themilkman on Aug 19th 2012 11:49 pm


After recording one album and a handful of EPs for Manchester-based imprint Melodic ten years ago, David Edwards got the chance to move his Minotaur Shock project to 4AD, a label that had partly inspired him over the years. Reality however rarely matches expectations, and things didn’t quite work out as idealistically as he had hoped. Four years on from his last release for the label, he has picked himself up, recorded his fourth studio album, Orchard, and Melodic have welcomed him back with open arms. Here, he talks about his 4AD experience, working with Melodic again, the freedom he had recording the new album, and how British music has inspired him a great deal this time round.
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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 »

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themilkman on Dec 23rd 2008 01:55 am

Jóhann Jóhannsson: Fordlandia

4AD 2008
11 Tracks. 67mins03secs

The fifth album by Icelandic classical composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, Fordlândia takes its name from a megalomaniac project of Henry Ford, who bought 10,000 km2 of land in Brazil in the 1920s to produce the rubber that would be used for the tyres of Ford cars. The project ran into trouble after the indigenous workforce grew discontented with working conditions and rampant Americanisation. By 1945, Fordlândia was given a further blow as the use of synthetic rubber increased greatly, forcing Ford to sell the land at a considerable loss.

How much this actually filters through Jóhannsson’s latest opus is debatable, although the album was partly inspired by the idea of nature reclaiming the territory once invaded by industrial activities. Continue Reading »

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MINOTAUR SHOCK: Amateur Dramatics (4AD)

themilkman on Sep 19th 2008 12:31 am

Minotaur Shock: Amateur Dramatics

Amateur Dramatics
4AD 2008
11 Tracks. 51mins02secs

On his website, David Edwards, the brain behind Minotaur Shock, talks about how his record company, the seminal and glorious 4AD, took the decision to only release his third album as a digital format. Not unfortunately unusual these days. This certainly raises once again the question of music as an artefact against music as a product. An equation that Edwards has, past the initial deception of not seeing his work released in physical format, happily taken on and on which he has applied his own angle. The eleven tracks of the album are all available to download individually, and carry a suggested selling price established according to a range of criteria, from technical difficulty or computer crash to extra musicians and fun ratings, with a price range going from 33p for the cheapest track to 77p for the dearest. Continue Reading »

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Max Richter/Jóhann Jóhannsson, Union Chapel, London, 29/06/2008

themilkman on Jul 1st 2008 12:42 am

Feature: Max Richter/Jóhann Jóhannsson, Union Chapel, London, 29/06/2008

Max Richter gave a rare live performance at the Union Chapel in London’s Islington, ahead of the release of his latest project, 24 Postcards In Full Colour, on Fat-Cat in July, and, opening the evening for him was Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson.

Jóhannsson took the stage accompanied with a string quartet and one additional personnel on electronics. With the string quartet positioned centre stage, Jóhannsson found himself stuck in the background between a baby grand piano and his keyboards. Jóhannsson has, since the release of his debut album, Englabörn, in 2002 on Touch and reissued last year on 4AD, established himself as one of the best contemporary classical composers around and has, beside his own records, composed music for films and plays and has also been involved with a handful of side projects. For this London performance, Jóhannsson focused exclusively on his solo work, presenting tracks taken essentially from Englabörn and IBM 1401, A User’s Manual, with a couple of more rhythmic pieces sourced from Dis. Continue Reading »

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themilkman on Nov 10th 2007 07:09 pm

Jóhann Jóhannsson: Englabörn

4AD 2002/2007
16 Tracks. 48mins27secs

Last year, Icelandic contemporary classical composer Jóhann Jóhannsson released the superb IBM: A User’s Manual album, which drew from memories of his childhood and recordings made over forty years ago by Jóhannsson’s father, who was chief maintenance officer for the first IBM mainframe computer in Iceland, who had developed a way to produce music out of it, a purpose beyond the original scope of the machine. Four years before this, Jóhannsson released his debut album, Englabörn, on Touch, an album that his new label, 4AD, are now making available again. Continue Reading »

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