Archive for November, 2008

MIRA CALIX: The Elephant In The Room: 3 Commissions (Warp Records)

themilkman on Nov 29th 2008 01:43 am

Mira Calix: The Elephant In The Room: 3 Commissions

The Elephant In The Room: 3 Commissions
Warp Records 2008
09 Tracks. 56mins46secs

Four years after the first 3 Commissions EP, which collected a handful of site-specific performances recorded at London’s Royal Festival Hall and Barbican Centre, and a piece created for the Museum D’Histoire Naturelle de Geneva in Switzerland, Mira Calix returns to Warp with excerpts of two operas, Elephant & Castle and Dead Wedding, for which Chantal Passamonte was commissioned the music, and two movements of a twenty minutes video installation entitled Memoryofamoment.

For some time, Passamonte’s work has developed from her original overall electronic compositions, based on miniature found sounds collected in the English countryside around her home to incorporate more orchestral forms. Continue Reading »

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VARIOUS ARTISTS: Diaspora: Cottage Industries 5 (Neo Ouija)

Max Schaefer on Nov 27th 2008 10:14 pm

V/A: Diaspora: Cottage Industries 5

Diaspora: Cottage Industries 5
Neo Ouija 2008
30 Tracks. 148mins10secs

Rather than pillage and plunder its own heritage, Neo Ouija exceeds itself and the tradition it helped rear by compiling this two disc set of melodic techno that is not so much machinistic as it is fragile, flawed, and human. The first half of this newly fallen apple clearly has a firm grasp of the language of melodic techno, and individual pieces update its cut and splice idioms with contemporary digital textures. The selection is first-rate, with each artist represented by strong compositions. Continue Reading »

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FUNCKARMA: Vell Vagranz (n5MD)

themilkman on Nov 27th 2008 01:50 am

Funckarma: Vell Vagranz

Vell Vagranz
N5MD 2008
15 Tracks. 73mins07secs

Having fingers in more pies than one could care to count, Dutch duo Funckarma regularly cover a wide array of styles and genres, but it is with their original project that they remain best known. Formed of brothers Don and Roel Funken, who grew up in The Hague, Funckarma first appeared back in 1999 with their debut EP, released on Rotterdam-based Djak-Up-Bitch imprint. Two more released followed that same year, and an album, collecting some of these tracks, was released the following year. Since, they have dispensed EPs and full length records on an impressive number of imprints, from Neo Ouija and Sublight Record to Highpoint Lowlife and n5MD.

Released on Oakland, CA, based n5MD, their latest missive, Vell Vagranz, is undoubtedly the pair’s most eclectic and varied record to date. Continue Reading »

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SLEEPS IN OYSTER: We Kept The Memories Locked Away Like The Beetles Of Our Childhood, Or How To Appreciate Someone Who’s Always Around (Seed Records)

themilkman on Nov 26th 2008 12:44 am

Sleeps In Oyster: We Kept The Memories Locked Away Like The Beetles Of Our Childhood, Or How To Appreciat Someone Who's Always Around

We Kept The Memories Locked Away Like The Beetles Of Our Childhood, Or How To Appreciate Someone Who’s Always Around
Seed Records 2008
07 Tracks. 32mins17secs

Bridging the gap between folk and electronic, without veering anywhere near clichéd folktronica, Sleeps In Oysters are warm as a sunny summer’s day out in the fields and sweet as the smell of dust as its starts to rain.

Sounding like an unlikely cross between Múm, Pram, Efterklang and The Books, Sleeps In Oysters create miniature nursery rhymes made up of all sorts of sonic junk, painstakingly collected and assembled, then polished and cherished into wonderfully layered shimmering little vignettes. Continue Reading »

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Murcof / Oren Marshall, Purcell Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank Centre, London, 20/11/2008

themilkman on Nov 25th 2008 12:23 am

Murcof / Oren Marshall, Purcell Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank Centre, London, 20/11/2008

Pacing the room like a dragon scanning a dark cave for intruders, breathing heavily, following the sent of unfamiliar bodies, Oren Marshall’s opening piece of this performance at the Purcell Room, on the South Bank in London was made solely of breathing sounds propelled through the gigantic mouth of his tuba. Music was not the concern here; instead, it seemed as if Marshall’s purpose was to get up close and personal with his audience. Getting off the stage to walk slowly past the whole front row, then venturing up a few steps on each on the aisles, it felt as if Marshall and the audience were evaluating each other. Once back on stage, the sounds extracted from the tuba were processed through various delays to build the outlines of cyclical pieces and occasional rhythmic patterns. Twisted and bent out of shape, the sounds coming out of the instruments seemed to gain otherworldly features, sounding for a moment like a broken acid squelch or a little girl’s scream, until, at one point, the layers of noise had very little to do with the reality of the instrument. It is with his last piece thought that Marshall demonstrated the highest level of dexterity. Continue Reading »

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GAISER: Blank Fade (M-nus Records)

David Abravanel on Nov 21st 2008 01:22 am

Gaiser: Blank Fade

Blank Fade
M-nus Records 2008
13 Tracks. 89mins15secs

2008 has been a landmark year for Minus, celebrating a ten year anniversary.  Started by Richie Hawtin as an outlet for his own projects, the label has come to embrace a small, focused clique of like-minded artists who plumb the dark (and sometimes sexy) depths of minimal techno.  Being honest, Gaiser’s productions have never grabbed me as much as label mates Heartthrob and False.  There’s a subtle, difficult difference between an expertly crafted minimal track, and a boring loop repeated for far too long.  Jon Gaiser (don’t the cool ones always have the neatest last names?) certainly had potential, and singles like Egress displayed a knack for funky rhythms, if not the most innovative of evolutionary track structures – a must for anything 4/4 and minimal.

Blank Fade sees Gaiser kicking it up a notch, and is one of the best full-length albums under the M-nus label, sitting comfortably alongside False’s techno speedway, 2007. Continue Reading »

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HEADLESS HEROES: The Silence Of Love (Names Records)

themilkman on Nov 20th 2008 01:38 am

Headless Heroes: Silence Of Love

The Silence Of Love
Names Records 2008
10 Tracks. 33mins29secs

Once the preserve of long-forgotten lounge artists adored by your mum, who would deliver their career-low performance with as much passion as a French public servant on his way back to work at the end of a week-long strike, the thing conveniently dropping just before Christmas, cover albums have become something of a must-do exercise for more adventurous artists in recent years, lead by the likes of Susanna Wallumrød (twice) or Cat Power to name but two.

Enter Headless Heroes, a project put together by New York-based A&R Eddie Bezalel, who was notably involved in Mark Ronson’s recycling exercise Version. Continue Reading »

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MURCOF: The Versailles Sessions (The Leaf Label)

themilkman on Nov 19th 2008 01:46 am

Murcof: The Versailles Sessions

The Versailles Sessions
The Leaf Label 2008
06 Tracks. 49mins54secs

Murcof’s music has become increasingly orchestral in recent years. The subtle elegance of his first few releases, built around samples of contemporary classical music encased in fine layers of micro beats has progressively been replaced by altogether much more ambitious and vast forms. For his last album, Cosmos, released last year, Mexican-born Fernando Corona worked with recording of actual acoustic classical instruments which he then worked into vast pieces.

The Versailles Sessions is not the follow up to Cosmos as such. In 2007, Fernando Corona was commissioned a series of musical pieces for Les Grandes Eaux Nocturnes, a yearly event which focuses on sound, light and water at the Chateau de Versailles near Paris, once the residence of Louis XIV. Continue Reading »

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FINN: The Best Low-Priced Heartbreakers You Can Own (Erased Tapes)

themilkman on Nov 17th 2008 01:41 am

Finn: The Best Low-Priced Heartbreakers You Can Own

The Best Low-Priced Heartbreakers You Can Own
Erased Tapes 2008
16 Tracks. 49mins53secs

Finn is the project of German multi-instrumentist Patrick Zimmer, who also doubles as a fashion designer. Born in 1977, the man, who spends his time between his home town of Hamburg and London, has been releasing music since early 2003, when his first collection of delicate pop/folk songs, Expose Yourself To Lower Education, was released on German imprint Sunday Service. He has since delivered regular singles and albums, but his latest is the first of his records to be released on London-based Erased Tapes. Continue Reading »

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Ghostly International And Throne Of Blood Halloween Party, Studio B, Brooklyn, New York, 31/10/2008

David Abravanel on Nov 16th 2008 11:49 pm

In a way, Halloween and dark dance floors exist for the same reason: to encourage people to let go of inhibitions and look a little silly, if only for a moment.  Being on a dance floor during a good DJ set is analogous to attending a costume party, possessed by the temporary thrill of leaving one’s own mundane insecurities for the rush of an alternatively structured social situation.  Maybe New York’s infamous Club Kids were on to something, always flaunting such flamboyantly unusual fashions.

The night’s main event is a live set from Audion, Matthew Dear’s hard minimal house alias, the desirous Id to the Ego confessions from his given name or the detached mechanical Superego that is False. Continue Reading »

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BETA TWO AGONIST: Autumn Perdue (Databloem Records)

Max Schaefer on Nov 16th 2008 07:29 pm

Beta Two Agonist: Autumn Perdue

Autumn Perdue
Databloem Records 2008
08 Tracks. 52mins53secs

Autumn Perdue has a well-defined identity, yet the music is continuously allusive, evoking diverse compositional styles and traditions.  The album comprises a series of interconnected miniatures, sprung from an over-arching tension between the mellifluous and the abstract, the judiciously hesitant and the prudent.  Kamunyak bears out these family resemblances, its careworn fuzziness being overlaid with static, a clip-clop beat, and some random noise, as if a satellite signal had begun to drift away.

It’s all arranged in a manner that is adventurously loose and full of rich, slow-burning incidents that heat up and flicker away in an exquisitely subdued manner. Continue Reading »

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PETER BRODERICK: Home (Hush Records/Bella Union)

themilkman on Nov 14th 2008 01:43 am

Peter Broderick: Home

Hush Recordings/Bella Union 2008
10 Tracks. 40mins03secs

For the last year or so, home for Peter Broderick has been Copenhagen, where he was originally invited to move from his native Portland, OR, to join Efterklang as part of their extended tour family in his quality of violinist and multi-instrumentist, providing him with a splendid opportunity to showcase his own work by regularly opening for them too. Meanwhile, he was commissioned a mini-album of instrumental piano pieces by the excellent Swedish imprint Kning Disk, resulting in Docile, which was published a few months ahead of Float, Broderick’s debut album, released on Type earlier this year.

But while both Docile and Float were concerned with overly classical compositions, Home is carved from a different type of wood. Here, Broderick collects ten delicate folk songs built from essentially acoustic instrumentation. Continue Reading »

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