Music Reviews



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Artist: Dj Rashad (@)
Title: Double Cup
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: Hyperdub (@)
Rated: *****
Following a couple of appreciated delicacies we've already talked about, the album, which crowns and honors an impressively fecund year for one of the leading edges of Chicago footwork and chief member of Teklife crew Rashad Harden aka DJ Rashad on Hyperdub and the concurrent spread of a genre which could be considered the upgraded soundtrack or, as more "romantically" suggested by cover artwork or maybe by the reference to the recreational drug quoted by the title - double cup is another slang name of so-called purple drank, a mixture ("drop a 4 in a 20 oz and call it 24s") of promethazine-codeine and sprite, whose original recipe came from H-Town, TX - the nocturnal street lighting, of the quivering Illinois' capital city by crossbreeding ghetto-house and juke styles, has finally been released. The antitussive recipe of Rashad's sound isn't just a combination of Chicago footwork and "something else", as you could take for granted and all those listeners who tasted his previous tidbits knows that. Its sonic energy-boosting toffee may contain traces of techno, jungle, tribal, ghetto-house, r'n'b, hip hop has been lusciously covered with creamy expectorations of 808 and flipping polyrhythms. I keep on preferring acidolous blast or darker waves of tracks like previously released "I Don't Give A Fuck", the stunning shock treatments of title-track "Double Cup", "Leavin" (ft.Manny) or "Acid Bit" (featuring Addison Groove) as well as the unusually tuneful hiccuping divas of tracks like "Everyday of My Life", "Only One" or "Show U How", but I'm pretty sure many listeners will be delighted by more soothing stuff where the sensually sizzling breaks of "Let U No" or "I'm Too Hi" and the soulful aftertaste of collaborative tracks with Spinna really stand out.
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Artist: Gabriel Saloman (@)
Title: Soldier's Requiem
Format: 12"
Label: Miasmah (@)
Rated: *****
One of the wings of D.Yellow Swans (where the meaning of that "D" constantly changed...del, die, deterioration, disk, damaged, demonic, dove, drownerd, dusk and so on), Vancouver-based musician Gabriel Saloman shuffle the cards of his previous self-signed release "Adhere" by giving prominence to instruments, changing the function of electronics in his soup and embroidering a sort of narrative structure to his sonic weaves, where one of the most interesting aspect is the handover of different evoked emotional states by intriguing sonic dynamics. It sound clear since "Mine Field", the first long stage of this "Soldier's Requiem", where the initial vaguely enchanted piano, which lets listener imagine the temporary toughening relief after some pitched battle before that subdued melody and the delicate electronic wavelets got stuck on lower frequencies which seems to dry the tonal ocean out. When the water becomes shallower and shallower, an abstract awareness of tragedy, diquietude and solitude seems to increase over a peeping drone, which fills the sonic sphere before fading out and let the melodic piano resound again, but its initial enchantment got broken as if it has been fatally impaired. The piano misfires and cannot evoke that vague idyll, which transmutes into a sort of sinisterly premonitory tolling and fells silent on the following "Marching Time", where the percussive march and its clunky and burdensome advance absorbs the aphonic noise of machine-gun fires. The battle could have deleted any human memory in the soldier, but the rain and the retake of solitary rueful march, which got evoked by field recordings and a low-key sad guitar of "Boots On Ground", instist on that dichotomy before the unexpected attack from a seemingly dead enemy - the listener will decide if this enemy, which revives on the percussive reprise, rises from some forgotten frontline or from within the anti-heroic soldier -. The funereal snigger of fate, which resounds from tthe sinister strings of the final "Could Haunt", discloses the destined content of the war chest.
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Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Electroconvulsive Therapy Vol 1
Format: 12"
Label: Medical Records
Rated: *****
'Electroconvulsive Therapy Vol 1' is the first compilation released by Medical Records and it's the second album they does in association with the Crispy Nugget blog. The record gathers five early 80s singles, complete of both the sides plus two tracks coming from rare compilations: 'Panic In Your Mind' by N.A. Pop 2000 (UK) and 'Maske' by Berliner Strasse (Yugoslavia). The bands we have here are: The Electronic Circus (Featuring Chris Payne, who also performed synth work on Gary Numan's 'Pleasure Principle'), Psychic Youth, Aaah'¦!, Claude Arto from Mathematiques Modernes and Shazam. The Electronic Circus plays a particular kind of synth pop with the use of piano and dramatic atmospheres (check the B-side 'La Chorale' which is an instrumental piano/synth track) and sometimes recall me Poeme Electronique. Psychic Youth, from Boston, released only this single in 1982 and their mixture of pop female voice and upbeat synth analog sounds are really convincing. B-side 'Step In Time' has a male vocal and it recalls early Depeche Mode. UK's Aaah'¦! with 'Slip Away' are here with two synth wave songs which sound really strong and melodic. A real gem from the past. 'Duty Calls' is a bit more synth pop but nonetheless is a good one, also. Shazam's single released in UK in the 1983 brings 'Let's Get Together' and 'Memories'. The first track has a synth melody that recalls me The Cure's 'The Walk' but it has quite a different sound which is in balance from synth pop and new wave. Arto's 7' has been released in 1981 on Celluloid (France) and side A's 'Kwai Systeme' it's an experimental version of 'The Bridge on the River Kwai' theme. A bit weird but really interesting. Also side B 'Betty Boop' is particular track, really experimental and recalls the early Mute releases (see The Normal). The two songs coming from compilations are N.A. Pop 2000's 'Panic In Your Mind' (coming from 1981 'A Warped Sense Of Human' LP compilation) which is a wave song with nice melodies and strong synth and bass sounds. Berliner Strasse's 'Maske' was coming from a 1983 LP compilation titled 'Ventilator 202 Demo Top 10' and it's a nice song, not really strong about melodies and sound but it's a good document. Anyway'¦ This is another great Medical Records release and you can check it here: http://medicalrecords.bandcamp.com/album/electroconvulsive-therapy-vol-1-a-collection-of-rare-singles-etc-mr-028
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Artist: JGYB (@)
Title: Sun Soaked / Money
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Con+ainer (@)
Rated: *****
A lot of interesting stuff is ready-made from a bunch of labels from hidden clefts of electronic bass-driven music; this tidbit from British producer and dj (and extreme sports calendar model, his biography pinpoints) Jonathan Gibson aka JGYB is one of the most difficult to categorize, but the easiest to fall in love with. He snipped vocals which could recall Michael Jackson's yells, garage pad-synths, slightly sour drops, front-to-back and back-to-front claps, tribalistic sticks and gelatinous vibrato on his "Sun Soaked", while the following track "Money" shuffles the same elements in a more playful way - it's really funny the way he "crashed" claps and cowbells like they were eggshells -. I'd file his style under "broken beat" but some rhythmical stratagems could evoke something else as well. The release includes a stunning technoid translation of "Sun Soaked" by skilled Portuguese dj and musician Schuro, whose brush strokes painted the original version black by fast throbbing sonic enzymes. This ready is one of the forthcoming secretion from the trunk of Hamburg and Porto-based multifaceted label Con+ainer.
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Artist: Emptyset (@)
Title: Recur
Format: CD
Label: Raster-Noton (@)
Rated: *****
A sequence of clangorous prick and collapsing noises which repeatedly pierces the silence on "Origin" opens the third studio album by Bristol-based project Emptyset by sound artists James Ginzburg and Paul Purgas, whose reinforcement of the sound they've already showed down on previous releases, a constantly expansion of that neat line between noise and music tunnels through further recoinnaissance of the overlapping between pulverized and pure sounds on one side and structures which seems to be built by a perpetual crumbling away of other framework whose tensile strength sounds mirrored by the emphasized asperity of sounds. You could have the impression that each track renders the friction between two opposing forces, which stress respective intensity in order to have the upper hand so that listeners can almost perceive the sonic translation of the troublesome ignition of a ginormous engine on tracks like "Fragment" or "Lens", naked flames which loses their heating transfers in the middle of an arctic storm on "Absence", core drills which meet more resistant metallic layers on "Disperse" and so on. This cranium-clastic parade of harsch compressions and sudden rarefactions till the reaching of saturation or breaking points is going to delight the lovers of the most strident intersections of industrial and properly technoid sonorities.
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