Esem, Enveloped [Defocus – FOC364CD, 2002]

September 9th, 2002 Comments off

esem_envelopedAfter the delightful “Ikae” 12-inch release on Defocus in 2001, Esem returns with this full-length album entitled “Enveloped”. The 13 tracks contained on the CD version all contain brilliant beats programming, bass and beautiful melodies. The compositions are all strikingly well balanced. That is, Esem’s music isn’t at all to be categorized as minimal, but neither is it to be regarded as burdened by over production, it’s just that, very well balanced. The rhythmic strength in his music is especially noticeable, and it’s a display of a not to complicated, but nevertheless interesting percussive elements, giving the tracks plenty of forward motion. And in combination with the strong melodies, sounds, creating tracks that are very enjoyable indeed. Sure, there’s a lot of stuff that is more abstract and complex, but there’re few that are as nice sounding. The closing words: a very complete album debut by Esem that stands a good chance of becoming timeless.

Murcof, Martes [Leaf – BAY23V, 2002]

September 8th, 2002 Comments off

murcof_martesA very impressive album debut by Murcof released in May 2002 on the Leaf label, it’s a double pack 12″ and it contains 10 personal and equally beautiful tracks. Most noteworthy is naturally the use of elements such as various string and other musical instruments usually associated with classic music and not forgetting the live feeling setting of bass and drums. But, it is the combination with pure electronics and done with a high degree of precision. All elements chosen have been done so with a lot of attention to the detail and the function of the particular sonic element in question. Very mature production to say the least and a simply excellent end result. Murcof’s debut album “Martes” comes highly recommended.

Quench, EP [Aim Records – AIM07, 2001]

September 8th, 2002 Comments off

quench_aim007What, another Quench release from they year 2001? Yes, it’s true these two men seem pretty unstoppable! The Funcken brothers got me cornered and there just isn’t anyone outthere coming close to them, when it comes to putting crunchy beats together with mind altering melodies, melancholy and sheer beauty. This particular Aim release isn’t an exception and nor are their previous DUB releases. First track “Spazm” contains warmth, completely saturated with bass and Quench’s beats providing a steady pace throughout the track, which in itself makes this 12″ worth getting. The three remaining tracks “Quad”, “Sin” and “Swordfish” are of the more crunchy persuasion just as good and all following the patented and highly unique Quench formula. In short: top-class, as always from the (unstoppable) Funcken brothers.

Ten and Tracer, Keylemon Reports [Inc.Us – INC.US006, 2001]

September 8th, 2002 Comments off

ten_and_tracer_keylemonA very nice release from Ten and Tracer on Inc.Us, the vinyl section of the Belgian U-cover label. This six track 12″ contains a selection of warm and slightly melancholic compositions. You could quite easily come up with an association, music wise, but in all honesty that would be unfair to the artist and this work, so I will refrain from doing that. The opening track “Hoxton for You” contains some great beats programming and sounds and starts of this EP’s general feeling. “Understanding Waves” continues in the same direction, while “Moraine Park” decreases the tempo and puts emphasis on the bass elements. All executed with the same clarity and vision. The flipside’s first track is entitled “Two Medicine” and it is also down-tempo, beat-filled, bass-rich and with great atmosphere reaching over to “Kemia Divine”, picking up the overall pace, but holding on to the feeling created, simply beautiful. The sixth and last track “Keylemon Reports”, again some light treading and forward going beats and strong melodic components. This EP leaves you wanting to hear more and wanting to hear it again.

Various Artists, Masonic [Hymen – ¥719, 2002]

September 6th, 2002 Comments off

hymen_masonicHymen is celebrating the fifth year of record label activities and what better way of celebrating than releasing a double CD? The “Masonic” contains all imaginable music from the electronic music field, exactly in the same manner as this versatile label has evolved during these years. You get it all, from the melancholic to the straight up abusive! In the order they appear and with no other guiding principle than order, commencing with item number one: A2, Neutral, Dead Hollywood Stars, Beefcake, L’usine ICL, Funkstörung, Imminent, Baracuda, Scorn, Venetian Snares, Frz & Blue Baboon & Etero Expandum Club, Fourplay, Solar-X and Sonic Dragolgo. The order of appearance on item number two is the following: Gridlock, Xingu Hill, Lilienthal, Bochumwelt, Substanz-t, Starfish Pool, Noosa Hedz, Somatic Responses, Xanopticon, K_chico, Red Sparrow, Llips, Trifid Project, End, So Fucking Jazz and Fanny. And to single out some tracks in the high quality breakbeat vain of things on the first item: 1.04, 1.05, 1.06, 1.08, 1.09 and 1.11. And to single out some more tracks in the high quality breakbeat vain of things on the second item: 2.01 – 2.08, 2.12 and 2.14. If you like breakbeat based electronic music then my recommendation is the following: get a copy of the “Masonic” compilation.

Benge, Meme Tunes [Expanding Records – ECD09:02, 2002]

September 6th, 2002 Comments off

benge_meme_tunesBenge returns with his first album since 1999’s “Silicon Valleys” on the Belgian label Quatermass and follows last years brilliant 7″ “Baud and Unary” and the subsequent contribution to the “The Condition of Muzak” compilation CD on Expanding Records. As all great artists Benge has his very personal take on electronic analogue/digital music and he is involved in a constantly changing process. “Meme Tunes” is most likely his best work so far the compositions on the album are best described as truly beautiful pieces of music. And the clarity in production and sound selection is overwhelming. The CD contains 11 tracks and three of them are not featured on the vinyl counterpart. The tracks that didn’t fit on 12″ are called “Nike”, “Tame/Rude image” and “Proton”. And among them are “Proton” a singularly well-crafted track, with feather like beats, astounding beauty and atmosphere this track almost makes it a pre-requisite to have the CD as well as the vinyl. Actually there’s another argument that goes along the same lines of thought and that is the limited booklet that accompanies the CD. It’s a cleverly constructed description of how the actual track titles were constructed food for thought is always nice! It goes without saying Benge’s “Meme Tunes” album comes highly recommended regardless of format.

Benge, Meme Tunes [Expanding Records – EVA1:02, 2002]

September 6th, 2002 Comments off

benge_meme_tunes_vinylPlease refer to the review of the CD version of this album. Vinyl tracklist: a1: adam – age loneliness a2: alpaca a3: a caped hero a4: faun six b1: urban b2: ajax goon b3: pica unit b4: eve’s escape valve

Proem, No_carrier EP [Component – COM108, 2002]

September 6th, 2002 Comments off

proem_no_carrierIf you’re already familiar with and appriciative of Proem’s work, such as the outstanding “Burnt Plate no.1” album on Hydrant or his “Negative” album on Merck then you’ll not be the least dissapointed of hearing this release. And if you’re not familiar with Proem’s work then the “no_carrier ep” strongly suggests that you should become familiar with it. The EP contains 6 tracks, all carrying the Proem insignia of expertly constructed beats, melodies and carefully selected sounds creating dynamic and very listenable tracks. “Just Ashed on my Foot” and the track entitled “No_carrier” are perfect examples of that, the first one with clever beats programming drifting forward alongside beautiful echoed piano chords. The second one features strong melody, strong sounds and equally strong beats. In reality there’re only two things that troubles me with this release and firstly it’s the actual length of the songs, they’re too short and secondly it’s the size, the 3″ CD is so small I’m terrified I’ll loose it while in transport. To summarize: this is an excellent EP from Proem.

Quench, A Journey into Electonix [U-cover – 002CD, 1999]

September 6th, 2002 Comments off

quench_a_journey_intoIt was a while ago this album by Quench was released, in 1999 to be exact. It doesn’t matter it has stood the test of time in a striking manner. Quench unmisstakable take on electronic music shines through on this release as it does on all their releases. The album entitled “A Journey into Electonix” contains some of the songs that were later released as DUB12.2 on the Dutch imprint bearing the same name. The 4 tracks that ended up on the 12″ were probably the very best from this album, but the remaining 7 tracks don’t fall far behind and they are as essential to the album as the others. The first and last tracks are remixes thrown in for good measure, one by Funckarma and the other co-remixed by Llips and Quench. Simply put, it’s brilliant, brilliant and brilliant!

Various Artists, Alba Absurdia [Alba Absurdia, 2002]

September 6th, 2002 Comments off

alba_absurdiaA compilation with a somewhat unknown origin, at least as far as the actual label releasing it goes. The “Alba Absurdia” compilation contains 20 tracks all in all, with varying styles, some tongue in cheek samples, which actually isn’t really my cup of tea, but there’re some really striking tracks and fairly experimental tracks as well. And among them there’s a track that really stands out and it’s Kema Keur’s “Capital” an awesome composition! Bass to go around, the sweetest melody, interesting sounds and a layer of menacing perfectly crafted low-frequency distortion humming alongside the rest of the track. There’re some elements in this song that are very familiar sounding… Other tracks are: Christ’s “kanderal” and the short “splicer” by Dissolved, based on sampled conversation, beatless and very atmospheric. It is directly followed by Bovine Life’s “Svanejeger” that also relies on vocal samples, but that’s also the only thing these two tracks have in common, the vocals have been heavily reconstructed and layered and thereby creating a chilling track which is quite disturbing, but in a good way! And there’s more: Pulse Patrol’s “Moon Unit” with its quirky playfulness in both beats as well as the played bassline melody. Think Tank’s “The Shadow Legion” which is a straight up electro track, sounding the way electro is supposed to sound. This compilation is versatile to say the least and that also makes it interesting and Kema Keur’s “Capital”, what a track!