Archive for February, 2010

ISAN/Hauschka & Hildur Guðnadóttir, Kings Place, King’s Cross, London, 26/02/2010

themilkman on Feb 26th 2010 01:06 am

Open Waters: ISAN / Hauschka & Hildur Guðnadóttir King’s Place, King’s Cross, London, 26/02/2010

The Bubbly Blue And Green is a four-day festival which celebrates water in its many forms, put together by the excellent Arctic Circle crew in the pristine surroundings of King’s Place in King’s Cross, London, with performances from  Philip Jeck, Janek Schaefer, Samphire Band, The Sleeping Years, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Iarla O’Lionaird, The London Snorkelling Team, Paper Cinema and The Willkommen Orchestra. The second evening of the BBAG welcomed the gentle electronics of ISAN and the textured classical brushes of Hauschka, accompanied for the occasion by Icelandic cellist Hildur Guðnadóttir, who is also due to perform as part of the festival on Saturday.

ISAN’s elegant and fluid blend of electronica lends itself to watery connotations, and their set, played on a backdrop of remote Scandinavian snowed in landscapes, certainly fitted the bill, Antony Ryan and Robin Saville using a ‘dripophone’, a contraption which sole purpose seemed to amplify dripping water, for the first two somewhat quiet tracks, an issue with feedback preventing a louder use of the ‘instrument’, it appeared. These two first pieces were definitely on the more ambient side of the pair’s work, the first slowing emerging from light bells to implant a slow groove into a placid sequence, while the second, led by a rolling rhythmic pattern from early on allowed the pair to bridge this first part of their set with the more upbeat and familiar second half. Continue Reading »

Filed in Live | Comments Off

VALGEIR SIGURÐSSON: Draumalandið (Bedroom Community)

themilkman on Feb 24th 2010 10:05 pm

Valgeir Sigurðsson: Draumalandið

Bedroom Community 2010
12 Tracks. 39mins12secs

Amazon US: CD Boomkat: CD | DLD iTunes: DLD

It is quite a busy time for Icelandic imprint Bedroom Community. Hot on the heels of the stunning debut album by composer and musician Daníel Bjarnason and ahead of the second album Sam Amidon has recorded for the label comes the second album by label head and Bedroom Community collective fundamental member Valgeir Sigurđsson.

Draumalandið (Dreamland) is the soundtrack to a feature-length documentary, also entitled Dreamland, by Thorfinnur Gudnason and Andri Snær Magnason. Continue Reading »

Filed in Albums | Comments (1)

AUTECHRE: Oversteps (Warp Records)

themilkman on Feb 24th 2010 01:18 am

Autechre: Oversteps

Warp Records 2010
14 Tracks. 71mins11secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP US: CD | LP Boomkat: CD | LP

A new Autechre album is always a step into the unknown, so different have each of their records been. Evolving totally outside of any trend or fashion, Sean Booth and Rob Brown have, in the nineteen years since their first EP, Cavity Job, was published, followed a path all of their own and established a language which is tweaked and developed to suit their own evolution. Yet, far from being totally random, their sound is the fruit of a relatively linear evolution, from classic electronica textures to fractured soundscapes and arid rhythmic forms. In 2008, Quaristice denoted a clear step away from the beat-driven structures of the Confield-Draft 7.30-Untilted triptych, where melodies existed mostly in withered state, as once again vibrant musical forms and warm electronic sounds took prominence over rhythms. Continue Reading »

Filed in Albums | Comments (34)

SONE INSTITUTE: Curious Memories (Front & Follow)

themilkman on Feb 19th 2010 01:02 am

Sone Institute: Curious Memories

Curious Memories
Front & Follow 2010
14 Tracks. 43mins11secs

Amazon UK: CD | DLD US: DLD

Follow up to a self-released EP published a year and a half ago, Curious Memories is the debut album by St Albans, North London, based Roman Bezdyk and is published on Manchester imprint Front & Follow on a run of just 250 copies.

Working from an extremely wide array of samples and found sounds, electronics and various acoustic instruments, which are woven deep into the fabric of each of the fourteen pieces presented here, Bezdyk constantly deflects expectations by throwing unexpected oddities in the path of his compositions, dismantling soundscapes and beats as quickly as he had pulled them out of nowhere only moments before, to create a particularly hectic and vibrant soundtrack. Continue Reading »

Filed in Albums | Comments Off


themilkman on Feb 18th 2010 12:39 am

Another Electronic Musician: States Of Space

States Of Space
n5MD 2010
10 Tracks. 51mins38secs

Amazon UK: CD | DLD US: CD | DLD Boomkat: CD iTunes: DLD

Once upon a time, electronica was an overwhelmingly faceless art form. With time, the names and faces of those behind the music have become more commonly known. California-based Jase Rex turned this on its head when he adopted the somewhat ultra generic and non-committal Another Electronic Musician moniker for his music project, started while studying physics at university, in 2001. Following a string of web releases, Rex joined the n5MD crew and released his debut album, Use, in 2005, followed by a second, Patience, a year later, and a third, Five, in 2008.

With previous releases, Rex found his feet somewhere between the lush sounds and beats of Detroit techno and more refined forms of electronica, and it is a template that he applies on his fourth album for n5MD. Continue Reading »

Filed in Albums | Comments Off

POLAR BEAR: Peepers (The Leaf Label)

themilkman on Feb 16th 2010 12:59 am

Polar Bear: Peepers

The Leaf Label 2010
12 Tracks. 48mins14secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD

Led by drummer Sebastian Rochford, Polar Bear offer a vision of jazz which, while never extending anywhere near the far-reaching experimental scope of Scandinavian jazz, is still pretty wide. Started as a quartet in the first half of the decade, the band, then formed of Rochford (drums), Pete Wareham (Tenor saxophone), Mark Lockheart (Tenor saxophone) and Tom Herbert (Double Bass), were joined by electro-acoustic experimental music Leafcutter John for their second album, Held On The Tips Of Fingers (2005), and were consequently nominated both for the UK Mercury Music Prize in 2005 and a BBC Jazz Award the following year. Since, the band have continuously expanded their sound and flirted with various forms of jazz, funk and electronica, often to critical acclaim.

Having now joined the ranks of Leaf, Polar Bear return with Peepers, their fourth album. Continue Reading »

Filed in Albums | Comments (2)

CHICAGO UNDERGROUND DUO: Boca Negra (Thrill Jockey)

themilkman on Feb 12th 2010 01:06 am

Chicago Underground Duo: Boca Negra

Boca Negra
Thrill Jockey 2010
10 Tracks. 55mins45secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP US: CD | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP iTunes: DLD

Started over twelve years ago by cornet player Rob Mazurek and drummer and percussionist Chad Taylor, Chicago Underground has over the years existed as a duo, trio, quartet and ‘orchestra’ (quintet), with members including Jeff Parker (guitars), of Tortoise/Isotop 217 fame, Noel Kupersmith (drums) and Sara P. Smith (trombone). The common thread between these various franchises is a particular blend of avant-garde jazz infused with electronic treatments, awkward time signatures, and sonic experimentations which all feed into both composed and improvised work. The collective have released over ten albums, comprising five albums for Mazurek and Taylor, in their Duo incarnation, alone. Continue Reading »

Filed in Albums | Comments (1)

CLIFFORDANDCALIX: Lost Foundling 1999-2004 (Aperture Records)

themilkman on Feb 11th 2010 12:57 am

Cliffordandcalix: Lost Foundling (1999-2004)

Lost Foundling 1999-2004
Aparture Records 2010
13 Tracks. 50mins26secs

Amazon UK: CD | DLD US: CD | DLD Boomkat: CD | DLD iTunes: DLD

Over a period of five years, Seefeel’s Mark Clifford and Mira Calix irregularly got together to make music, with the intention to get back to the recordings at some point and finish them. Due to respective commitments, they were never able to complete the project at the time. With Andrea Parker showing great interest in releasing the result of this collaboration on her new label, Aperture, the pair reconvened some years later but found that the technology used to record had moved on considerably, leaving them with no real possibility to finally get these completed, and decided to present a selection of thirteen recordings in their raw state. Continue Reading »

Filed in Albums | Comments (1)


themilkman on Feb 10th 2010 01:01 am

Christian Wallumrød Ensemble: Fabula Suite Lugano

Fabula Suite Lugano
ECM Records 2009
18 Tracks. 64mins57secs

Amazon UK: CD Amazon US: CD iTunes: DLD

Norwegian pianist and composer Christian Wallumrød debuted on ECM with No Birch (1998), an album recorded as a trio with Arve Henriksen on trumpet and Hans Kristian Kjos Sørensen on percussions. Since, the formation has expanded to include fiddle players Nils Økland and Gjermund Larsen, cellist Tanja Orning, harpist Giovanna Pessi, saxophonist Trygve Seim and drummer Per Oddvar Johansen. Beside his own project, Wallumrød has also worked with a number of other formations (Dans Les Arbes, Close Erase) and alongside the likes of Trigve Seim, Sidsel Endressen, Helge Sten, Audun Kleive, Punkt or Jazzpunkensemblet to name but a few.

Apart for Eivind Lønning replacing Arve Henriksen on trumpet, the sextet gathered by Wallumrød for Fabula Suite Lugano is identical to the one that delivered The Zoo Is Far in 2007. Continue Reading »

Filed in Albums | Comments (3)

KOUTARO FUKUI: Gently Touching The Conception (SEM Label)

David Abravanel on Feb 4th 2010 08:59 am

Koutaro Fukui: Gently Touching The Conception

Gently Touching The Conception
SEM Label 2009
03 Tracks. 44mins00secs

Koutari Fukui is a man of many hats – sometimes film music maker, label owner, commercial sound designer – but a full-time sound sculptor. Sculpture is the right visual metaphor for Gently Touching The Conception, as the three pieces contained within are stuttering, lush monoliths carved from slabs of ambient drone. At nearly twenty minutes in length, Gently starts off as a kind of tease, as Fukui debuts caustic samples of the clicks, scratches, and tones that build out the second half. It’s a bit of a rocky start, and liable to scare away first-time listeners, but allowing Fukui his indulgences yields the stunning progression of the piece. The tonal source material here sounds rather basic – airy squelches, sparse and distant piano, and a sine wave bass loop ambling along. The soundtrack to something contemplative and probably pretentious, surely, but Gently admirably never feels like its been prodded to unnecessary lengths. Continue Reading »

Filed in Albums | Comments Off

EFTERKLANG: Magic Chairs (4AD)

themilkman on Feb 4th 2010 12:56 am

Efterklang: Magic Chairs

Magic Chairs
4AD 2010
10 Tracks. 43mins47secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD

Having recently signed to 4AD, after six years in the care of Leaf, for whom they delivered three albums and a handful of EPs, Danish quartet Efterklang have spent the last two and a half years on the road. While Parades had grown organically during lengthy studio sessions, the songs on Magic Chairs were road-tested live during the last year and fine-tuned before the band went in the studio. The basic structure of the songs were laid down by the quartet in Århus, eastern Denmark, before they returned to their Copenhagen studio, once again calling upon a splattering of regular contributors (Peter, Broderick, Heather Woods Broderick, Rune Fonseca Mølgaard, Frederik Teige, Daniel James) to add orchestral textures. The album was mixed in London by Gareth Jones, who has in the past worked with artists as diverse as Depeche Mode, Nick Cave, Mogwai, Tuxedomoon, Diamanda Galas, Wire or more recently Grizzly Bear.

Magic Chairs, a reference to a film by Danish-born filmmaker Jørgen Leth, is a much leaner and more mature affair than its predecessor. Continue Reading »

Filed in Albums | Comments Off

DANÍEL BJARNASON: Processions (Bedroom Community)

themilkman on Feb 3rd 2010 01:09 am

Daníel Bjarnason: Processions

Bedroom Community 2010
07 Tracks. 49mins31secs

Amazon UK: CD Amazon US: CD Boomkat: CD | DLD

Iceland may be a fairly isolated strip of land planted in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, with a population of just under a third of a million, but it is certainly a fertile land when it comes to music, as it churns new talents with international appeal with insistent regularity. Pop was for a time the main beneficiary of this flow of artists, but increasingly, it is classical musicians and composers who are at the forefront of the country’s output.

The latest to emerge from the Icelandic cauldron is Daníel Bjarnason, a pianist, composer and conductor who studied in Reykjavik and Freiburg, Germany. Signed to Valgeir Sigurðsson’s Bedroom Community, where he joins New York-based Nico Muhly, Bjarnason, 30, is the co-founder and main conductor of the Isafold Chamber Orchestra, with whom he has recorded a couple of albums of modern classical works. He has also worked with a variety of orchestras around the world and, like Muhly, crossed over into the pop/rock realm to work with folk songstress Ólöf Arnalds, singer Pétur Ben or Sigur Rós amongst others.

Collecting three radically different pieces, Bow To Strings, Processions and Skelja, this album, Bjarnason’s debut as a composer, is a particularly vivid and rich example of modern composition at its exhilarating best. Continue Reading »

Filed in Albums | Comments (4)

Next »