Archive for July, 2008

MAGNETOPHONE: Wires & Traps (First Fold Records)

themilkman on Jul 31st 2008 12:51 am

Wires & Traps
First Fold Records 2008
04 Tracks. 22mins24secs
Format: CD

Birmingham’s Magnétophone have occasional burst of activity separated by long spells of nothing. From their first output on Static Caravan ten years ago, John Hanson and Matt Saunders have scarcely dispensed a handful of EPs and two albums, stretching their sound beyond the usual reach of electronic music to incorporate elements of pop and indie rock, amongst others. Apart for a collection of B-sides, remixes and rare tracks released last year and a contribution to Static Caravan’s Binary Oppositions, Wires & Traps is Magnétophone’s first release since their 2005 album The Man Who Ate The Man. Continue Reading »

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TAPE: Opera Plus (Häpna) / TAPE: Milieu Plus (Häpna)

Max Schaefer on Jul 30th 2008 10:00 pm

Tape: Opera Plus

Opera Plus
Häpna 2002/2008
13Tracks. 63mins54secs

Tape: Milieu Plus

Milieu Plus
Häpna 2003/2008
12Tracks. 51mins58secs

The pooled intuition of Johan Berthling, Andreas Berthling, and Tomas Hallonsten is manifested predominantly in tightly controlled, continually surprising spontaneous designs – a sort of tightrope walk between high energy free blurt and rigorous attention to form.  The Swedish group has been embracing – even celebrating – their stylistic contradictions since 2002, and the versatile, lysergic fusion of languid free jazz, ambient, folk, and broken balladry has since weaved itself stealthily, but inexorably, into the fabric of contemporary music. Continue Reading »

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2562: Aerial (Tectonic Recordings)

themilkman on Jul 29th 2008 12:16 am

2562: Aerial

Tectonic Recordings 2008
10 Tracks. 51mins09secs

2562 is the project of one Dave Huismans who, unlike the vast majority of artists evolving within the confines of, or in the immediate periphery of dubstep, doesn’t actually come from London but from The Hague in the Netherlands, where his local postcode provides him with his moniker. Huismans is not a new comer. He has, in recent years, released records under a variety of pseudonyms, including Dogdaze and A Made Up Sound, and has already been gathering praises for his various incarnations as techno boffin or conveyor of broken beats.

Huismans first appeared as 2562 (pronounce twenty-five sixty-two) last year with a couple of EPs released on Bristol-based Tectonic Recordings and rapidly gained critical acclaim across the board. Continue Reading »

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HULK: Rise Of A Mystery Tide (Osaka Recordings)

themilkman on Jul 28th 2008 12:45 am

Hulk: Rise Of A Mystery Tide

Rise Of A Mystery Tide
Osaka 2008
11 Tracks. 45mins22secs

This Hulk has very little to do with the Marvel Comics monster with serious ADHD issues, apart perhaps for a definite colour affinity, as Thomas Haugh hails from Dublin, capital city of the Republic of Ireland, a country as green as the aforementioned bully boy. In fact, Hulk’s debut album, Silver Thread Of Ghosts, was a moving assemblage of delicate found sounds and guitar textures together with orchestral brushes, set into drone-like formations, light years away from the enraged spirit of the Marvel character.

Before joining the ranks of Irish imprint Osaka Recordings, Hulk appeared on Static Caravans with his debut single, Fixed Star Day/The Sea Is Mute, The Waves Are Hymns in 2002, and consequently went on to have material featured on compilations released on Expanding and Melodic. Silver Thread Of Ghosts was released in 2005. Since, very little has been heard from Haugh, but eighteen months in the making, Rise Of A Mystery Tide has finally landed. Continue Reading »

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RATATAT: LP3 (XL Recordings)

David Abravanel on Jul 23rd 2008 11:58 pm


XL Recordings 2008
13 Tracks. 42mins24secs

It’s not easy to categorize Ratatat.  The Brooklyn-based duo of Evan Mast and Mike Stroud embrace a diverse smattering of styles, picking and choosing to create a kind of Frankenstein creation that is, damn the term, perhaps best referred to as simply “electronica”.  Like the big beat, maximal French house, and jungle recordings that fit the late-nineties press categorization of “electronica”, Ratatat are making electronic compositions from a song-based mind state.  Counter to the exhausting, minimal repetitions, which categorize much of techno, house, and other defiantly non-song-based electronic fields, Ratatat’s songs (not tracks) focus on melody and resolution.  Most songs on LP3, in fact, feature at least one instrument that sounds as though it’s trying to sing lyrics, and tell a story. Continue Reading »

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ZAINETICA: Soul Paradox (Rednetic Recordings)

themilkman on Jul 23rd 2008 11:25 pm

Zainetica: Soul Paradox

Soul Paradox
Rednetic Recordings 2008
11 Tracks. 73mins55secs

It has been a while since Rednetic founder and Zainetica mastermind Mark Streatfield has released on his own imprint. Instead, Zainetica outputs have been materialising on countless independent labels, including Lacedmilk, Enpeg Digital, Boltfish, Kahvi and many more. It was although with a Zainetica release, Streatfield’s debut, Escaping Dust, to be précised, that the label was launched in 2002. So, his latest dispatch, Soul Paradox, is a very welcome return to the Rednetic fold and another fine addition to a catalogue that is growing to be one of the most consistent around. Continue Reading »

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Joanna Newsom, Somerset House, London, 20/07/2008

themilkman on Jul 22nd 2008 01:03 am

Joanna Newsom, Sommerset House, London, 20/07/2008

It was a busy day for Joanna Newsom this Sunday 20 July, with no less than two performances, the first at noon at the Latitude Festival in Southwold, Suffolk, and the second in the grand settings of Somerset House in the heart of London. This had left her with very little time to familiarise herself with the evening venue. As she took her place behind her harp, she was visibly incredulous, first at how white the crowd was, then at the venue itself, whispering a shy ‘this is… mad’ as she looked around. Continue Reading »

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IZUMI MISAWA: Speaking Behind The Raindrops (Symbolic Interaction)

Max Schaefer on Jul 21st 2008 09:47 pm

Izumi Misawa: Speaking Behind The Raindrops

Speaking Behind The Raindrops
Symbolic Interaction 2008
10 Tracks. 43min45secs

Izumi Misawa stirs the atmosphere with hypnotic suggestion whereby vibration, tremors, repetition – whether of a musical rhythm or a spoken phrase – and special tone colors affect the mind through various levels of pressure on the senses.  These cycles of wistful instrumental sketches and flights of elytra often seem innocent enough, and even seem caught in the web of a giddy eclecticism, but the mood is one of serendipity, and the impassioned whirling is not without its justifications.

The tracks are of a patient, unhurried, un-mechanized mind.  A frenetic succession of scratched fragments cracks the proceedings open before a lurching procession of wobbly, spasmodic beats settles them down, at which point they are wedded to beatific textures, shimmering keyboards and disparate shards of found sound that provide moments of dizzying disruption. Continue Reading »

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TRICKY: Knowle West Boy (Domino Recording Co.)

themilkman on Jul 17th 2008 12:53 am

Tricky: Knowle West Boy

Knowle West Boy
Domino Recording Co. 2008
13 Tracks. 46mins22secs

Trapped between the paranoid atmospheres and claustrophobic beats that have become his own doomed musical universe on one side and his need to escape toward more accessible grounds, Tricky has been looking for a fresh way to express himself for some time. Knowle West Boy is not quite the flamboyant renaissance that he deserves, as the recent rock-infused single Council Estate attests, but there is definitely a renewed fever running throughout and it contributes to this album feeling more focused than the lacklustre Juxtapose or Vulnerable for instance. Continue Reading »

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themilkman on Jul 15th 2008 11:14 pm


Over ten years after their last studio was released, fourteen since the seminal Dummy, Portishead have produced one of the most spellbinding records of decade with the soberly entitled Third. Sobriety is very much the line with this new album, as the spacious and haunting soundtracks of the past have been replaced with much darker and arid soundscapes infused with elements of krautrock, psychedelic rock and hypnotic electronics, all combined to back up Beth Gibbons’s pure voice and harrowing lyrics. Having just put the finishing touch to a full European tour, Geoff Barrow and Adrian Utley talked to themilkman about the long process, doubts and countless steps back leading to the release of the album, the joy of touring, how leaking roofs and illegal downloads are intimately linked, and much more. Continue Reading »

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LOWRIDERS DELUXE: Future Deluxe (Symbolic Interaction)

themilkman on Jul 15th 2008 12:32 am

Lowriders Deluxe: Lowriders Deluxe

Future Deluxe
Symbolic Interaction 2008
11 Tracks. 57mins48secs

Ten years in the making, this debut Lowriders Deluxe release sees long-term friends Mark Streatfield, Joseph Auer, Simon Thomas and Clive Burns collaborate on a full length release for the first time. London-based Streatfield and Chicago-born Auer, who, having spent part of his life travelling the world, has now settled down in Tokyo, founded the excellent Rednetic imprint in 2002 and have since continuously delivered some of the finest electronic music around. Both have also released countless solo EPs and albums, the former as Zainetica and, more recently, Cyan 341, and the latter under his own name. Simon Thomas is also a regular on Rednetic as Utility Player, whilst Clive Burns is best known as the guitarist with alternative outfit Deep Valley Orgasm.

Lowriders Deluxe takes these four away from their usual respective grounds and into a series of elegant ambient pieces reminiscent in part of the lush sonic landscapes of early Orb, Global Communication or Future Sound Of London mixed with hints of classic Warp or early Rephlex electronica. Continue Reading »

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M.B. + E.D.A.: Regolelettroniche (Baskaru)

themilkman on Jul 11th 2008 12:07 am

M.B. + E.D.A.: Regolelettroniche

M.B. + E.D.A.
Baskaru 2008
04 Tracks. 47mins24secs

Born in 1955, Maurizio Bianchi is a long-standing member of the Italian experimental music scene. He debuted in 1979, and, until 1984, he released a considerable amount of work, but then withdrew from the music business completely as he entered a deeply religious and spiritual part of his life. He came out of retirement in 1997 and has since resumed a very productive work pace, with a mix of new releases and re-issues being made available. Twenty years Bianchi’s junior, Emanuela De Angelis first emerged as lead singer and guitarist with noise formation Joyce Whore Not in the early nineties and later founded Mou, Lips!, an experimental electronic project, with Andrea Gabriele, and has been working as a solo artist for over four years.

For their first collaboration, Bianchi and De Angelis create long and expensive drone-like forms, developed over the four tracks and nearly fifty minutes of Regolelettroniche, which vaguely translates into ‘electronic rules’, and which informs the record and sets its the boundaries. Continue Reading »

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