a bit cleaner.
Moving on to the music, the CD begins with dissonant, droney guitars layered over each other, signaling the album’s mood, austere and introspective, and set over sludgy, spacey rhythms. Distant and melodic, Cadoo’s music slowly explores harmonies and textures without making the music too experimental and unforgiving. Reminiscent of rock/metal-based shoegaze projects such as Jesu, Cadoo favors instrumentals over vocals, and makes sure that guitars don’t overpower the sound, using them only as a way to layer smooth, complex polyphonies over each other. The tracks also incorporate Cadoo’s previously honed skills and know-how of breakbeat rhythms and glitchy production. While most of the tracks are Warp-worthy, the real gems are (surprisingly) the tracks that sound a lot more rock than electronic. Warm and optimistic, they are listenable and easy to follow. For example, track 3 “No Bridge No Water” is a five-minute exposition of brightly melodic synths and strong alternative rock guitar riffs. More pop-structured than the other tracks, the song unabashedly skirts the line between accessibility and sophistication. Track 10 “When Swallowing Becomes Difficult” sounds like something off Ghostly International, being cute yet introspective, with a touch of bittersweet euphoria. These two tracks stand out from the others and bring to the album a bit of avant-pop energy from within a much more downtempo sound.
Marvin Ayres is a British composer of ambient soundscapes, mixing together minimalistic, yet dynamic melodies that swirl around different genres. A master of polyphony, Ayres draws from the harmonic traditions of Medieval plainchant, to the glory of Renaissance vocal works, to the ultra-experimental pieces of the musical genius Gyorgy Ligeti. By combining the breathtaking beauty of repetitive melodic themes with the movement of sound flowing in and out of dramatic tension, Ayres creates music that resides between glorious and muted, pious and indifferent, beautiful and worn. The CD opens with “Androgynous Weave,” an almost perverse reversal of the sacred minimalism of Arvo Part. Repetitive and hypnotic, it certainly leaves a mark on the mind, but with a decidedly barren tone. Track 8 “Do You Hear Me Now?” sounds like Medieval plainchant, but with a beautiful mix of polyphony, building up to an almost sacrosanct wall of piety, but pulling us out of our dreams of the old by layering a thick barrier of reverberation and clean-cut audio. Most of the CD brings a sense of barrenness and austerity to the listener, with a slight touch of pessimism. However, by listening close, one can find the shimmering light of emotional apex at the beginning of track 2 “Soured Alchemy,” bringing to the audience a sense of finality and peace, executed beyond the bounds of temporality.
Yet another offering of electro from the French label Kitsune Music, German duo Jens Moelle and Ismail Tuefekci (Digitalism) adds a bit of power-pop flavor to the wider genre of electro-house with the CD album release Idealism. With Daft Punk’s experimentation of using less sample-based production in favor of more synths, Digitalism carries the ball further, using synths to replace the traditional role of guitars without being as abrasive as their predecessors. For example, track 3 “I Want, I Want” is a jangly post-punk little number, complete with that classic drumset groove, divorcing the sound from the hold of drum machines that dominates the whole electro-house genre. Track 7 “Pogo” on the other hand, sounds like a poppier Joy Division song, reminding one of The Killers with its power-pop straight rock drive, and 1/8 note basslines. The duo even manages to touch upon the sounds of 80s New Romantic with track 12 “Apollo-Gize.” However, even apart from the virtuosity of extracting the essential nostalgia of the 80s, Moelle and Tuefekci really bring that magical groove that is so necessary to disco-variations. Track 5 “Digitalism In Cairo” shows off the duo’s skills in chopping up samples, and track 14 “Jupiter Room” just lays down a humongous house groove epitomizing the electro-house style. In all, Digitalism’s release Idealism is a danceable, yet melodic piece of work.
Unsettled On An Old Sense Of Place is a release by Gustavo Aguilar, experimental percussionist. Throughout the CD, Aguilar pieces together different bits of avant-garde electronic, jazz, and percussion to create challenging tracks of various lengths. Although comprised of only 6 tracks, each track contains plenty of complex ideas made for the listener to digest. Aguilar employs the help of other very accomplished artists to help with vocals, strings, and a variety of other instruments to bring forth the essence of tonal balance through the scraping, the tapping, the plucking, of various materials. In track 2 “Contrafactum For Scelsi,” Aguilar puts his percussionist tendencies to use as he taps out a series of sounds from the different surfaces available on a guitar, going beyond what is normally thought of as playing (on the strings). He shows off his virtuosity in percussion by showing us syncopated, accented notes, building in intensity as he presents the whole range of energies present in such a performance. Track 6 “Wendell’s History” is a track featuring poet Wendell Berry’s work, crisp vocals layered over hypnotic, sparkling glockenspiel-playing. Quite possibly the most amazing track on the CD is track 4 “Dirac’s Theory,” (named after physicist Paul Dirac) a unique 3-minute long drum solo. Playing only a snare drum, Aguilar shows us once again not only his virtuosity on percussion, but also the possibility of sounds that exist (or can exist) within one single instrument. The tracks on this CD might be slightly abrasive at times, but they certainly yank the listener (and the musician) out of their comfort zones, showing them the possibility of sounds that are not popularly utilized.
Wildly schizophrenic, Venetian Snares latest offering Detrimentalist can best be described as auditory cocaine. Alone, all nine songs are 4-6 minute breakcore panic attacks, yet when listened to in order an uncanny cohesiveness emerges. As a genre breakcore has an incredibly liberal interpretation, but Detrimentalist may be one of its few quintessential examples. Uninhibited and wildly abstract, the album thrives in its own recklessness. It is laden with arcade style passages and will sound familiar to anyone who has played UGA’s video game Rez, in fact I’m damn surprised Venetian wasn’t on that soundtrack.
Any album with a song named “Poo Yourself Jason” must be approached with a degree of levity, but don’t be fooled into thinking that Venetian’s not going to deliver some epic cuts. Namely the culminating “Bebikukorica Nigiri,” which I’m certain would be the song playing if MegaMan and Link were ever fighting to the death on top of a New York highrise. “Nigiri” differs from other tracks because it has a motive which comes back more ornamented and inspired each time around. Yet, the contrapuntal textures Venetian massages into songs like “Sajtban” and “Circle Pit” demonstrate his versatility and are equally engaging.
Detrimentalist’s longest and most sporadic track is “Flashforward,” a 400 second tour de force reminiscent of the earlier, rawer Chemical Brothers. “Flashforward” is in effect a microcosm of the entire album; Atonality coaxed into confluence by an artist who is often eccentric, but never dull.
Looking for lounge and dancefloor music? “BatBox” is surely the album you’re looking for. Released in early February 2008 by Miss Kitten, also known as Caroline Hervé, a French electronica singer-songwriter and DJ, the songs are sung nearly entirely in English, reveals a blatant influence from goth culture and mixes diverse electroclash melodies with pop and ska vocals. The cover art is designed by Rob Reger, creator of the character “Emily the Strange.”
The opening track “Batbox” emits a feeling of mod culture with its new wave elements, and simple yet attractive spacey music. But wait, this is just the opening track! “Kitten is High” opens with a fast beat introduction, with vocals similar to Katy Rose’s “Watching the Rain.” Her singing style is reminiscent of a poetic feel. Enhanced with melodies and beats of party dance techno, it gives you a feel of the nonconformist individual at the party scene who dances to her own beat. The lyrics are simple, short, and succinct, a repeating style Miss Kitten uses as she tells of a fun goth epic.
In the third track “Solidasarockstar,” using synthesizers, drums, and industrial music produced by whirring electric sounds, it seems to tell of a story of identifying and abusing a rockstar. Combined with the industrial melodies, it gives you an image of Edward Scissorhands turned into a rockstar. The next track “Grace” opens with drums and cymbals, followed by clapping that signals the next overlaying instrumental–a low bass. With the reoccurring snippets of a grinding steel background, an organ, and a rumbling low bass, this haunting echo of a three-layered melody is reminiscent of Run Lola Run. “Grace” tells of meeting grace by losing herself in bass.
The fifth track “Barefoot Tonight” opens with grinding bass met with a mix of clapping, ethereal male and female vocals. She sings of her interest in guitars and lyrics, and her rise as a kick-ass barefoot vocalist. Towards the end she brings in the clapping once more, while shouting “Shout!” This gives me an image of Nana meets Wir Sind Helden. The style reminds me of “Guten Tag” by Wir Sind Helden. This song interweaves goth, metal, and pop.
The next track “Wash ‘n’ Dry” opens with slow ethereal vocals and just as haunting echoing beat met with repetitive industrial interludes. In this song, Miss Kitten’s vocals emulates the style of ska, especially Gwen Stefani in No Doubt. She brings in synthesizers, an electric keyboard, and slows the music down a notch. The bridge is reminiscent of her favorite use of bass produced with low, gutteral sounds. Overall this song is spacey with organ elements in the background, especially near the end. This depressing song juxtaposed with “Pollution of the Mind,” the seventh track, has resounding differences. In “Pollution of the Mind,” it opens with a fast beat and vocals similar to “Kitten is High.” Met with a lower fast drum tempo and a third layer with an organ, the organ is let go when the chorus is sung full out. Keeping the first two melodies the vocals begin again, bringing cymbals, and organs whilst singing of motivation “You, lost in sadness and pain/ Sun can shine again…” As the end approaches, she loses each melody layer by layer until only the first beat is left.
“Machine Joy” opens with record scratching and blatant hip hop influence with a bass of extremely low beatbox. Singing about DJ-ing, and introducing drums, this song is similar to the 80’s hip hop, particularly Michael Jackson. The melodies only contribute to the picture and feeling of the resounding chorus “Joy is in the rhythm of the machine.” She ends the song with a fast sixteen-beat drum and beatbox.
“Metalhead” opens with three melodies, two drum beats and an overlaying short spurts of an organ. The beats are yet again reminiscent of hip hop dance music. The bridge introduces metal industrial music, and surprises you giving an eerie feeling as she whispers, “Let’s take a record play it loud and fool around.” The finale ends with metal industrial melodies turned techno. This song is a great juxtaposition of metal and techno.
The eleventh track “Sunset Strip” opens with drums and rap. Met by a techno interlude, the low drum bass is mixed while the chorus is sung ethereally. Again, this is another fine example of the juggling and brewing talents of Miss Kitten with opposing styles of techno and pop.
The last track “Playmate of the Century” opens with a fast 16 beat and sings about the truth of the music industry. Mixing a drum producing similar music as a bongo drum, and an organ, the song ends with much energy and the style is reminiscent of 80’s music met with spacey undertones.
Overall, Miss Kitten’s “Bat Box” screams “diversity!” She mixes electroclash and New Wave (mainly ska) very well, and brings some pop and definite goth culture influence. However predictable the melodies are, they are fun to listen to, with surprising tones of industrial and metal music.
Lucibel Crater is a New York 3-piece band, cranking out bits of funk and jazz elements along with some indie shoegaze. The Family Album is a 10-track exploration of eclectic elements coupled with lush instrumentals and Leah Coloff’s singing/spoken word. Oftentimes moody and mysterious, the music definitely does not drag. For example, track 6 (”Blue Stationwagon”) is a long jazzy instrumental piece, sounding like semi-improvised explorations of sound set on top of brilliantly frenetic drumming. If The Doors had known shoegaze, they might have made something like this, bringing a harder edge to “Riders On The Storm.” Track 9 “Swimmers” broods on for the first 3 minutes of the track; the guitar theme then mixes with the drums at the 3-minute mark, congealing into a catharsis of dissonantly beautiful melodies, before abruptly ending at around 5:30, shaking the listener out of its kaleidoscope of manic action. The best piece on the CD is arguably track 7, “Where You Are,” showing off Coloff’s excellent vocal talents and enveloping the listener with a haunting, repetitive melody. Perhaps not as focused as it could be, The Family Album nonetheless showcases the project’s excellent musical ideas.
Producer Simon Smart’s project Sonanaut is focused on music that could be classified as ambient house/acid jazz chillout. Not quite as funky as Ninja Tune (acid jazz), nor as mainstream-sounding as Naked Music (deep house), and certainly not as experimental as Eno (experimental ambient), Smart crafts music that rests between all of these genres, incorporating clean, layered soundscapes along with some dubby beats and slow, sludgy trip-hop sonic aesthetics. In addition, he samples other sources to link to the bigger musical community. Track 8 “Don’t You Know?” is quite possibly the best one on Sinking Upwards, and brings together beautiful electronic drumbeats, phased-and-filtered synthesizers, and complex harmonies, into a piece reminiscent of some of Morgan Geist’s more abstract work. Through Smart’s smooth movements and transitions between tracks, we hear rehashes of musical themes that make up the core of previous tracks on the CD, bringing compelling coherence to the entire release. This is definitely good music for chillout fans, and many others will be interested in the collection of Sonanaut music videos as well.
Healamonster crafts warm electronic with a bit of hip-hop in the release Nine Tons Of Blood with a bit of help from longtime collaborator Tarsier . Tracks 3 and 8 are more drum/beat-oriented, and are only fairly interesting with their spoken word layers. Better tracks would be tracks 4 and 5, with the former track (”Didn’t Even See”) including audio samples of a nostalgic childhood (who the child is we do not know), and the latter track (”Ghost Tale From New Brunswick”) telling us a masterfully-crafted story with an interesting, but ambiguous conclusion. The best tracks are tracks 2, 7, 9, and 10, which feature musical collaboration with Tarsier. With these, one can hear the influences from electronic music heavyweights Lali Puna and Solvent. Tracks 2 and 10 are the same (”Home”) with the last track being an instrumental version. Persuasive melodies and simple vocals from Healamonster and Tarsier make this the best track on the CD. Warm and melodic, the music on this CD is certainly worthy of a listen.
Norwegian Guitarist Eivind Aarset works in some intriguing guitar on this instrumental electronic-jazz release on Jazzland. Other typical jazz instruments weave in and out of tracks like Nils Peter Molvaer on trumpet (track 8), sax, live drums, and stand up bass (track 3). The overall mood is one of snow and mystery with darkness all around. It’s got a sex appeal to it that might turn off an average listener who could possibly label tracks porn music. If you are one of them, then track 7, Self Defence should change your mind as it’s an acid jazz noise hardcore beat. Aarset’s sound is very similar to electronic jazz artist David Torn. The textures created by the guitar are slow and flow like water over jazz bass lines. The tracks compositionally create very different moods with electronic music being the only common element. Slow movements of air and light touch playing on all instruments cut out the higher frequencies and deliver a relaxing sound that the cool jazz era established. Check out the sample of Self Defence below (96k bit rate, mono, 1/2 of the full track).
This is a self-titled limited split 7” (33rpm) EP limited to 500 copies featuring Yellow Swans and The Goslings out on Not Not Fun Records as part of the bi-monthly Bored Fortress 7” series. The Yellow Swans untitled track is like a police chase on acid. You can sort of hear the sirens coming after you, but you can’t get all the sticky honey out of your ears. The guitars are freaky and cool and the scraping, static textures fit well with the vinyl. This side of the record ends without warning. So that was your warning. The Goslings track ‘Saw-Horse’ features demented, echoing, female vocals and a simple electronic drum beat in the background with haunting keyboard bass tones as well as slow hitting cymbals. It’s a much slower yet complex track with tempo changes, almost unexpected on a Yellow Swans release. You can buy the record here from The Goslings website.
Third release in a series called The Social Club, and debut album for Taketo Shimada and Tres Warren (from Psychic Ills) and their group Messages. Tone generated sounds are creepy and could serve ad good background songs or ambient soundtrack pieces. It is too bad this is only a 7-inch as the tracks leave room for development. On the first track entitled ‘Destination’, sounds echo over a humming bass, leaving you standing at the end of a tunnel that leads to your nightmares. Creepy buzzing slowly rolls up your toes and down your spine. A drum signals the end and a fuzzed out guitar acts like the alarm of awakening. The B-side ‘Glades’ bobs up and down with like a merry go round descending into a pit, screwed deeper into the ground with each turn. Like an engine with an unsteady idle, the repetition feels like a broken machine working hard but not steady as it was intended. Before this broken machine should end comes a fuzzy electro beat to add enormous depth to the album as a whole. Released by The Social Registry, you can pick up a copy from them here.
“We could have an orgy in the birdbath baby” (Soap Bopper) Perhaps Ned just suffers from an acute case of Aviant-philia, as seen in this lyric from ‘Soap Bopper’. Someone better explain to them that 99% of birds live in socially monogamous pairs. Ned is a 4-piece experimental electro-rock group out of Oakland, CA and always left unclassified in that unknown 1% other category. Since Oaktown it basically the breeding grounds for hybrid music, its no wonder this band blends sounds so well. The tracks fuse funk, pop and electronic music with new wave style vocals. While I read the band would be liked by fans of Beck, Primus and The Locust, I found their actual sound similar sound to Xiu Xiu (actually more like the pre-Xiu Xiu band IBOPA), Mr. Bungle and Santa Cruz’s Estradasphere (who also mixes their rock with electronic 8-bit/ vintage keyboard sounds).
The A-side ‘Soap Bopper’ is manic yet pulsating, regular and dynamics free. Like a Halloween dance party minus the “trying to be scary” scary sounds. It starts of with some noise and then rolls into a cool keyboard intro. Ned always seems to know the right nostalgic analog sound to stream over their simple electronic drum beat. The B-side ‘Omaha’ is an all electronic playground featuring sounds you’d normally hear from a Commodore 64. The track ends with a abstract vocal noise loop that at first sounds like a locked grove but flows to the end of the vinyl where it abruptly cuts off. (very reminiscent of Sergeant. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, era Beatles.)
Two chaps from the UK since 1996, ISAN (Integrated Services Analogue Network)
is often compared to Boards of Canada. Hearing the album reminds me of the soft electronic tracks from Radiohead. PDIP features short digestible pieces for easy access into their world with a quick escape hatch. The melodic and warm electronica stays simple and dreamy Tracks are quite similar and feel orchestrated in the way the melodies play off of one another from beginning to end. For instance, track 11. Seven Mile Marker uses the same 4 notes of the melody of Track 1. Look and Yes, just in a different key. There are no harsh sounds on this disc. Tracks are made completely of manipulated electronic sounds that mimic soft bass, afro/cuban style drums, bells, metronome (Yttrium) and finger-snapping (Corundum). The album has a bit of white noise feel to it even becomes borderline New Age with track 10. Stickland. The good thing about plans drawn in pencil is that they can be constantly changed, the drawback that it all can just as easily be erased.
Improv electronic experimental soundscapes, tracks range from chirping like insects, ringing, drum tones, keyboard ambience, click and pop, static and underwater ears plugged. Unlike loop or minimalistic music, Davignon engages attentive listeners to become lost in the relentless jams. There is no meter nor harmony, as tracks realistically represent the chaos of nature. Pieces tend to be echo heavy, with minimal looping giving the listeners a much more intense interaction. Production-wise, some intentional cd-skips are left throughout the disc and no fade-outs have tracks ending with a harsh aikido assassination. Track 4 has a great wet cave feel for the spelunker in all of us. The first 3 tracks reminds me of the noises that the tree branches make on your windows at night, or the clawing of zombies into flesh, harsh sandpaper toilet paper, like a cats tongue must feel on their orifices.