Archive for January, 2009

COLOR CASSETTE: Forever Sparrow (Autres Directions In Music)

themilkman on Jan 28th 2009 11:57 pm

Color Cassette: Forever Sparrow

Forever Sparrow
Autres Directions In Music 2009
11 Tracks. 40mins26secs

In an age dominated by digital media, where even CDs are, to this reviewer’s despair, fast becoming obsolete, cassettes are the antediluvian equivalent of travelling the lengths and breadth of the country on horseback. Equally, the music created by Kentucky-based duo Color Cassette is in many ways as old fashioned and out of time. The band, who released a very limited first mini album on Moteer’s sister DIY imprint Mobeer last year, have moved to French label Autres Directions In Music to release their debut full length album.

Originally the solo project of multi instrumentist and singer-songwriter Jason Corder, of Lexington, Kentucky, Color Cassette now also comprises permanent member Matt Yarington. Four years in the making, Forever Sparrow is a delicate and peaceful collection of folk-influenced ornate pop songs which are given some more contemporary textures with the addition of field recordings and discreet glitches. No less than fourteen musicians have contributed to this album, yet, the songs appear extremely fragile and stripped down, with often nothing more than a gentle acoustic guitar, a voice and discreet electronics to focus on. The melodies are refined and airy, sustained by Corder and Yarington’s soft vocal harmonies, and flow rather well from one song to the next, seemingly echoing at various points throughout the record, as if recurring themes were used to give these pieces an overall sense.

The album tells the story of a young boy lost in a magical forest who, after becoming a sparrow, decides to continue to live there. The sonic tapestry created by the pair and their various collaborators has a fairy tale-like quality indeed, drawing the listener in with captivating little vignettes which scintillate softly under ever changing exquisite tones and moods. Occasionally, the pieces gain strength and build momentum, but even in these circumstances, it is the melodies and harmonies that lead the way and give Forever Sparrow its utterly charming touch.


Icon: arrow Color Cassette | Color Cassette (MySpace) | Autres Directions In Music

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MICHAEL SANTOS: The Happy Error (Baskaru)

themilkman on Jan 28th 2009 01:51 am

Michael Santos: The Happy Error

The Happy Error
Baskaru 2008
11 Tracks. 52mins04secs

London-based musician and sound artist Michael Santos has already been featured on a handful of compilations, and a first collection of compositions was released as part of Benbecula’s Mineral Series of CDRs in 2006, followed by another CDR release for U-Cover. The Happy Error, brought to you by the rather excellent Baskaru imprint is, however, is first proper release.

Working from a classic set up of processed guitars and sine waves, Santos creates evocative little atmospheric pieces. Continue Reading »

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MELODIUM: Cerebro Spin (Audio Dregs)

David Abravanel on Jan 27th 2009 11:18 pm

Melodium: Cerebro Spin

Cerebro Spin
Audio Dregs 2008
11 Tracks. 50mins40secs

Melodium is too polite.  Laurent Girard, the man behind the moniker, is a master of gentle suggestion and microscopic whisps of mystery.  Girard consistently seems to be asking nicely for an audience, rather than demanding to be heard.  It’s a trite analogy, but like the budding of a rather colorful flower in the middle of a forest, the melodies of Melodium need to be sought out by listeners with patience, an ever-rarer trait in the current musical climate ridden with flash-in-the-blog din. Continue Reading »

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RICHARD SKELTON: Marking Time (Preservation)

Max Schaefer on Jan 27th 2009 12:58 am

Richard Skelton: Marking Time

Marking Time
Preservation 2008
07 Tracks. 40mins54secs

Richard Skelton doesn’t mark time in the sense of someone wading through the nugatory paradise of the weekend, but of someone partaking in an attentive re-collection of moments, corroded and crumbling. There’s no point in progress in a work such as this. Skelton embraces entropy at a stroke and only continues to settle in. Continue Reading »

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CHEJU: Broken Waves (Boltfish Recordings)

themilkman on Jan 23rd 2009 01:42 am

Cheju: Broken Waves

Broken Waves
Boltfish Records 2009
15 Tracks. 78mins52secs

Cheju is the solo project of Wil Bolton, who also shares duties as head of Boltfish Records with Murray Fisher, who regularly officiates as MINT. Bolton relocated from London to peaceful Norfolk a couple of years ago and now operates from the more urban Liverpool. Following a debut EP in 2003, he has appeared on labels such as Percussion Lab, En:peg Digital, Laced Milk, Rednetic or Static Caravan. Cheju’s music is a sophisticated blend of clean melodic electronica, angular hip-hop beats and processed atmospheric textures. Continue Reading »

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ELEGI: Varde (Miasmah Recordings)

themilkman on Jan 22nd 2009 01:48 am

Elegi: Varde

Miasmah Recordings 2009
12 Tracks. 53mins46secs

Elegi’s Tommy Jansen returns to the contaminated shore of Erik Skodvin’s Miasmah with the follow up to his 2007 debut album Sistereis, and adds another shade of noire to an already sombre catalogue. In the ten years the label has been around, in one form or another, Miasmah have carved a perfect niche for themselves by releasing some of the most haunting and dark music around, from artists such as Greg Haines, Rafael Anton Irisarri, Gultskra Artikler or Encre. Continue Reading »

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OBA MASAHIRO: Prot (Symbolic Interaction)

Max Schaefer on Jan 21st 2009 01:32 am

Oba Masahiro: Prot

Symbolic Interaction 2008
09 Tracks. 45mins39secs

Staunch pastiche’s accrue in Oba Masahiro’s debut effort Prot and swiftly erode, enabling him to build out from a zero point with renewed vitality.  A grating swirl of heavily processed sound surfaces at first, with keyboard and percussion putatively detectable in the mix, occasional sunbursts of cymbal breaking through.  Masahiro then bleaches and reduces the same basic palette in a long, breezy susurrus that seems to have no obvious limits or durational boundaries; you’re just a part of it and then it’s over.  Continue Reading »

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BELA EMERSON: Hespera (Bip-Hop)

themilkman on Jan 21st 2009 01:16 am

Bela Emerson: Hespera

Bip-Hop Records 2008
10 Tracks. 48mins27secs

Bela Emerson is a Brighton-based experimental musician who has gained praises for her spellbinding live performances during which she improvises pieces on the electric cello, using conventional sounds combined with all sorts of additional noises, all sourced from her instrument, which are looped into intricate layers. Unlike Colleen, who has progressively moved toward more traditional musical forms as she has developed her use of acoustic instruments, Emerson continues to combine electro-acoustic and electronic sounds. Continue Reading »

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ANIMAL COLLECTIVE: Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino Recording Co.)

themilkman on Jan 16th 2009 09:45 pm

Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion

Merriweather Post Pavilion
Domino Recording Co. 2009
11 Tracks. 54mins42secs

It has been a long and tortuous journey that’s taken Animal Collective from their arid beginnings (Spirit They’re Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished and Danse Manatee) to the hypnotic done-infused Here Comes The Indian and Campfire Songs. In 2004, they joined one of Britain’s finest imprints, Fat-Cat and adopted a more structured approach to their songs, culminating in the rather splendid Feels (2005) and Strawberry Jam, released in 2007 on Domino, a label conveniently strongly implanted on both sides of the Atlantic. But, as strong as these two records were, they were simple blueprints for the band’s latest effort, their ninth album in as many years. Continue Reading »

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Animal Collective, Koko, London, 12/01/2009

themilkman on Jan 15th 2009 01:06 am

Animal Collective, Koko, London, 12/01/2009

Animal Collective have got the knack for reinventing themselves continuously while somehow pretty much never bulging at all, having taken a sinuous path from Avey Tare and Panda Bear’s original lo-fi smudges of Spirit They’re Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished to the more accessible and poppier Feels And Strawberry Jam. Their latest effort, Merriweather Post Pavilion, sees the Collective’s trademark hypnotic sound seriously electronically enhanced, as if Strawberry Jam had been dipped in Detroit grooves and properly disfigured by heavy doses of acid. Animal Collective, in a trio configuration in the absence of Deakin, gave the tracks off Merriweather a thorough airing at Koko, kick-starting the show with In The Flowers and Taste, then scanning through Bluish, Summertime Clothes or Daily Routine Continue Reading »

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TELEFON TEL AVIV: Immolate Yourself (BPitch Control)

themilkman on Jan 9th 2009 01:32 am

Telefon Tel Aviv: Immolate Yourself

Immolate Yourself
BPitch Control 2008
10 Tracks. 46mins12secs

Joshua Eustis and Charlie Cooper have the tendency to create a nicely laid out little world for themselves with every new album, only to tear it to pieces and move the goal post in totally unexpected directions with the next.

Announced soberly on their myspace page last April in a post entitled ‘The new LP’, with the straight to the point comment ‘It’s finished’, Immolate Yourself is a strong departure from the chilled atmospheres of the pair’s somewhat disappointing second album, Maps Of What Is Effortless, released in 2004. Having first cast a gentle glow over dreamy electronica on their debut opus, Fahrenheit Fair Enough (2001), they retreated into less adventurous territories with their sophomore effort. Having delivered their former label, Chicago’s Hefty, one last shot with Remixes Compiled, collecting the pair’s reworkings of tracks by people as diverse as Nine Inch Nails, Apparat, American Analogue Set or Phil Ranelin, TTA have landed on Ellen Allien’s Berlin-based BPitch Control and adopted a resolutely more upfront and upbeat sound. Continue Reading »

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GAGARIN: Adaptogen (Geo Records)

themilkman on Jan 7th 2009 12:14 am

Gagarin: Adaptogen

Geo Records 2008
10 Tracks. 51mins07secs

Adaptogen: noun (in herbal medicine) a natural substance considered to help the body adapt to stress (Oxford English Dictionary).

Nature doesn’t stamp much of a mark on Gagarin’s latest effort, but, like in previous outputs, the music combines wonderful spacious ambient tones and occasional crisp urban beats to form dense dreamy soundscapes which are undoubtedly designed to soothe both body and mind.

Gagarin’s Graham Dowball began his career as a drummer, playing in a number of formations as well as with the likes of Nico, John Cale and Bill Pritchard, amongst others. Continue Reading »

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