Music Reviews



Jun 16 2017
cover
Artist: Ekoplekz
Title: Bioprodukt
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: Planet Mu Records
Bristol-based Ekoplekz (Nick Edwards) is certainly prolific, with more than a dozen albums under that name since 2010. Perhaps the high rate of output is helped by the confident simplicity of the music, which is simple acid loops and mellow, slow techno-light grooves and bleeps, with occasional snippets of melodic pattern but no vocals.

But that’s not to say it’s half-baked, certainly not- this is disciplined and controlled pattern use to create a pack of ten standalone mesmeric moods. Many of them have at least one foot in the past, with classic 808 clap sounds and modest, analogue-ish subbasses. Sonically, “Consequences” wouldn’t sound out of place on the classic 1994 compilation album “Trance Europe Express 2” (which incidentally is high praise as that’s one of my favourite albums of all time, but that’s another story). Others like “Expedition” only expose their modern origin through slightly glitchier and crisper digital cut tones, the kind of sounds that make Planet Mu the ideal home for this release.

There is breadth here as well though, this isn’t just 10 identical pieces. “Transience” brings a slightly Eastern flavour to the percussion, while “Slipstream” and “Descent” wallow in rich dubby delays and warm lo-fi EQ. “X-Over” is a deeper stripped-back rolling subbass affair that enjoys and justifies its nine minute run.

It’s a remarkably balanced and really enjoyable chilled-out listen, perfect for people who have fond memories for the golden years of 90’s chilled out electronica.
cover
Artist: Joanne Pollock (@)
Title: Stranger
Format: CD & Vinyl
Label: Timesig
Joanne Pollock, who formerly used the name Poemss, has created a 10-track album of quirky stripped-down alt-pop that sets airy, thoughtful, fairly traditional verse-chorus vocals over a landscape of complex percussion patterns and refined atmospheres. There’s a little of many things in here- it’s slightly Matthew Herbert, slightly London Grammar, slightly Moloko. Vocally it’s slightly Sarah McLachlan, slightly Zoë Johnston, slightly Bjork in the very high register jumps.

Unfortunately it lacks the crossover hit tune that would get mainstream attention, preferring an above-average helping of ballads. “Myself Apart” is perhaps the most accessible piece and would make a good entry point. Tracks like “Melt Myself” and opener “Carnival” wallow a little and feel almost lazy. Even tracks like “You Know I Would Do Anything”, with its more uptempo quickstepping energy, is topped by a languid vocal performance.

It’s surprisingly mellow output from Venetian Snares’ Timesig imprint, but the strength of character is still there and it’s definitely worth a listen- but just a hint more aggression or overt energy might have made the whole work really stand out.
cover
Artist: The Immersive Project
Title: s/t
Format: CD & Vinyl
Label: Spezialmaterial/Staubgold
The ambitiously-titled “Immersive Project” is a long-distance-correspondence collaboration stretching from Holger Martin in Cologne to Michael Eberli in Zurich- so, in breadth of musical heritage, not really all that far. The audible influences stretch somewhat further- this is optimistic jazz music of stepping double-basses reframed in an light electro context, with complex percussive patterns and some light dashings of silliness.

Opener “Upper Class Massage” could draw comparisons to Matthew Herbert work, but later tracks are deeper and more atmospheric. The steady groove of “Regenmann” is the piece that best demonstrates how this project has managed to develop its own unique and distinctive voice. The diversity is genuinely impressive- “Blauwer” has a bluesy, slightly David Sylvian feel to it, yet it’s followed by “Hilo” which has a strong and polished Jeff Mills techno underpinning.

Another highlight is “Zwerchfell schwingt”, a dynamic piece shifting between organic guitar and processing-heavy synth with a slowly building tension. Yet another is the slighly Massive Attack-style groove of “Fodderstompf”, the album’s closer if you discount the anachronistic, vocal-adding Macuso Vikovsky edit of “Pizzifikatto”.

The guitar riff on “Bodenreiber” so closely remembles “Set Your Control For The Heart Of The Sun” that it’s hard to shake the Pink Floyd lyric out of your head while listening, especially thanks to the other prog rock-style effects going on in the track.

It ploughs its own very listenable path of downtempo, sometimes moody jazz-with-electronics and while some people may find it a bit lacking in edge, or energy in some places, as a bit of mellow deep electronica this really shines.
image not
available
anymore
Artist: Empire State Human
Title: Romo
Format: CD
Label: Scent Air
Rated: *****
I just don't know how Aidan Casserly is able to produce so much quality music in so little time. Recently I reviewed his collaborative/poetry release and now, I'm here to talk about him again, because we have a new Empire State Human album available. "Romo" is the title of the new album which, fifteen years after their debut, arrives to the shelves thanks to the Russian label Scent Air. If on their previous album, "The Dark", the band was formed by Aidan and Lar, this time we have only Aidan taking care of everything. "Romo" has ten new tracks and most of them have a nice upbeat fresh sound. I asked to Aidan if the album had a theme because the titles seemed kinda connected as "I Kick Ash", "Into Grey", "Night Boy", "Automation", "The Invisible", "Future Sex", "Dust On Dust", "My Darkest Hours", "Nomophobia" and "Walking With Bowie" seem to lead the listener through a precise pattern and yes... he said that "it's a club album about outsiders and night people, set in the near future Sci-Fi driven". At that point an imagine popped into my mind: the first Soft Cell's "Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret". Also "Romo" ideally follows a similar path by talking about night people using catchy melodies, mixing pop attitude without being sellout. Mid tempos like "Into Grey" are well coupled with dancey ones like "Night Boy" or "Automation". There's also space for some sort of experimentation with the closing "Walking With Bowie". It's almost a ten minutes song formed by two parts: the first one would be fine for a "Bladerunner" soundtrack, while the second mix dreamy parts to ones more tense and dramatic. Well done Aidan and it's so good that now we have also a printed CD to enjoy!
cover
Artist: Tobias Hellqvist
Title: Kaskelot: Reissue + Remixes
Format: CD
Label: Home Normal (@)
Rated: *****
It's not that difficult to understand why Tobias Hellkvist has been regarded as "one of Sweden’s best-kept secrets" just after the release of his debut album "Evolutions" in 2010, due to the elegant way by which he intertwined heavily processed drones, acoustic instruments and field recordings, but the release I'm going to introduce - reissued in the beginning of the current year by Home Normal - was even less known by European and American listeners than it was his widespread debut: firstly produced by Home Normal sub-label Tokyo Droning in 2011, "Kaskelot" was a four-track EP, that became considerably popular in Japan, due to its daydreaming and gently melodic sound, close to the aesthetics of many skilled producers that blossomed over years in that fascinating country. Years after its release, Tobias and Ian Hawgood talked about it during a discussion they had in London after a gig by Tobias at The Vortex in March 2013 and after a series of emails, Ian decided to reissue an extended version of it by involving a number of remixers to revamp the original tracks, which got also remastered for the occasion. The four lulling and slightly entrancing sonic sweetener that Tobias improvised and recorded in just one night at Sunlaugin in Reykjavik (Iceland) between 24th March and 4th April 2011 by a one-take recording of a piano, a vibraphone, a pump organ, a guitar, a pedal steel, some simple loops and some likewise neat percussions, got squeezed and restyled by a set of well-known artists of the ambient and electronic folk circle, who sometimes enhanced some of its properties: the most elongated dilutions are the one by Steve Pacheco, who extended Kaskelot sounds over a sweet thin melodic softener lasting 12 minutes and 12 seconds where piano reappears as a tide of the stretched melodies, and the remix by Chihei Hatakeyama, who used the piano-driven melody as a sparkle to vaporise the original input before arousing its electricity like the rain-smelling air before a summer thunderstorm. Likewise elongated, the remix by Chris Herbert sounds like the rendering of salutary geyser where you could imagine he dissolved different sets of unknown shining minerals. Hibernate artist Simon Bainton is the one who maybe kept more elements of the original version of 'Kaskelot' in the first part of his short remix before dissolving them into a blessing void, while Iranian sound artist Porya Hatami made a magnificent version by combining a certain "rusticity" of the input and a lukewarm epic wrapping by inserting a nylon-bass sound and a lovely synthetic string. The quirky computational sequence by offthesky and the radiant set by Canadian producer Jordan Sauer aka Segue are the cherries on top of this delightful release.
[ Next ] [ Previous ]

[1...10] [11...20] [21...30] [31...40] [41...50] [51...60] [61...70] [71...80] [81...90] [91...100] [101...110] [111...120] [121...130] [131...140] [141...150] [151...160] [161...170] [171...180] [181] [182] [183] [184] [185] [186] [187] [188] [189] [190] [191...200] [201...210] [211...220] [221...230] [231...240] [241...250] [251...260] [261...270] [271...280] [281...290] [291...300] [301...310] [311...320] [321...330] [331...340] [341...350] [351...360] [361...370] [371...380] [381...390] [391...400] [401...410] [411...420] [421...430] [431...440] [441...450] [451...460] [461...470] [471...480] [481...490] [491...500] [501...510] [511...520] [521...530] [531...540] [541...550] [551...560] [561...570] [571...580] [581...590] [591...600] [601...610] [611...620] [621...630] [631...640] [641...650] [651...660] [661...670] [671...680] [681...690] [691...700] [701...710] [711...720] [721...730] [731...740] [741...750] [751...760] [761...770] [771...780] [781...790] [791...800] [801...810] [811...820] [821...830] [831...840] [841...850] [851...860] [861...870] [871...880] [881...890] [891...900] [901...910] [911...920] [921...930] [931...940] [941...950] [951...960] [961...970] [971...980] [981...990] [991...1000] [1001...1010] [1011...1020] [1021...1030] [1031...1040] [1041...1050] [1051...1060] [1061...1070] [1071...1080] [1081...1090] [1091...1100] [1101...1110] [1111...1120] [1121...1130] [1131...1140] [1141...1150] [1151...1160] [1161...1170] [1171...1180] [1181...1190] [1191...1200] [1201...1210] [1211...1220] [1221...1230] [1231...1240] [1241...1250] [1251...1260] [1261...1270] [1271...1280] [1281...1290] [1291...1300] [1301...1310] [1311...1320] [1321...1330] [1331...1340] [1341...1350] [1351...1360] [1361...1370] [1371...1380] [1381...1390] [1391...1400] [1401...1410] [1411...1420] [1421...1430] [1431...1440] [1441...1450] [1451...1460] [1461...1470] [1471...1480] [1481...1490] [1491...1500] [1501...1510] [1511...1520] [1521...1530] [1531...1540] [1541...1550] [1551...1560] [1561...1570] [1571...1580] [1581...1590] [1591...1600] [1601...1610] [1611...1620] [1621...1630] [1631...1640] [1641...1650] [1651...1660] [1661...1670] [1671...1680] [1681...1690] [1691...1700] [1701...1710] [1711...1720] [1721...1730] [1731...1740] [1741...1750] [1751...1760] [1761...1770] [1771...1780] [1781...1790] [1791...1800] [1801...1810] [1811...1820] [1821...1830] [1831...1840] [1841...1850] [1851...1860] [1861...1870] [1871...1880] [1881...1890] [1891...1900] [1901...1910] [1911...1920] [1921...1930] [1931...1940] [1941...1950] [1951...1960] [1961...1970] [1971...1980] [1981...1990] [1991...2000] [2001...2010] [2011...2020] [2021...2030] [2031...2040]


Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

Chain D.L.K. design by Marc Urselli
Suffusion WordPress theme by Sayontan Sinha