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RADIOHEAD: In Rainbows (

David Abravanel on Oct 14th 2007 06:32 pm

Radiohead: In Rainbows

In Rainbows 2007
10 Tracks. 42mins34secs

In Rip It Up and Start Again, his chronicle of post-punk, journalist Simon Reynolds places Radiohead on a continuum of bands embodying the “middlebrow notions of deep and meaningful typically cherished by college students.” Describing the group as an ubermensch descended from Pink Floyd is not only a dubious honor, it’s also not entirely apt. True, Radiohead do appeal to popular music fans looking for something “experimental” to listen to, and OK Computer, the band’s 1997 breakthrough album, occupies a similar paranoid space to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon, but Radiohead, as a group, occupy a much more postmodern space than any of their forbearers. Continue Reading »

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AVEY TARE & KRÍA BREKKAN: Pullhair Rubeye (Paw Tracks)

David Abravanel on Oct 1st 2007 10:29 pm

Avey Tare & Kría Brekkan: Pullhair Rubeye

Pullhair Rubeye
Paw Tracks 2007
08 Tracks. 31mins33secs

In 1975, Lou Reed, already established as the hippest rock star of his time, released a double-album of atonal, feedback-drenched, amelodic noise, entitled Metal Machine Music. In the years since, the reasons behind the creation and release of the album continue to be heavily debated: was he trying to escape a record contract? Did he wish to alienate his audience? Or was he just trying something new, and screw what the teenyboppers thought? In time, MMM became a genesis record for noise musicians who, unlike most listeners and critics at the time, actually took it seriously.

Now it’s 2007. The music landscape is different from 1975, but in many ways it’s also the same; this is to say, an artist really going out there and experimenting – as innocent as it may be in intention – can still shock and upset its core audience, no matter how open-minded they were thought to be. Continue Reading »

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μ-ZIQ: Duntisbourne Abbots Soulmate Devastation Technique (Planet-μ)

David Abravanel on Sep 28th 2007 01:07 pm

μ-Ziq: Duntisbourne Abbots Soulmate Devastation Technique

Duntisbourne Abbots Soulmate Devastation Technique
Planet-μ 2007
17 Tracks. 59mins58secs

It’s no secret that Mike Paradinas’ alias μ-Ziq has reached legend status in the world of experimental electronic dance music. Even Paradinas himself labels his μ-Ziq work “classic” on the Planet-μ website, and rightfully so. Along with Richard D. James, Luke Vibert, and other luminaries, μ-Ziq’s prodigiously playful releases have guided electronic music through a plethora of different styles, from the ambient techno of 1993’s Tango N’ Vectif to the rapid-fire drill n’ bass of 1997’s Lunatic Harness.

In 2002, Paradinas released Bilious Paths, his first μ-Ziq album on his own label. An exhilarating victory lap, it showed that μ-Ziq could continue to be a relentlessly cutting edge force, while still building upon a classic structure. Continue Reading »

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SUPERMAYER: Save The World (Kompakt)

David Abravanel on Sep 26th 2007 12:22 pm

Supermayer: Save The World

Save The World
Kompakt 2007
13 Tracks. 63mins12secs

Despite its stark minimalist aesthetic, there’s no denying the underlying sense of humor pervading Kompakt releases. Founded by veterans of the Cologne techno scene, its playful song titles, singsong melodies, and oft-eccentric samples suggest that with age comes an almost child-like compositional approach. Additionally, The Orb, the patron saints of techno absurdity, have a slough of characteristically silly releases on Kompakt. The Orb’s eclecticism, infatuation with dub, and willingness to throw out genre boundaries are a likely reference point for the risk-taking and consistently rewarding Save The World. Continue Reading »

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APPARAT: Walls (Shitkatapult)

David Abravanel on Sep 16th 2007 06:19 pm

Apparat: Walls

Shitkatapult 2007
13 Tracks. 59mins54secs

As the press release for Walls is prompt to point out, Sascha Ring’s profile has risen rather exponentially in the past year. Most noticeably, there was his acclaimed collaboration with Ellen Allien, Orchestra of Bubbles, a best-of-both-worlds in which Apparat’s crunchy clicks and Allien’s metropolitan house fused to form a release that blurred the lines of pop, techno, house, and even psychedelic music. As Ring noted at the time, working with Allien inspired him to open up – to a more dance-based sound, and even providing his own vocals for the first time, on the exquisitely exhausted Leave Me Alone.

Fresh off letting down his confrontational guard, Apparat here returns with a smorgasbord of different styles – from isolated minimalism to warm techno bangers. Continue Reading »

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David Abravanel on Aug 15th 2007 01:11 pm

Cinematic Orchestra: Ma Fleur

Ma Fleur
Ninja Tune 2007
10 Tracks. 49mins08secs

The mid-late 90s produced a boom of acts deriving their sound from what could be called “jazz”. There were jazzy breaks, trip hop, nu-jazz, acid jazz. Swimming in this melee (and anchored on Ninja Tune, arguably the most quality label for this downtempo fix) were J. Swinscoe’s Cinematic Orchestra. After a minor splash with their debut, Motion, and an interesting fore into composing a new soundtrack for Dziga Vertov’s classic film, Man With A Movie Camera, the Orchestra released a bona-fide stunner with 2002’s Every Day. Featuring some truly soul-jarring vocals from the legendary Fontella Bass, in addition to what is possibly Roots Manuva’s finest performance to date on the introspective-without-getting-corny-or-preachy All Things To All Men, it was a direct hit to all those who claimed that such nu-jazz genres were derivative nostalgia with nowhere left to go. Continue Reading »

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THROBBING GRISTLE: Part Two – The Endless Not (Industrial)

David Abravanel on Aug 15th 2007 12:55 pm

Throbbing Gristle: Part Two - The Endless Not

Part Two – The Endless Not
Industrial Records 2007
10 Tracks. 67mins21secs

For a group so notorious for the bombast of its artistic statements, Throbbing Gristle’s breakup was a low-key and unexpected end. In 1981, TG announced its disbandment with a simply phrased postcard reading, “Throbbing Gristle: The Mission Is Terminated.” At the cusp of new wave and synthpop, TG were beginning to enjoy commercial success, bringing an illogical and abrupt end to a dense, wild, and frequently shocking trip.

It should, perhaps, not have been a surprise that, as sublimely as they broke up, Throbbing Gristle reunited some two decades later. Shortly following the reunion was the issue of the TG Now EP, and, now, the appropriately titled full length, Part Two. Continue Reading »

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