Music Reviews



cover
Artist: Venetian Snares x Daniel Lanois
Title: Venetian Snares x Daniel Lanois
Format: 12" vinyl + CD
Label: Timesig / Planet Mu
Neither Venetian Snares nor Daniel Lanois should need any introduction, and this first full (albeit short) album collaboration is exactly what you might think the sum of its parts would form. Bringing Lanois’ atmospheres and slow reverberant guitar work alongside Aaron Funk’s hard-and-fast unpredictable rhythms, frequency leaps and sample twisting creates something that manages to be both lush and raw at the same time.

Longest track “United P92” is a highlight- a deep and mesmerising affair with a melodic, Eno-like ambient environment seemingly confining and subduing the glitch-laden beats, which gradually begin to grow in confidence and control in a way that technically ought to be described as aggressive yet manages to actually sound genuinely bright and enthusiastic- might Mr. Snares be mellowing with age?- before proceedings get sparser, with sounds imitating distant explosions and the sense that the sonic honeymoon may be over.

Shorter pieces like “Bernard Revisit P81” sometimes have something of a sparser, old-school electronic experimental flavour, all random synth notes, sinister sci-fi pads and harsh hit noises. I might dare to suggest that “Best P54”, with its hardcore acid elements and deeply melancholic guitar atmos, sounds like two tracks from radically different artists that just happen to be playing at the same time, and yet despite that, it still manages to sound brilliant.

People who know exactly what to expect here will be far from disappointed. It’s a powerful and effective collaboration that brings out the best of both worlds.

Autarkic: I Love You, Go Away (Remixes)

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
 Edit (10433)
May 04 2018
cover
Artist: Autarkic
Title: I Love You, Go Away (Remixes)
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Disco Halal
Simple Symmetry and Red Axes between them remix three tracks off Autarkic’s full-length album “I Love You, Go Away”, which I haven’t heard, so I’m commenting only on this 12” and digital release as a finished product rather than how it compares to the source material. And this product is a collection of moderate-tempo house, with gentle stepping kicks and claps, light-touch single-note basslines and some understated, post-electroclash mostly-spoken vocal snippets.

Simple Symmetry’s take on “Bongos & Basslines” will appeal to Hot Chip fans. “Wipe The Shame” takes things into marginally more synthwave territory with some lo-fi bleep patterns and a decidedly Miss Kittin-esque vocal mantra.

The quirky use of firework effects as a background noise on “Gibberish Love Song” is the most distinctive part in what is otherwise a very unassuming collection of stepping mid-set house. Polished and very pleasant, reliable but not likely to compete for the very top of your sets and playlists.

DJ Raph: Sacred Groves

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
 Edit (10432)
May 03 2018
cover
Artist: DJ Raph
Title: Sacred Groves
Format: CD & Vinyl
Label: Noland
Working partly in Nairobi and partly in Berlin, DJ Raph draws on Kenyan and broader pan-African field recordings (archive material rather than original recordings if I understand correctly) of traditional ethnic music and shapes them into modern electronica arrangements that are on the very mellowest side of bass music. Soft clicky electronic grooves and rolling, rich but lightweight-and-fluffy bass notes hum underneath organic sounds that are from the more celebratory and reverent side of tribal music.

Some of the source sounds are treated in quite dubby ways, often allowed to breathe quite nicely, and when it works (which is most of the time), it really works. Highlights include “Reeds From Chad” and the bizarrely beautiful “Butcher’s Rhythm” that’s far more relaxed than its title suggests. “Ikondera” is notable for its slightly more driving, synthwavey bass sounds that seem to point proceedings in the direction of moombahton.

Mostly it’s a very complimentary fusion of sounds that makes the most of the source rhythms, but it’s not always a perfect match- the odd off-beat in “Earthstep” feels like a pull between the speed variations of the organic drumming and a less tolerant 90bpm-ish kick pattern.

In the 90’s acts like Deep Forest gained popularity followed by disfavour for their cultural appropriation of ethnic music into electronica. More than twenty years on the principle behind this release is not actually all that dissimilar, and while the grooves and flavours may have changed (though some of the samples are vaguely comparable), it still operates in the same field. Thankfully there’s a lot more musical open-mindedness around now, plus DJ Raph’s own heritage should defend this release against any misplaced misappropriation claims.

Final track “Yayaya Twins” wraps things up in a slightly limp fashion, but otherwise it’s gentle African-traditional-music-infused electronica with a gentle warmth, too leisurely to really set your heart racing but a very pleasant, relaxing and slightly-unusual way to spend 37 minutes.

Sonns & Tavish: Trycksaker

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
 Edit (10421)
Apr 27 2018
cover
Artist: Sonns & Tavish
Title: Trycksaker
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: ESP Institute
These two tracks mark a production debut for established LA DJ’s Alexandre Mouracade and Tavish Graham, and it’s a bold and confident opener. Two slabs of bright, confident, steady instrumental four-to-the-floor with bits of synthwave, bits of electro-house, and some aspects of a more minimal aesthetic, this is music you could dance to, or drive to, or work to, or just sit down and enjoy.

At almost nine minutes the A side “Trycksaker” maybe overstays its welcome just a touch for home listening and bouncier B side “Roguish Days”, with its bassline lifted from the funkier side of acid house, seems more compact and well-formed, but they’re both born from the same sonic pod and they’re both highly polished, if borderline uneventful, bits of mid-set feel-good fodder.

Lybes Dimem: Syncleft Chronem

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Techno / Trance / Goa / Drum'n'Bass / Jungle / Tribal / Trip-Hop
 Edit (10414)
Apr 24 2018
cover
Artist: Lybes Dimem
Title: Syncleft Chronem
Format: LP
Label: SVS Records
Lukas Rehm, who describes himself as a visual artist before the word musician, opens up a new alias here. The Lybes Diem project is integrally built to be a synergy between sound and ‘moving image artwork’ (or ‘video’ as plebs like me might call it), designed for installations, spatial sound experiences and “synesthetic shows”.

But ignoring all that, what do you get if you buy the LP or the download? You get eight punchy tracks of loud, often aggressive distorted techno and electronica instrumental built on complex and often slow kick rhythms.

“Tachy” is a noisy, abrasive opener that borders on white noise at times, and while “Horizon2020” allows for sparser breathing sections, the noise is never too far away. “Auto Alternative” offers a dark electronic thrum that probably does sound fantastic live.

The second half of the album settles down somewhat, with “Nascent Tenet” a collection of low faintly industrial drones mixed with long synth pads and odd atmospherics. “Double Bound” uses chord patterns that are odd-sounding but more conventionally structured. “Da-Jiang Innovations” reintroduces noisier elements but over more settled pads, before “Powerset” wraps things up in a predictably dark and industrial rumbling manner.

Either cathartic or unwelcoming depending on whether you can get into the sound or not, “Syncleft Chronem” takes some of the sonic qualities of IDM and reworks them into the world of immersive installations and disorientation. The result is one of those albums that manages to be not particularly likeable at times, yet really tempt you to turn the volume up up up nevertheless.


Search All Reviews:
[ Advanced Search ]

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