Archive for October, 2007

RADIOHEAD: In Rainbows (

David Abravanel on Oct 14th 2007 06:32 pm

Radiohead: In Rainbows

In Rainbows 2007
10 Tracks. 42mins34secs

In Rip It Up and Start Again, his chronicle of post-punk, journalist Simon Reynolds places Radiohead on a continuum of bands embodying the “middlebrow notions of deep and meaningful typically cherished by college students.” Describing the group as an ubermensch descended from Pink Floyd is not only a dubious honor, it’s also not entirely apt. True, Radiohead do appeal to popular music fans looking for something “experimental” to listen to, and OK Computer, the band’s 1997 breakthrough album, occupies a similar paranoid space to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon, but Radiohead, as a group, occupy a much more postmodern space than any of their forbearers. Continue Reading »

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FLYING LOTUS: Reset EP (Warp Records)

themilkman on Oct 11th 2007 11:36 pm

Flying Lotus: Reset EP

WAP228 / WAP228CD
Warp Records 2007

06 Tracks. 17mins32secs
Format: 12″ / CDS

Flying Lotus is the project of Los Angeles resident Steven Ellison, a young musician with an impressive pedigree, counting Alice Coltrane as his great aunt no less, yet he owes his burgeoning music career to Snoop Doggy Dog, whose Doggystyle album made a strong impression on a thirteen years old Ellison.

Ellison’s debut album, 1983, was released last year on Plug Research and received critical acclaim for its impressive scope. A tight exercise which freely borrowed from hip-hop, jazz, tropicalia and electronica, the album called on comparison with the likes of Daedelus and Dntel, but Ellison’s sonic dexterity made it a remarkable personal effort. Now signed to Warp, Flying Lotus has just delivered a dense six track EP, ahead of his second album, scheduled for next year. Continue Reading »

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PRAM: The Moving Frontier (Domino Recording Co.)

themilkman on Oct 11th 2007 12:23 am

Pram: The Moving Frontier

The Moving Frontier
Domino Recording Co 2007
14 Tracks. 44mins25secs

Birmingham’s Pram have always been on the periphery of pop music, shielded from the banality of everyday life by a heroic inventory of instruments and sonic references more adapted to time and space travel than to mass transportation. In a parallel dimension, Pram would be setting the pace and the NME, who famously gave their Sargasso Sea album a glorious zero out of ten, to the delight of the band, in 1995, would be a relevant music reference.

For The Moving Frontier, the band’s eleventh album in fifteen years, their first since 2003’s Dark Island, Rosie Cuckston and her troop have developed a much more complex musical lexicon, turning the spectral pop of previous releases into darker, more angular songs and murky instrumentals. Continue Reading »

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PREFUSE 73: Preparations / Interregnums (Warp Records)

themilkman on Oct 10th 2007 12:48 pm

Prefuse 73: Preparations

Warp Records 2007
14 Tracks. 46mins12secs

Of his many incarnations, Prefuse 73 is perhaps the one Guillermo Scott Herren remains best known for. It is most definitely the one project that has allowed him to push the boundaries of his work the most, with seminal albums Vocal Studies + Uprock Narratives and One Word Extinguisher and even more so, their companion mini albums, serving as benchmark for the more experimental side of contemporary hip-hop. In 2005, Herren followed his logical development path by teaming up with a wide range of hip-hop and rap artists for the utterly brilliant Surrounded By Silence. Since, his deliveries have lacked some of the luster of earlier releases. Continue Reading »

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MÚM: Go Go Smear The Poison Ivy (Fat-Cat Records)

themilkman on Oct 9th 2007 01:07 am

MÚM: Go Go Smear The Poison Ivy

Go Go Smear The Poison Ivy
Fat-Cat Records 2007
14 Tracks. 44mins05secs

The topography of Icelandic outfit Múm is as chaotic and unpredictable as that of their native island. From the band’s early days as a quartet dealing primarily with crystalline electronica to vastly acoustic landscapes explored as a trio, to their most recent incarnation, as an enchanted seven-piece ensemble. Following the departure of singer Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir in early 2005, founding members Gunnar Örn Tynes and Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason focused on a commission by the Holland Festival, working on a performance piece based on the work of avant-garde composer Iannis Xenakis with the National Dutch Chamber Orchestra. Both Tynes and Smárason also spent time working on various side projects, including a solo album for the former, under the name of Illi Vill, and writing for the latter. Continue Reading »

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Murcof live, Peter Harrison Planetarium, Greenwich, 4/10/2007

themilkman on Oct 8th 2007 01:58 pm

Feature: Murcof Live, Peter Harrison Planetarium, Greenwich

Coinciding with the release of his third album, Cosmos, Murcof’s Fernando Corona recently embarked on a European tour, with a handful of special performances in Planetariums, the first of which took place at the newly opened Peter Harrison Planetarium, part of the Royal Observatory, in the superb settings of Greenwich Park. From the outside, the slick dark modern structure of the planetarium, situated between the main observatory and the South Building, which, until three years ago, housed the old planetarium, resembles a giant telescope pointing toward the sky, while the restored Victorian main building acting as a majestic earthy ground anchor. Continue Reading »

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CALIKA: Seedling Mother (Audiobulb Records)

themilkman on Oct 3rd 2007 11:54 pm

Calika: Seedling Mother

Seedling Mother
Audiobulb Records 2007
08 Tracks. 52mins00secs

Almost two years after his debut solo album, Small Talk Kills Me, and over a year and a half after his contribution to Benbecula’s Mineral Series (The Bright Spot), Brighton-based Calika returns with Seedling Mother, his sophomore effort, again released on Sheffield’s Audiobulb. Fresh from a second collaboration with legendary Seefeel/Disjecta musician Mark Clifford, following their 2005 Running Taper album, Kealoha concocts a confident collection of intricate electronic compositions.

Unlike on Small Talk, where only rarefied guitar (primarily acoustic) elements were used to adorn his sonic structures, Kealoha incorporates guitar and bass textures much more prominently on Seedling Mother, rendering his compositions with organic swathes and intentionally placing acoustic, electric and electronic sound sources so it occasionally feels as if he is accompanied by a live band. Continue Reading »

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EFTERKLANG: Parades (The Leaf Label)

themilkman on Oct 3rd 2007 12:32 am

Efterklang: Parades

Rumraket / The Leaf Label 2007
11 Tracks. 48mins59secs

Formed in Copenhagen, Denmark, at the end of 2000 by Mads Brauer (electronics), Casper Clausen (vocals, various instruments), Thomas Husner (drums, percussions and trumpet), Rune Mølgaard (piano) and Rasmus Stolberg (guitar and various instruments), Efterklang, which translates as reverberation, appeared on the international scene with debut album for Leaf, Tripper, in 2004, although they had previously released an EP the previous year on their own imprint, Rumraket. With Tripper, Efterklang painted intimate soundscapes from clicks, statics and environmental electronics upon which hung orchestral waves and occasional acoustic flourishes, with male and female vocals tightly intertwined with the instrumental parts and a Greenlandish choir adding a further emotional touch to the quintet’s ambitious boreal songs. Followed a digital-only EP, Swarming, in 2005 and a very limited one-sided LP in 2006. Earlier this year, the band returned with Under Giant Trees, a magnificent mini album recorded last year while on tour.

On Parades, Efterklang dress their ephemeral pop songs in much more precious and grand attires. Continue Reading »

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CRISTIAN VOGEL – Double Deux / Delicado: Music For The Creations Of Gilles Jobion (Station 55)

Max Schaefer on Oct 2nd 2007 06:53 pm

Cristian Vogel: Double Deux / Delicado: Music For The Creations Of Gilles Jobion

Double Deux / Delicado: Music For The Creations Of Gilles Jobion
Station 55 Records
08 Tracks. 58mins56secs / 01 Track. 33mins14secs

With this two disc set, Cristian Vogel takes his countenance for the rave dancefloor and siphons it off to that of interpretative dance. Surprising or not, this spells a sort of pyrrhic victory for Vogel, who seemed quite at home in crafting esoteric techno concoctions. Evidently, both works on display here were created in parallel with the choreography, and thus form a certain symbiosis between himself, the choreographer and, of course, the dancers themselves.

As a single thirty-minute composition, the fruits of Delicado take the form of crisp digital beats that sound like sandpaper anxiously rubbing itself to sleep. Around this foundation, pieces of static hum and other such clicks and scratches frenetically pucker, pop and fizz, working to further establish a fine sensation of pulse and energy. This opens up a fairly luminous setting, which unfolds across a series of open-ended textures, which are threaded with rolling half-melodies that often sound like tiny metal butterflies. Once erected, however, impressive as the process may have been, it nevertheless becomes apparent that, as a piece of aural architecture, it is one which cannot be wholly appreciated for what it simply is materially, but in what it actually does, that is to say, in what function it serves – namely, as an environment for and against which the dancers are meant to interact.

With Double Deux, on the other hand, Vogel manages to convey an excited monologue about concentric circles and caustic hisses spinning more and more out of control. Though similar in approach, the shorter tracks work better for him. With shorter stretches of time, his music actually does more, as he takes a slightly abrasive mechanical rhythm, pairs it with haunting synthesized and slowly moving sounds, and allows it to spin more or less maniacally around its tonic, continually injecting or stripping away elements which the piece struggles with in fascinating ways to deal with and incorporate. Also having been broken into subsections, these pieces reveal more distinctive weights and colors and, on a whole, stand up better on their own.


Icon: arrow Cristian Vogel
Icon: arrow Buy: CD

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RUBENS: Puggies/Vertical Hold / Breaking Into Smile (Herb Recordings)

themilkman on Oct 2nd 2007 12:33 am

Rubens: Puggies/Vertical Hold Rubens: Breaking Into Smile

Puggies / Vertical Hold
Herb Recordings 2007
02 Tracks. 07mins52secs
Format: 7″

Breaking Into Smile
Herb Recordings 2007
04 Tracks. 25mins09secs
Format: 12″

Rubens is a Glasgow-based duo formed of Mark Flanagan and Gordon MacDermid. They released their debut album, Carnivalesque, earlier this year on Herb Recordings. As the album is just about to be re-released, the pair have extracted two tracks from it for a very limited seven-inch single, followed by an EP, Breaking Into Smile, also on Herb, featuring remixes from The Black Dog, Kirk Degiorgio and Dextro.

Puggies is a wonderfully ornate and melodic piece with elegant electronic swathes building around a central progressive melodic theme which is not without recalling the Spooky of Gargantuan, albeit in less clubby attires. Continue Reading »

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AVEY TARE & KRÍA BREKKAN: Pullhair Rubeye (Paw Tracks)

David Abravanel on Oct 1st 2007 10:29 pm

Avey Tare & Kría Brekkan: Pullhair Rubeye

Pullhair Rubeye
Paw Tracks 2007
08 Tracks. 31mins33secs

In 1975, Lou Reed, already established as the hippest rock star of his time, released a double-album of atonal, feedback-drenched, amelodic noise, entitled Metal Machine Music. In the years since, the reasons behind the creation and release of the album continue to be heavily debated: was he trying to escape a record contract? Did he wish to alienate his audience? Or was he just trying something new, and screw what the teenyboppers thought? In time, MMM became a genesis record for noise musicians who, unlike most listeners and critics at the time, actually took it seriously.

Now it’s 2007. The music landscape is different from 1975, but in many ways it’s also the same; this is to say, an artist really going out there and experimenting – as innocent as it may be in intention – can still shock and upset its core audience, no matter how open-minded they were thought to be. Continue Reading »

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