Archive for May, 2008

B12: Last Days Of Silence (B12 Records)

Robert Rowlands on May 31st 2008 04:28 pm

B12: Last Days Of Silence

Last Days Of Silence
B12 Records 2008
18 Tracks. 103mins34secs

Nothing endures in music quite like a mystery. Unreleased albums, unexplained break-ups – what we don’t know about a band often helps to define them as much as what we do. And the mysterious disappearance of B12 from the music scene ten years ago is a perfect case in point. Their silence since 1998, when they vanished from Warp with an EP ready for release, has forced fans ever since to pore endlessly over the back catalogue in the assumption that that was it. So the decision of English duo Mike Golding and Steve Rutter to return now will inevitably trigger questions about their lost decade. And alongside the anticipation, the big question many will of course be asking is: was it worth the wait? Continue Reading »

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CANED & ABLE: Smoke… (Malicious Damage)

themilkman on May 23rd 2008 12:43 am

Caned & Able: Smoke...

Malicious Damage 2008
11 Tracks. 47mins22secs

Caned & Able is the multi-faceted project of Patrick ‘Trickster’ Bird and Martyn Savigar, with additional contribution from drummer Chris Bell and former Siouxsie & The Banshees guitarist John Klein, who once shared stage space as part of eighties glam goth punk band Specimen, and singer Anna Jacyszyn, and the attentive listener will also spot John Peel, Marc Bolan and Billie Holliday visiting from beyond the grave.

Smoke…, released on Malicious Damage, is a vastly eclectic collection which establishes unlikely bridges between densely layered trip hop, psychedelic pop, hypnotic ambient, dub and indie rock. As soon as one begins to feel comfortable in a particular setting, the pair swiftly change pace and direction to establish an entirely different décor, starting all over again and again. Continue Reading »

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PAAVOHARJU: Laulu Laakson Kukista (Fonal Records)

themilkman on May 22nd 2008 12:44 am

Paavoharju: Laulu Laakson Kukista

Laulu Laakson Kukista
Fonal Records 2008
12 Tracks. 35mins03secs

Hailing from the small provincial town of Savonlinna in South Eastern Finland, Paavoharju are self-proclaimed born again Christians. Whether this permeates their music in any way is, for anyone who doesn’t understand Finnish at least, a total mystery. Whether this is even relevant to the music at all is anyone’s guess. What is clear however is that nothing could have prepared anyone for the oneiric pastoral beauty of the band’s debut album, Yha Hamaraa, released on Fonal in 2005. Neither folk nor pop nor experimental, Paavoharju blended all these and much more besides, carving extremely pretty melodies out of rough nebulous sound collages, in turn arranged into ephemeral songs and miniature cinematic vignettes. Yha Hamaraa was a magnificent timeless record with no real equivalent, a collection of unlikely pop songs with a very sharp edge.

Three years on, Paavoharju open the doors of their magic kingdom once again, eager to take anyone willing to step in by the hand and lead them through a labyrinth of sounds and atmospheres, pointing here at delicate reveries set in crackles and statics, or there at dense layers of fog stabbed by vibrant blades of ethereal vocals. Continue Reading »

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THE PRESETS: Apocalypso (Modular)

David Abravanel on May 21st 2008 09:41 pm

The Presets: Apocalypso

Modular 2008
11 Tracks. 50mins53secs

The first track on Apocalypso, the latest release from electro-rockers The Presets, is called Kicking And Screaming. And, it’s excellent. It’s everything this electro-house-rock-whatever movement should be in its most pristine form: manic and panicked, just the right amount of New Order influence, with an arpeggiated synthesizer that Giorgio Moroder would gush over. It has a fantastic breakdown toward the end before climaxing in with smooth, processed vocal wails sitting on choppy acidic synth lines. Continue Reading »

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MINILOGUE: Animals (Cocoon Recordings)

Robert Rowlands on May 21st 2008 09:12 pm

Minilogue: Animals

Cocoon Recordings 2008
26 Tracks. 154mins46secs

From the word go, it has to be said that this record is at the very least a welcome surprise. Faced with the task of picking apart a two and a half hour longplayer from an obscure pair of Swedish minimal techno lovers, the prospect seemed both daunting and perhaps a little off-putting. How could anything so ostensibly stripped back warrant 154 minutes of listening time? One could probably get through a short novel in that period. Indeed, cinematic epics are often less drawn out. But the vast scale of the material here soon becomes academic, because Minilogue have delivered an album many would not have thought them capable of. After years spent releasing twelve inches for the DJ set, here they have constructed an album of quite breathtaking allure.

Animals is divided into two quite deliberately different parts – the before and after of a night out, in a way. Continue Reading »

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ÓLAFUR ARNALDS:Variations Of Static (Erased Tapes)

themilkman on May 21st 2008 12:41 am

Ólafur Arnalds: Variations Of Static

Variations Of Static
Erased Tapes 2008
05 Tracks. 21mins39secs
Format: CD/10″/Digital

Hailing from the small Icelandic town of Mosfellbær, situated just outside of Reykjavik, young classical musician Ólafur Arnalds released his debut album, Eulogy For Evolution, at the end of 2007. His approach shares with that of compatriot Jóhann Jóhannsson a taste for combining often melancholic piano or string compositions with found sounds and electronics and, more surprisingly, occasional elements of indie rock.

Variations Of Static, Arnalds’s second offering, was originally made available as a limited tour edition. Recorded at home, with Arnalds on the piano and a string quartet providing the accompaniment, these compositions feature more prominent electronics, while a recurring computerised voice appears at regular interval, evoking a similar use on Jóhann Jóhannsson’s 2002 album Englabörn. Continue Reading »

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808 STATE: Quadrastate (Rephlex)

Robert Rowlands on May 20th 2008 11:14 pm

808 State: Quadrastate

Rephlex 2008
13 Tracks. 66mins57secs

When 808 State first rolled onto the British club scene in 1988, the acid house phenomenon was beginning to seep into the nation’s underground culture. After the innovations of Detroit and Chicago, it was time for the UK to give things a go, and 808 State were just one of many producers of the time to pick up the baton. Taking their name from a ubiquitous drum machine of the period, they went on to release a string of albums that took on the house sound and treated it to some subtle but serious refraction. And Quadrastate is just one of the results of that time. Merely an EP at the time of its release, cut-offs and alternative mixes are thrown into the equation here to bring us a spatchcock album that many will now be hearing for the first time. Its most obvious claim to fame, of course, is album opener Pacific State, one of the defining tracks of eighties house and probably the stand-out track of 808’s long reign in the field of electronics. But this is merely the starting point for a bracing journey around the formulas of the house sound. Quadrastate’s interest to us now is probably largely historical, but its re-release is a good chance to look again at an era of English house music that is all too easily forgotten – while the scene’s US masters are perennially revered. Continue Reading »

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ANIMAL COLLECTIVE: Water Curses (Domino Recording Co.)

themilkman on May 16th 2008 12:50 am

Animal Collective: Water Curses

Water Curses
Domino Recording Co 2008
04 Tracks. 18mins05secs
Format: CDS/12″/Digital

The journey on which Animal Collective embarked some years ago has taken them from the thoroughly experimental to the surprisingly straightforward without ever going about it the easy way. In recent years, their records have become more melodic and song-based. Their last couple of inputs for Fat-Cat swapped the burning exuberance of early records for much more structured and elegant records. Last year’s Strawberry Jam album, the collective’s first full length release on Domino, showed that, although the band have polished their act, they remained as inventive with their music and have developed a truly unique sound.

Following the all-out pop effervescence of Strawberry Jam, Water Curses catches the band in a much reflective mood, their colourful songs stripped down, leaving vocals and melodies exposed. Continue Reading »

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MATMOS: Supreme Balloon (Matador Records)

themilkman on May 14th 2008 10:28 pm

Matmos: Supreme Balloon

Supreme Balloon
Matador Records 2008
07 Tracks. 59mins21secs

Since they appeared, over ten years ago, with their eponymous debut album, Matmos, the then San Francisco-based project of two truly eccentric and inventive artists, Drew Daniel and Martin C. Schmidt, have redefined the boundaries of their own experimental universe with each new release. In many cases, Matmos have devised a record around a specific rule and have adhered to it, most famously on their 2001 A Chance To Cut Is A Chance To Cure, which was painstakingly constructed out of noises and sounds sourced from medical equipment, surgical interventions and body fluid, or on its follow up, The Civil War, which made good use of ancient musical instruments.

With Supreme Balloon, Matmos have turned their own experimentation on its head by dropping their usual paraphernalia of found sounds, collected in more or less unusual situations, to create an entire album based on sounds created using all sorts of vintage synthesizers, the list too long to mention here. Continue Reading »

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SKYPHONE: Avellaneda (Rune Grammofon)

themilkman on May 12th 2008 11:45 pm

Skyphone: Avellaneda

Rune Grammofon 2008
11 Tracks. 52mins53secs

It has taken four years for Danish trio Skyphone to follow Fabula, their rather stunning first album. Formed of childhood friends Mads Bødker, Thomas Holst and Keld Dam Schmidt after years propping up dead end rock bands, the trio began to experiment with electronic music and put down the foundation of Skyphone toward the end of the nineties. In 2004, the band’s debut was released on Rune Grammofon.

Like label mates Alog, Skyphone are primarily concerned with intricately woven sonic structures that rely on myriads of minute pieces, but instead of processing acoustic instruments into dense formations, Holst, Schmidt and Bødker focus on musical purity and dip their compositions in luxurious sound pools to bring up the natural textures of the instruments used, while discreet field recordings sprinkled all over the course of the album give the compositions a truly pastoral feel. 24 free ringtones | sprint pcs ringtones | download ringtones motorola | dash mobile ringtones t | cricket phone ringtones | download free cingular ringtones | ringtones for nokia phone | disney free mobile ringtones | c139 motorola ringtones | sprint download ringtones | free cingular wireless ringtones | free ringtones for sprint phone | free ringtones for verizon phone | mobile ringtones converter | nextel ringtones | free ringtones for nextel phone | free kyocera ringtones | download free ringtones nokia | cell phone ringtones wallpaper | ringtones for nextel phone |
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YASHUSHI YOSHIDA: Little Grace (Noble)

Max Schaefer on May 8th 2008 10:22 pm

Yashushi Yoshida: Little Grace

Little Grace
Noble 2008
09Tracks. 46mins46secs

The cleft that separates this second fledgling of Yashushi Yoshida from his firstborn is its organic and free-flowing nature, the fact that it is determined by the multiplicity and perversity of nature rather than the studios technical demands.

Compositions are still structurally condensed, but Yoshida now endeavors to allow the notes to sound their natural timbres, to be infused and partially directed by the traces and contingencies of the atmosphere. The ensemble – which consists of violin, cello, clarinet, saxophone, saws and drums – therefore swoops and sweeps through the terrain, plucking, gliding, swerving and bending as they follow a wildly varying and versatile vision. Continue Reading »

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VARIOUS ARTISTS: 1 | Favourite Places (Audiobulb Records)

Max Schaefer on May 8th 2008 09:21 pm

V/A: Favourite Places

1 | Favourite Places
Audiobulb Records 2008
10Tracks. 54mins04secs

A foray into the psychological swamp of today’s practitioners of experimental electronica, the simple though direct and ultimately telling quality of the question that underlies this compilation shines through the ensuing compositions like light through a stained glass window. “What is your favorite place in the world?” the label asks and Aaron Ximm, Taylor Deupree, Biosphere, and Leafcutter John, amongst others, are those who give voice to their private sentiments on the matter.

Apart from the aural evidence provided, each artist scrawls a brief gambit concerning their selection, where the sounds are protruding from and why it seems pertinent. It is pulled off with poise and a certain sense of importance, and this makes it something in which investments can be made, won, and lost, rather than something that asks for little and is content to be thumbed through casually. Continue Reading »

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