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.

Melodium, Parthenay EP [Autres Directions in Music – MOULIN001, 2003]

December 16th, 2003 Comments off

moulin001“Parthenay EP” is the very first release from  (Adim) comes from Melodium. Autres Directions (look in ED’s link section) is a French electronica web-zine and Adim is their web-label and they take DIY very seriously: “available records on adim can be dowloaded for free, the artists involved having agreed to that, original works and creations belong to the artist alone, cd covers are available for downloading and printing. records can thus be burnt on cd, copied on a minidisc, saved on a hard disk, etc. in the same way, anyone can create his own cd cover or print it on coloured paper… it is up to everyone to do according to one’s own wishes. DIY” The “Parthenay EP” contains eight tracks in total five by Melodium and three remixes. Starting off with “Ichtio” light beats alongside chords, lo-fi and toy like sounds, then mid-through the track breaks and the beats are mashed-up, yet they’re still light. Quirky is the word. “Terminus” has a lo-fi acoustic feeling to it, feather-light beats and very strong melody. Great atmosphere and excellent melodies in the following tracks, hard to pin-point exactly what makes these track so good, but “Pause 1” and “Pluraple” are the best tracks on this EP. After “Pluraple” follow the remixes, “Ichtio (Remixed by Motenai & Mimao)” is a quite conventional sounding take, on the original track. “Mmiomm (Remixed by Dudley)” acoustic guitar, breaks and a healthy dose of bass, made for the eclectic dance floor maybe? “Terminus (Remixed by Depth Affect)” added basslines, sampled vocals and attempting to set the track in definite hip-hop mode and it’s working. “Mmiomm” the final track on the EP and like “Pause 1” and “Pluraple” it got that understated and hard-to-catch quality, very nice indeed. The first release on Adim promises more and the next release will be featuring one of the remixers, namely Dudley. The debut album entitled “seasonal LP” will be carrying the catalogue number Moulin 002 and downloadable in the near future.

Lusine ICL, Chao EP [mental.ind.records – MIR001.4, 2003]

December 16th, 2003 Comments off

lusine_chao_epAnother excellent release by Lusine ICL and this time around on mental.ind.records. This artist seems to have an unlimited amount of crisp beats and deep basslines to choose from and on the “Chao EP” he does exactly that. “Chao” starts off with harsh sounding treated beats that progresses into a veritable Lusine classic, with momentous crispy beats and deep bass it can be viewed as a direct continuation of the sound created on the “Iron City” album out on Hymen. The added pace change is as brilliant as the track itself. In “Rabble Rouse” Lusine leaves the house influenced realm where he usually dwells and masters like no other for slightly more driven two-step drum patterns. The deep basslines and quality melodies ensures a track with stopping power and relentless forward movement. The chords seem vaguely familiar, if they’re sampled, they could be? No, that’s not possible… Flip the twelve-inch and you get Lusine’s take on hip-hop based, lush electronica with complementary grit in “Dr Chinme”. The last and fourth track “Chao (Crunch Rmx)” is a remix of the first track on the EP and it’s by none other than Crunch and what a treat it is! Plenty of crunchiness, uncompromised beats and ultra deep bass, this remix is a match made in heaven or on a low machine code level or both. Lusine already remixed Crunch so maybe the outcome it’s not all that surprising. The incorporated processed vocals give the track an overall sinister sound in short it’s an excellent remix by Crunch. If you like Lusine this release is a must! A last word on the actual pressing as well, because it is unbelievable how good this record sounds. Conclusion: in the last shivering moments of 2003 yet another (new) label to investigat…

Plod, Fast Forward EP [Worm Interface – WI028, 2002]

December 16th, 2003 Comments off

plod_ffwdA lovely four track EP by Plod out on Worm Interface, apparently released last year (2002) it didn’t surface in the vicinity of the desert until this year. The EP starts off with the delightful “Fast Forward” containing top-class production, excellent beats and an all-around niceness in short it’s a wonderful track. “Sillgrisslan” follows it, containing more heartbreaking melodies fused with carefully selected rhythmic elements, gentler in setting than the opening track and very good. In “Brockmann” tempo is taken down a notch, a down-tempo track with amplitude of atmosphere and straight forward slow beats and accompanied crunchy hand-clap. Fourth and final track “Just A Ride” features more clever beats and warm washes of synthesised sounds. There’re four good tracks on this EP and that should be enough, so if you’re looking for some warm sounds to get you through the winter? The recommendation is to invest in Plod’s “Fast Forward” EP.

Gimmik, Back to Basics [Toytronic – TOY16LP, 2003]

December 16th, 2003 Comments off

gimmik_back_to_basicsThe latest offering by Gimmik and Toytronic is a full-length album entitled “Back to Basics”. The album has two sides (!), musically as well as physically the first side is beats-oriented and contains a fair amount of production trickery and assorted cut-ups. The second side focuses on atmosphere and soundscapes. One could say that one gets the better of two worlds and the album’s title is quite descriptive at that. The vinyl edition contains 11 tracks of quality electronic music, covering a wide area and all carrying Gimmik’s insignia and further cements Toytronic’s reputation. The straight forward beats in “Let’s Play Cricket” opens the album. As many of his peers have done as of late, the use and incorporation of acoustic instruments is noticeable on this album for example in “Un Jour”, “Le Ciel” and why not “From a-5310 to tw2 7q7”. The track “Booga” is fast-paced, based on break beats cut to bits as well as distorted vocal samples, as a lonely melody simmers in the background. “From a-5310 to tw2 7q7” acts as short outro and brings back the calm.As was previously mentioned the second side features mellower and more atmospheric music. First up is “L’appel des Cors” which is beatless and features fragile melodies and it’s quite beautiful. “Square two” is reminiscent of Proem’s line of thought with crunchy beats and mechanical sounds fused with amplitude of atmosphere. “Syntax” takes the tempo down again and features feather light beats alongside melody and a hint of bass. “7th of May” continues the ambient touch and “Back to Basics” increases the tempo and the aptly programmed drum machines do indeed remind you of those long gone days, a piece of nostalgia, right there and a fitting conclusion to the album. “Back to Basics” is not a revolutionary piece of plastic, however it is still a high-quality one and that’s about what you would expect from Gimmik and Toytronic. Get it now or leave it forever (supposedly all releases from toy1 to toy11 except toy05cd are already officially deleted) because, toy16 it will not last…

Funckarma, DemSongzByWe [ON Records – ON104, 2003]

December 4th, 2003 Comments off

funckarma_demsongzbyweON is on it again, the second and last release Anno Domino 2003 features the giants of the deep: Funckarma. They’re not newcomers to the ON label and have actually made contributions to three out of four releases so far. The fourth instalment on ON Records will be a four-track remix twelve-inch entitled “DemSongzByWe” and the remixees are: Ontayso, Céline, Kero and Slemper. Apart from Funckarma and ON, Ontayso is the know factor here, because I know for a fact that they’ve previously released on the excellent U-cover label. But, the other parameters are unknown at least to me, (well it seems like Slemper actually released a track on JIP, but since I havn’t heard it yet it doesn’t count) and that makes this EP even more intriguing, if possible. First up is the “Ontayso – Score of an Imaginary Island Iceland Remix”, based on jazz reference and a variety of layered brass instruments. All fused with that unmistakable Funckarma scientific beat programming, dark atmosphere and production skills. In one word: intense. A daring choice for the A1 track some might say, I say excellent choice! But be warned it is not for the fainthearted. Second in line is the “Céline – Here and Now Remix” overall sonic intensity turned down, just a notch, but the bass pressure strikes back instead, in full force and it’s accompanied by some heavily treated vocals. A steady beat drives the track forward to its undeniable logical end. In one word: heavy. Third up is the “Kero – Bent Remix” familiar territory, the intro building up complexity, laying on a steady and ultra-deep bass to hold on to and then those beats… break it down, breath man/woman, breath… there are those melodies and sounds you would kill for. In one word: majestic. Make any sense to you? No? Then get the record! “Slemper – Soccermummy Remix” displays harsher excellent broken beats, a quite hostile sonic environment and glass-like soundscapes. In one word: abusive. I imagine that the outcome of this review must have been keeping anyone who has entered the Electronic Desert before in unbearable suspense, what would the conclusion ultimately be? It’s no secret, that to my mind Funckarma stand in a league of their own and ON104 will most definitely not change that, this is as good as it gets! Musical versatility, beat complexity, bass pressure, emotion and production skills are displayed to the fullest and in a way that no one else musters. I’m getting the vinyl record the very second it is released.

Lilienthal, Castor & Pollux [Emanate Records – EMA003, 1999]

December 4th, 2003 Comments off

lilienthalThis as far as I know the debut album by Lilienthal and it was released on America’s Emanate label in 1999. Lilienthal has later released on a multitude of labels, such as: Static Caravan, Hymen and Delikatessen Records. His twelve-inch on Static Caravan has been played heavily by JL at Electronic Desert, so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that his debut album is as good as it actually is. “Castor & Pollux” contains 13 tracks and it is a musically grand album with amplitude of cleverly programmed beats, beautiful melodies, warm atmosphere and above all variety. The opening “Blue Laser” with its bell-like sounds, unstoppable shuffled beats and slightly distorted massive bassline is (was) an instant classic, pure electronic bliss! And the album progresses along these lines with nothing but premium production and composition. Varied as anything can be but still held together by the production skills, whether it be cut-ups, deep basslines or lovely soundscapes. Lilienthal’s “Castor & Pollux” has aged very well indeed and if you, like I, let this one slip (almost), I strongly encourage you to reconsider. I’m telling you this CD is awesome! I salute you Emanate and Lilienthal.

Robokoneko, Anembo [Couchblip! – BLIP006, 2003]

December 4th, 2003 Comments off

robokonekoCouchblip! is an Australian label and Robokoneko’s “Anembo” is their sixth full-length CD and Robokoneko’s first full-length album. Starting off the eleven-track album is the short but sweet “Satsuma”. It got strong yet gentle melodies with a decidedly retro-feeling to the choice of sonic elements, without sounding completely immersed in nostalgia. In some aspects it’s reminiscent of the productions by Lowfish and Solvent whom are both recording for Canada’s Suction label actually that can be said for the entire album and that is not a bad thing. “Eerie Ash” opens with synthesised washes and a lonely keyboard and they are contrasted by hollow beats, it’s very melancholic and very beautiful. Another keyboard element is added and the melancholy settles, but just temporarily. “Life By Numbers”, strong melody fused with quite direct beats and a hint of glitch makes a wonderful union. Free association leads me to Vessel and Expanding Records. “Remind Me One Day” features more deep and melancholic sound selection, fused with a lazy, yet bubbly synthetic drum sounds, kind of epic and close to the edge. “Daily Monitor” got that lo-fi electronica feel to it, large sounding synthesised washes and brittle beats in harmony, pretty nostalgic and pretty damn good. The brittle beats set in a different motion in “Insert” work as good, the tempo change that follows is quite dramatic and vocal-based(?) played bassline is accompanied by some lightly distorted beats. “Insert” is somewhat indecisive as far as track goes. “Miyu Saga” ultra deep bassline submerged under slightly lighter chords fused with sprinkled melody, a hint of glitch and sampled vocals. This is simply brilliant! Leaving the nostalgia realm for a while is “Miyu Saga” which really stands out on the album. Pace is picked up in “Pixel Count” with it’s straight forward played bassline, strict beats and quirky synthesised distorted new wave hand-clap. “System Experiment” sticks to the lo-fi setting, but differs a great deal from the previous track, the melody is far more melancholic and the beats are slower and cut-up. “Alef One” again the large sounding synthesised washes, but this time around accompanied by brittle beats and processed vocals, plenty of atmosphere created by a lonely keyboard and clever layering. “Interlude” concludes the album and it features a shy almost non-existent beat alongside a variety of melodic constructions from the simple to the complex. The track clocks in at 19 minutes, but only contains 6 minutes or so of music, kind of tricky hey? Impressive debut album by Robokoneko, the nostalgia factor applied to the sound is strikingly high, but it works and the end-result is quite beautiful electronic music. Will be looking out for Couchblip! and Robokoneko in the future. A note on the nice packaging is not out of place.

Disjunction Reunion, Modernism for Newborns [Couchblip! – BLIP007, 2003]

December 4th, 2003 Comments off

disjunction_reunionCouchblip! is an Australian label and Disjunction Reunion’s “Modernism for Newborns” is their seventh full-length CD and Disjunction Reunion’s second full-length album. Starting off the fourteen-track album is the fast paced “Modernism for Newborns” with apt drum programming, nice melodies and string sounds and the same can be said about “Crackers”. In “Thickwig” you get more warmth, nice piano-like chords alongside a steady hip-hop beat and some vocal samples thrown in for good measure. “Arse/face Uplink” is especially beautiful and has a melody to die for fused with beats and bassline you’ve got a gem. “Chippies” has a strange whirling melody contrasted by dry beats and a really melancholic melody on top, it’s strange but in a nice way. “Chunk2” starts off with some glitch and onto a healthy and very solid beat nice chords and bassline join the beats. It would pass in the nursery and it will make you happy. “Three” another very nice track reminiscent of the workings of Plaid, relatively simple beats and lots of atmosphere. “Dripping Wreck” a dub track for the purist and a good one at that, you know dub? Then you know what it is. “Cockhead” a bit more intensity displayed with furiously played keyboard and quirky bubbly basslines, jazz influenced in a sense. “Smiley” maintains the high pace, but moves into the more distinct electronic domain, remarkable tempo and outstanding bassline. “Tension+” draws heavily on hip hop and has all the ingredients really, a sampled piano, the cut-up vocals and the beats to go it’s well crafted and reminiscent of Machine Drum’s output. “Poisoned Well” moves along the same lines of thought, heavy bassline alongside cut-up vocals, but with more of a Big Beat (or whatever it is called these days) feel to the whole thing. The lush strings opening “Illeged” redirects the feeling induced by the two previous tracks, excellent dry beats and lovely played melody move forward as the strings linger by and you get a premium piece of electronic music. And it is possibly the best track on the entire album. Ending the album is a track entitled “30” a calm intro gets layered with forward moving beats and clever arrangements, a bit of cut-up treatment and quite a lot of melancholy makes a perfect ending to this album. This being my first encounter with Disjunction Reunion it’s still not hard to understand why Couchblip! choose to release a full-length by Disjunction Reunion, the material is there and the production skills are definitely there. Maybe the album would have benefited from stripping a song or two and focus on the artists apparent strengths. I’m happy I’ve discovered Couchblip! and it’ll be interesting to see their future releases. A note on the nice packaging is not out of place.

Resina, Opinio Omnium [Mousike Lab – MSKCD01, 2003]

December 4th, 2003 Comments off

resina_opinioThis eight track mini-album is an interesting first release from this newly started Italian label called Mousike Lab. They’re based in the South Italian city of Naples and they are part of Avatar 41° – an electronic music and arts collective. The opening track “Muschià” is a beautiful composition starting off with amplitude of atmosphere and eerie soundscapes. A solid stab surprises with its entry and the way that it is accentuated is effective to say the least. “Enchantillateur Digitale” moving on towards the harder sounding domains, still keeping the minimal approach adapted in the first song, but with more intensity. “Aitan” features a more classic take on things and lending some from Mitek it would probably best be categorised as Micro-house. It’s a well-crafted song, but in all honesty it’s not exactly my cup of tea, missing some grit. In “Jeninbophal” the dubby elements and great atmosphere enhancing soundscapes return, quite dark atmosphere, crystalline sounds and a hint of processed vocals. It’s minimal, raw and quite dubby. “Mundo Taku” contains a understated bassline fused with glasslike percussive elements mixed so high that you get the impression that they will fall out of the speaker, land on the floor and shatter into a cloud of shimmering dust. Slowly building melody (reminiscent of the inimitable Seefeel), clever use of vocals adds body to the minimal sound setting and then there’s that brittle sound. It’s very nice, very nice indeed. “Lenticchie” forward moving beats, bassline to go around, some glitch and nice melody makes you like this song instantly. “Toledo” features straighter and harder beats, more techno oriented in structure and aimed at the dance floor, some trickery makes the track shuffle along in a steady pace. Ending the “Opinio Omnium” mini-album is “Hermanas y Hermanos” with its beatless experiment there’s some extreme treble action going on in this one, watch out if you’re going to play it out! The first release on Mousike Lab is worth looking up.