December 25, 2010

Isolée - Well Spent Youth (2011)

"Psychedelic and full of analog sounds, as well as fit for both home listening and club soundsystems."

| Download |

Airliner - None (2010)

More fantastic work from Mr. Com Truise!

Mark Fell - Multistability (2010)

SND's Mark Fell makes a late entry for one of the electronic albums of the year with his latest solo opus: Multistability. As one half of SND alongside Mat Steel and solo as 'H', Mark uncompromisingly operates on the bleeding edge of digital music production. He's in possession of a beautifully rare talent; the ability to make highly academic music with an innately Funky and dare we say, accessible, edge. He himself and many others may not agree, but there's something so listenable to his rhythmically-driven and melodically aware style that we can't help but hear him in that context. The concept behind Multistability is assuredly highbrow, referring to the notion of seeing two separate images at once, kinda like a Rubin face/vase effect. From the outset we're entangled in a meticulous mesh of ultimately chaotic, but incredibly well organised patterns and sonic topologies - essentially the result of experiments whose side-effects just happen to be the most extreme and stripped examples of digital funk imaginable. Believe it or not, Mark cites his collaborative efforts with friend and fellow musician Yasunao Tone as a major influence on these tracks, which is understandable when it comes to their constantly morphing aesthetic and deliberate intentions, but seriously, I couldn't ever imagine feeling as compelled to twitch like this when listening to a Tone CD.

Lone - Emerald Fantasy Tracks (2010)

Emerald Fantasy Tracks...if you've seriously danced in the right place (doesn't matter where, England, Italy, Spain..etc.)in the late 80's or early 90's you can't fail to recognize these sounds and you may not be able to stop that feeling of sweet malancholy that only the good memories can generate.

Yellow Swans - Going Places (2010)

Released on the beloved Type Records, run and operated by John Twells (Xela), Yellow Swans spearhead the development of sound, as it's concerned with noise, drone, and power electronics. But in their latest release, Going Places, it's not all about distortions and sheer cringing fuzz. There's clear structure, texture, and even pulsating rhythm behind each track, allowing the foreground instruments to carry out the development, while the background noise soars to new heights. Based out of Portland, the duo of Pete Swanson and Gabriel Mindel Saloman describe their music as "powerful rendering of free rock, black electronics, and white light vibrations." Their latest work is a product of over a decade worth of music, released on CD-Rs, cassettes, and vinyl, coming to an end. In April of 2008 the band announced their decision to split up, concentrating on finishing up their final album. Even the title suggests that they might be going places, and the same-titled last track fades away, like a burning rocket into deep space. If you are at all curious about the capacity of noise, start off with Yellow Swans and then work your way into darker territory...

December 24, 2010

Aleksi Perälä - Mental Union (2009)

More fantastic "post-acid" (haha) from Mr. Aleksi!

Grit - Tunnel Transmissions Vol. 1 (2008)

Absolutely amazing release. So deep, warm and personal sound for my ears. "Perpetual" is a my favorite here probably. A piece of a dubby meditative trip so short I want to make it longer & longer. "Deimos" sounds more like classical dub techno track to me. "Soul Pulse" is a journey somewhere far away you'll hardly get back. Deep, melodic, pulsating. A lack of mastering (for the volume is a bit low and there's not enough mids & highs IMHO) comes as a release feature and a Grit's style in a way. Once again, amazing.

Deepchord presents Echospace - The Coldest Season (2008)

The Coldest Season opens with an atmospheric storm of white noise; a field recording manipulated by Modell and Hitchell. After minutes of buildup a beat unexpectedly kicks in, panning and evolving constantly. Thus marks the beginning of Echospace's first album and a new direction for dub techno.

The storm is prevalent for the entire duration of the recording, a high frequency hissing offset by killer bass hooks. Just like the minimal cover art is grey and white, the contrast is obvious and delightful for anybody 'trained' in dub techno. Special mention goes to "Aequinoxium" with the most addictive bassline I have ever heard in a track - 13 minutes of relentless sub-marine exploration. "Celestialis" is also a favourite, with glacial bursts added in the first few minutes and the bass gearing up throughout the track. It's the most progressive track on the album - most of them are content on chugging hypnotically onwards.

The only disappointment for me is the closing "Empyrean". This track sounds playful and more clubby - not a good way to end such an album as this; it's not a bad track in it's own right but it would be more appropriate somewhere else. An ambient exit, slowly peeling off the layers, would have been preferable.

This album sounds even better played during snowy days in the winter months, when the land outside your window looks like the cover art. At other times it reminds me of traversing the ocean floor due to the deep underwater sounds.

Maurizio - M-Series (2003)

Probably one of the best and certainly most influential techno producers of the 1990s. Unfortunately, Maurizio's style led to a lot of clones and sub-par producers jumping on the dubby tech-house bandwagon in the early 2000s. No matter, the original sound from the master shines through even today. Deep sub-bass, static, a steady house tempo 4/4 kick, and those hypnotic dub effects make for some great listening. There is a distinct emotional resonance and timelessness to these tracks that is sorely lacking in a lot of the nth generation dub tech clones. Probably because they are using cheap software presets while Maurizio was building his sound the hard way with outboard equipment. At the time, I don't think there was anyone out there who thought of combining techno with 70s Jamaican dub music. For that alone, Maurizio deserves a place in the techno history books. If you are serious about techno music, this is an absolute must have. I really can't recommend it enough.

Luomo - Vocalcity (2000)

Vladislav Delay, perhaps better known for his ambient work, assumes his Luomo disguise for some epic deep house. And when I say epic, I mean it in the best way; these tracks take their time to develop fully, adding and subtracting elements, rather than just maximizing their time on the dancefloor. “Market,” the opening track, starts with a steady beat and some sweeping tech-house chords and doesn’t let go; “Synkro” has some whispery vocals floating atop the rhythms and submerged melodies. Even though the tracks are long they never lose either their intensity or their interest. The best track on Vocalcity, “Tessio,” continually morphs, bypassing the whole house jam and becoming something more of a meditation on house. “She-Center” closes the album with more of the deep and dark groove to which we’ve grown accustomed. An amazingly beautiful album.

Cylob - Previously Unavailable on Compact Disc (1998)

Including most of the unavailable Chris Jeffs material recorded as this collection presents several classic tracks of ambient retro-techno as well as remixes by μ-Ziq , Aphex Twin, and Autechre.

DMX Krew - You Can't Hide Your Love (1997)

Great electrofied synth-pop from Mr. Ed DMX. The original for a quite famous Aphex Twin remix.

Chimera - Valley of the Spirits (1996)

The most melodic work from Mike Dred, but yet very electronic and even acidic from time to time. Quite similar to his Kosmik Kommando works, but with some real ambient electronica tracks, with two that are still unrivaled : "The Future is Upon Us" and "Valley of the Spirits". Superb work.

December 23, 2010

Kettel - Myam James Pt. 1 (2008)

This is how I always wanted to hear acid. I really enjoy the aesthetic Kettel hit upon with this album. The tracks all burst of life, breathing and sighing, singing and dancing - proclaiming - with the familiar unrestricted movement of Kettel. I can't resist listening all the way through this incredibly solid album, where yet the tracks stand on their own.

The compositions are subtle but never boring, minimalistic but broad reaching, cheerful and empathic and beautiful. The sound is firm yet atmospheric, with confident rhythms and melodies filled with expression. Myam James Part 1 is my favorite album by Kettel; Mr. Eising must've really zoned in and out on this one.

James Blake - James Blake (2011)

Get it while you can! 8)

| Taken down |

Farben - Textstar (2002)

Jan Jelinek, whatever his alias (here: Farben), manages to create some of the most involving electronic music around. Textstar, a collection of 12"s on Klang Elektronik, is much more dancey than his other works, but this is more headphone music than speaker music. "Live at the Sahara House, 1973" already starts out warm, but the woodwinds halfway through cinch the deal. Bit of jazz emerge on "Farben Says: Love to Love You Baby." "Suntouch Edit" is every bit as bright as its title implies with an intriguingly off-kilter rhythmic structure, while "Beautone" is as pretty as it title implies, with a seemingly game show-inspired flute chorus in the middle. "Farben Says: So Much Love" tosses in some quiet female vocals, while "Bayreuth" is more abstract, almost akin to Jelinek's other works. And the final track, "Farben Says: Love Oh Love" builds on a looped guitar plucking and ends on a tinkling piano. Brilliant all the way through.

James Pants - Seven Seals (2009)

Seven Seals was made while reading mystical books and the book of Revelations, and inspired by being in the mood to start a cult. This is the cult's soundtrack. Very heavy on 70s psych-rock thrown in with some great funky electronics.

December 6, 2010

A Made Up Sound - Shortcuts (2008)

A severely limited and exclusive glimpse into the mind of Dave Huismans aka 2562 aka A Made Up Sound, with his self released 'Shortcuts' album offering up 20 nuggets of intimate beat experimentalism and bluest late night vibes. The album was born as a sort of concept set back in 2004 when Huismans tried to complete a track each evening after work during a rainy month in Dutch suburbia. The results are 20 tracks ranging from just under a minute to over four minutes in length, cohesively steering between a range of melancholy blue moods held together with shattered dubstep, strafing electro synthlines and a tempered minimal techno ambience much like his later works, but in an altogether rawer and stream-of-consciousness style.

Drexciya - Neptune's Lair (1999)

Together with Grava 4 this must be the greatest Drexciya album. It features more, rather short, tracks than the other albums. Due to these short tracks Drexciya allowed themselves to expose a great diversity in electronic sounds to the world. It turned out great!

Neptune's Lair begins with a very dark intro, a good way to get in the mood. The first real track is 'Andreaen Sand Dunes' a great deep magical track to start things off. "Andreaen Sand Dunes" - a smooth moment of simplistic beauty. "Organic Hydropoly Spores" - what a feeling! "Surface Terrestrial Colonisation" - an electro-funk workout of breathtaking originality. "O to the power of..." - closes the album by bringing you into new realms. Really a monumental album of electro! What a legacy Drexciya created!

Airliner - Self Destruct (2010)

Another free release from our friend Com Truise, via his Airliner alias. The answer for the lack of Boards of Canada in 2010, pick it up!

December 3, 2010

Astrobotnia - Part 1 (2002)

Rumor had it Astrobotnia was one of Richard D. James's project, but eventually it turned out that it's Aleksi Perälä AKA Ovuca. As Astrobotnia, Finnish producer released three gems of braindance. Part One remains one of the best debuts in the Rephlex catalog. It's like Selected Ambient Works 85-92 on acid or a journey into space, sometimes disturbed by turbulence. If you dig Boards Of Canada, Plaid, Autechre and Arovane, you will simply fall for this one. Pure magic that is not to be missed.

Gramm - Personal Rock (1999)

Personal Rock is Jan Jelinek's debut album. Right from the start it creates an incredibly deep and warm atmosphere. This is contemporary electronic music on the leap into the next millenium. Technical, skillful and at the same time organic and seamless. Crackles, digital noises, cool harmonies and sublime shuffling grooves, ever shifting and floating . Minimal, experimental, streaming a tranquility that grows with every listen. The perfect ambience for some easy living, adding comfort and color to the change of season. One of my favorite albums as of late, pick it up!

Arkhonia - Ttrails/Traces (2010)

Arkhonia is a solo offshoot from one half of the long-defunct jz-arkh duo, who released two limited edition 7"s in 2001 before capturing the attention of Kompakt and the Pet Shop Boys, both of whom selected the track 'DDRhodes' for compilations (Pop Ambient 2002 and Back To Mine, respectively). Clearly this piece has legs: it also cropped up on a soundtrack to an experimental film and a commercial for the Norwegian Postal Service. An unedited, near twelve-minute original version of the track appears here, and you can certainly hear what the fuss was about. Positioned as the centre-piece of Trails/Traces, 'DDRhodes' gently swells through ruptured electric piano chords and synth-string sounds, going on to embrace watery, field recorded textures in its latter stages. It's a most musical take on all things ambient, eschewing the default settings of drone in favour of something far more structured and, above all, tuneful. Trails/Traces covers nearly a decade's worth of Arkhonia compositions, and this mysterious artist's catalogue proves to be a rich vault. 'GDLadyburn' hints at more nefarious, diabolic sounds with a spread of witchy organ intervals and wonderfully menacing discord, while the album's longest entry, 'BCTrails' takes on a more pensive character, floating through warmed-up waves of static in an alluringly ambiguous fashion. The album is dotted with a number of more concise, miniature compositions that help break up the sequence nicely, the finest of these being the strange, hollowed-out soundscape of 'Events/Non-Events' whose sub-four-minute duration charts considerable sonic depths almost by suggestion, putting reverb and spatial distribution to subtle but effective use. Excellent stuff.