Archive for September, 2008

VARIOUS ARTISTS: Kubla Khan (Textura)

themilkman on Sep 30th 2008 12:34 am

V/A: Kubla Khan

Kubla Khan
Textura 2008
07 Tracks. 62mins02secs

Already a successful music magazine, Textura are now launching a new imprint, and releasing their first album. Kubla Khan takes its name from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s classic nineteenth century poem Kubla Khan, Or A Vision In A Dream, A Fragment, which was, according to Coleridge, inspire by an opium-induced dream. The poem also serves as a  thread to the seven tracks featured on the album, as each song takes a particular aspect of the poem and is built as a response to it, or an interpretation of it, by the respective artists. Continue Reading »

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GOLDMUND: The Malady Of Elegance (Type Recordings)

Max Schaefer on Sep 28th 2008 10:09 pm

Goldmund: The Malady Of Elegance

The Malady Of Elegance
Type Recordings 2008
15 Tracks.  55mins57secs

Keith Kenniff’s solo piano recordings show an unironic childlike wonder.  The Malady of Elegance, like Curduroy Road before it, is conservative in its tonal focus.  While its manner is reflective and studiedly neutral, the effect of these beautiful miniatures, performed with sublime delicacy, is oftentimes quietly haunting.

Pieces prove rather hypnotic in small doses.  Particularly during the first half of the recording, unfurling in an almost folk-like manner, tracks secrete tiny details at a meandering pace, fading in an out of earshot, and when they finally do well up and state their case, it’s a real event. Continue Reading »

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FRIEDMAN & LIEBEZEIT: Secret Rhythms 3 (Nonplace Records)

themilkman on Sep 26th 2008 12:08 am

Friedman & Leibezeit: Secret Rhythms 3

Secret Rhythms 3
Nonplace Records 2008
07 Tracks. 52mins40secs

Long before Kieran Hebden teamed up with legendary percussionist Steve Reid, German electronic musician Bernd ‘Burnt’ Friedman joined forces with another celebrated drummer in the person of Can member Jaki Liebezeit. Their first shared offering came in the shape of Secret Rhythms (2002), combined Friedman’s characteristic dub and futuristic electro jazz and Liebezeit’s feel for multi-faceted rhythmic formations to create a collection of subtle impressionist tracks caught somewhere between dusk and dark. Four years on, they were at it again. Secret Rhythms 2 continued to outline a fascinating world all in contrasts and undertones.

Third in the series, this latest Secret Rhythms collection redefines once more the spectrum in which the pair evolve. Continue Reading »

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GALERIE STRATIQUE: Faux World (Statik Distribution)

themilkman on Sep 23rd 2008 11:15 pm

Galerie Stratique: Faux World

Faux World
Statik Distribution 2008
15 Tracks. 46mins14secs

With his debut album, Nothing Down To Earth (Law & Auder, 2001) and its follow up, Horizzzons (Statik, 2003), Quebecer Charles-Emile Beullac created wonderful lush and evocative electronic soundtracks using a rhetoric close to that used by the likes of Boards Of Canada or Isan. His new offering is quite different. Primarily based on acoustic sound sources, ranging from flute, kalimba, xylophone and tablas to darbouka, udus, and tamboa, most of which were collected during a trip to Indonesia, the original recordings were made during a three-day jam session with friend and percussionist Raphaël Simard, with sole purpose to catalogue sounds rather than traditional use of these instruments. This is a process far removed from this album’s predecessor, which used almost no samples at all.

Faux World was inspired by the vague souvenir that Beullac retained of Indonesia as he fell victim of the side effects of the anti malaria tablets he took prior to the trip. Nightmares, irrational fears and a state of self-alienation pushed Beullac, who was travelling alone, to the brink of a serious breakdown. Continue Reading »

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JEREMY BIBLE & JASON HENRY: Vryashn (Gear Of Sand)

Max Schaefer on Sep 22nd 2008 09:18 pm

Jeremy Bible & Jason Henry: Vryashn

Gear Of Sand 2008
02 Tracks. 54mins18secs

The two suites of ambitious, sweeping sounds that express but never wholly manifest themselves here, superimposed as they are in layers to infinity, were inspired by the shifting perspectives and hallucinogenic detail of dreams.  The mind reels in the declamatory breathlessness and multilayered incantations, out of which slip assiduous sonic close-ups that are soon swallowed by depersonalized electronic shadows, and which return hereafter only as distorted or transformed traces that haunt and push the works further still. Continue Reading »

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MINOTAUR SHOCK: Amateur Dramatics (4AD)

themilkman on Sep 19th 2008 12:31 am

Minotaur Shock: Amateur Dramatics

Amateur Dramatics
4AD 2008
11 Tracks. 51mins02secs

On his website, David Edwards, the brain behind Minotaur Shock, talks about how his record company, the seminal and glorious 4AD, took the decision to only release his third album as a digital format. Not unfortunately unusual these days. This certainly raises once again the question of music as an artefact against music as a product. An equation that Edwards has, past the initial deception of not seeing his work released in physical format, happily taken on and on which he has applied his own angle. The eleven tracks of the album are all available to download individually, and carry a suggested selling price established according to a range of criteria, from technical difficulty or computer crash to extra musicians and fun ratings, with a price range going from 33p for the cheapest track to 77p for the dearest. Continue Reading »

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KAMRAN SADEGHI: Through Thickness (Dragon’s Eye Recordings)

Max Schaefer on Sep 18th 2008 09:30 pm

Kamran Sadeghi: Through Thickness

Through Thickness
Dragon’s Eye Recordings 2008
12Tracks.  58mins08secs

Kamran Sadeghi confronts one with grand interlocking structures and micromanaged outbursts of intense digital incident on Through Thickness.  As Sadeghi juxtaposes these incongruous traits, setting off mobile, surprisingly rounded, fulsome structures and then, in various manners, swiftly testing them for flexibility and points of weakness, he exploits space to draw out a sense of transience and ending so far as the human species is concerned.

The predetermined orderliness of something like Through is given a virus; its polished, not to mention elaborate, percussion arrangement is slowly infiltrated by fleshy, fatty tones that render its gait sluggish and leave it worse for wear, speckling a trail of goo over its stainless surface. Continue Reading »

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GELKA: Less Is More (Waxon Records)

themilkman on Sep 18th 2008 12:07 am

Gelka: Less Is More

Less Is More
Waxon Records 2008
15 Tracks. 62mins17secs

While his debut album was dipped in early nineties bleepy electronics, George Evelyn, who also officiates as E.A.S.E., has since carved a much more soulful and chilled groove as Nightmares On Wax, and has been delivering regular slices of silky grooves and downbeat pleasures at more or less regular intervals. It is therefore no surprise to see him now backing new talents, especially when they evolve in similar waters, via his new imprint, Waxon Records. Continue Reading »

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MIKO: Parade (Plop)

Max Schaefer on Sep 17th 2008 12:02 am

Miko: Parades

Plop 2008
12Tracks.  46mins57secs

Beyond the surface diverseness, a deep consistency and coherence can be heard in the debut effort from Miko, an artist dwelling in Yokohama, outside Tokyo.  The pieces bear traces of someone who was willing to relinquish a certain control, to make herself the instrument and allow each self-contained event unfold according to its own internal dynamic.

Works like Kingdom and Ride On Time thus come across as much as natural processes as proper songs. Continue Reading »

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BOMB THE BASS: Future Chaos (!K7 Records)

themilkman on Sep 16th 2008 11:37 pm

Bomb The Bass: Future Chaos

Future Chaos
!K7 Records 2008
09 Tracks. 46mins21secs

It’s been just over twenty years since Tim Simenon delivered his first slice of Bomb The Bass delicacy. One of the seminal tracks of the acid/rave era, Beat Dis defined the shape of things to come, and is, like other classics like Acid Tracks, Voodoo Ray or Pump Up The Voume, to name but three, very much at the root of contemporary electronic music. Far from remaining in the limelight or cashing in on his early success, Simenon spent much of the nineties and naughties behind mixing desks, producing or remixing records for artists as diverse as Neneh Cherry, Seal, Depeche Mode David Bowie or the recently passed away Hector Zazou.

This year marks the return of Tim Simenon the musician, with his first proper album since his 1995 effort Clear. Continue Reading »

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BUILD BUILDINGS: Ceiling Lights From Street (Ben Tweel)

themilkman on Sep 12th 2008 12:18 am

Build Buildings: Ceiling Lights From Street

Ceiling Lights From Street
Ben Tweel 2008
12 Tracks. 44mins22secs

It’s been four years since Ben Tweel’s exquisite There Is A Problem With My Tape Recorder was published, charting a series of smooth and elegant impressionist electronic landscapes. While comparisons to the likes of Four Tet or Opiate abounded, none really did justice to the wafer-thin draperies and delicate melodic formations he assembles.

With Ceiling Lights From Street, the first Build Buildings release since last year’s collaborative EP with Marlo Bright, Tweel crafts another fine collection of gentle electronica all in nuances and undertones. Continue Reading »

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David Abravanel on Sep 11th 2008 09:30 pm

Alexandre Navarro: Arcane

SEM 2008
10 Tracks. 53mins31secs

Sometimes it’s almost like cheating, when an electric guitarist uses a decent delay line. From Windy & Carl’s sublime arctic drones to The Edge’s epic chord slaps, the right kind delay and reverb combination can transform even a scant few plucks of the instrument into divine swirls of ambient bliss. Then again, as with most easy techniques, true mastery of such washed-out guitar ambience is rare to come by; for every Flying Saucer Attack, there are ten staid sets of snoring aimless drones, counting on such engulfing effects to take over for compositional strategy.

Enter Alexandre Navarro, just so being one of those masters. Continue Reading »

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