Lusine ICL, Condensed [Hymen – ¥734, 2003]

March 25th, 2004 Comments off

lusine_condensed“Condensed” is a brilliant collection of tracks taken from singles made by the equally brilliant Lusine. You get the excellent “Chao EP” released by Mental Industries that contains a superb Crunch remix, a track from the Delikatessen 10″-series, a track from Jip’s “1st Year”, Lusine’s offering to U-cover’s “Perspective Fragments” compilation and much more. 13 tracks on a CD, it’s out on Hymen and there’s not much more to be said on the subject.

Phako, Shipyards and Engineering Co. Ltd. [DUB Recordings – DUB CD06, 2002]

March 25th, 2004 Comments off

phako_yards“Shipyards and Engineering Co. Ltd.” is the album that followed the twelve-inch with the same name that was released on DUB recordings in 2002. The album contains the tracks from the single release other assorted Phako offerings as well as two videos. It’s not just something for the collectors, because it contains great beats intense electronic music too.

Cathode, Special Measures [Expanding Records – EVA5:03, 2004]

February 22nd, 2004 Comments off

cathode_eva503The first Expanding album to see the light of day in 2004 comes from Cathode and is entitled “Special Measures”. The ever so excellent artwork and packaging aside this album shows an Expanding Records’ in great shape. “Be red or yellow” starts off this album in a fairly analogue setting without giving up the glitch, layers of gentle guitars are fused with broken rhythms and a healthy solid beat sets the ambience. Onto the piece de resistance, unquestionably the best track on the entire LP is the equally aptly entitled “While making other plans”. The gentle melody, the convincing beats and rhythm introducing the track leads onto to clever use of bell-like sounds and an awesome build-up. Enter the strings… it’s all over and together with the processed vocals you’ve got one of the best tracks of 2004. Yes, I know it’s still early days, but I’m quite confident. The slightly more techno influenced “Spincycle” offers a straight kick and dynamic bell based sound structure. “Hayling and Brixton” got a decidedly analogue bassline and loveable melody, quite ingenious in all its simplicity. It’s electronica according to the non-existent blueprint. Flipping the record over and you get a mellower sounding “Roxburgh” starting off with high-frequency sounds and solid melodies interacting, All in all its’ familiar sounding, yet new. “Basic Assumption” has a brilliant ambient intro taking the tempo down even further, epic soundscape stuff, still with that analogue feeling lurking about. It’s beatless, processed and beautiful. The understated beats with corresponding bass filled melody creates great atmosphere in “This Just In (c90 mix)” a steadily building and flowing track. Mid-through, the track’s bearing elements become transparent only to be reshaped again, excellent production. “Lewy Body” features a fragile melody fused with strings and some residual glitch, then transforming into a nursery rhyme like forward moving track. A slab of uncompromised contemporary music being at the same time: dynamic, rhythmic, complex and thoroughly enjoyable. I’m looking forward to whatever’s in store from the Expanding camp in the future. They manage to always serve as a source for inspiration, sonically as well as visually.

Depth Affect, Mesquin EP [Autres Directions In Music – MOULIN003, 2004]

February 22nd, 2004 Comments off

mesquinThe third release from Adim (that would be Autres Directions In Music for the ones who hasn’t red the two previous reviews here at ED one of the last outposts of contemporary electronic music in Stockholm.) is a hip-hop based excursion courtesy of Depth Affect. They really make the best description of their music themselves: “…our way of proceeding isn’t original it simply consists in exploring the different aspects of electronic hop hop music.” and they do exactly that, heavy beats and looped melodies create convincing tracks. “Mesquin Eye” relies on all these elements and it is quite melodic. “Dialect” is decidedly minimal and has awesome old school drums and bassline that completely dominates the sonic picture. The choice of title shows great sense of humour given the sampled vocals used in the track. The third track “not Forgotten” is of epic proportions even though the chosen opening beats are close to render the track generic, but it is saved by the overall composition and it is a lovely track all in all. The forth and last track on the EP is a remix of the opening track “Mesquin Eye” entitled “Vertigo Remix” the remix is made by Melodium who also did the honors on Moulin 001 and he does a great job here too. Adding some different sounds to the original and cleaning up the beats to the verge of minimalism and even throwing in some filtering for good measure and outro. You can’t but like Adim and all you have to do in order to get their releases is to go to their website and download them or buy them for 5 euros each!

ENV(itre), Teaktshramin [Aphorism Records – APHORISM001, 2004]

February 22nd, 2004 Comments off

envitre_teaktshraminTeaktshramin is the debut album by ENV(itre) that also doubles as first release on the brand new Aphorism Records. This is good stuff and Aphorism is clearly an interesting newcomer. An album sporting 14 tracks and weighing in at 45:58 min will either suffer the judgement that it’s too short or that there’s too many tracks on it. Both things can be said to be true of “Teaktshramin” but it is still an excellent first release as well as debut album. The opening track “Couldec” serves as a perfect intro and sets the mood, great choice of sounds and solid beats programming with complexity and harshly treated sounds combined in such a way that the forward movement isn’t lost. The second track “Andrea” is built along the same musical drawing as the opening track, but considerably less harsh sounding. It’s craftsman’s electronic music without being the least generic. “Do the Gew” manifests the first induced feeling of a solidly produced album. When the album progresses so does my associations and they point me in the direction of the likes of M-tech and possibly Phonem. Not bad influences I might add. The vocal experiment? “A Breathe (with Morbid_monja)” however, painfully illustrates the difficulties involved with using vocals… no matter how they sound. “Brummede and Surje” is a quality piece of electronic music that also succeeds with incorporating some nostalgic references without being retro. “Fillit” is an excellent track with understated melody and awesome beats programming. The same can be said about “Beljron”. “Avril Afech”, “Ohms Groove” and “Heflit” the last one being a drum machine marvel it’s too bad it only lasts for 120 seconds. “Purlinpark” is great and the references are clearly visible here as well, but it doesn’t matter. Then there’re the beat filled, filtered and beautiful compositions of “Q Boonp”. The thirteenth track is entitled “The World would be better without” and has some intense off beat programming, cut-up trickery and a message to boot. It’s only for the headstrong though. “Velcq Calling” is a beatless and intense track that also ends the album. I don’t know what Velcq means but it doesn’t seem entirely safe… This album is with one exception a thoroughly enjoyable and an equally good first release. ED welcomes Aphorism Records to the wonderful world of electronic music and look forward to the next Aphoristic offering.

Praveen, Circle Song [Expanding Records – EVS3:03, 2004]

February 22nd, 2004 Comments off

praveen_evs303A new acquaintance at Expanding Records by the name of Praveen delivers a striking contribution to this year’s evs series. “Circle Song (Dedicated to Adam Lee)” features lead heavy beats, complex layering as well as atmospheric melodies it’s a track made for Expanding or any quality conscious label out here for that matter. It’s brilliant music that will probably not be played enough times. The flipside is even better, the ambiguously entitled “Nameless (P. Diggity Dog)” starts off as a quite regular exercise in hip-hop based electronica, but soon evolves into something decidedly different. Harshly compressed beats that gets space to move in opens up the track and delivers a sonic experience that you’ll be sure to want to relive again and again and that’s even before you get to hear the call and response melody! In one word: masterful. And even the distorted feedback noise that sounds like ground failure plays its part. Praveen is another great find by Expanding.

Vessel, Fold [Expanding Records – EVS2:03, 2003]

February 22nd, 2004 Comments off

vessel_evs203It’s made by Vessel what can you say? Returning in style for 2004 on the evs series, where he also started his expanding adventure, after his acclaimed debut album was released on Expanding last year (2003). And his contribution is a treat indeed. In “Fold” the production is second to none, top-class beats in combination with bass rich enough to fill any void, lots of atmosphere and on top of that the sweetest sounding melody. Do you want to laugh or do you want to cry? You decide!In “Crowd Control + Kerna” you get epic sounding intro processed vocals included, beatless sonic excursions are ended mid-through making way for industrial strength strings and beats. I’m unsure whether this is actually two different tracks, if that’s the case one can hope that the track will be released in its entirety some time in the near future. The new evs series is looking as strong as ever. Get your copy now!

Dudley, Seasonal LP [Autres Directions In Music – MOULIN002, 2003]

February 22nd, 2004 Comments off

moulin002The loveable DIY label Autres Directions in Music are back with their second offering: Moulin 002. The second release is delivered by Dudley and is entitled “Seasonal LP”. This release is continuing on the musical path struck by the first release Moulin 001, where the very same artist also contributed with a remix of one of Melodium’s tracks. On “Seasonal LP” you get analogue coloured melodious electronic music. The seemingly untreated guitars looped over forward moving gentle beats and naive melody in the opening track “Adequat” is representative of this album. Quite impossible to categorise or is it pop-music in a good sense? “Fall Song” develops along the same line of thought, but it’s more loop based and the beats are just a tad heavier, not forgetting the massive strings. But I must admit that it is close to impossible not mention Wagon Christ’s “Throbbing Pouch” as the obvious reference in this particular case, that being said it’s really good track nevertheless. “Little Whril” is more up-tempo and has classic but excellent beats, the sample is eternal and probably not cleared so we’ll leave it at that, too bad it only lasts for 2 min 15 sec. The sonic ambience gets richer in “Let Down” with it’s down pitched beats and dirty sounding edits. The track with the longest title is also my personal favourite “The flower that eats the moon” got classic breakbeats and excellent understated sub bass and a playful melody, but it is the understated bassline that makes my night any day. Being obsessed with breakbeats and all… “…With Rain” returns the album to the curious untreated guitar sounds, they’re fused with beats and flute, quite original sounding actually. “Monday” features more talented loop manipulations and layered strings, leaning toward hip-hop it is still a hybrid with the breakbeats lurking around the corner and finally almost making the track succumb, but the lonely guitar is victorious in the end. “Kashcut” defies my description but it is still good. Quite nostalgic and at the same time not… “Point of Disgust” is a vocal based track, which is decidedly pop-oriented. Maybe it doesn’t really do the album justice, but the lyrics are quite convincing… The Adim label is going its own way and that is always refreshing. This label also raises some rather serious questions about the music industry, distributors, independent record labels, quality music manufacturing and so forth. One can but applaud the releases so far, what is next? Even though I personally have a hard time accepting/realising that in the world today some of the best musical things are for free at least for the consumer… that is strange.

Various Artists, Exp/Static [Expanding + Static Caravan – Van 51 E/S, 2003]

December 16th, 2003 Comments off

various_exp_static_10The two influential record labels Expanding and Static Caravan join forces and release “Exp/static” a 10″ picture disc for the Christmas season 2003. The expanding (xmas waistline) team is represented by the core of expanding’s artists: Benge, Stendec and Vessel. The static (auntie val’s xmas nylon jumper) caravan team is represented by: Lilienthal (recently reviewed at ED), Hulk and Marcia Blaine School for Girls.With “Bambie” Benge delivers a fantastic track with his unique sound and this time around the genre to be re-invented and Bengefied is decidedly dub related. “Bambie” contains excellent string arrangements as well as beats and a contrabass-like played bassline, there’s just one Benge and this is how he sounds. Stendec really showing brute production force in their contribution “Incluse”, with excellent handling of the beats, beautiful and expertly chosen sounds and a warm atmosphere second to none. If I’m not mistaken it’s a version of a track that featured in Stendec’s 2002 live show. Vessel returns in form on “Sticker” after his delightful full-length album that was released on Expanding earlier this year. Clever build-up/construction of the beats leading up to the main melody and melancholic atmosphere, but as often is the case with Vessel the sun rays are just waiting to break through the clouds and all of a sudden you’re happier once again.Lilienthal’s “King of Information” is quite acoustic and apart from the effective beats and vocal arrangements it’s main feature is a lonesome unaltered guitar. It’s quite beautiful and different sounding. Hulk delivers “Paper Rock Scissors” a lo-fi number consisting of a quite disturbing vocal-like melody and generally claustrophobic feeling. I’m not familiar with Hulk ‘s productions, but this track is intriguing. Marcia Blane School for Girls venture out on the beats-tip with “Miss Prism” adding unusual sonic elements (vibraphone?) and creating a track that is as unique as it is quirky. But that’s more or less their trademark, so it is to be expected. The disc itself is a colourful, thick and limited piece of plastic, yet another fantastic release by Expanding and Static Caravan.

Frank And Bill/Laurent Brondel, Untitled [Skam – SMAK11/12, 2003]

December 16th, 2003 Comments off

fab_smak11_12

At last this record got released and it’s FAB’s contribution to the ever growing and exclusive Smak split series. Other familiar faces here at Electronic Desert that has previously contributed to the Smak series include New Speaks’ Ola Bergman. This is another excellent release by the grossly underrated duo known as Frank and Bill. Their side, which would be 12 features three beautiful compositions filled to the brim with beats and breathtaking melodies.Starting off with some solid beat programming and atmosphere in “Pontiak” fused with an ending tasteful break and a hint of glitch makes the track work beautifully. “Early Morning Mambo” displays the warmth of the FAB sound to the fullest, the beats and the layers of melodic elements contrast in a very harmonic way. Did I mention their melodic strength? On to the third and last track and also my favourite on this release, “K20” is a classic in the making! It’s saturated with melancholy, superb forward moving crunchy beats and a melody to die for. The vocal influenced and played sounds complete the sonic picture. It’s an instant replay and it’s safe to say that Frank and Bill are going from strength to strength.The individual dwelling on the other side of the vinyl (actually I suspect it is the first side or 11, but I’m the one doing the reviewing here) is Laurent Brondel and his contribution differs in almost every conceivable aspect from FAB’s. “Siliconized”, “Synchronized” and “Materialized” could have been three beats intense electro-influenced excursions, landing in the harsher sonic spectrum, but the overtly use of vocorised vocals and generic use of female ones, completely spoils that attempt. However, it is positive to use the split format fully and you literally get a two-records-in-one deal. Take your pick. If you manage to get your hands on a copy, that is.