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MAX RICHTER: 24 Postcards In Full Colour (130701/Fat-Cat Records)

themilkman on Aug 1st 2008 12:50 am

Max Richter: 24 Postcards In Full Colour

24 Postcards In Full Colour
130701/Fat-Cat Records 2008
24 Tracks. 34mins33secs

Max Richter’s latest offering is not, so the press release claims, the follow up to his 2006 album Songs From Before. In fact, the twenty four tracks assembled here are part of a much wider experiment, due to be performed in art galleries, with at its centre mobile phone technology. Audience members will be able to pre-register their phone number and receive SMS messages triggering specific tracks, making each performance totally unpredictable and unique.

Beyond the concept and the cold technological practicality, Max Richter revisits here some of his favourite themes (the passing of time, the ephemeral aspect of memories, the melancholy of leaving places behind) and assembles them into miniature vignettes which, in most case, last little more than a moment. 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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OUR BROTHER THE NATIVE: Make Amends For We Are Merely Vessels (Fat-Cat Records/Splinter Series)

themilkman on Mar 18th 2008 01:57 am

Our Brother The Native: Make Amends For We Are Merely Vessels

Make Amends For We Are Merely Vessels
Fat-Cat Records/Splinter Series 2008
08 Tracks. 78mins18secs

From the wild poetry of their debut, Our Brother The Native have drifted into much darker and tormented terrains with their sophomore effort. Indeed, while on Tooth And Claw, the band were found playing in the garden of CocoRosie and Animal Collective, Make Amends For We Are Merely Vessels depicts much more ghostly and gothic musical forms.

Formed in 2005 by Michigan-based John-Michael Foss and Joshua Beltram, and Californian Chaz Knapp, OBTN rapidly caught the attention of UK label Fat-Cat, and, just over a year later, released their debut album. Under their geeky appearance, the trio revealed an incredible level of sonic maturity, incorporating everything from folk and electronica to post-rock and noise. Their second album, Make Amends For We Are Merely Vessels pushes the boundaries much further. Continue Reading »

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VETIVER: Remixes (Fat-Cat Records)

themilkman on Jan 23rd 2008 12:29 am

Vetiver: Remixes

Fat-Cat Records 2008
02 Tracks. 14mins00secs
Format: 12″

Two years ago, Andy Cabic, heading Vetiver, dropped the superbly crafted To Find Me Gone, the band’s second album. Although the record followed in the folk footsteps of its predecessor, Cabic & Co. seriously widened the scope of the project by injecting elements of psychedelic pop, but Cabic and producer Thom Monahan envisaged going even further by experimenting with electronic textures. Teaming up as Neighbors, it is exactly what they have done with You May Be Blue and Been So Long, two of the album’s undeniable highlights. Remixes collects these two radically different versions. Continue Reading »

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SILJE NES Ames Room (Fat-Cat Records / Splinter Series)

themilkman on Dec 6th 2007 12:30 am

Silje Nes: Ames Room

Ames Room
Fat-Cat Records / Splinter Series 2007
14 Tracks. 42mins26secs

Born in a small town on the largest fjord in Norway and now living in Bergen, Silje Nes is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentist whose debut album, Ames Room, is a wonderfully evocative and playful collection of delicate pop vignettes.

Recorded entirely at home and alone, apart from the opening track, written and recorded with Kristan Stockhaus, of Norwegian rock band Ungdomskulen, Ames Room documents the development of Nes as an artist over the last three years and sees her experiment with a wide range of instruments, including cello, acoustic guitar, drums, xylophone, melodica and trumpet, over which discreet electronics and textures are sprinkled. The sonic environment resembles a finely woven fabric upon which Nes hangs fragile vocals. Continue Reading »

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themilkman on Dec 4th 2007 12:24 am

Interview: Múm - Natural High

Following the departure of Kristin Anna Valtýsdóttir, gone to marry Avey Tare a couple of years ago, Múm founding members Gunnar Örn Tynes and Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason rounded a few long term friends and, as a sextet, went on to record their most joyful and flamboyant record with Go Go Smear The Poison Ivy. Here, we caught up with the pair during their current tour to talk about dealing with Kristin’s departure and the ever-changing nature of the band, how the new album came to life, working on satellite projects and beans on toast. Continue Reading »

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VASHTI BUNYAN: Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind: Singles And Demos 1964 To 1967 (Fat-Cat Records / Spinney Records)

themilkman on Nov 15th 2007 01:21 am

Vashti Bunyan: Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind: Singles And Demos 1964 To 1967

Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind: Singles And Demos 1964 To 1967
Fat-Cat Records / Spinney Records 2007
25 Tracks. 52mins32secs

Before taking a turn toward earthy folk songs, then giving it all up to go travelling on a horse and cart with her husband, Vashti Bunyan was briefly heading for a career as a pop singer. Discovered by Rolling Stones manager Andrew Oldham, Bunyan found herself propelled in a world where she rubbed shoulders with greats and soon to become legends, culminating in her debut single being penned by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards no less. Soon though, the production became sparser, leaving her fragile voice exposed, with only an acoustic guitar to rely on.

The story of how she eventually returned to music, and released her sophomore effort, Lookaftering, a couple of years ago, has been told many a time. Here, Bunyan was given the chance to recollect and gather some long forgotten demos, some of which found only recently in her brother’s attic, and early and never released singles, including her debut release, Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind. Continue Reading »

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MÚM: Go Go Smear The Poison Ivy (Fat-Cat Records)

themilkman on Oct 9th 2007 01:07 am

MÚM: Go Go Smear The Poison Ivy

Go Go Smear The Poison Ivy
Fat-Cat Records 2007
14 Tracks. 44mins05secs

The topography of Icelandic outfit Múm is as chaotic and unpredictable as that of their native island. From the band’s early days as a quartet dealing primarily with crystalline electronica to vastly acoustic landscapes explored as a trio, to their most recent incarnation, as an enchanted seven-piece ensemble. Following the departure of singer Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir in early 2005, founding members Gunnar Örn Tynes and Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason focused on a commission by the Holland Festival, working on a performance piece based on the work of avant-garde composer Iannis Xenakis with the National Dutch Chamber Orchestra. Both Tynes and Smárason also spent time working on various side projects, including a solo album for the former, under the name of Illi Vill, and writing for the latter. Continue Reading »

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MICE PARADE: Mice Parade (Fat-Cat Records)

themilkman on Sep 5th 2007 11:54 pm

Mice Parade: Mice Parade

Mice Parade
Fat-Cat Records 2007
09 Tracks. 35mins28secs

Over the years, the music of Mice Parade has gained in lightness and contrast, evolving from post rock to airy pop, with a greater emphasis given to acoustic instruments, vocals and melodies. Yet, the essence of the band is as alive today as it was when New York-based Adam Pierce first appeared as Mice Parade back in 1997. Having moved away from New York to the country where he built his studio and began work on the follow up to 2005’s Bem-Vinda Vontade, Pierce delivers a superb collection of pastoral experimental pop music. Continue Reading »

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ANIMAL COLLECTIVE: People (Fat-Cat Records)

themilkman on Dec 28th 2006 01:13 pm

Animal Collective: People

12FAT060 / CDFAT060
Fat-Cat Records 2006
04 Tracks. 18mins55secs

Although coming out over a year after Animal Collective’s enchanting Feels, three of the four songs featured on this EP, People, Tikwid and My Favorite Colors, were actually recorded during the same sessions. A slow-burning piece which builds up over its entire course, the title track shares more than a few common genes with songs like Banshee Beat or Loch Raven. Yet, as words are replaced with incantations and strummed drones seem to materialise, People recalls some of the band’s compositions circa Here Comes The Indian. Continue Reading »

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PANDA BEAR: Bro’s (Fat-Cat Records)

themilkman on Dec 28th 2006 12:57 pm

Panda Bear: Bros

Fat-Cat Records 2006
02 Tracks. 17mins47secs

Panda Bear brought the Fat-Cat 2006 release schedule to a close with his solo debut for the label, Bro’s, so it was only fair that Animal Collective would lead the Cat’s 2007 parade with their latest offering. Both come only weeks after Paw Tracks re-released the band’s rare live album Hollinndagain.

Of these two releases, Panda Bear’s is definitely the most inspiring. Coming ahead of a split twelve inch with Excepter and his third solo album, both due on Paw Tracks, and recorded last year in Noah Lennox’s home in Lisbon, this EP features two versions of the title track. Continue Reading »

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MÚM: The Peel Session (Fat-Cat Records)

themilkman on Nov 21st 2006 12:34 pm

Múm: Peel Session

The Peel Session
CDFAT057 / 12FAT057
Fat-Cat Records 2006
04 Tracks.21mins14secs

Icelandic purveyors of fine dream soundtracks Múm fill the gap between their last record, released two years ago, and their next opus, due out next year, with the publication of their sole Peel Session, recorded at the world famous BBC Maida Vale studios back in 2002 following the release of their debut album, Yesterday Was Dramatic, Today Is OK. The session captures the band as they begin to blur the boundaries between their electronic roots and the more delicate acoustic and textural sound they have showcased in recent years. Here, while they still largely rely on electronics, as the opening sequence of Scratched Bicycle/Smell Memory attests, Múm dress their songs in slightly more contrasted tones. Continue Reading »

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