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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.
5284 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.
5760 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.
4382 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.
4464 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.
5049 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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4886 Hits

"KNOW YOUR ENEMY"

The uprise andinternational recognition in the last decade of music scenes in placeslike Chicago, San Francisco and Berlin has all been due to a multitudeof factors. I attest their success to seemingly fearless efforts madeby small startup record labels, releasing as much music as they can,with bands integrating as much as possible. I know from my own personalexperience living in Boston that things are tough here despite the fewexamples of some excellent bands. So few groups actually pay attentionto each other, as everybody seems to want to be stars on their own andmake it big somewhere else. With that in mind, big fuckingcongratulations go out to Rick Webb of Archenemy for compiling thiscollection: 20 tracks from Boston and Boston-friendly artists. In theyears I have personally known and worked with Webb, we have had greatmusic discussions, each of us respecting each other's musical knowledgeand taste very much. "Know Your Enemy" features Neptune, Mistle Thrush,Freezepop and many other acts you've never heard of, who have neverheard of me either however. Whether it's the serene electronica wash ofIntelevision or the J-Pop of Freezepop, the 80s retro-trashy tune fromThe Mourning After, the punchy aggressive distorted homemade metalllicsounds of Neptune, or the embarassing cover tune of "To Love Somebody"by The Boy Joys, the heart-felt delivery is genuine all around. Thepackaging is such a stunning reflective multi-fold digipack that itcan't be scanned properly on a scanner, the production varies due tothe multi-genred experience, but it flows quite nicely and I'll standby Rick even if I'm not crazy about all of these bands! Other pastefforts from Boston labels have had a mix almost too homogenous for itto be taken seriously outside of the area: something like this—cleverlypackaged and not presented as a "Boston thing"—works perfectly.
4218 Hits

Kriedler

The eponymous thirdfull-lengther from Kreidler is almost a futuristic nod to theinnovators of 70s Kraut Rock. The disc is nearly all instrumental, savetwo tracks with vocal contributions from artful indie clown Momus andArgeninian pop star Leo Garcia (not to be confused with the Dominicanbaseball player, professor, Wyoming politician, classical guitarist, orSalsa dance instructor). The quartet is down to a trio since theirbassist departed as his side project, To Rococo Rot become more of amain outlet. The bass lines are beefier than ever however, and whetherthe songs are serene throbbing electronic easy listening gems like"Bewitched", a Can-like vocal tunes as "Mnemorex" or a Kraftwerkianhook-based ditty like "Do It", the production is slick and inviting.Kreidler's tunes are pretty damned catchy and their generally jovialfeel suggests these Germans are undoubtedly having fun. Put yourlaptops down and start having fun.

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4802 Hits

M2, "KOPYRIGHT LIBERATION"

With almost no down timefrom cross-continental touring and releasing albums as Panacea andDisorder, Matthis Mootz has released this scarcely limited mini-LP onAnt-Zen. Limited to 680 copies, "Kopyright Liberation" is built fromsources from the now legendary Kopyright Liberation Front, a.k.a. theKLF. While this 40-minute mini-LP is rather tributal in nature—withtrack titles "Trancentral," "Ru Con," and "Reefer Spin,"—a scatteringof micro elements have been recycled in an entirely new surrounding.The record strays from the more minimalistic tendencies of the firsttwo m2 [pronounced and sometimes listed as Squaremeter]releases (three if you consider Brasilia). Mootz weaves an intricatetapestry of low end rumblings, NASA beeps, clicks for measure and tempomarks, and speech samples with spacious effects. For a man known in thedrum and bass world for his lengthy intros, some of these songs cantake up to six minutes before every individual element introduced beginto play with each other. This could possibly be my favorite Squaremeterrelease to date.

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5094 Hits

"DOCKING SEQUENCE: BSI CAMPAIGN VOL. 1"

This is what all variousartists compilations should be like: 70+ minutes of nothing but solid,exclusive tracks reasonably priced at $12 post paid. "Docking Sequence"is the fifteenth release and first compilation from Portland, OR basedlabel BSI Records. The cd (and double LP which features 4 extra tracks)brings forth just about every flavor of (mostly) instrumental, moderndub imaginable - digital/analog, programmed/live, hip hop, noise,ambient, experimental, whatever - from peoples, places and studiosworldwide. Names that will likely draw you in are Muslimgauze, TheRootsman, Twilight Circus and DJ Spooky, but the playing field isevened out by the full roster. Black Faction brings the Afghan front toManchester with mellow Middle Eastern backgrounds and smooth beats.Sweeping strings and bird calls permeate a brief but stunning untitledMuslimgauze track. He-Man growls ragga styled vocals over string samplestabs and snare rhythm on "Killer". Phase Selector Sound lay down anindelibly deep ambient bass groove with "Sky Cup". Sound Secretion's"Perpetual Next..." is an onslaught of scratching, cut-up rap samplesand massive beats. Drifting female sighs are the perfect touch toJ-Boogie's laid back "Gemini Dub". Alpha & Omega conjure up KingTubby with generous helpings of melodica in "Wicked Man Drop". TwilightCircus present an even deeper mix of "Depth Charge" from the recent"Dub Voyage" album. Raz Mesinai's (aka Badawi) "Excerpt from TheUnspeakable" is a tense stringed nightmare. Onry & Oldominion's"Jezebelian" begins and ends with a hilarious list of shout outs and asuper smooth sample and double MC flow sandwiched in-between. Otaku's"Patterns.." slices and dices with serious drum 'n bass fills. And lastand least, the oh so over hyped DJ Spooky wraps things up with a ratherdrab dub collage. Altogether "Docking Sequence" is a crossbred success.As much as I'm looking forward to a 2nd volume, I need to do some catchup on many of these bands back catalogs first.

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10125 Hits

Boards of Canada, "In a Beautiful Place Out In the Country"

After a year full of unpronounceable non sequiturs masquerading as album titles, Boards of Canada bring us the most aptly named release in ages. "In a Beautiful Place out in the Country" is exactly where Mark Eoin and Mike Sandison intend to take you with this new EP, and they succeed admirably.

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4767 Hits

THE CLIENTELE, "SUBURBAN LIGHT"

The band that has wowedcollectors and critics alike has compiled their first 7" singlereleases onto one charming compact disc. The disc collects theirrecordings which stem back to about 1998 but omits the tracks whichappeared on this year's earlier CD EP release, "A Fading Summer." Italso adds a couple new, previously unreleased songs. The Clientele isone of my favorite new groups to emerge in the last couple years. Theirmusic has a heavy feel of 60s indie-pop. The sound is melodic with abasic usage of drums, guitar and bass. Primitive home studio electronicgear gives a sort of charm that translates well to their original vinylreleases. Subject matters revolving around rain, darkness and love,clearly displaying the group can only be English, almost dreaming of aday when they could have easily filled the opening slot on a mid-60s UKtour of Gerry and the Pacemakers. With songs as sugar sweet as "(I WantYou) More Than Ever" and "Saturday," prolonged listens may result indental work. The instrumental competancy of the group is something thatis witnessable in their live performances, while the members can beobserved with playing unobtrusive melodies using the entire fretboardsof the stringed instruments. Bass lines are melodic and gentle, asJames isn't copping out by playing root notes of chords while thedrummer has an undeniably talented balance of control and subtledelicacy. Charming ballads and blissful love songs are not a bad thingif they're done with sincerity, and I think the group are doing a finejob of mastering the art.

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5085 Hits

TROUM, "SEN"

The latest release fromStaalplaat's prolific Mort aux Vaches series comes to us from theGerman drone outfit Troum. Much like their previous incarnation MaerorTri, Troum are masters of the slow progression, be it in terms ofintensity, volume, style, or all three, as in the case of this release.Sen, which consists of one hour-long track, begins quietly withdelicate reverberations and soft metallic ringing: sonic architectureso subtle that one might not even notice the gradual accumulation ofthe duo's trademark sound. Troum's skill as artists in field of dronestruly lies in their ability to craft them with such beauty. All toofrequently are we besieged with power electronics artists who employthis technique in ways that are either overwhelming or boring. Bylayering dones with wistful electronic spirals, Troum lends them anundeniable prettiness. It isn't until twenty-five minutes into Sen thatthese almost gossamer soundscapes give way to the throb of atranslucent beat, which in turn melts into rhythmic patches ofdistortion as the album takes on creepier, harsher textures. Thesetwists and turns are, however, not ungraceful in the slightest, butdissolve into one another with fluid ease. Finally, stripping down to asolitary, nearly inaudible echo, Sen fades to an end just as gently asit began.

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4809 Hits

Sad Rockets, "Transition"

The transition has indeed been made from the hip yet relatively obsure Chain Reaction label in Germany to the international powerhouse known as Matador for this, the third full-lengther from Andrew Pekler, a.k.a. Sad Rockets. While the output may be labeled as a medium-paced modern dub hybrid, the inputs are almost completely organic, reminiscent more of the older school masters than many electronic contemporaries.

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4841 Hits

Microstoria, "Model 3, Step 2"

Jan St. Werner (of Mouse On Mars) and Markus Popp (of Oval) have cooked up a third offering of glitchy, cryptic ambience for us, this time without all the rhetoric about music as software and digital revolutions in musical composition.

 

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5548 Hits

Tosca, "Suzuki"

Richard Dorfmeisterteamed up with Rupert Huber for a fine selection of loungey trip-hopworthy of prancing around with bell-bottoms in. Sure, something likethis can sit very well along with Kruder & Dorfmeister projectslike Peace Orchestra, but the difference in this one is more emphasison a deeper soul. Female vocals are introduced in the form of samplesto give it a little more human and less mechanical spirituality thanthe typical white German electro dubtacular sound. If it were 1992,this would be labelled as "chill out room music." Serene andgalactical, this would provide a great soundtrack to lying in your roomwith your friend or lover, staring up at the glowing stars stuck to theceiling. Illegal substances optional of course.

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4772 Hits

MEAT BEAT MANIFESTO, "ECCENTRIC OBJECTS"

Fucking incredible! JackDangers has a clever way of teasing his fans. Once an album has soakedinto the culture, imitators spring up and fade away, only shortly afterpeople stop listening to his album, unexpectedly something pops out ofnowhere that reminds us all how incredible he really is. "EccentricObjects" is no exception. The record comes as a 12" single withflexi-disc, orderable through Sputnik7.com only, all four tracks on the12 are some of his finest stuff, bringing in the crashing breakbeats,organic sounds, thunderous effects and driving basslines that are sodamn signature Jack Dangers material. This is the stuff many peopledream of while sitting in their rooms, watching mind-numbing televisionshows and getting fat on cheese. "Hey wouldn't it be great to do musiclike this...?" Little do they know it's been happening for many manyyears. The strength of these tracks stand well completely on their own,while making any fan salivate just thinking of a future full-lengther.For a limited time, a flexi-disc with two bonus soundscapes isincluded. The ever entertaining "Peristaltic Wave" and "My Shorty" usecollected sound samples from strange archives of the 50s and 60s. Getthis while you still can, while these songs may be compiled onto afuture release, the versions will probably be altered while theflexi-disc tracks will probably never resurface.

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4530 Hits

TINO'S BREAKS VOL. 5 - "DUB"

For the last three years,Tino has been serving up two slabs of hot wax with breakbeats galoreand sample tracks collected at the end. It was looking like this yearwas going to squeak by with only getting one slab, but fear not, Tino'sBreaks volume 5 is a two-record set full of dub gems led by one of thebest drummers in the world, Tino. Following last year's release ofMambo and Christmas, Dub carries on the style of some fat cuts andbreaks, familiar samples, and beats amusing and exciting to listen toand mix in with your favorite breakbeat needs. I don't smoke pot, butif I did, boy would this be a great slab of wax to chill out with. Forthose not in the know, the core of Tino Corp is Ben Stokes (from DHSand H-Gun), Jack Dangers (see previous review) and Mike Powell (formerMeat Beat Manifesto member). Learning the drums is easy and when youlike the dub it's fun too! These vinyl-only releases are essential forany MBM fan as well as any fan of dub and latin-influenced breakbeats.

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5039 Hits

BLIXA BARGELD "RECYCLED"

Blixa Bargeld is frontman for Einstürzende Neubauten, member of NickCave's Bad Seeds, occasional actor and contributor to various plays andsoundtracks. For Maria von Heland's German suspense thriller "Recycled",Bargeld composes nearly all of the soundtrack, as arranged andorchestrated by the Tim Isfort Orchestra. Unlike Bargeld's previous solowork "Commissioned Music" this music is not as minimal and emotionallysparse. Isfort's large orchestra, undoubtedly influenced by classiccomposers such as Morricone, provides a rich classical palette to paintBargeld's various moods. "Küss mich wach" ("Kiss Me Awake") begins thedisc vocally as Bargeld and Amanda Ooms solo and duet German lyrics oversweeping strings and a light piano and beat rhythm. Ooms also speaksGerman text on another brief track. The remaining 19 tracks areinstrumental pieces, ranging 9 seconds to 4 minutes, obviously meant tocorrespond with the events and moods of the film. "Mr. Aloha" by Carnivalof Souls is unexpectedly tacked on to the end but it's charming waves ofpedal steel work well. What's important here for me, as a fan of Bargeldand someone who will likely never see the film, is that the soundtrackholds up on it's own. And that it does, very well. The sound is fulland varied and the flow is very comfortable. "Recycled" is a beautifulwork completely on it's own and well worth the $15 import price.

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7382 Hits

N.U. UNRUH "EUPHORIE IM ZEITALTER DER DIGITALEN INFORMATIONSUBERTRAGUNG"

N.U. Unruh is percussionist for Einstürzende Neubauten and "Euphoria inthe Age of Digital Information Transfer" is, surprisingly, his first soloalbum. Unruh's idea was to compose sequences entirely from the sampledsounds of various digital devices to give musical life to everyday itemsnot normally heard in that context. The audio library is extensive:motors, oscillators, alarms, beepers, phones, toys, video games, doorbells, office machines, etc. provide all sorts of beeps, blips, tones,drones, lo-fi animal calls and human voices. Each of the 26 tracks, mostin the less than 1 minute to 3 minute range, are a whirring din of theseaudio bits arranged into multi tracked mini symphonies. Cheesy sounds andplayful melodies are plentiful and the most promising tracks tend to bethe shortest and least developed. The final "Appendix" sample trackprovides most if not all of the samples one a time in succession. Bythis point it all seems rather silly, tedious and pointless ... much likea room full of toddlers feverishly banging away at the sound triggeringbuttons on their toys while others simultaneously play video games. Andconsidering that I'm pretty bored with and/or annoyed by most of thesesounds in my day to day life, they don't do much more for me organizedinto less than interesting 'songs'. "Euphorie.." will be filed away andmost likely never listened to again.

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4406 Hits