Conrad Newholmes, Peppermint Styles [Couchblip! – BLIP009, 2005]

December 17th, 2005 Comments off

conrad_newholmes“Peppermint Styles” is the title of Conrad Newholmes’ full-length album released by the Australian label Couchblip!. The ninth Couchblip! release is an back-to-front hip hop affair, filled to the brim with samples, from movies, forgotten and well-known songs, hip hop vocals and… all and nothing basically. There’re tracks highly influenced by the sound found at the time of the birth of hip hop in the early 80’s, a time when all that was needed to rock the world was a drum machine and a ghetto blaster. Side-by-side with contemporary beats programming and bass handling. A treat if you like beats. If you really don’t like instrumental hip hop maybe you should just leave “Peppermint Styles” be. In all other cases be sure to investigate this collection of awesomely put together classy beats!

Various Artists, Cepheid Variable [Filament Recordings – FILA001, 2005]

December 17th, 2005 Comments off

cephid_variableThe newly started label Filament Recordings is the brain-child of the artist Lum. The first release is the compilation “Cepheid Variable” and for those, like me who didn’t know: Cepheid variables are a class of pulsating star used as “milepost markers” to calculate the distance to nearby galaxies! Lum has previously released an EP on ClickClickDrone and contributed to compilations on the same label as well as on October Man Recordings. “Cepheid Variable” features 15 tracks by as many artists and a majority of the productions adhere to the bold statement made by Filament: “…focusing on Electronic music leaning towards a more innovative/ experimental/ unconventional sound…” Starting from the top: Poborsk’s “Tunha” has Indian inspired sounds, relies on a loop, is indeed quite aquatic sounding and short, an intro of sorts. C-mu’s “Granular Fragment 2” is a frantic sound exploration of various Asian sounding and very high-pitched sonic elements, close to being completely devoid of structure, and being just that, a fragment. Cheju of Boltfish fame delivers a stunning downtempo and minimal affair and once again demonstrates his acute sense for constructing melodies. I think it’s safe to say that you rarely hear this kind of minimalism from Cheju. Jaolz’ contribution is called “Out of my System” which is a funny title. In this piece Jaolz goes for static, bundles of it and fused with a mumbling voice-over creates a claustrophobic unnerving feeling. Ceckj’s “Clashtoy Improvisation #3” is reminiscent of the previous track in the sense that it creates an unnerving feeling. However, the tempo is fiercer and the sonic elements numerous as opposed to being minimal. The label boss himself, Lum – delivers “Crane” a rhythmically strong track containing some rather clever reversed sound engineering. Karmøy of Boltfish fame in their turn opts for the beats, which by the way is always appreciated, thus creating a fantastic track with amplitude of atmosphere and vast volumes of space. In the end the song grinds to a halt and echoes out into infinity. Karmøy’s production experience cannot be denied. Auxerre’s “Broken” is precisely that and features instrumentation sounding as if the originate from the Asian realm. Autistici’s “Leden Jar” has some definate cinematic qualities and is beatless and collage-like in its composition. October Man of October Man fame contributes “Same Information” retaining the acoustic trademarks and yet in a harsher more disjoint sonic package than on the previous releases. In Ozke’s “Piste_8” glitches and feedback sounds create a non-aggressive yet menacing atmosphere – maybe the audio recording of a sound engineer’s nightmare. Zainetica of Rednetic fame treats us with dark and sinister deconstructed dub-influenced “Mothership London” outstanding work as usual. Room’s “Hurry Home” features ground failure sounds for base and has a very precise sounding production, it’s ultra crisp and the title carries a well-known request… Ending the compilation is Luca Confusione’s “Praying not Dreaming not Believing” a heavily treated vocal samples in a sonic onslaught quite disturbing actually. Like riding the train to a place you don’t want to visit in company with rather abusive passengers. The musical width of this compilation is broad and yet with 15 different artists and 15 different tracks there’s a red line or common treats shared by many of them.

Various Artists, Patchwork [Boltfish Recordings – BOLT023, 2005]

December 17th, 2005 Comments off

patchwork“Patchwork” is the title of an ambitious 2 disc release remix project signed Boltfish. The first disc features a veritable remix fest where Boltfish’s usual suspects are remixes and are remixed: J.Auer, Karmøy (recurring difficulties finding the Small o, slash character), Boc Scadet, Mint, Zainetica, Bal-a-klah-va, Polestar and Cheju all deliver fine electronic music soothing to ears and soul. The second disc contains remixes made by winners of a competition held by Boltfish earlier this year (2005). The competition was to fabricate a remix of “Camellia” a track (vocals courtesy of Soo Lee) originally made by Cheju and included on Boltfish compilation “Region Zero” (BOLT007). The final 13 to get their remix on disc were The Rumblist, Kado, Z-arc, Richard Houghten, Sunburn in Cyprus, Damien Shingleton, Tito Huapaya, Mattew McCullough, Manilla, Ray Benge, Tarafonika, Sidechain and Cheju. That’s 24 remixes stretching over 2 hours and Boltfish’s 23rd release.

Btb, Sysex EP [Boltfish Recordings – BOLT022, 2005]

December 17th, 2005 Comments off

btb_sys“Sysex EP” is the latest solo release on Boltfish (DEC 2005) and was produced by Boltfish newcomer Btb. The seven-track EP would appear to be directed toward the open-minded dance floor. The sound is not a revolutionary one and it does contain some obvious musical references, but it still is beat driven electronic music filled with melody. The first track’s “Valentine” it is followed by “Midodi” is a 34 second interlude bridging to “Vip” features dry and metallic beats and atmosphere enhancing melody. It’s a good track and probably also my favourite on the “Sysex EP”. “Tykha” is a lighter affair building on straight beats and nursery rhythm like melody and vocal samples. “Mimomi” has playfulness to it and is filled with electronic music nostalgia of the good kind. “Retek” rhythms based on glitch and steady yet understated bassline, loops effectively and the nostalgia factor rising high as well. In “GnC” things settles down and a beatless ambient affair finishes the EP, clocking in at 02:14 min it’s a bit short. Boltfish 22nd release and Btb’s first on Boltfish in any event is an enjoyable electronic experience if you don’t mind a bit of nostalgia.

Sticker Club, Song Time Two [No Ground-R – NG-R03, 2005]

December 17th, 2005 Comments off

sticker_club“Song Time Two” is the third No Ground-R release and it followed the lovely “Pre FM Tracks” by PFM. On the eight-track “Song Time Two” Sticker Club has chosen a somewhat different path compared to the two previous No Ground-R releases. It’s a dirtier lo-fi sounding and less rich sonic texture being presented. “Poorly Song” features nursery rhyme like melodies with grit. Not bad at all.” And then follow “Vacation (Go Go’s cover)” with arcade game music influences, “Pooty II” featuring acoustic guitar and dry almost invisible beats and it’s essentially an electronically infused singer songer ballad without vocals for the 21st century. “Mall of Sound” has quirky beats and quirky sounds making a quirky song. “Fage” features more minimal beats, acoustic and electric guitars and a very subtle bassline. It’s song writing ability demonstrated. The lo-fi setting, understated beats and strong melodies could very well be said to be Sticker Club’s insignia, quite unique sounding and that is always a good thing in my opinion. The third release from No Ground-R has some surprises in store.

PFM, Pre FM Tracks [No Ground-R – NG-R02, 2005]

December 17th, 2005 Comments off

pfm_pre_fm_tracksPre FM Tracks is the title of recording artist PFM’s three track 3″ No Ground-R release. Exceedingly beautiful and very cinematic in its qualities, layers of strings and crystalline-like structure, without being cold sounding, the first track does its title full justice “The Beauty of Repetition”. The second song on the three-song long EP “Prophet Making” features gently treated piano and guitars, a superb build-up and washes of synthetic sounds added to an increasingly complex sonic picture, all to great effect. It’s a great track revealing the talent behind the composition. “My favourite Memory” is ending the EP, which has a steady no-frills acoustic sounding beat and straight forward melody, until the end that is when the song is completely deconstructed. The shorter story: “Pre FM Tracks” is an excellent second release by No Ground-R.

HL, A449/19 [No Ground-R – NG-R01, 2003]

December 17th, 2005 Comments off

HL_A449_19“A449/19″ is the title of the very first No Ground-R release an independent label activated in Great Britain. Releasing music and visuals on their main format of choice 3” discs. “A449/19″ features ambient and slightly menacing soundscapes drowned in low frequency assemblies playing the leading role of structure. According to the background information the 20 min long track is based on the experiences and surroundings of the A449. A road between Newport and Monmouth in South Wales and it lasts for 19 miles (30,5km), during this distance it is not possible to turn around and go back to the place of origin. This is excellent ambient music with rich bass textures and very subtle rhythm. And you just got to love the 3” disc format and the level of ambition of the entire No Ground undertaking of which No Ground-R is an integral part.

Simulcast, Television Street [Simulcast – N/A, 2005]

December 17th, 2005 Comments off

DSCN3460“Television Street” is the title of the self-released eight-track CD by recording artist/ VJ Simulcast hailing from Australia. It’s a classic take on sampling with beats inspired from the old school. “Television Street” sounds a lot like a very well mixed set by a DJ completely submerged in the activities on a late eighties dance floor. However it is made with a lot of love and refreshing lack of respect as far as the use of samples goes. I think that this style of music actually had it’s very own name invented by one or more members of the British journalist body and at the time in question they called it: Big Beat. The name has apparently recently been reused to depict another style of music, but that’s a different story altogether – imagine that, even British music journalists take to recycling. The CD is printed and comes in a jewel case with matching inlay. It also contains a video displaying the visual side of Simulcast’s work. If you’re curious about the days’ that passed or you are eager to reminisce or if you’re looking for someone to light up your dance, look no further.

Melodium, Hum Hum & Bla Bla [Autres Directions In Music – MOULIN014, 2005]

December 17th, 2005 Comments off

moulin014One of Adim’s rising stars strikes again, this time around his œuvre is somewhat cryptically entitled “Hum Hum & Bla Bla” and proudly carrying catalogue number Moulin014. The EP consists of eight songs all branded with the Melodium insignia. Starting off with “Untitled 1” a gentle melody acting as intro to the rest of the EP, this melody is then carried onto the next song “Hellomusic (Ochre remix)” and expands as the as lovely as massive string arrangements and gentle acoustic guitar are fused with 1+1 step beats. This is great stuff. “Untitled 2” features feather light beats, the trademark acoustic guitar and strings drifting into heavily distorted light beats. “Gamm-recomposé (Audioroom remix)” a piano and ultra distorted beats fused with mechanical machine sound sampling creates irresistible rhythms and contrast that are simply breathtaking. “Untitled 3”, repetition can be beautiful as is the case in this piano based piece. “Untitled 4” again brilliant melodies from Melodium and manipulation by an artist by the name of Audioroom. This track displays some rather interesting arrangements involving the sound of crickets and clever reversed sound engineering – the end-result being a very unique sounding delight. “Untitled 5” which is quirky and disjointed in that unmistakably Melodium way and finally “La fin de tout (Marsen Jules remix)” with layers of acoustic guitars framing this eight and last track. The Marsen Jules remix is a fitting end to “Hum Hum & Bla Bla” an excellent piece of contemporary electronic music. Made by Melodium, interpreted by Ochre, Audioroom and Marsen Jules and released by Autres Directions in Music.

Peter Wahlbeck, Arbetsförnedringen 3 Remixes Für Alle [Techstylism Recordings – TRCD01, 2005]

September 1st, 2005 Comments off

peterwahlback_3_remixesThe family is growing and the latest addition is Techstylism Recordings (Aug 2005). A label owned and operated by Electronic Desert co-founder Jan Andersson promises to be a label to keep a lookout for. The first timely release is the CD single “Arbetsförnedringen 3 Remixes Für Alle” and it’s a remix project featuring the famous Swedish actor/stand-up comedian/instigator Peter Wahlbeck. The remixes are all based on the vocals from “Arbetslös” (which literally means unemployed) originally recorded by Mr Wahlbeck. The end-result is three remixes by as many artists covering three aspects of contemporary electronic music. Qualia Systems debut on TR and brings a shuffled and strongly house-influenced exceedingly groovy merry-go-round version. Qualia Systems utilise the very funny vocals in a cunning way. Electronic Desert household name Ludvig Elblaus dubs out completely and does so in an excellent way, massive basslines and even more massive echoes treating the vocals in a hypnotic way. The third remix is signed Smyglyssna and he’s created a two-step fuelled bossa-influenced monster that swings in an almost alarming manner. The potential for the first Techstylism Recordings release is huge and that is true even if you don’t speak a single word of Swedish. Get your hands on a copy of this limited release quickly because they’re not going to last!