Archive for April, 2008

Portishead / A Hawk And A Hacksaw, Brixton Academy 17/04/2008

themilkman on Apr 22nd 2008 12:36 am

Feature: Portishead live, Brixton Academy

There could hardly have been a greater contrast than that between the high spirited Hungarian folk motifs of A Hawk And A Hacksaw and the dark overtones of Portishead. Playing their second date in London, a couple of weeks after the Hammersmith Apollo, Portishead took over the Brixton Academy in South London, ahead of the release of their long awaited third album at the end of the month. Continue Reading »

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AUTECHRE: Quaristice (Versions) (Warp Records)

David Abravanel on Apr 16th 2008 11:15 pm

Autechre: Quaristice (Versions)

Quaristice (Versions)
Warp Records 2008
11 Tracks. 67mins49secs

By now, listeners have had some time to digest Quaristice, the latest release from Autechre, and the new (yet also classic) approach they’ve taken this time around. In contrast to the longer, more spaced-out and fleshed-out ideas found on their previous three albums, Quaristice features twenty tracks, most clocking in at less than four minutes, featuring, alternately, spastic explosions of percussion and sampling, or lush ambient synthesizer arrangements. With Quaristice (Versions), a bonus disc released with the limited edition of Quaristice, Autechre offer a glimpse at a version of the album more in line with Untilted or Draft 7.30. There are eleven tracks here, many of which last longer than seven minutes, allowing the sequences and ideas from Quaristice more time to evolve. Continue Reading »

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Autechre / Massonix / Rob Hall, The Middle East, Cambridge, MA 14/04/2008

David Abravanel on Apr 16th 2008 10:51 pm

FEATURE: Autechre, Massonix, Rob Hall live

Rarely are abstract electronic acts as well known for their live sets as for their recorded output. Given such a heavy reliance on sequencing and studio edits, one could be forgiven for getting bored watching someone noodle around with pre-recorded tracks on a laptop. Autechre, on the other hand, have taken a very different approach, eschewing laptops for their live performance, and instead working with a mix and match of sequences, almost all of them unreleased, for a live show that is intense and unforgettable. Continue Reading »

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Max Schaefer on Apr 14th 2008 10:34 pm

Christopher Bissonnette: In Between Words

In Between Words
Kranky 2008
06Tracks. 50mins48secs

In Between Words nurtures the universal within the particular, the history within the humdrum. A growing interest in the scattered and repetitive sounds of daily life has developed on the part of Christopher Bissonnette, and this work reflects it with all the spirituality and ingenuity of a mirror.

First an instrument or found sound establishes a pattern explicitly, and then, in a spectral manner, it reappears in a distant tsunami of dense, multilayered ambience. Afterwards high harmonics and out of reach scratch intone the motif time and again, and the variations multiply one on the other. Continue Reading »

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ERIK LEVANDER: Kondens (Rumraket)

themilkman on Apr 13th 2008 11:21 pm

Erik Levander: Kondens

Rumraket 2008
09 Tracks. 43mins46secs

Erik Levander’s first release, Tonad, of which only 500 copies were made, was published at the end of 2004 on Swedish imprint Neon Records. Since, Levander has been spotted guesting on a handful of Efterklang records, yet most of his time has been spent working on this follow up. Unfortunately for Levander, things went terribly wrong while he was at an advanced stage in the recording process, when his computer suffered a major crash and, as he had no backup, he lost two years’ worth of work. A further two years on, Kondens has finally seen the light of day through Efterklang’s Rumraket imprint.

A classically trained musician who plays amongst other things clarinet, guitar, piano, harmonica and percussions, Levander spent most of his formative years listening to bands such as My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth and Red House Painters. Continue Reading »

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EXCEPTER: Debt Dept (Paw Tracks)

Robert Rowlands on Apr 11th 2008 12:34 am

Excepter: Debt Dept

Debt Dept
Paw Tracks 2008
08 Tracks. 43 mins 48secs

Normally, urging the listener to “kill people” repeatedly on record would lead to scores of scaremongering splashes in the national press about the latest antichrists of the music scene. That Excepter have so far escaped this fate is probably down partly to their relative obscurity when compared with other musical bete noires. Yet although the shrieking editorial writers may yet have come to notice them, the band have been beguiling and infuriating music fans for years with their off-kilter anti-pop insanity. This, their fourth release, will probably divide listeners as much as the others, but it offers some pretty perverse pleasures to those who can stomach the ride.

To imagine what this band sounds like, picture yourself walking into a music store with sections devoted to different musical genres. Continue Reading »

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YIP-YIP: Two Kings Of The Same Kingdom (S.A.F. Records)

David Abravanel on Apr 7th 2008 11:56 pm

Yip-Yip: Two Kings For The Same Kingdom

Two Kings Of The Same Kingdom
S.A.F. Records 2008
12 Tracks. 24min09sec

There was a time, namely the 1970s, when analog synthesizers were a very new and volatile instrument for rock music and its derivations. The advent of more portable and affordable synthesizers meant that small-time renegade groups with nothing to lose got their hands on these messes of transistors, eventually developing into very interesting records, from Pere Ubu to Gary Newman to The Normal. Such oddball use of analogue gear weren’t long for the semi-mainstream, as the eighties ushered in an era of sequencers and digital synthesis, while synthpop groups produced meticulously edited studio masterpieces, ditching much of the grit. Even the likes of Cabaret Voltaire moved closer to the dance floor. Picking up the avant garde, warts-and-all spirit of pioneering synth-punkers are Yip-Yip, a Florida-based duo consisting of Brian Esser and Jason Temple, whose gear list (included here in the otherwise-sparse liner notes) is a treasure-trove of analogue (and cheap digital) history. Continue Reading »

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KILN: Dusker (Ghostly International)

themilkman on Apr 7th 2008 11:00 pm

Kiln: Dusker

Ghostly International 2007
11 Tracks. 52mins07secs

Michigan-based trio Kiln, formed of Kevin Hayes, Kirk Marrison and Cark Rehberg III, originally operated under the Fibreforms and Waterwheel banners. As Kiln, they have released five albums since 1997, exploring the boundaries between post rock and electronica. With their latest effort, released at the end of last year on Ghostly International, these boundaries are more blurred than ever. Indeed, while the trio’s music is partly based on guitars, drums and live percussions, these sources are considerably processed and redeployed to fill spaces that aren’t naturally that of the original instruments, making it almost impossible to distinguish between the sound sources and the added components.

This results in Kiln’s sound appearing warm and organic, with tracks building consistence around dense sonic formations and slowly evolving into heavy melodic themes. Continue Reading »

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AGF: Words Are Missing (AGF Produktion)

Robert Rowlands on Apr 7th 2008 08:55 pm

AGF: Words Are Missing

Words Are Missing
AGF Producktion 2008

As Homer once said, there is a time for words and there is a time for sleep. Whatever her instincts as a poet, Laub founder Antye Greie has obviously decided to tear up the script here and abandon words altogether. Boldly claiming to look into “the phenomena of silence, speechlessness, deconstructed language and impeded communication”, at first glance this is a record that seems more like an academic treatise than a piece of music. And the ethereal, glitchy sonic landscapes at first seem almost too cerebral – as if an idea had been placed wholesale onto disc with no musical intervention in between.

But like a dusty text that gains in clarity the more one looks at it, sounds open up here as though from cracks in the carefully prepared edifices. Continue Reading »

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WILDBIRDS & PEACEDRUMS: Heartcore (The Leaf Label)

themilkman on Apr 2nd 2008 12:31 am

Wildbirds & Peacedrums: Heartcore

Found You Recordings/The Leaf Label 2008
12 Tracks. 40mins50secs

Like a less exuberant Creatures, singer Mariam Wallentin and drummer Andreas Werliin piece together a surprisingly compelling collection of visceral vocal-and-percussion-based songs which find their feet somewhere between free jazz, afro beat and Nordic tribal tradition.

Formed in 2004 after Mariam and Andreas met at the Academy of Music and Drama in Gothemberg, Wildbirds & Peacedrums began performing live a year later, and, after publishing two limited edition CDR albums, started working on Heatcore in 2006, using a mobile studio, which allowed them to record in a variety of locations and use a wide range of sonorities to support their rudimentary formation. The album was originally published last year on Swedish label Found You Recordings, and now finally gets a well deserved worldwide release, just as they are gearing up for the release of their sophomore effort, The Snake, in their native land. Continue Reading »

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Rod Modell – Incense & Black Light (Plop)

Max Schaefer on Apr 1st 2008 12:36 am

Rod Modell: Incense & Black Light

Incense & Black Light
Plop 2008
10Tracks. 57mins57secs.

With Incense & Black Light, Detroit-based minimal techno producer and Deepchord Records manager Rod Modell has produced a work more unseemly than probably even he realizes. While Modell’s early work was concerned with electro-acoustic experimentation, he’s since entertained cinematic space-out fancies and, more recently, beat-oriented music lined with traces of both dub and house. This album, his most coherent and effective, is thus a jarring but delightful collision of influences and inspirations.

The tracks display a furrowed brow focus on a particular sort of hunched, anxious groove, one caught between dub’s half-time skank and techno’s blithe forward motion. Continue Reading »

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