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Sybarite, "Music For a Film"

SYBARITE, "MUSIC FOR A FILM"
Synthetics and organics coexist in harmony on this full-length release from multi-instrumentalist Xian Hawkins. Some might recognize his name from the Silver Apples reunion assembly as the "other guy" than Simeon, but this New Yorker has an identity all his own. This music originally served as the score for a 1999 independent suspense/thriller film by Patrick McGuinn, "Killing Me Tomorrow," and is composed of 14 tracks which total about 41 minutes-worth. The songs are short, sweet and waste no time, with shimmering guitar melodies, subtle string sounds and low-tempo electronic beats in parts. The unobtrusive mix makes it perfect for a film score, with fade-outs it has obviously been slightly tailored for the commercial release. I'm now looking forward to finding out where Hawkins' career is headed next.

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4178 Hits

Pan•American, "East Coast Bugs"

The latest release from Labradford's Chicago resident, Mark Nelson takes the form of 12" vinyl from BSI Records of Portland, OR. This 12" (limited to 2000 copies) provides 24 minutes with 2 exclusive tracks mastered by BSI's mix maven Sound Secretion. Unlike his superb full length albums on Kranky, Pan•American singles (including the 10" on Kraak and 12" split on Fat-Cat) are truly solo efforts devoid of contributions from other players.
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3829 Hits

The Walker Brothers, "The Singles +"

From a small label in Holland comes this amazingly priced double CD set, a singles compilation from Scott Engel, John Maus and Gary Leeds, who are most commonly known as Scott, John and Gary Walker. The collection grabs 45 A-sides and popular hits from the trio both together and in solo form, stretching from 1965 through 1981.

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4107 Hits

Muslimgauze, "Fedayeen"

Bryn Jones passed away 2 years ago last week and his music lives on.Originally released free of charge as mp3s, "Fedayeen" returns as aproper limited edition on compact disc via Russian label TantraHarmonies. It comes in 2 flavors, collectable and uber-collectable: 850in color gatefold sleeve and 150, numbered, in lion logo green slipsleeve. Being around $20 and $25, respectively, and the fact that themp3s are tucked away on many a hard drive and cd-r, this disc isessentially for the must have everything folks. Jones was at anunprecedented level of prolificness in 1998-9 with 35 or so releases.The 8 tracks here (most in the 10 to 12 minute range, 61 total) sharethe same repetitious characteristics: hand percussion and crunchyelectronic loops, sample cut and paste (dialogue, bird calls, water),strings, etc. in a variety of styles: 'traditional', drum 'n bass,techno and overdriven glitch-hop. The length of these tracks makes themboth hypnotic and tedious at times but, nonetheless, qualityMuslimgauze. Of special note are "Mustafas Cassette Market Marrakesh",a blurred d 'n b blend, "Abu Salim, Tripoli", a slower techno journey,"Bharboo Of Pakistan Railways", an electro-bleep loop and "Old ArabRecord Not On Compact Disc" which regurgitates bits from old slabs ofscratchy arabic vinyl. And yes, this does sound better in cd ratherthan mp3 quality. "Melt", the sister mp3 release from 1998, will alsobe re-released as a 12" EP via BSI Records next month .

4454 Hits

Ammo, "The Age of Terminal Irony"

This Belgian duo consists of John Sellekaers and C-Drik, whose production and performance has appeared on releases from Torsion, Ambre and Snog. The debut release has taken three forms, but the one in my hands is the German CD edition. It starts off being a rather powerful foray into aggressive modern dark drum and bass.

 

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3998 Hits

In The Nursery, "Hindle Wakes"


There are certain thingsyou can always count on when purchasing a release from In the Nursery.The melodies are always emotionally charged, the production shines witha signature decadent brilliance and the sounds do an excellent job ofimitating a full orchestra.

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4190 Hits

Opium Jukebox, "Music To Download Pornography By"


Opium Jukebox is MartinAtkins (Pigface, The Damage Manual, Invisible Records) and BobdogCatlin (ex-Evil Mothers, Pigface, Pseudo Buddha) and a dozen othermusician friends. This cd is a contemporary covers album: Nirvana"Smells Like Teen Spirit", NIN "Head Like a Hole", Gary Numan "Cars","Ball of Confusion", Jane's Addiction "Been Caught Stealing", EMF"Unbelievable", "Tainted Love", Devo "Whip It" and Dead or Alive "YouSpin Me Right Around".

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3893 Hits

Antony & The Johnsons, "I Fell in Love With a Dead Boy"


Three days in mypossession and I can't stop playing this three tracker over and overagain. For those who have been fortunate enough to witness Antony &the Johnsons live, this provides an excellent souvenir of favorites noton the debut album.

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4156 Hits

Blacword, "Subduing Demons In South Yorkshire"


 I am amazed at the madgenius that is Richard H. Kirk, once again he manages to blur the linebetween music and noise as entertainment in a very thought-provkingmanner.

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4452 Hits

Tricky, "Mission Accomplished"


Remember Tricky? Theformer music media darling amicably parted ways withPolygram/Island/Def Jam in 1999 and now calls Epitaph branch Anti homealongside Tom Waits and Merle Haggard. Mission accomplished? This UK EP(also due out February 6th in the States) gives us a little over 16minutes with 3 new songs and 1 previously unreleased old one.

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3552 Hits

!!!


Slammin' mutherfuckingballsy-ass shit. This debut CD release is probably the most excitedI've been about a new rock-genred band in as long as I can remember.The energy is fierce, the music is fast, funky and full of wakka wakkaguitars, crazy effects, beefy bass chops, electronic and organic drums,wild cheering, hoards of percussion and a splash of horns.

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4079 Hits

HEFTY'S "IMMEDIATE ACTION SERIES"

Barrelling forward with releases, John Hughes' Hefty Records has boldly issued a series of stellar limited edition 12" singles.

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3735 Hits

"PUTTING THE MORR BACK IN MORRISSEY"

From Morr Music inGermany comes a wonderful offering of many of their fine artists. Don'tlet the title fool you, there's nothing to do with the former Smithslead singer on here. In the last few years, the electronic instrumentalrock hybrid scene in Germany has grown exponentially from what once wasonly a handful of acts who used to share loads of members. Collectedhere are some of the more prominent groups like The Notwist, Arovane,Lali Puna, Flowchart and the Tied & Tickled Trio. Disc one featuresfourteen new and exclusive cuts while disc two features fourteenincestuous remixes of many of the first disc's artists trading mixeswith others. Solvent remixes Kevin & Paul, Schneider TM remixesMicha Archer & Ms John Soda, while Kandis and the Tied &Tickled Trio remix each other. This provides a great introduction toMorr, which appears to be sort of taking off where Kitty-Yo decided toleave off when they pursued trashy cash cow kitch like Peaches andGonzales. Kudos to Morr for keeping the artwork alive.
4347 Hits

"WIR"

In an almostanti-post-kraut movement, Ladomat (who gave us the compilation 'L'ageD'or' earlier this year) has unleashed a two-disc compilation of theirown, showcasing their artists like Sand 11, Egoexpress and CommercialBreakup. Flying in the face of the instrumental movements (like theMorr comp exposed), these groups are clearly pop-minded. The groupssing (frequently in English) and bring a jovial bounce and step totheir brand of futurism without going completely off the deep end intosomething that would wear thin after the novelty is gone. Germans canrock as they proved earlier this year, now they're telling the worldthat Germans can smile and make fun artistic music without beingstereotypically overly serious stiffs or churning out disposablecartoon techno.
3861 Hits

RED SNAPPER, "OUR AIM IS TO SATISFY"

The disc starts off verypromising. The rhythms are sexy and the music is rich in texture.Driving beats set the disc in motion from the start, but all of the funsoon begins to fade. What spoils the disc for me is when a guestvocalist either raps or sings. The rap is never interesting enough tohold my attention and the lyrics are rather embarassing to listen to.It's almost as if Red Snapper use vocals as a crutch for songs theyfeel need a better lead instrument, but when they keep them out, theintensity of the music grows to epic proportions. Going forward on thedisc, Red Snapper do however make some choices to keep other tracksinstrumental. A very nice option for tracks like the album closer,"They're Hanging Me Tonight," a wonderful play of overprocessed drums,guitars crying backwards and drone-like string samples.
4550 Hits

HRVATSKI, "RÄUME"

From Tonschacht inCologne, Germany comes this heavy slate, cleverly disguised as a 7"single. I honestly don't think I own a 7" record pressed this thick.Anyhow the three tracks which compose this single bring together bothHrvatski's technical expertise of precision electro-meddling and afondness for outside sources laying down constant voices to be carriedthrough with each composition. Keith Fullerton-Whitman makes songs andsomething like this is a tease to his fans out there waiting foranother full-lengther from the boy. Look for a remix project due outsometime in January. The single's limited to 500 numbered copies buthas seemingly had an easy time making the distribution outside ofGermany.
4994 Hits

JESSICA BAILIFF/THE.DITHERING.EFFECT 10"

With every new song thatcomes from this team of people named Jess out in Ohio, my interestgrows. Jessica Bailiff and Jesse Edwards have been collaborating ontracks following last year's full-length from Bailiff on Kranky, 'Hourof the Trace.' The result has been quite expansive for only a handfulof tunes - Bailiff has almost come out of hiding behind the guitardistortion for singles and compilation appearances, but on this single,more electronic space is being explored. Both sides of this limited 10"single average around ten minutes, each being two songs which flow intoeach other without distinct traditional breaks. Looking at the titles,the impression I get is that this release might actually be tributal innature, "Maybe Tomorrow" on the first side is a spacious interplay ofechoed voice, guitar wash and drum machine, "Amethyst Depression" isn'ta Coil tribute but is instrumental, beat-less, pretty and sweet. Sidetwo opens with a looping guitar riff which could have easily beenlifted off of the first godspeed record. "Rene?" is the first time Ithink I've heard Jesse sing himself and the song is rounded out with adrum machine sounding loop which eerily doesn't sound like it's loopingcorrectly. Rounding out the end of the side is "Your Sounds MakePatterns in My Eyes (for SOTL)," which is undoubtedly a nod to Stars ofthe Lid. Unfortunately it's all too short and the gorgeous soundscapeof that gem lasts around two minutes. If we saw the two expand on this,make it a full 20 minutes long and include it on the next JessicaBailiff full-lengther, that release is bound to become a classic.
3657 Hits

MARUMARI, "THE WOLVES' HOLLOW"

According to a coupleparagraphs' worth fcof nonsense in the liner notes, "The Wolves'Hollow" is some kind of concept album involving wolves from outerspace. I honestly couldn't see the connection with the wolves, exceptfor samples of wolves howling, snarling, or squealing every now andthen.
It's a strange listen. All the beats are mutated beyond descriptioninto clicks, snicks, slurps, and a very familiar boing that I suspectwas plucked from the old Nintendo game Metroid (another featuredelement in the liner notes). Beautiful melodies weave in out of nowhereand leave just as suddenly -- just as Marumari gets a groove going, itfades out, comes back, reverses itself, speeds up, disappears entirelyinto the layers of background noise. Towards the end of the album therough-and-tumble, loping beats fade into hums and drones, strangemumbles and burbles. I don't mean for it to sound like I'm describingMouse on Mars, though the same feeling is there at times; there aremore straight-ahead rock-on moments and less goofy-fun analogtwiddling, on the whole.
Sometimes electronic music is so unintelligible or inhuman that evenspeculating about its motivation is pointless. Despite this album'stendency to wander in strange directions and sometimes get flat-outweird, I never lost the feeling that someone was behind it all, happily(if inexpertly) pushing buttons and twirling knobs. Confusing, maybe,but Marumari brings a brand of playfulness to his music I've yet tocome across anywhere else. He's not cheeky or smart-assed like ?-Ziq orAphex Twin, or gleefully juvenile and iconoclastic like Kid606 or V/VM.Instead, it's the wide-eyed, naive, incomprehensible joy of (I suppose)alien cyborg puppies.
3743 Hits

"COME ON BEAUTIFUL: AN AMERICAN MUSIC CLUB TRIBUTE"

My loyalties are somewhattoward the album, with my pathetic excuse for the album being how oftenare we (AMC/Eitzel fans) going to have an AMC tribute album come downthe track? One could take the view that something is better thannothing. However, that sort of argument grows sour very quickly. Wouldyou rather have the shoddy film "Man On The Moon" or would you ratherhave no Andy Kaufman biopic at all? This kind of question irks me whenit comes to entertainment; I'm guessing that a real answer is hard tofind.
That said, for anyone who has yet to pick the album up yet...uh...let'sjust say that maybe you should put it on the back burner for now.Hearing the first chords of the opening song "What Holds The WorldTogether" done by Ida was in itself one of the best music experiencesthis year, priming me for an album in which almost every single songsounds the same. For the most part the songs are played and arranged"as is"--no interesting and/or notable departures that usually make thetedious genre of tribute albums bearable. These are hard words towrite; I can barely play music myself and applaud the kind of effortthat goes into a project such as this, but some of these musiciansalmost make AMC out to be a parody that so many tried to peg the bandas, a sad, mopey bedsit band incapable of rocking or doing anythingrequiring more than emotion.
But in his defense, Paul Austin cops to so much in the liner notes: "Arecord aiming to represent the whole sonic scope of AMC would includenot only songs of love and hope so heart-wrenching your knees mightbuckle; it would include also a dose of flailing dissonance, a dollopof honky tonk pun tossing, and the occasional flat out rocker. This,unapologetically, is not that record." Um, then what is it? A showcaseof 12 very talented musicians basically covering AMC and not doing itwith very much variety? I'm sure we're all tired of the music mediapigeonholing AMC and Eitzel as nothing but dour, sad miserablists.Maybe I'm going out on a limb, but it's the hope and beauty that all oftheir music gives out that make me listen to their music, not what somepeople believe to be their token "oh isn't the world just unrepentantlyshitty" attitude.
But, I suppose, a sub-par AMC tribute album is better than no AMCtribute album at all...and much of this music is quite pretty andsoothing to listen to on a cold Northern Ohio night when there's awinter weather advisory, no less. But taking into account that I am alazy git who applauds the fact that it was put together at all, itcould have been better.
4291 Hits

"American Breakbeat"

Matmos, Lesser, Kit Clayton, Slicker, Designer, Cex, Hrvatski, Kid 606 and 21 other artists have all exported tracks for this 2xCD release from the German label Klangkrieg. The collection is a fine offering of tunes and will no doubt serve as both a great introduction to some of these noteworthy acts and for current fans an opportunity to collect more songs from the groups.

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4086 Hits