“s/t” is coming from the deep south of Italy, Europe Naples based Mousike Lab’s second full-length album release features retina.it in form. As to the album name could it possibly be an abbreviation of “Senza Titolo” means “Untitled”? The first track on “s/t” is titled “Aaghee” and it has an excellent intro and dramatic yet controlled build-up. Centred on an industrial strength melody creating an indestructible sonic structure. Ingenious in its simplicity, that track is not only out of this World it’s also an item that warrants instant reply. The first track sets the standard high as well as the expectations on the rest of the album and it doesn’t leave you disappointed. Retina.it’s 10 minimal and well-crafted songs carry through the entirety of the album, it’s heavily loop-based music with hypnotic characteristics like the percussion-filled “Sambush”, the quirky sounding “Zafari” or the bass-heavy “Papc”. The sweet-sounding melody of the “Comamilla” track breaks the before mentioned triplet in a beautiful way. “Om nama rtnt” follows and adds a bit of mysticism with the vocals and India inspired sounds. “Risveglia” and “12set” return the album to the harder sounding starting point. And the last track on the album “China @ house” glitches the “s/t” album to a quiet stop. In short this is a very good album, it comes recommended and with the special recommendation not to miss out on “Aaghee”.
“Condominium” is another fine release by Mousike Lab the third to be exact and they’re going from strength to strength in the midst of defining their own sound. “Condominium” is a 15-track compilation featuring as many artists. Among them you’ll find Resina and Retina.it both who previously have released albums on Mousike Lab as well as being reviewed here at ED. The remaining contributors are well-known and less well-known artists, such as: Mitek’s Claudia Bonarelli, DJ Vadim, Mùm and Frame. There’s a lot of variation and high-quality productions included on this compilation. It’s filled with delightful tracks like Ether’s beats-filled “Contra”, Populous’ excellent and dreamesque “The Green Guitar”, Tadd Mullinix superb, nervous and slightly intimidating cut-up “Shaven Glass”, Retina.it’s take on hip-hop and Frames’ gentle bass giant “From Y To Z” or why not Claudia B’s bassy and playful “Tips for Restless Youth”, Slickers’ solid and acidee “Lenticchie”. The list goes on and FM3’s Bitzen drones out the compilation counting in as track number 15. Mousike Lab has an interesting roster to say the least and “Condominium” is the definite proof of exactly that.
Boltfish are flinging out releases and doing so with maintained quality, the QA at Boltfish surely must be working overtime. The piece of Boltfish sweetness currently demanding our attention is Mint’s “Manmade Nature EP” (Dec 2004). It’s a four-track EP by the creator of “Growing Older” featured in the “Region Zero” compilation review from last year (2004). The 1st track on the EP has solid beat and assorted layered synthetic sounds in harmony. The 2nd track “Milk” is pure bliss based on feather light beats, clever panning and synthetic sounds washing in like a mild summer rain. All accompanied by a guitar floating around in the background and a vocal sample. Terrific atmosphere and I don’t even like milk. The 3rd track “A question of timing” sets another mood and has hesitant percussion and played bassline to go. The beat takes on house like form and gives the track forward movement, but the bassline never leaves their side. The 4th track “Little Gift” would find it’s place in any nursery and has the sweetest of melodies, but wait their some foreign elements in this nursery song: glitch. Wisely distributed though, wouldn’t want to upset the little ones and yes we get lovely strings too. The conclusion: a nice track and another great release by Mint and Boltfish.
I try hard to refrain from making musical references may they be obvious or not. One reason for this is that it seems unfair to label any artist who isn’t blatantly and obviously copying another artist. Another reason is that I’ve filled my own reading quota of sweeping references to Autecr* and Boards of C*n*da and dismissive comments about the generic nature of this or that sound. In most cases they do not seem relevant at all and especially while talking about generics… however, at times these references may be called for. American Black Moth Super Rainbow would qualify to being a warranted exception, because their overall sound scheme really doesn’t leave me with any option. The similarities with Boards of Canada reaches beyond having a band name that is also a four letter acronym, however BMSR is not being fraudulent and they’re far from being a simple copy of BOAC. In fact it’s the selected sound scenery of the productions that bare striking similarities. The BMSR sound however is much much dirtier, a lot more tounge-in-cheekish and all their tracks seem locked in a hip hop/rare groove that is fused with all kinds of musical memorabilia. Influences are most likely to many to mention. The occasional vocoderised vocals and extreme lo-fi sounding production techniques are all adding to the dirtiness of the sound. The “Start a People” album is 15 tracks long and among them you’ll find the (very short) ninth track “Snail Garden”, a perfect example of the BMSR way: dirty sounding, low-bit sampling techniques, vocoder and a healthy beat putting a smile on your face if you’re in the right mood. The same can be said for track numbers: six “I Think it is beautiful that you are 256 colours too”, seven “Count Backwards To Black” and eight “Early 70’s Gymnastics”. BMSR could easily get a rapidly growing number of supporters if they haven’t already!
“Sudd Autumn Collection” is the third in series of compilations from Swedish label Sudd. It’s a display of Swedish artists active in the electronic music field, the majority unknown to me, but hey that’s how it is, the last place you discover is your own backyard. The collection is heavily slanting toward the electro/house/techno regions (is this a statement void of any meaning?) with the occasional exception. Nim’s gentle and acoustic sounding “Sun and Blanket” being one. It really stands out and it’s simply very good low-key beautiful stuff. Alphaliner’s “Underpass” and the understated sonics and simplified beats another example. Fujasaki delivers two contributions “Master Ho” and “0445AM”. The first has healthy sounding beats pushing forward, a fairly rich sound setting and a strange end. The latter contains a solid beat, birdsong and cello and it also sounds quite nice. Examples of the purist techno take succeeding would be Kenny Black’s retro stomping Americana delight “Elatik”. In short: it contains a little something for everyone it’s a CD compilation by a small Swedish independent label. Fancy one? Visit their website: sudd.org
“Fading From Here” is the name of an excellent EP by J.Auer on Boltfish Recordings displaying 4 minimal drum machine based tracks. For the simplicity of things they’ve been entitled numerically and in order. The four tracks “i”, “ii”, “vii” and “x” making the MP3 release all have steady drum machine programming basslines and nice sounds. The CDR release contains not one, but 6 bonus tracks! And they all manage to reach the high standard of the previously mentioned 4 tracks.On the sleeve of the CDR the following statement is made: “a laptop, a power supply, some software, some electricity and my emotions” which presumably is Mr Auer’s own words. It captures his latest work perfectly and may also be an explanation to why at times some of the tracks seem stuck in their on loop, leaving the listener waiting for something more to happen. Having said that, exactly the same thing can add to the groove of a track as well and Auer manages to balance this fine line successfully. To summarise, it’s another fine release by Boltfish.
It’s a lovely release, this MP3/CDR release by Zainetica on the Boltfish label. A five-track EP with as many lovely compositions, bass rich with excellent choice of sounds and plenty of warmth “Never at Peace” is a continuation of Zainetica’s “Disorder” incorporated on the Boltfish sampler “Region Zero” released earlier this year.The favourite track on this EP is probably “Feelings That Can Not Be Expressed” with its straightforward beats, heavy bassline and melancholic sounds. It’s the kind of track that is bound for instant replay and that gets better for every listen.”Never at Peace” is quite a fabulous release by Zainetica and it goes without saying that Boltfish continues to release top-quality music.
The name is new but the artist is not Complex Routine previously released music using the name Sveto the Fool and was also featured on the Boltfish sampler “Region Zero”. Darning My Socks” is a release on par with the recently reviewed “Never at Peace” by Zainetica. This is a beautifully produced four-track EP with as many beautiful tracks. Aptly building his tracks from the ground up, adding element after element and thereby creating a complex routine that is thoroughly enjoyable listening to. Not being lost in the beats’ department either the forward movement of all the tracks is clearly defined.The favourite track on this EP is probably “Darning My Socks (No One Comes Near)” with its brilliant programmed beats, quirky and slightly jazzy melody fused with a bass-filled and warm atmosphere.Continuing the furious release tempo associated with digitally based labels Complex Routine’s contribution “Darning My Socks EP” ensures that the high standard set by Boltfish is adhered to. Once again my compliments goes out to Boltfish and their associated artists.
The Noise & The City” is a compilation consisting of: 30 artists, 30 cities, 30 tracks, 30 pieces of artwork and 30 texts. The latest project/release from Adim is an ambitious one to say the least. And as they them selves point out the idea of using environmental sounds, as a base for creating music is not an entirely new one, but that does by no means mean that it is an uninteresting one. And as the level of urbanisation increases it is a highly relevant one at that. The diversity of the tracks is amazing, but then again there are 30 of them so the opposite would have been both surprising and disappointing. With a range of tracks this wide and with the different artists very different approaches and interpretations of the given task it is close to impossible to make a fair account of this release. There are however, in a sense two types of tracks on this release: traditional songs and sound collages, well traditionally on a project like this I suppose that the latter ones would actually be the traditional ones, enough said on this topic. The point being that I will not and cannot give an account on all the participating tracks. The ones that really catches my attention are: London’s Stendec and their superb track “Office to Studio, 15 min walk” which probably is not only the track that I like best on the entire compilation, but also most likely the best track they’ve ever done! Lucky Adim! Literally jetting to the other side of the world we find an extraordinary beautiful track by Sydney’s Robokoneko entitled “Brume”. Returning back to Europe and Manchester’s The Remote Viewer contribution is an excellent and minimal e-dub track. Brussels’ aMute offers clever use of vocals in “”Cyclic Brussels Give Up”, Evanston’s Pan America gives you the pulsating dubby “Outside” or Paris’ Sogar and the fragile glass like “Bau2″. It is also highly recommended to visit Adim’s digital home and view the artwork and read the text that accompanies each of the releases. It’s a trip around the ever-shrinking world, it gives an insight into the artist’s views and reasoning and it is nothing but a snapshot of the world, as we know it today (the extreme unbalance of the distribution of wealth aside). “The Noise & The City” is a testament to the immense power of the non-destructive side of human affairs, creativity and ideas and the potential of greatness residing in all members of the human race.
Hei is the producer of “Laivoja Ja Junia” the first full-length release on White Noise. This album is an all-out ambient excursion and as such it is clearly benefited by continuous listening. With the minimalist’s approach Hei succeeds in making tracks that are filled with to the brim with atmosphere. At times with a quite sinister underlying theme. He incorporates instruments and/or samples taken from the realm of Finnish folklore including accordion and violin to great effect. The end-result is mystical, beautiful and very much reminiscent of the endless dark forests of the North. White Noise’s musical path seems to have to diverged into two distinct trails one on hand the deranged electro of their first split release by Chambre Noire/Schräge Musik and the upcoming abusive singles’ series. And on the other the thoroughly ambient works of Hei. It’s an intriguing development. And a last note on the current level of education or lack thereof, as it depressingly enough seems that it is not evident that White Noise is a reference to sound and not an ill conceived notion of supremacy… the individual(s) perplexed by the name will probably not read the ED reviews, but anyway here goes: White Noise def. “A random-like signal with a flat frequency spectrum. Doubling the bandwidth doubles the noise power and increases total noise voltage by the square root of two.”