Archive for March, 2008

AARON MARTIN: River Water (Preservation)

Max Schaefer on Mar 31st 2008 11:37 pm

Aaron Martin: River Water

River Water
Preservation 2008
10Tracks. 46mins56secs

River Water is a more varied and energetic outing than Aaron Martin’s sober debut, Almond, published on Australian imprint Preservation in 2006. Martin takes the ephemeral world music concept and pushes it forward boldly, and although it’s something of a bitty collection, it’s one packed with episode and intense detail.

The compositions are finely detailed with a bevy of instruments – cello and violin feature predominantly, backed by flute, singing bowls, spanish bells, mandolin, harmonica, ukulele, and a variety of other non-conventional instruments. Martin’s playing is generally flinty, and he oscillates between backgrounds that are relatively sparse to other more heavily textured, a decision which allows the music to be both intimate and suggestive of a grand scale. Continue Reading »

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LEANDER: Pass Fail (Kennington Recordings)

Robert Rowlands on Mar 31st 2008 11:14 pm

Leander: Pass Fail

Pass Fail
Kennington Recordings 2008
11 Tracks. 45mins23secs

There is something immediately engaging about Pass Fail, from the moment the eponymous opener stirs to life. Languid vocals and drowsy indie colourings are given counterpoint by what sounds like a mislaid Autechre drum pattern. A melancholy mantra lingers – “And you say pass, fail, but this is not your voice” – an intriguing line whose meaning seems to drift somewhere out of reach of the listener. It is the sort of opener that offers untold promise – the casual delivery, the infectious tune, the dispassionate elegance of tone. And yet, for all its interest, this opening salvo proves to be a prelude to a series of disappointments that are as baffling as they are deflating.

In a way, the assured, ice-cold beginner feels as though it somehow should have its own separate existence, because what follows is a sequence of tracks that try to follow its template whilst never quite finding the right balance. Continue Reading »

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themilkman on Mar 27th 2008 01:56 am

Lothar Ohlmeier/Isambard Khroustaliov: Nowhere

Not Applicable 2008
05 Tracks. 33mins48secs

Nowhere is the first collaboration between Dutch jazz bass clarinetist and soprano saxophonist Lothar Ohlmeier and Isambard Khroustaliov, the alter ego of British experimental musician Sam Britton, who is more commonly known as one half of electronic entity Icarus. Ohlmeier studied music in Hannover and Amsterdam before establishing himself at the forefront of the Dutch improvised music scene. He has since collaborated with a wide range of jazz artists, including pianist Julia Sassoon and drummer Bart van Helsdinger, with whom he formed Azilut! in 2000. Now living in England, Ohlmeier continues to perform all over Europe. Meanwhile, beside his regular stint with Icarus, Sam Britton has been working on solo projects under his Isambard Khroustaliov guise, releasing a first limited CDR, entitled 8 Minutes, on the band’s imprint, Not Applicable, in 2002, followed by a collaborative effort with Italian-born percussionist Maurizio Ravalico, Five Loose Plans, in 2006.

The fruit of three years of work, the five tracks presented here, culled from recordings made during a residency at the IRCAM in Paris and at various music festivals across Europe, demonstrate the increasing connections between traditional improvised music and modern forms. Continue Reading »

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DISKJOKKE: Staying In (Smalltown Supersound)

themilkman on Mar 25th 2008 12:59 am

DiskJokke: Staying In

Staying In
Smalltown Supersound 2008
10 Tracks. 56mins05secs

If staying in is the new going out, DiskJokke is the shiny banner that advertises it. Hailing from Oslo where, alongside like-minded characters like Prins Thomas and Lindstrom, he is at the forefront of the new Swedish dance scene, Joachim Dyrdahl has spent the last few years honing his dance floor potential at Sunkissed, one of Norway’s most notorious clubs, where he is a regular behind the decks. First spotted by Prins Thomas, who released three of his tracks, Dyrdahl has since, under the DiskJokke banner, had tracks featured on a handful of compilations, released a couple of EPs and is fast becoming a sought-after remixer. He is now signed to Norwegian imprint Smalltown Supersound.

Staying In, Dyrdahl’s debut album, incorporates elements of classic disco and house, sprinkled with hints of electro and Detroit techno to give his sound a slightly more angular form. Dyrdahl also pays much attention to his melodies and to the mood of each of his creations, which ranges from atmospheric to playful moments. Continue Reading »

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Max Schaefer on Mar 19th 2008 11:23 pm

Solo Andata/Seaworthy/Taylor Deupree: Live In Melbourne

Live In Melbourne
12K 2008
03Tracks. 49mins.37secs

Photographer, sound artist and label manager Taylor Deupree took to recording the festivities housed under the Social Club one April night in Melbourne, Australia. With good reason, too, for the night displayed here bristles with a vast array of events, too numerous to catalogue. The sonic endeavors of Solo Andata, Seaworthy, and Deupree himself, are filtered through a refined sensibility, resulting in a work of coherent flow and balance, and, perhaps most importantly, an ephemeral elegance bound to a very real sense of time and place. Continue Reading »

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VARIOUS ARTISTS: Monika Bärchen: Songs for Bruno, Knut and Tom (Monika Enterprise)

Robert Rowlands on Mar 19th 2008 10:54 pm

V/A: Monika Bärchen: Songs for Bruno, Knut and Tom

Monika Bärchen: Songs for Bruno, Knut and Tom
Monika Enterprise 2008
15 Tracks. 54 mins 44 secs

As the adage goes, wherever you bite a stick of rock, the word inside it is the same. And so it goes with this birthday prize of a compilation – wherever you look, the same eye-widening sense of newness and fun is on show. This tenth anniversary package of the German Monika Enterprise label is, perhaps unsurprisingly, not really what you would expect. Rather than resurrecting hip, effortless tracks that passed unnoticed a decade ago, Gut here brings together a collection of entirely new songs, all by long-time Monika stable-mates. But the intriguing thing is that, on first listen, this really does sound like a best-of in the worthiest sense – an album of career-defining classics. From Capri Sun electro guitar pop to underground polka techno, everything here just seems to fit.

It is a liberating album as much as anything else – one that, in just fifteen songs, sums up the casual, effervescent daring of the label itself. Continue Reading »

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Mark Flanagan on Mar 19th 2008 01:43 am

Interview: Autechre

After fifteen years, Autechre still manage to surprise and inspire. On Quaristice, Sean Booth and Rob Brown turn their back to the ultra precise soundscapes that have defined their work in recent years and focus instead on a much more spontaneous and direct sound, developed from their live sets. Mark Flanagan talks to Sean Booth about how the band’s live sound has infiltrated their studio work, how him and Rob work together, what they think of live bootlegs, and being Myspace’d.
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OUR BROTHER THE NATIVE: Make Amends For We Are Merely Vessels (Fat-Cat Records/Splinter Series)

themilkman on Mar 18th 2008 01:57 am

Our Brother The Native: Make Amends For We Are Merely Vessels

Make Amends For We Are Merely Vessels
Fat-Cat Records/Splinter Series 2008
08 Tracks. 78mins18secs

From the wild poetry of their debut, Our Brother The Native have drifted into much darker and tormented terrains with their sophomore effort. Indeed, while on Tooth And Claw, the band were found playing in the garden of CocoRosie and Animal Collective, Make Amends For We Are Merely Vessels depicts much more ghostly and gothic musical forms.

Formed in 2005 by Michigan-based John-Michael Foss and Joshua Beltram, and Californian Chaz Knapp, OBTN rapidly caught the attention of UK label Fat-Cat, and, just over a year later, released their debut album. Under their geeky appearance, the trio revealed an incredible level of sonic maturity, incorporating everything from folk and electronica to post-rock and noise. Their second album, Make Amends For We Are Merely Vessels pushes the boundaries much further. Continue Reading »

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Robert Rowlands on Mar 14th 2008 12:39 am

Interview Alistair Crosbie

Since 1995, Scottish musician Alistair Crosbie has been forging his own sound on the Glasgow underground scene, mixing drone, folk and pure noise whilst collaborating with like-minded musicians such as Brian Lavelle and Andrew Paine. His efforts were recognised by this website in December when his album This Quiet House featured in our top 20 long-players of the year. With a new release, Seven Starlings More on the way, he took a break from the studio to speak extensively to themilkfactory about his music, the failure of the pop industry, and a curious penchant for Girls Aloud.

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VARIOUS ARTISTS: Boogybytes Vol. 4 (BPitch Control)

Robert Rowlands on Mar 13th 2008 11:52 pm

V/A: Boogybytes Vol. 4

Boogybytes Vol. 4 mixed by Ellen Allien
BPitch Control 2008
15 Tracks. 66mins00secs

After the success of her recent Fabric mix, Berlin DJ Ellen Allien here takes over the controls on the Boogybytes series to deliver a tightly scripted disquisition on the micro-techno scene. With most DJ sets, there is a need to balance coherence with variety, and the new with the pleasingly familiar. Here, though, Allien aims for a sound whose consistency of beat and texture varies in slight details from one track to the next. It is a bit like listening to the slow and delicate shifting of tectonic plates – with the calamitous possibility of the quake lingering somewhere in the distance.

Because of the clinical, almost surgical cleanliness of Allien’s style, calamity and event are rarely brought into the mix in any obvious way. Instead, melodies float beneath scattergrams of sonic pulses, allowing rhythm to dictate the album’s intricate soundwaves. The sound that results is effortlessly now – as BPitch, her label, proudly avers – a soundtrack of urban facades and cityscapes. Continue Reading »

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BOCHUM WELT: R.O.B. (Rephlex)

Robert Rowlands on Mar 13th 2008 11:51 pm

Bochum Welt: R.O.B

R.O.B. (Robotic Operating Buddy)
Rephlex 2008
31 Tracks. 110mins00secs

Alongside bedroom boffins like Mike Paradinas, Luke Vibert and Chris Jeffs, Gianluigi Di Costanzo – or Bochum Welt – was one of the early reasons Rephlex was able to branch out from simply being an outlet for the prodigious output of Richard D. James. And yet he failed to go on to have anything like the success of some of his fellow label mates. Indeed, after 1997 and the release of Desktop Robotics and Feelings On A Screen, he seemed to disappear from the Rephlex line-up altogether.

Over a decade later, Robotic Operating Buddy marks his return, although it is as much a retrospective as anything else. The majority of the double album is made up of hard-to-find material lifted from the 1997 releases and 1996’s Module 2. According to Rephlex, putting this music back on general release will save fans a packet splashing out on the internet. And the label bosses may well be right: a quick look at, for instance, reveals that the three old releases that make up disc 2 would cost the completist a cool £85 in hard-earned pocket money. Continue Reading »

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BALMORHEA: Rivers Arms (Western Vinyl)

Robert Rowlands on Mar 13th 2008 11:50 pm

Balmorhea: Rivers Arms

Rivers Arms
Western Vinyl 2008
14 Tracks. 59mins00secs

A train passes slowly from afar, the stars are out, the fire’s flames are dying… it’s an enchanting image, and one readily conjured up when listening to this, the second release by Texas duo Balmorhea. Shunning the instant satisfactions of the electronic age, Balmorhea take a piano and guitar and leave most of the rest to the elements. The album is as crisp and light as clear morning sky, its acoustic aesthetic bracing the listener with its majesty. But the very merits of Rivers Arms are also its latent flaws, for this is an album rooted in a certain mood, and if you don’t buy the concept, there’s little point in sticking around. Continue Reading »

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