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Murcof / Oren Marshall, Purcell Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank Centre, London, 20/11/2008

themilkman on Nov 25th 2008 12:23 am

Murcof / Oren Marshall, Purcell Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank Centre, London, 20/11/2008

Pacing the room like a dragon scanning a dark cave for intruders, breathing heavily, following the sent of unfamiliar bodies, Oren Marshall’s opening piece of this performance at the Purcell Room, on the South Bank in London was made solely of breathing sounds propelled through the gigantic mouth of his tuba. Music was not the concern here; instead, it seemed as if Marshall’s purpose was to get up close and personal with his audience. Getting off the stage to walk slowly past the whole front row, then venturing up a few steps on each on the aisles, it felt as if Marshall and the audience were evaluating each other. Once back on stage, the sounds extracted from the tuba were processed through various delays to build the outlines of cyclical pieces and occasional rhythmic patterns. Twisted and bent out of shape, the sounds coming out of the instruments seemed to gain otherworldly features, sounding for a moment like a broken acid squelch or a little girl’s scream, until, at one point, the layers of noise had very little to do with the reality of the instrument. It is with his last piece thought that Marshall demonstrated the highest level of dexterity. Continue Reading »

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MURCOF: The Versailles Sessions (The Leaf Label)

themilkman on Nov 19th 2008 01:46 am

Murcof: The Versailles Sessions

The Versailles Sessions
The Leaf Label 2008
06 Tracks. 49mins54secs

Murcof’s music has become increasingly orchestral in recent years. The subtle elegance of his first few releases, built around samples of contemporary classical music encased in fine layers of micro beats has progressively been replaced by altogether much more ambitious and vast forms. For his last album, Cosmos, released last year, Mexican-born Fernando Corona worked with recording of actual acoustic classical instruments which he then worked into vast pieces.

The Versailles Sessions is not the follow up to Cosmos as such. In 2007, Fernando Corona was commissioned a series of musical pieces for Les Grandes Eaux Nocturnes, a yearly event which focuses on sound, light and water at the Chateau de Versailles near Paris, once the residence of Louis XIV. Continue Reading »

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ESSIE JAIN: We Made This Ourselves (The Leaf Label)

themilkman on Apr 24th 2008 12:38 am

Essie Jain: We Made This Ourselves

We Made This Ourselves
The Leaf Label 2008
10 Tracks. 41mins03secs

While Essie Jain was born and raised in London, it is from New York, where she moved in 2001, that she operates. Music has been a part of her life from a very early age, learning classical piano, cello and, later, opera, but rejected it all at the end of her adolescence. It is only some years later, as she was going through a difficult time in her life, that she turned to music once again as a mean to express her emotions. After moving to New York, she spent some time collaborating with various musicians before meeting guitarist Patrick Glynn with whom she began working on her debut album. The result, We Made This Ourselves, was originally released on Brooklyn-based Ba Da Ding over a year ago, and is now given a new lease of life thanks to Leaf, just as her second album is due out in the US.

Although the folk brushes have brought comparisons to anything from Vashti Bunyan to Nick Drake, there is, throughout We Made This Ourselves, a strong reminiscence of This Mortal Coil’s third album, Blood, especially in the way melodies erupt in vocal harmonies. Continue Reading »

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WILDBIRDS & PEACEDRUMS: Heartcore (The Leaf Label)

themilkman on Apr 2nd 2008 12:31 am

Wildbirds & Peacedrums: Heartcore

Found You Recordings/The Leaf Label 2008
12 Tracks. 40mins50secs

Like a less exuberant Creatures, singer Mariam Wallentin and drummer Andreas Werliin piece together a surprisingly compelling collection of visceral vocal-and-percussion-based songs which find their feet somewhere between free jazz, afro beat and Nordic tribal tradition.

Formed in 2004 after Mariam and Andreas met at the Academy of Music and Drama in Gothemberg, Wildbirds & Peacedrums began performing live a year later, and, after publishing two limited edition CDR albums, started working on Heatcore in 2006, using a mobile studio, which allowed them to record in a variety of locations and use a wide range of sonorities to support their rudimentary formation. The album was originally published last year on Swedish label Found You Recordings, and now finally gets a well deserved worldwide release, just as they are gearing up for the release of their sophomore effort, The Snake, in their native land. Continue Reading »

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Efterklang, Bush Hall, London 23/11/2007

themilkman on Nov 27th 2007 01:42 am

Efterklang live

The Efterklang caravan stopped in London’s Bush Hall on Friday, as part of their two-week-long tour of the UK. Taking their Parades album, released a couple of months ago, on an extensive international tour, the Danish quintet and their troops couldn’t have chosen a more appropriate venue. Formerly known as the Carlton Dance Hall, Bush Hall, in the heart of West London’s Sheppard’s Bush, was built at the beginning of the twentieth Century by William F. Hurndall, a publisher, as a gift for one of his daughters. It has since been a soup kitchen during the Second World War, and was, in the fifties and sixties, turned into a bingo hall and amusement arcade, before being turned into a concert venue at the turn of the millennium. The highly ornate ceilings and walls have been preserved, and grand chandeliers offer a testament to the place’s former grandeur. Continue Reading »

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INTERVIEW: 310 Music By Numbers

themilkman on Nov 8th 2007 01:50 am

INTERVIEW: 310 Music By Numbers

The brainchild of Tim Donovan, who lives in New York, and Seattle-based Joseph Dierker, 310 have been producing beautifully detailed records for ten years, bringing together elements of jazz, hip-hop, folk, pop and ambient to create a truly unique sound. As they are gearing up for the release of their sixth album, Sixes And Sevens, on Conduit Records, we caught up with Tim Donovan to talk about the new record, how they find it increasingly easy to work 3,000 miles apart, and why the new album is primarily being released digitally.
Continue Reading »

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EFTERKLANG: Parades (The Leaf Label)

themilkman on Oct 3rd 2007 12:32 am

Efterklang: Parades

Rumraket / The Leaf Label 2007
11 Tracks. 48mins59secs

Formed in Copenhagen, Denmark, at the end of 2000 by Mads Brauer (electronics), Casper Clausen (vocals, various instruments), Thomas Husner (drums, percussions and trumpet), Rune Mølgaard (piano) and Rasmus Stolberg (guitar and various instruments), Efterklang, which translates as reverberation, appeared on the international scene with debut album for Leaf, Tripper, in 2004, although they had previously released an EP the previous year on their own imprint, Rumraket. With Tripper, Efterklang painted intimate soundscapes from clicks, statics and environmental electronics upon which hung orchestral waves and occasional acoustic flourishes, with male and female vocals tightly intertwined with the instrumental parts and a Greenlandish choir adding a further emotional touch to the quintet’s ambitious boreal songs. Followed a digital-only EP, Swarming, in 2005 and a very limited one-sided LP in 2006. Earlier this year, the band returned with Under Giant Trees, a magnificent mini album recorded last year while on tour.

On Parades, Efterklang dress their ephemeral pop songs in much more precious and grand attires. Continue Reading »

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themilkman on Sep 25th 2007 12:19 am

Efterklang: interview

A little over three years ago, a formation answering to the mysterious name of Efterklang and hailing from Denmark appeared with their debut album, Tripper, and rapidly gathered critical acclaim and respect. The re-release of the band’s debut EP, Springer, originally released in 2003, a year before the album, and a limited edition one-sided LP, confirmed the band as one of the most interesting acts to have come out of Denmark. Following the release of the superb Under Giant Trees EP earlier this year, Efterklang return with their second album, Parades, on which they have developed an entirely new approach, more focused on acoustic instrumentation. In this interview, Casper Clausen and Rasmus Stolberg talk about what influences them, how their new album came to life, running their own record label and playing live is like playing football.

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MURCOF: Cosmos (The Leaf Label)

themilkman on Aug 22nd 2007 01:06 pm

Murcof: Cosmos

The Leaf Label 2007
06 Tracks. 56mins12secs

In the five years that separate Murcof’s majestic debut album, Martes, and his most recent offering, Cosmos, Fernando Corona has become one of the most respected electronic musicians around, and a source of inspiration for a whole new generation of musicians, not only in his native Mexico where his success has energised a myriad of new artists and labels, but also across Europe, with artists such as Deaf Center or part of the roster of Erik Skodvin’s Miasmah imprint openly claiming to have been influenced by his visionary take on classical sounds and electronica.

Coming two years after Remembranza, which explored more complex sound and harmonic structures than its predecessor, Cosmos is an altogether much grander and ambitious record than any of his previous releases. Continue Reading »

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INTERVIEW: MURCOF Space-time Continuum

themilkman on Aug 20th 2007 10:41 pm

INTERVIEW: MURCOF Spacetime Continuum

With just a handful of releases under his belt, Mexican electronic musician Fernando Corona, AKA Murcof, has established a very unique sound and is already named as a major influence by some. Five years after his seminal debut album, Martes, was released, he is back with his magnificent third album, Cosmos, on Leaf. For this latest effort, Corona pretty much ditches the micro beats and samples that have informed previous releases to work from recordings of real classical instruments. The result is a superb tapestry of sounds, drones and melodies which Corona will take on the road for a planetarium tour in the autumn. Here, Fernando Corona talks to the themilkman from his home in Barcelona, where he currently resides, about the new album, his soundtrack work and the rise of the Mexican electronic scene.

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A HAWK AND A HACKSAW & THE HUN HANGÁR ENSEMBLE: A Hawk And A Hacksaw & The Hun Hangár Ensemble (The Leaf Label)

themilkman on Jun 18th 2007 12:51 pm

A HAWK AND A HACKSAW & THE HUN HANGÁR ENSEMBLE: A Hawk And A Hacksaw & The Hun Hangár Ensemble

A Hawk And A Hacksaw & The Hun Hangár Ensemble
The Leaf Label 2007
08 Tracks. 29mins20secs

Originally the solo project of former Neutral Milk Hotel drummer Jeremy Barnes, A Hack And A Hacksaw is a totally unique project, which has taken Barnes in a variety of locations across the world. Beside his previous regular spot as drummer with Neutral Milk Hotel, Barnes has also served with Bablicon, Bright Eyes and Broadcast. He started working on his next project, A Hawk And A Hacksaw, toward the beginning of the century, and released his first album in 2003.

Feeding on a vast set of influences, ranging from Eastern European traditional music to avant-garde and beyond, the first self-titled A Hawk And A Hacksaw album, recorded in the quiet town of Saumur, on the border of the Loire, in France, totally disregarded traditional musical boundaries to create an exhilarating soundtrack out of field recordings over which pianos, accordions and various other instruments flourished into beautiful melodies. Continue Reading »

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COLLEEN: Les Ondes Silencieuses (The Leaf Label)

themilkman on Apr 30th 2007 10:30 am

Colleen: Les Ondes Silencieuses

Les Ondes Silencieuses
The Leaf Label 2007
09 Tracks. 43mins20secs

The twist on Colleen’s third album title, which translates as ‘The quiet waters’ but can also be interpreted as ‘The silent soundwaves’, reveals a lot about the content of the record. Gone are the complex electronic experimentations of previous records, replaced with simple melodies and crystal-pure acoustic instrumentation. While Paris-based Cecile Schott had already made a substantial step towards real instrumentation on her previous album, The Golden Morning Breaks (2005), there were still traces of the electronic treatments she had applied on previous outputs. For Les Ondes Silencieuses, Schott relies solely on instruments such as viola da gamba, which she already used on The Golden Morning Breaks, spinet, a relative of the harpsichord, both dating from the baroque period, as well as classical guitar, clarinet and crystal glasses. Continue Reading »

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