Archive for the 'Albums' Category

STIAN WESTERHUS: The Matriarch And The Wrong Kind Of Flowers (Rune Grammofon)

themilkman on Sep 27th 2012 09:36 pm

Stian Westerhus: The Matriarch And The Wrong Kind Of Flowers

The Matriarch And The Wrong Kind Of Flowers
Rune Grammofon 2012
09 Tracks. 40mins04secs

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

Listening to Stian Westerhus’s solo work gives little clue of what exactly is his instrument of choice. Dark, complex, broken, his soundscapes are haunting to say the least. Perhaps the recurring presence of bowed strings provides something of a clue, but nothing clearly points to the electric guitar, yet it is the instrument which Westerhus uses, and, crucially, it is the only instrument used on this album.

Westerhus’s taste for experimental guitar sounds stems from seeing Jimi Hendrix’s Woodstock interpretation of Star Spangled Banner on TV when he was just thirteen years old. This prompted the young Norwegian musician, now aged thirty one, to explore the possibility of the electric guitar and dare go beyond the conventional approach to the instrument. Continue Reading »

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PHILIPPE PETIT: Extraordinary Tales Of A Lemon Girl Chapter 2: Fire-Walking To Wonderland / Chapter 3: Hitch-Hicking Thru Bronze Mirrors (Aagoo Records) / Una Symphonia Della Paura (Utech Records)

themilkman on Sep 27th 2012 01:53 am

Philippe Petit: Extraordinary Tales Of A Lemon Girl Chapter 2: Fire Walking To Wonderland Philippe Petit: Extraordinary Tales Of A Lemon Girl Chapter 3: Hitch-Hiking Thru Bronze Mirrors Philippe Petit: Una Symphonia Della Paura

Extraordinary Tales Of A Lemon Girl Chapter 2: Fire Walking To Wonderland
Aagoo Records 2012
05 Tracks. 44mins45secs

Extraordinary Tales Of A Lemon Girl Chapter 3: Hitch-Hiking Thru Bronze Mirrors
Aagoo Records 2012
10 Tracks. 44mins23secs

Una Symphonia Della Paura
Utech Records 2012
05 Tracks. 44mins42secs

Earlier this year, Philippe Petit released Oneiric Rings On Grey Velvet, the first in a trilogy of releases collected under the generic title of Extraordinary Tales Of A Lemon Girl for US-based imprint Aagoo documenting the imaginary story of a mysterious girl character inspired by Italian crime fiction and the various wanderings of Homer, Lewis Carroll or James Joyce. With the second and third chapters in this series of releases, Petit continues to experiment with processed classical music and electronics and creates a particularly complex and dense series of sound worlds which, whilst all more or less related, all have their individual identity. Divided into movements, reinforcing Petit’s connection with classical music, Fire-Walking To Wonderland and Hitch-Hiking Thru Bronze Mirrors are uneasy affairs to apprehend. Continue Reading »

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CHRIS DOOKS & MACHINEFABRIEK: The Eskdalemuir Harmonium (Komino Records)

themilkman on Sep 25th 2012 01:36 am

Chris Dooks & Machinefabriek: The Eskdalemuir Harmonium

The Eskdalemuir Harmonium
Komino Records 2012
04 Tracks. 34mins57secs

Chris Dooks is, amongst other things, something of a documentarist whose sound work has often been centred around collecting snippets of films and documentaries which he recontextualises through processing. Following a couple of electronic releases as Bovine Life over ten years ago, he published a record built entirely from sound excepts from films and documentaries sourced from the Northern Region Film And Television Archive, documenting a hundred years of culture in the North of England. The same preservation purpose serves this collaborative effort with Rotterdam-based sound artist Machinefabriek (Rutger Zuydervelt). Based on recordings of a crumbling old American harmonium which Dooks found in a farmhouse near Lockerbie in Scotland, the album is articulated around four textural pieces which incorporate melodic components as well as mechanical and environmental noises. The second piece, Betamax And Dictaphones, also features excerpts from the vinyl pressing of a radio documentary. Continue Reading »

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SINNER DC: Future That Never Happened (Mental Groove Records)

themilkman on Sep 14th 2012 01:33 am

Sinner DC: Future That Never Happened

Future That Never Happened 
Mental Groove Records 2012
10 Tracks. 48mins48secs

Amazon UK: CD

After a stint on now defunct AI Records, Geneva-based trio Sinner DC are back on home soil with their seventh album, Future That Never Happened, published on Mental Groove Records, an imprint located in the band’s home city. Formed at the tail-end of the nineties by Julien Amey, Manuel Bravo and Steve Mamie, Sinner DC released their debut album, Panoramic, on Noise Product in 1998. Originally a relatively conventional pop/noise outfit, Sinner DC have since progressively turned to more a experimental sound, infused with electronics and driven by club music rather than traditional rock. After publishing records on Spirit Of Jungle, Polaris or Tritone, the trio landed a deal with AI Records in 2006 and went on to release the rather brilliant Mount Age (2006) and Crystalized (2009) albums, as well as one accompanying EP for each album.

Since Mount Age, the trio have been refining their warm blend of analogue electronics, processed guitars and breathy vocals, and Future That Never Happened very much picks up where its predecessor left off. Continue Reading »

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VALGEIR SIGURÐSSON: Architecture Of Loss (Bedroom Community)

themilkman on Sep 12th 2012 01:51 am

Valgeir Sigurđsson: Architecture Of Loss

Architecture Of Loss
Bedroom Community 2012
10 Tracks. 38mins02secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP US: CD | LP

Musician, composer, arranger, producer, curator, label head… the range of activities covered by Valgeir Sigurðsson is pretty extraordinary. This has led him to work with artists as diverse as Björk, Hildur Guðnadóttir, CocoRosie, Maps, Feist, The Magic Numbers or Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, but it is the small cluster of like-minded musicians and composers (Nico Muhly, Sam Amidon, Ben Frost, Daníel Bjarnason) he has gathered on Bedroom Community, the imprint he set up six years ago in Reykjavik, Iceland, which constitutes the most exciting and rewarding part of his work. Bedroom Community has always functioned like a collective of artists rather than like a standard record label, resulting in each artist substantially contributing to the work of his stable mates.

Architecture Of Loss, Sigurðsson’s third album, following Ekvílíbrium (2007) and Draumalandið (2010), was originally conceived as the score for a ballet of the same name by American choreographer Stephen Petronio Continue Reading »

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ANIMAL COLLECTIVE: Centipede Hz (Domino Recording Co.)

themilkman on Sep 11th 2012 12:54 am

Animal Collective: Centipede Hz

Centipede Hz
Domino Recording Co. 2012
11 Tracks. 53mins36secs

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

Once upon a time, Animal Collective were little more than a bunch of American indie kids with a particularly pronounced taste for unruly lo-fi leftfield pop music which they recorded wherever they could or fancied, and that could include recording a whole album under a porch, protected from the street by a plastic cover, using only a handful of minidisc players. Nowadays, Animal Collective is arguably the biggest underground experimental outfit around, capable of selling out big venues from the West Coast of the US to London, Paris and beyond. They haven’t actually been ‘underground’ for quite some time of course, but the term still probably qualifies them best.

Whilst their first records were self-released or appeared on labels such as Catsup Plate or Paw Tracks, an imprint set up by Animal Collective as an offshoot of Carpark Records, landing a deal with Fat-Cat in 2004 seemingly coincided with their profile rapidly rising, not only with college radio networks but also with the European public. Continue Reading »

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SPILL: Fluoresce (Monotype Records)

themilkman on Sep 4th 2012 01:39 am

Spill: Fluoresce

Monotype Records 2012
04 Tracks. 64mins58secs

For over twenty years, Tony Buck has provided, with bassist Lloyd Swanton, the rhythmic backbone of Australian improv trio The Necks, but he has been involved in many other collaborative works since, the latest of which, with Berlin-based experimental pianist Magda Mayas, comes under the name of Spill. Earlier this year, Mayas and Buck released a first album, Stockholm Syndrome, on Beirut-based imprint Al Maslakh, quickly followed by this second opus, Fluoresce, on Monotype. Mayas is herself an accomplished performer in the fields of improvisation and composition, and has played with a great number of musicians from all over the world.

To Buck’s regular panoply of drums, gongs, bells and other percussive devices, Mayas ads prepared piano, clavinet, tiger organ, Harmonium and objects. Continue Reading »

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WAVES ON CANVAS: Into The Northsea (Psychonavigation Records)

themilkman on Aug 31st 2012 01:23 am

Waves On Canvas: Into The Northsea

Into The Northsea
Psychonaviation Records 2012
12 Tracks. 57mins21secs

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

Everything on this records, from the Vaughan Oliver-designed artwork to the music, atmosphere and contributors, is imbued with the spirit of mid-eighties 4AD, more specifically Ivo Watts-Russell’s seminal This Mortal Coil. The project of Sardinia-born and bred Stefano Guzzetti, Waves On Canvas presents an intriguing blend of ethereal art pop and electronica which, following a handful of self-released digital albums and EPs, has landed a spot on Dublin-based Psychonavigation for his full length debut.

Into The Northsea pays a reverent homage to the shaded cinematic atmospheres of This Mortal Coil, and to 4AD’s often enigmatic and beautifully crafted releases. Continue Reading »

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NATHAN FAKE: Steam Days (Border Community)

themilkman on Aug 29th 2012 01:30 am

Nathan Fake: Steam Days

Steam Days
Border Community 2012
11 Tracks. 48mins51secs

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

It has been almost ten years since a young Nathan Fake caught the attention of DJs with his debut EP, Outhouse, published on Border Community. Since, the Norfolk native has released countless more EPs and two albums, Drowning In A Sea Of Love in 2006 and Hard Islands in 2009. After the definite techno influences of his early releases, Fake’s first album showed a much more varied and pastoral approach, yet with Hard Islands, he was once again firmly focusing on the dance floor, this time in a much more concentrated and minimal form. With Steam Days, Fake is once again taking a more liberal and playful stance as he brings dreamy electronica, lo-fi techno and bucolic house together. Continue Reading »

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MIKA VAINIO: Fe304 – Magnetite (Touch)

themilkman on Aug 22nd 2012 09:35 pm

Mika Vainio: Fe304 - Magnetite

Fe304 – Magnetite
Touch 2012
07 Tracks. 55mins50secs

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

Mika Vainio was once one half of Finnish exploratory duo Pan Sonic until he and Ilpo Väisänen decided to part for good after fifteen years two years ago, but this ever only represented one facet of his work. As well as contributing to a good few other formations, he has released a number of records under a variety of monikers, perhaps the best known of which, beside the music published under his own name of course, is Ø, a project he pursues to these days. Fe304 – Magnetite is his tenth solo record as himself, his fifth for Touch.

Over the years, Vainio has extensively experimented with noise and silence in various forms and to various degrees. Continue Reading »

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SIDSEL ENDRESEN & STIAN WESTERHUS: Didymoi Dreams (Rune Grammofon)

themilkman on Aug 21st 2012 09:16 pm

Sisdel Endresen & Stian Westerhus: Didymoi Dreams

Didymoi Dreams
Rune Grammofon 2012
11 Tracks. 59mins12secs

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

There are few vocalists more fearless and thrilling than Norwegian singer Sidsel Endresen. From traditional vocal forms, she has developed a style all of her own, sung mostly in a made-up language which range from hums and repetitive fragments of semi-recognisable words to harshly syncopated noises, resembling a form of scat for the electronic age. What makes her performances real tours de force is that all vocals are always recorded live, never processed or sampled. From her time as a member of Jon Eberson Group, with whom she recorded five albums between 1981 and 1987, she went on release a number of solo albums for ECM, Jazzland and Sofa. Over the years, she has also built a particularly solid and fertile musical relationship with Bugge Wesseltoft; the duo have recorded three albums, and Wesseltoft is a regular contributor to some of her other projects. Continue Reading »

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MARK SOLBORG: Solborg 4+4+1 (Ilk Music)

themilkman on Aug 21st 2012 01:42 am

Mark Solborg: Solborg 4+4+1

Solborg 4+4+1
Ilk Music 2012
05 Tracks. 55mins06secs

Amazon UK: DLD US: DLD iTunes: DLD

For his latest album for Ilk Music, Danish jazz guitarist Mark Solborg has gathered a carefully selected horn quartet, formed of Norwegian musicians Gunnar Halle (trumpet) and Torben Snekkestad (tenor and soprano sax, clarinet) and fellow Danish artists Laura Toxværd (alto saxophone) and Jacob Munck (tuba, trombone), to which he has added a soloist, Chris Speed (US) on tenor saxophone and clarinet, all joining forces around  his regular quartet, which counts, beside himself, Anders Banke (tenor saxophone, clarinet and bass clarinet), Jeppe Skovbakke (bass) and Bjørn Heebøll (drums). The ensemble performed together only once, at the 2010 edition of Copenhagen’s Jazzfestival, during which this album was recorded.

With such an extensive set of performers under his headship, each with their own individual approach and characteristics, Solborg had set himself quite a challenge, but the five improvisations here are a testament of the viability of his vision and of the musicianship involved. Continue Reading »

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