Archive for December, 2011


themilkman on Dec 22nd 2011 12:59 pm

The 2011 Review

As another year folds out, it is time once again to look back and take stock or the highs and lows, before a fresh year rolls in. 2011 has had its moments and has overall been a rather good year, and trying to extract a list of twenty albums from the hundreds, thousands possibly, that I have listened to, loved, hated, reviewed or not, tried to make sense of or misunderstood seems a pretty restrictive effort at best. Still, it is always good to look back and realise that some records have made more of a mark than others, some almost imperceptibly. So, here is, in twenty records, what 2011 was made of…

Jenny Hval: Viscera1.

Rune Grammofon


There is such urgency throughout this record that it is quite astonishing how Hval manages to retain any lightness in her music, but she does, and [Helge] Sten picks up on just enough to bring it all to life in sprightly bright colours and tones. Continue Reading »

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ÓLAFUR ARNALDS: Living Room Songs / A WINGED VICTORY FOR THE SULLEN A Winged Victory For The Sullen (Erased Tapes)

themilkman on Dec 16th 2011 12:40 am

Ólafur Arnalds: Living Room Songs A Winged Victory For The Sullen: A Winged Victory For The Sullen

Living Room Songs
Erased Tapes 2011
07 Tracks. 23mins01secs

A Winged Victory For The Sullen
Erased Tapes 2011
07 Tracks. 44mins31secs

Living Room Songs
Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD Spotify: STRM
A Winged Victory For The Sullen
Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | DLD iTunes: DLD

Two years ago, Icelandic musician and composer Ólafur Arnalds embarked on a week-long project for which he composed, recorded and released one track a day, which he made available to download for free on a special page, promoted through social networks. To complement these, he asked fans to email him pictures inspired by the music. The tracks were subsequently released as Found Songs. This gruelling schedule has clearly not deterred Arnalds who, last October, pulled a similar stunt by recording seven new pieces in the living room of his Reykjavik apartment, this time adding a new layer to the project by filming his daily performances. The tracks were once again made given away on Arnalds’s website.

Playing piano on every track, Arnalds is here surrounded by friends and, on one occasion, family, who add string works and electronic touches. Continue Reading »

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SUBORNO: The Instrument (Suborno)

themilkman on Dec 15th 2011 01:45 am

Suborno: The Instrument

The Instrument
Suborno 2011
09 Tracks. 30mins15secs

Suborno is Portuguese for ‘bribes’ or ‘bribery’. Suborno is also Asheq Akhtar, a south-London-based musician, blogger, writer and budding actor who has spent much of his formative years playing with numerous formations in pubs and clubs the length and breadth of Britain in the hope of making a living out of music. Things didn’t quite turned out as he hoped, but, earlier this year, he picked up his guitars for the first time in a couple of years and began improvising, capturing his wanderings as they happened. Recorded at home using two guitars, general household items and a computer, The Instrument is the result, currently a self-released digital album with a vinyl edition scheduled for February. Continue Reading »

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JACASZEK: Glimmer (Ghostly International)

themilkman on Dec 14th 2011 01:22 am

Jacaszek: Glimmer

Ghostly International 2011
09 Tracks. 41mins24secs

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

With each new release, Polish musician Michal Jacaszek seems to be getting closer to creating the classical work he has been nurturing for the best part of the last decade, but his approach seems to ensure that, if he ever does, it will be on his own terms. Mixing acoustic instrumentation and electronic treatment, Jacaszek’s music is particularly cinematic and emotional, served by beautifully crafted melodies and warm instrumentation (clarinet, harpsichord, acoustic guitars) which, placed against, decaying textures and found sounds, appear even richer and more exquisite. Jacaszek has until now been published on Gustaff and Miasmah, but following his recent signing to Ghostly and his subsequent appearance on the label’s SMM: Context compilation earlier this year, he is now unveiling his latest and most ambitious solo effort. Continue Reading »

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ONEOHTRIX POINT NEVER: Replica (Software Label)

themilkman on Dec 13th 2011 01:18 am

Oneohtrix Point Never: Replica

Software Label 2011
10 Tracks. 40mins56secs

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

If Oneohtrix Point Never has only really been getting noticed in the last couple of years, following the release of a double CD, Rifts, collecting his first three albums, back in 2009 on No Fun Productions and last year’s Returnal on Editions Mego, its mastermind, Daniel Lopatin, has quietly been assembling synthetic electronica since his first semi-artisanal release, Betrayed In The Octagon, back in 2007.

With his latest opus, Replica, Lopatin broadens his sonic horizon quite drastically, adding samplers, tape loops and acoustic piano to his extensive use of the Roland Juno 60, an analogue synth he inherited from his father, which has been key to his entire work until now. As a result, Replica is a more ambitious and confident record than its predecessors. Continue Reading »

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BEN FROST & DANíEL BJARNASON: Sólaris (Bedroom Community)

themilkman on Dec 8th 2011 01:40 am

Ben Frost & Daníel Bjarnason: Sólaris

Bedroom Community 2011
11 Tracks. 46mins08secs

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

Bedroom Community’s long serving prince of noir Ben Frost and recent roster addition Daníel Bjarnason have joined forces for a project which takes them beyond their respective sound. Originally created for the 2010 edition of Unsound Festival, and based on Polish writer Stanislaw Lem’s 1961 novel Solaris and its 1972 loose adaptation by Andrei Tarkovky, this work combines powerful orchestral sequences and discreet electronic textures into a haunting and intimate soundtrack.

Recorded with Sinfonietta Cracovia, the creative process went through a series of stages, from original live improvisations by Bjarnason and Frost to the final score, written from data collected as these improvisations were fed into a computer and irremediably altered. Continue Reading »

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ROBERT LIPPOK: Redsuperstructure (Raster-Noton)

themilkman on Dec 7th 2011 01:29 am

Robert Lippok: Redsuperstructure

Raster-Noton 2011
09 Tracks. 39mins36secs

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

Robert Lippok steps out of his day job as one third of To Rococo Rot for his third solo outing, following his debut, Falling Into Komëit (Monika Enterprise) in 2004 and the mini-album that followed, Robot (Western Vinyl) two years later.

Redsuperstructure stems from a live set Lippok gave at Raster-Noton’s Electric Campfire in Rome last year. There’s very little of the Krautrock influences which have informed much of the TRR catalogue over the years. Instead, Lippok opts here for crisp electronic structures which he arranges into compact sonic vignettes. Continue Reading »

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VLADISLAV DELAY QUARTET: Vladislav Delay Quartet (Honest Jon’s Records) / VLADISLAV DELAY: Vantaa (Raster-Noton)

themilkman on Dec 6th 2011 01:50 am

Vladislav Delay Quartet: Vladislav Delay Quartet Vladislav Delay: Vantaa

Vladislav Delay Quartet
Honest Jon’s Records 2011
08 Tracks. 62mins00secs

Raster-Noton 2011
08 Tracks. 61mins05secs

Vladislav Delay Quartet
Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD Spotify: STRM
Amazon UK: CD | DLD US: CD | DLD Boomkat: CD | DLD iTunes: DLD Spotify: STRM

A man of many guises, Sasu Ripatti heads yet another project, and this time, he has adopted a similar geometry to Moritz Von Oswald’s improv trio, in which Ripatti appears on drums and percussions, as he gathers his own quartet. Although the Vladislav Delay Quartet has been in existence for some time, this eponymous effort is their debut release, published, quite fittingly, on Honest Jon’s.

Formed of Sasu ‘Vladislav Delay’ Ripatti (drums and percussions), Lucio Capece (bass clarinet and soprano sax), Derek Shirley (double bass) and Mika Vainio (electronics), the quartet operate at the murkier end of the music spectrum. Continue Reading »

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INTERVIEW: THOMAS STRØNEN The Importance Of Being Thomas Strønen

themilkman on Dec 4th 2011 08:48 pm

INTERVIEW: THOMAS STRØNEN: The Importance Of Being Thomas Strønen

Thomas Strønen is undoubtedly one of the most talented drummers of his generation. A member of Food, Humcrush, Meadow, Monsters & Puppets and many more, his very diverse, yet highly recognisable style puts him is at the heart of these projects. With new albums from Monsters & Puppets, Humcrush and The Living Room, Thomas takes some time off his incredibly busy schedule to talk to themilkfactory about how he started playing drums, his long-standing collaboration with Iain Ballamy as Food, his relationship with Maria Kannegaard and how it led to Monsters & Puppets, and what his next solo project may be. Continue Reading »

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KIM CASCONE: The Knotted Constellation (Fourteen Rotted Coordinates) (Monotype Records)

themilkman on Dec 2nd 2011 01:10 am

Kim Cascone: The Knotted Constellation (Fourteen Rotted Coordinates)

The Knotted Constellation (Fourteen Rotted Coordinates)
Monotype Records 2011
01 Track. 32mins52secs

 Amazon UK: CD

Although presented as one continuous piece, The Knotted Constellation is in fact, as its subtitle suggests, a series of seemingly unrelated atmospheric soundscapes based on a combination of field recordings, acoustic and electro-acoustic instrumentation and electronics. Although the field recordings were collected in various places around the globe, there are no indication of location or setting in the finished piece. The only hints are purely textual (the church bells heard in the opening sequence, tap water running into a kitchen sink, a helicopter flying overhead, the announcement, in French, warning of the imminent departure of a train), yet they contribute heavily to define the outlines of a narrative which, whilst extremely hazy and abstract, somehow manages to bind the various segments of this work together. Continue Reading »

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PETER BRODERICK: Music For Confluence (Erased Tapes)

themilkman on Dec 1st 2011 01:33 am

Peter Broderick: Music For Confluence

Music For Confluence
Erased Tapes 2011
13 Tracks. 46mins10secs

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

Peter Broderick continues to defy conventions with his latest release for Erased Tapes as he brings together various strands of his musical persona. Composed to accompany the documentary film Confluence, directed by Jennifer Anderson and Vernon Lott, Music For Confluence constantly shifts from beautifully crafted piano pieces to swelling orchestral motifs and folk-tinted compositions to create a truly cinematic soundtrack.

Confluence documents five mysterious disappearances which took place in the small town of Lewiston, Idaho, situated at the confluence of the Clearwater and Snake rivers, between 1979 and 1982, of which only three bodies were ever found. Continue Reading »

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