Archive for March, 2010

SLACKER: Start A New Life (GodLike & Electric)

David Abravanel on Mar 5th 2010 11:40 pm

Slacker: Start A New Life

Start A New Life
GodLike & Electric 2010
11 Tracks. 51mins49secs

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

We’ve now reached the point that should make anyone over the age of twenty one feel old – the nineties are being cannibalized for nostalgic purposes. Tape labels, Orbital and Pavement reuniting; these a but a few of the signs that that decade is are ancient history now, enough to be retro, and cherished as a memory of how good things were way back when.

Clearly, Shem McCauley is one such person. The story behind his comeback album under the Slacker moniker, Start A New Life, even reads like something from the nineties: tired of his shallow surroundings as a successful progressive house DJ (also producing as Head Honcho, and as part of the Ramp project with Simon Rogers), it was time for a soul-cleansing move to Thailand, where McCauley still resides and (no joke) teaches yoga. Continue Reading »

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ROTHKAMM: Alt (Baskaru)

themilkman on Mar 5th 2010 12:29 am

Rothkamm: Alt

Baskaru 2009
10 Tracks. 39mins35secs

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

Despite a body of work that spans over twenty solo releases, spread over twenty five years, German-born musician and conceptual artist Frank Rothkamm has remained a fairly enigmatic figure for most. Beside his own music, Rothkamm, who currently lives in Los Angeles, has provided music and sound design for big international corporations (Levi Strauss, Philips, Hewlett-Packard, Ford, Warner Bros…), and has worked with a wide range of artists, including the likes of Lesa Carlson, Wolfgang Muthspiel or DJ Spooky.

Released on the excellent Baskaru, ALT sequences ten fairly minimal pieces, all named using seemingly random collections of three letters, some ordered in familiar patterns (SUN, RED, LOW, CON, GUI) others in more mysterious strings (AAA, RND, OOO, DEC). The music appears to focus on the introspective experimentations of granular electronic sounds and tones, often taking the appearance of slow evolutive drones and textures, which are not without evoking some of Tangerine Dream’s early experiments. Continue Reading »

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CLUSTER: Qua (Klangbad)

themilkman on Mar 3rd 2010 01:04 am

Cluster: Qua

Klangbad 2010
17 Tracks. 54mins40secs

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

Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius need no introduction, so strong and defining has the pair’s mark been on the Krautrock and Kosmische scene, either as Cluster, Harmonia or through their respective solo projects and collaborations. While their core body of work dates back to the seventies, with a string of seminal albums, including recordings with Brian Eno, they have regularly recorded and toured as Cluster through the eighties and nineties, and continued to experiment with electronic sounds to this day.

Originally published in the US last year, and finally seeing a European release, Qua is the first Cluster album of entirely new material since One Hour, back in 1995, and appears to coincide with a resurgence of interest in the Krautrock/Kosmische scene of the seventies, which has been marked by a number of TV documentaries, books and articles on both movements, notably a comprehensive Primer in the Wire at the end of last year. Continue Reading »

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JOANNA NEWSOM: Have One On Me (Drag City)

themilkman on Mar 2nd 2010 12:57 am

Joanna Newsom: Have One On Me

Have One On Me
Drag City 2010
18 Tracks. 124mins01secs

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

Joanna Newsom could only follow the sheer brilliance of the majestic Ys, released three and a half ago already, by rising up to a challenge of a different kind. Have One On Me is a daunting affair by any standards. Eighteen songs spread over three discs and two hours, this is epic in every possible way, but there is here very little left of the expensive orchestrations devised by Van Dyke Parks. Instead, Ys Street Band leader Ryan Francesconi brings Newsom’s songs to life in much more subtle ways, drafting in banjos, acoustic and electric guitars, Bulgarian tambura, kaval, mandolin, Hammond organ, strings, brass and woodwinds, while Newsom alternates between the harp and the piano, her style as assertive with the latter as it is light and sharp with the former.

The songs, while still often developing over several minutes, are in general more contained, but there is no such a thing as traditional song forms in Miss Newsom’s work. Continue Reading »

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