Archive for November, 2007

VARIOUS ARTISTS: A Number Of Small Things: A Collection Of Morr Music Singles From 2001-2007

Max Schaefer on Nov 30th 2007 10:24 pm

V/A: A Number Of Small Things

A Number Of Small Things
Morr Music 2007
36 Tracks. 154mins42secs

A Number Of Small Things, the sister label to Morr Music, gathers together the residues from their 7″ releases like little trinkets and presents them in this achingly compulsive compilation of unexpected pleasures. The album presents a stage on which older, more established artists present vivid re-imaginings of their bookmarks, while other, less exposed acts utter their first words with tentative excitement. Continue Reading »

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SUPERSILENT: 8 (Rune Grammofon)

themilkman on Nov 29th 2007 01:30 am

Supersilent: 8

Rune Grammofon 2007
08 Tracks. 68mins17secs

Norwegian entity Supersilent have become master at confusion. With albums and tracks carrying chronological numbers as sole mean of identification, it should be quite easy to keep up with the band’s progress, yet 8 is only their fifth album in the traditional sense, their fifth if 7, which, despite featuring all new material, was only released as a DVD, is to be counted. They have, over the years, unashamedly treaded the boundaries of jazz and avant-garde and thrived on the energy they have drawn from both, without ever committing to any. The only constant in their work, apart from personnel head count and the aforementioned numerical cataloguing, is the way each of their record has been built from lengthy improv sessions, with no overdubs, and usually recorded in a handful of days. Continue Reading »

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HYBERNATION: Snow Cover (Rednetic Recordings)

themilkman on Nov 28th 2007 08:31 am

Hibernation: Snow Cover

Snow Cover
Rednetic Recordings 2007
06 Tracks. 32mins55secs

The last addition to the Rednetic catalogue for 2007 is Hybernation’s Snow Cover EP. Once a drummer in punk and metal bands, Stuart Bowditch as he is known to the tax office, switched to a laptop in 1999, and he has, since been expanding his sound bank by collecting field recordings from various places and deployed them in his music. He regularly plays live at various events around London and Essex. Snow Cover is his debut EP.

Collecting six slices of moody and slow moving electronica, this EP showcases a series of intricate pieces loosely formed around a wintry theme which, considering the time of the year, is somewhat quite apt. Continue Reading »

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Efterklang, Bush Hall, London 23/11/2007

themilkman on Nov 27th 2007 01:42 am

Efterklang live

The Efterklang caravan stopped in London’s Bush Hall on Friday, as part of their two-week-long tour of the UK. Taking their Parades album, released a couple of months ago, on an extensive international tour, the Danish quintet and their troops couldn’t have chosen a more appropriate venue. Formerly known as the Carlton Dance Hall, Bush Hall, in the heart of West London’s Sheppard’s Bush, was built at the beginning of the twentieth Century by William F. Hurndall, a publisher, as a gift for one of his daughters. It has since been a soup kitchen during the Second World War, and was, in the fifties and sixties, turned into a bingo hall and amusement arcade, before being turned into a concert venue at the turn of the millennium. The highly ornate ceilings and walls have been preserved, and grand chandeliers offer a testament to the place’s former grandeur. Continue Reading »

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BURIAL: Untrue (Hyperdub Records)

themilkman on Nov 23rd 2007 12:23 am

Burial: Untrue

Hyperdub Records 2007
10 Tracks. 50mins28secs

Burial’s self-titled debut album, released last year on Kode9’s Hyperdub imprint, dropped like a bomb on the UK music scene, shattering its newest movement, dubstep to its very core and sending shockwaves through the entire dance scene. As beats cut through withered soundscapes like razor sharp swords, splintering rarefied atmospherics with subsonic bass, the urgency of Burial’s music pushed it well beyond dubstep.

Hailing from South London, Burial doesn’t play live or DJ, at least under this guise, and has managed to remain, in an age of information overload, totally anonymous. It is the music, and the music only, that matters. Continue Reading »

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themilkman on Nov 21st 2007 01:57 am

Shreber Harber Mole Flying Wheel: Bloom

Rednetic Recordings 2007
06 Tracks. 29mins28secs
Format: CDS

Shreber Harber Mole Flying Wheel was formed in 1999 in Tokyo by Saitoh Tomohiro, Yamamoto Shinichiro and Kohno Nagahiro, but, after they released their debut album, Air Comfort, on U-Cover, the trio disbanded, leaving Tomohiro sole in charge since 2005.

Creating wonderfully lush and rich soundscapes, and wrapping them around gentle melodies, Tomohiro presents here a rather sumptuous collection of blissful cinematic electronic music. Right from the onset, he articulates a series of atmospheric sounds, representations of birds and flowing water, before laying a delicate melody over a dense sonic mist. Although it never seems to emerge fully, only revealing sections of its complex formation, the melody is kept to the forefront and, as the piece evolves, is left leading the way. Continue Reading »

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PATSCAN: Plasticine (Rednetic Recordings)

themilkman on Nov 21st 2007 12:14 am

Patscan: Plasticine

Rednetic Recordings 2007
06 Tracks. 31mins44secs
Format: CDS

Patscan’s Pat Hime grew up in South East London but now lives in Brighton, where he shares his time between his solo project and live techno duo Idiot Pirate, which he formed with Gawain Carey earlier this year. Pat released his solo debut EP, Muddled, on Concrete Plastic in March. Continue Reading »

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ICARUS: Sylt (Rump Recordings)

themilkman on Nov 20th 2007 01:49 am

Icarus: Sylt

Rump Recordings 2007
07 Tracks. 59mins37secs

Icarus, the duo formed of Sam Britton and Ollie Bown, began life as an experimental drum’n’bass formation, releasing records on Recordings Of Substance, Output, Hydrogen Dukebox, Temporary Residence and their own Not Applicable imprint. In recent years, their work has become much more focused on pure sonic experimentation, with albums such as I Tweet The Birdie Electric (The Leaf Label, 2004) and Carnivalesque (Not Applicable) showcasing incredibly dense and complex, yet light and airy, sonic formations, often built out of lengthy improv sessions.

The pair’s latest project is centred around two epic sister pieces, First Inf(e)rænce and Second Inf(e)rænce,  each spanning well over fifteen minutes. Recorded live in May 2006 at Les Abattoires in Toulouse, France, during a single session, these two improvisations are amongst the most complex and intricate pieces the band have recorded. Continue Reading »

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SCOTT WALKER: And Who Shall Go To The Ball? And What Shall Go To The Ball? (4AD)

Colin Buttimer on Nov 19th 2007 11:18 pm

Scott Walker: And Who Shall Go To The Ball? And What Shall Go To The Ball?

And Who Shall Go To The Ball? And What Shall Go To The Ball?
4AD 2007
04 Tracks. 24mins39secs

The title speaks volumes: there’s an anxiousness and sense of otherness to its two questions. Something fairy-tale like, but not the sugar-coated fare of Walt Disney, this is the territory of exclusion and structural uncertainty.

If you’re a Scott Walker acolyte like me, this comes as no surprise. Ever since he recorded his four songs for the Walker Brothers reunion, Nite Flights, in 1977, it’s been clear that he’s channelling the deepest of dreads, that special feeling that is part existential fright, part horror and alarum (his love of Brel in the sixties clearly signified this as well of course). Punctuating the silences that have lasted more than a decade at a time, his rare missives since then have sounded like spectral cries, fireflies in the deepest of final nights. Still, there were occasional hints of sunset illumination that contributed a welcome sense of contrast to Climate of Hunter (1983) and Tilt (1995). With last year’s remorseless The Drift though, the light had turned black. Continue Reading »

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KIM HIORTHØY: My Last Day (Smalltown Supersound)

Colin Buttimer on Nov 19th 2007 09:52 pm

Kim Hiorthøy: My Last Day

My Last Day
Smalltown Supersound 2007
11 Tracks. 44mins56secs

Kim Hiorthøy first came to the world’s notice in the mid nineties as the artist illustrator of Rune Grammofon’s rather lovely CD digipak covers. He also designs for Smalltown Supersound, has monographs devoted to his graphic work and has directed the filming of Supersilent 7. His first music release (Hei) came in 2000.

I Thought We Could Eat Friends starts out with a determined, bustling rhythm that conjures the mental image of a stick figure repeatedly climbing little, rounded hills, like a cartoon Sisyphus. It’s soon crowned by a brief, tootling melody that could have you humming along should you be so inclined. That melody builds in intensity before the song comes to a stop, a shiver shy of four minutes after it started. Beats Mistake is more tentative, sounding like it was made from biscuit tins and old cutlery. The little snatches of speech that cluster round certain parts of the track like barnacles make for a gently humorous impression.

The piano-led Skuggan is straight-backed, ever so slightly imperious in a freshly whitewashed sort of way. It leads a daintily formal dance, gathering its percussive partners as it proceeds. Stopping and starting over the course of its nine minutes, that piano seems to move to different rooms in a house, sounding at times closer, at times echoingly distant. Den Långa Berättelsen Om Stöv Och Vatten is a homemade hip-hop beat girded by woolly sheep and the sad, almost weary piano that is the signature sound of this album. Wry smiles all round.

Alt GÃ¥r SÃ¥ Langsomt picks its feet up and dances resolutely with a wavering analogue synth line for its companion. Hon Var SÃ¥ Otydlig, Som En Gas is all too brief, its bass line sounds as if it is played on a rubber band a la Penguin Café Orchestra’s Telephone And Rubber Band.

In fact, once brought to mind, the comparison rings convincingly true for this listener. Kim Hiorthøy and PCO: cousins raised in different countries but sharing a skewed playfulness and make-do ethic. Cute without being irritating and tinged with an undeniable pathos, Kim Hiorthøy’s My Last Day is electronic music drawn at an endearingly human scale. I’m unexpectedly charmed.


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Haswell/Hecker + Pan Sonic live, Conway Hall, London 11/10/2007

Colin Buttimer on Nov 17th 2007 06:25 pm

Haswell/Hecker + Pan Sonic live, October 2007

Have you ever visited the seaside on a blustery, rain-swept day? Did you see seagulls hunkered down on the beach, their heads tucked into their bodies as they stoically weather the storm? As I looked at my fellow audience members that’s what I thought of as Haswell/Hecker brought their noise-storm down upon us. A few people made for the exit, many put their fingers in their ears and the rest, myself included, stood and endured.

We were surrounded, you see: speaker stacks on each side of the Conway Hall. A strobe light and a green laser strafed the black-clad, elaborately pierced crowd and reflected off two strategically placed mirror balls (whose presence seemed just a touch ironic). Continue Reading »

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ERSTLAUB: On Becoming An Island (Highpoint Lowlife)

themilkman on Nov 17th 2007 05:49 pm

Erstlaub: On Becoming An Island

On Becoming An Island
Highpoint Lowlife 2007
01 Track. 43mins49secs

Second in the Highpoint Lowlife series of exclusive digital releases and very limited CDRs is the latest offering by Scottish artist Dave Fyans, here operating under his Erstlaub guise. Hailing from Perth, on the East coast of Scotland, Fyans has previously been spotted on the excellent Some Paths Lead Back Again compilation put together by the Marcia Blaine School For Girls crew just under three years ago, where he contributed three tracks as Daigoro. More recently, he contributed a remix on the digital-only companion EP to the Marcia Blaine album, and he has self-released a handful of CDR albums. Continue Reading »

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