Music Reviews

Artist: Yu-chi/Anata Wa Sukkari Tsukarete Shimai
Title: The Original Magnetic Light Parade
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Bearsuit records (@)
Rated: *****
"The Original Magnetic Light Parade" is a very nice sonic knick-knack from Scottish label Bearsuit with an heavy dosage of Japanese aesthetics. The first part of this split mini-album features the fuzzy dadaist electric folk Japanese multi-instrumentalist Yu-chi, whose sound smells of lovely rustic crispness and somewhat idyllic innocence: the opening with saddening strings on "Bustle, Conflict and Me" and the carillon of croaks, chatter, guitars and percussive splash-down, which manage to change the emotional set of the song till a sort of euphoric hebephrenia, the delicate melodic lines by plucked guitar with pitched chutes, which emphasize the reverie, and the following reprise on honky-tonk piano on "The First Star" and the amazingly childish "Toy Joy", whose amalgamation of accordions, barking dogs and clicks, reprised by the delicate final guitar phrasing, seems inspired by typical tunes coming from itinerant ice cream vendors' vans or circus tents, could let listener think about a sort of nostalgic recollection, as it seems to be partially mirrored by the self-introduction by his own words, according to which he was "brought up listening to the music of Bach, Chopin & Debussy. I bought up my first guitar in junior high. After many family illnesses I gave up my education in other to return to the farmwork I grew up with in order to support my family". On the second part of this magnetic mini-album, there are three interesting remixes of tracks by the international file sharing band/collective Anata Wa Sukkari Tsukarete Shimai (Japanese expression meaning "you are completely tired") by _ (Japan), Gnomefoam (England) and Bunny (Scotland), which explore different stylistical grounds: the lovely remix of Cataract by Gluid (Netherlands) tacks towards an entrancing mellow downbeat whose despondent mood and contemplative halo loom nearby the borderline of musical territories with garrisons by Radiohead, Blue Foundation or Future 3, while the remix of "Lost in the forest of blank sportswear" by Scottish producer Jim Child could resemble to some dozily hallucinated stuff by Mum wrapped in scorched tapes and encircled by buzzing insects, which precedes the final disquieting remix of "My Drive" by Rune Martinsen (Norway), whose insertion of recordings from news report and radio broadcasts, lopsided guitars and disturbing noises emphasizes the sinister and mysterious atmosphere evoked by the monotonous repetition of the sentence "nobody knows it". I'm not sure if this release is available on vinyl or cd yet, but I'm sure you can find it as a digital release on most notorious providers (Amazon, I-Tunes, Spotify and so on).

VV.AA.: Rise of the Under Dogs vol.1

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Jan 30 2013
Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Rise of the Under Dogs vol.1
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: IM:Ltd (@)
Distributor: Triple Vision
Rated: *****
Parisian label IM:Ltd by dj, producer and graphic designer Caine has been one of the most wondrous and stylistically labyrinthine of the scene in the last years, so that a retrospective compilation which could furnish an immediate and concise proof of such a strain on sound machines cannot but suit to a T. All ten tracks, which have been included in this selection, make a good impression and encompass the wide stylistical range IM:Ltd's trying to thrust. From the initial glitchy and somewhat sinister witchcraft by young Polish dnb producer Mortem on "Whispers" to the final aerostatic lyrical "Above The Clouds" by Glen E.Ston, an array of pleasures will delight listener's cochleas: the beeping computational arcane sonoritires of Belgian producer Meersman Olivier aka Atmospherix on "CPU", remarkably edgy shots of "Elektronic Angels" by talented producer Alex Judd aka Soul Intent, the amazing crossbreed of glitchy clicks and wicked bass of "Surrealism" (already a classic!) by Italian Arp Xp, the catchy bonebreaking flows of "Monopole" by London-based trio Future Signal, the crisp blown claps and beats of "Sabbah" by Hibea, the flying kicks of kung-fu inspired "Travelling Man" by Mad Rabbit, the melancholic blurred shades by Hobzee & Zyon Base on "Black & White Movie" and the demimonde waxed song "Universe" by Gunston. "Rise of The Under Dogs" includes so many palatable tunes that you cannot hope the label will keep on paving its way.
Jan 22 2013
Artist: Worsel Strauss
Title: Unattention Economy
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Vicmod Records (@)
Rated: *****
One of the main criticisms levelled at electronic music is that anyone can make it, the machines do all the work. That is true, just press the triangle and let fly! This then raises the question: What makes good electronic music? Sure, we can listen to the refrigerator hum or blender whine for hours, but does that constitute good 'music'? Worsel Strauss, half of the retro electronics outfit Schleusolz, plugs in his machines, and considers the results.

Inspired by an infamous piece of early electronics, Douglas Leedy's 'Entropical Paradise (with bird call),' a triple-LP of self-generated modular synth music, Strauss wondered if he could make some interesting synthnoise, without resorting to sidelong synth soundscapes. Instead, he wondered if the machines could come up with more conventional 'songs', and set to, armed with a vintage Buchla synthesizer and some other analog electronics. The pieces were composed, straight to tape, and then edited later, in a process he called 'subtractive mixing'. 'If there is a creative process involved at all it is the design of the rules and the final choice of which results to present, and which ones not.' He even wonders if it can be considered music at all.

Which brings us to the mechanical heart of 'Unattention Economy,': Does it sound good? An album reviewers purpose is to report back what he hears, and to alert listeners as to whether a particular piece is worthy of their attention. While 'UE' might be cyberdine techno, it sounds REALLY good. At first i was skeptical: another experimental synth record? How much knob twiddling can a bloke hack? But it is my job, to parse through the datastream and report what i see, and i will not let you down. It is our job, as listeners, to try and remain unjaded, to not let the cultural torrent wash us away. This comes through presence and awareness, and the final analysis is, Strauss' machines sound boss. Bringing to mind a surprising amount of modern electricians (Nine Inch Nails, Autechre, Jessica Rylan), the sounds are all sourced from exquisite components. The drums kick like a Parisian siege, while the analog pads are as warm as a Sahara sun. There's bleepy, gloopy tones, that'll appeal to the retro-fetishists out there, but there's also dance floor fare (Shopping for Antibiotics). 'Swarm Intelligence' is a standout track, killer martial breakbeats and detuned swarming melodies. Its like an instrumental outtake from 'The Downward Spiral' remixed with a Pure Data patch. It brings the body and the head together, and could help introduce some listeners to the world of abstract electronica that's out there.

Vicmod Records could have a real hit on their hands here. Worsel Strauss is worthy of yr time and attention, possibly yr praise. The time and care he took to setup the experiment allowed for some remarkable alleatoric daemons to manifest, and i'll be damned if i don't hear a bit of soul in there. 'Unattention Economy' is very highly recommended.

DVA: Fly Juice EP

 Posted by Vito Camarretta (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Jan 17 2013
Artist: DVA (@)
Title: Fly Juice EP
Format: 2 x 12" vinyl
Label: Hyperdub
Rated: *****
Leon Smart aka Scratcha DVA already demonstrated his fine approach to sound as it were a true gourmet in his acclaimed debut album "Pretty Ugly" (such a title could let you surmise he probably assimilated the rules of British understatement!). That's the reason why Hyperdub always gave him carte blanche with the only restriction of avoiding to prepare mid-tempo dubstep stuff as they maybe noticed that shelves in the supermarket are full enough. The culinary metaphor is not so casual as the modified clap Scratcha DVA often uses could remind the sound of the knife on a wooden cutting board. Moreover his way of cutting samples before putting them in the frying pan reminded some Japanese samurai whose sonic katanas got famous since the end of 90ies such as Boom Boom Satellites, Tatsuya Oe, Ken Ishii as well as some stuff released on David Moufang's Source Records, but DVA's paraphernalia seasons the sound with tasty spices such as hypnotic Detroit techno chords and similar tricks ("Long Street", "Walk It Out"), delicious garage-house nibbles and jazz-funk Rhodes organ appetizer ("Fly Juice"), dogged shuffling drums ("Do It"). All those listener who will opt for digital edition will be delighted by double portion as they could grab four more tracks, including the smoky dub knocking remix of "Ganja" by French Fries, the amazing swooshing garage-dub feast of "Rumors" which features "drunken" delicate vocal guest Inga copeland (Hype Williams), and the catchy "Shook", whose funny lolloping tastes like a sort Mr.Oizo in aspic. Why am I feeling peckish now?

Voide: Electric Jungle

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Synth Pop / Electro Pop / Synth-Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
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Jan 14 2013
Artist: Voide (@)
Title: Electric Jungle
Format: CD
Label: self-released
Distributor: CDBaby
Rated: *****
After the teaser freebie 'Agents and Radios', the Swedish Electronica-producer David Almgren releases his all new studio album. With 'Electric Jungle', David continues to explore his vision to produce attractive, spacey, futuristic-sounding Synthesizer-Electronica music, which is still authentic enough to avoid a dangerous approach to any Pop-related meaninglessness. After a dark sounding introduction, the title track comes up and features all of David's talent discovered through previous 4 album releases. Also again involved is his female partner behind the microphone, Mrs. M. Craven, and she does her best to provide a smooth and warm sounding vocal performance to oppose with David's cold and mechanic Electronica efforts. Both, Craven and Almgren, have teamed up a while back and know each others talent well. Wouldn't be there such a huge distance between Sweden and Australia, they could have been united for a real band project. Also 'Haunted House' works excellent with both talents included and it isn't at all that 'haunting' as the title may suggests. This track can be counted asides the hit smashing tune 'I Am There' and the already known, earlier released 'Side By Side' to be the most important tracks available on this album. In between we have again David's own instrumental compositions. 'Green Solitude' impresses with its nearly Lounge-/Late-Night-Electronica inspired instrumentation, while 'For Savannah' could work well as being the title-melody of a sports TV-broadcast format. 'Electric Jungle' consumed as a whole album doesn't leave any wishes of the listener unfulfilled, in case that Synth-/Futurepop-inspired Electronica music with a Spacesynth-undertone counts to your preferences. Unfortunately this album ends abruptly after only 37 minutes, which is definitely a bit too short. 2 - 3 more tracks available on this well designed album (art/photos by Are Eidet, wouldn't hurt any of the listeners, because none of the featured 12 tracks sounds unattractive or provides boredom. Christmas we've just survived, but I still have wishes: more stuff and a lesser short pause for the next album, Mr. Almgren!

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