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Click on the cover to access the Alog website


Islands Of Memory

Creaked Records 2006

Norwegian duo Alog have been clearing up some hard drive space by making available a series of rare and previously unreleased tracks, some collected on Catch That Totem! (Melektronikk) and now with this, the long-lost Islands Of Memory EP, published on Swiss imprint Creaked Records.

Originally recorded during the summer of 1999 in Malmö, Sweden, the release of Islands Of Memory was scheduled to coincide with the Rune Gammofon album Duck Rabbit, but, due to a series of problems at the pressing plant, the EP remained unreleased and was all but forgotten, although the title track also opened Duck Rabbit and two others surfaced as part of Catch That Totem!. Seven years on, Creaked managed to get hold of the masters and it is now finally seeing the light of day.

Islands Of Memory is as meticulously detailed and painstakingly assembled as any other Alog release. Working from a blend of acoustic and electronic sounds, augmented with treated found sounds, Dag-Are Haugan and Espen Sommer Eider create here a series of complex, yet delicate, soundscapes which in turn cascade down into luscious melodies and cinematic sequences (Islands Of Memory, Bad Luck Bird), or delve deep within minuscule structures and unleash wonderfully enigmatic formations (3 Solitaires, The Method). Typically Alog in the way these compositions are assembled and rendered, this EP offers a more concise vision of the band’s sound and exposes their wonderfully minimal electronica in all its glory. A superb companion to both Duck Rabbit and Catch That Totem!, for different reasons, Islands Of Memory is an essential piece of the Alog jigsaw.


Click on the cover to access the Benbecula website


Vernor Vinge

Benbecula Records 2006

While the rumours of Christ.’s involvement with a certain Scottish electronic outfit have been doing the rounds for some time, his first couple of releases on Edinburgh’s Benbecula (Pylonesque in 2002 and Metamorphic Reproduction Miracle a year later) rapidly gained the man praises across the board and established him as a strong contender on the British electronic circuit in his own right.

Follow-up to last year’s Seeing And Doing EP and teaser for Blue Shift Emissions, Chirst.’s second LP, due out in the Autumn, Vernor Vinge offers three new tracks, two of them in their original format and one remixed by label mate Prhizzm, plus a reworking of Ray Breakout, a track originally featured on Metamorphic Reproduction Miracle, courtesy of dDamage.

Clocking at just over fifteen minutes, this ultra-limited twelve-inch-only release showcases once again Christ.s’ delicately layered soundscapes and melodies. The title-track alone is worth every penny. Built around a swirling shimmer of sounds and drowsy drumbeat, a wonderfully uplifting little melody twists and twirls with insistent regularity, very much like a stream finding its way down between rocks and mounts. Christ. crafts the pastoral settings for this composition to develop with superb precision and offers here one of his most captivating tracks yet. One Sunny Cloudy Day, which follows, is likely to revive the Boards Of Canada comparison with its beat less soundscapes and trembling melodic theme.

Prhizzm’s version of Happyfour Twenty keeps the Christ. sound in line and makes way for the melody to become the main focus. The addition of a prominent beat pattern adds some grit and deflects the attention from the change of tone in the latter part of the track. dDamage revisit Ray Breakout and turn it into a more upbeat and syncopated composition while softening the angular sound used to draw the main melodic line. Both Vernor Vinge and the original version of Happyfour Twenty will be featured on Christ.’s forthcoming album.


Click on the cover to access the Fisk Industries website


77 And Rising

Highpoint Lowlife 2006 

The excellent Highpoint Lowlife peeps are doing their bit for music as a nice consumer good by getting a series of special vinyl releases this year, and to kick off, they’ve invited the equally brilliant Fisk Industries, or Mat Ranson as he is also known, to finally follow his Isle Of Wight EP of nearly three years ago with this new ultra limited ten inch collection.

Featuring no less than six tracks spanning just over twenty minutes, 77 And Rising is another wonderful slice of dreamy analogue electronica with impressive cinematic scope. Very much in the vein of its predecessor, yet with a marked maturity in sound and production, 77 And Rising sees Ranson blend strong rhythmic sections with the finest sonic and atmospheric drapery to create a series of evocative vignettes. Detached from reality, this EP is something of a exquisite journey through deceptively simple soundscapes, yet Ranson remains in control of his hip-hop-infused beats and lush background waves by developing clever melodic themes all the way through, from the slight electro twitches of Reflection and the ominous tones of Liquid Silver Moments to the metallic Close and future lounge of Polska. Ranson assembles his sequences with surgical precision, keeping most of them well under the five-minute mark.

Although Ranson has been busy performing live with anyone from Funckara and Posthuman to B12 and Isan, he has also managed to produce an EP which at once fits in perfectly with his previous effort and denotes a rather impressive progression.


Click on the cover to access the Winter North Atlantic website



Giovanni Chrome Recordings 2006

Winter North Atlantic’s first incursion into the music world was in the shape of Load Line, an album released back in 2004 on Sheffield’s Giovanni Chrome. While Load Line investigated a series of broken hip-hop settings, gaining comparisons with Prefuse 73 and Boards Of Canada, WNA’s Ed Carter relies on more acoustic sound sources to flesh out the delicate beats found on Mercator. Entirely instrumental, with the exception of a recording of Carter’s father comparing French and British trains on Transport, this five-track EP is gently cinematic and conveys pastoral mental imagery of fields in bloom and pristine blue skies as acoustic guitars, laidback grooves and found sounds cross paths.

Carter sculpts intricate beat formations and adorns them with breezy melodic structures, underlined with discreet electronic touches, revealing a true passion for proper musical themes. Carter takes time to fully develop his compositions and explore variations on melodies and soundscapes, resulting in this EP feeling at once fresh and accomplished. Nothing is left to chance here. The man articulate his sound sources with great care, patiently building his tracks until they stand alone. The result is an impressively mature and skilful collection that paves the way for Winter North Atlantic’s sophomore album, due out later in the year.


Click on the cover to access the Bathysphere Recordings website


Deafness Becomes Me

Bathysphere Recordings 2006

Another label to honour the vinyl format is Bathysphere who are in the process of releasing a series of nine limited edition seven-inch singles. Housed in a hand-stamped cover, this EP is the second in the series. Coming only months after the release of Chin Chin’s debut album, Shallow Dive, Deafness Becomes Me presents two new compositions (the title track and Applied Pressure) plus Monty, which was already featured on the album.

The project of Frankie Binns, Theresa Connelly and Chris Cousin, who recently released his debut album as SofaLofa, Chin Chin work from a blend of acoustic folk and delicate electronics to create subtle little sketches with an undeniable pop touch. The title track sees Chin Chin crafting an emotionally-charged piece which could almost raise from its delicate acoustic guitar backdrop, yet the trio apply a syncopated rhythmic treatment which sets a different agenda from the moment the beat kicks in. Applied Pressure appears in comparison more straightforward and gentle. While a clear beat, not unlike those heard on Cousin’s Mellifluous album, leads the line, a piano melody gently trickles down over soft percussive pebbles before reaching a tranquil plain as the track fizzles out.

On the guitar-led Monty, Chin Chin set a pastoral mood in motion, evoking for a moment the rocking movements of a slow train snaking down a valley, yet, at just two minutes twenty-five, it is all gone too quickly and the listener is left wondering what’s happened to the music and why they’re suddenly stranded in silence.


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