Music Reviews



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Artist: Mark Farina (@)
Title: Air Farina
Format: CD
Label: OM records (@)
World acclaimed Dj Mark Farina has been world-trotting for years now but he seems to master the art of manufacturing time to produce his own music. His debut, "Air Farina", is a concept album, where the theme, transcontintenal flight, is portrayed with a number of samples from airports, air traffic control towers, flight assistants, pilots etc. Born and raised in Chicago, closely in touch with the Detroit scene and always into the San Fran vibe, Mark Farina masters a style of his own that fuses instrumental urban sounds, soulful acid jazz and funky house. Those of you who know Farina will certainly remember his cassette series Mushroom Jazz or stuff he recorded under different monikers, such as Urban Backcountry and Bernal Boogie. Guests on this album include Kaskade, People Under the Stairs, Sean Haynes and Lance Desardi. Available as CD and double vinyl.
Artist: Psychonauts
Title: Songs for Creatures
Format: CD
Label: Gigolo (@)
Distributor: Caroline
After releasing remixes for David Holmes, Money Mark, Gina X, Saint Etienne, Pauul Weller and Liquid Liquid, among others, on Mo'Wax, the Psychonatus (Paul Mogg and Pablo Clements) have now been signed by Gigolo and have released their debut "Songs for Creatures", which is sort of a combination of funky electronic music, loungy disco and white r'n'b pop. The album transpires the fresh and euro-style night live of a city like London. Furthermore it is one of those albums where programmed music intertwines with live performances in a very warm and un-intellegible way, naturally and smoothly. Guest vocals by Sam Lynham from Output label artist Gramme, Domino label artist James Yorkstone from The Beta Band, Siobain Fahey, Ghost, React label artist Seb, Chancer and Jason Rowe. Available as digipack CD and double vinyl.
Nov 20 2003
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Artist: Monolake (@)
Title: Momentum
Format: CD
Label: ml/i (Monolake / Imbalance Computer Music)
Distributor: Caroline
Robert Henke's parents must be proud. Their son is a genius who either gets people excited about his music or gets other people to make exciting music to get more people excited about their music, made with the ground-breaking software called Abelton Live, programmed by Robert Henke himself. I was in New York City at AES (Audio Engineering Society) when Live 2 was announced (now also supported as a rewire application for those of you who like me are sold to Pro Tools) and at about the same time Monolake's new album "Momentum" was released, with a front cover art work by Alexey Paryla. Musically challenging and sophisticated, "Momentum" takes electronic music to new heights with exquisite and elegant arrangements and sounds built around an otherwise minimal floor of refined glitch-tronica. This albums displays such a wide array of colorations that you'll never get bored listening to it. Compared to other albums he put out, this one is maybe a touch darker and colder (in a good way) and the minimal techno beats drive through the entire magma of cybernetic sonic artifacts like a modern hi speed steel train running through Berlin's drop-dead cold and flat fields covered in ice. Very exciting...
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Artist: The Abstractions (@)
Title: Ars Vivende
Format: CD
Label: Edgetone records (@)
Distributor: U.I.R.C., Drimala, Verge Music


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"Ars Vivende" (the art of living) is the second release by west coast experimental music collective The Abstractions, featuring Ernesto Diaz-Infante, Dina Emerson, Phillip Everett, Sandor Finta, Lance Grabmiller, Bob Marsh, Jesse Quattro, Alwyn Quebido, Rent Romus and Stephen Ruiz. This record is all over the map and is a must for those who want to be challenged in reaching new musical horizons, leaving old concepts and preconceptions behind. There are no rules and no barriers here, it's the wildest experimentation you'll get and some of the most abstract and absurd avantgarde experimental music you'll find around. Everything is on the fringe of something else and they all live together in one record: free jazz, metal, avant-garde, electro-acoustic music, poetry, vocal noises etc. Its where creativity and improvisation meet. Give it a try if you dare!
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Artist: Al Haca Soundsystem (@)
Title: Inevitable
Format: CD
Label: Different Drummer (@)
Distributor: Caroline
My hat goes off to this release for originality and quality. And if I say that (considering I am not a huge fan of MCs/dancehall/reggae) you gotta trust me on this one! Following their 2001 Different Drum debut EP "Killa", german DJ collective Al Haca Soundsystem pulled off a beautiful release that elegantly and exquisitely blends the rough and edgy roots of dancehall/reggae/hip hop/dub with the smooth and sophisticated sonics of electronica, ambient, trip hop and even occasional glitchy/experimental/noise music. The guest MCs come from all over the world and include Sizzla, Mr. Dead, Ras MC T-Weed, Farda P, Mr. V, RQM, He-Man, so expect them to be all over the map, ranging from the original jamaican style (like Sizzla or He-Man) to the style you'd hear during a new york city underground drum'n'bass nights with Jojo Mayer/Nerve (like RQM) or the machine-gun-word-spitting style, or from the Brooklyn hip hop style (like Mr. Dead) to the hip classy Darryl Jennifer-sounding minimal and narrative MCing (like the ecelctic and outstanding Ras Mc T-Weed) or the Tricky-type spoken word style. The album feels a little long to me but it's worth listening to.
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