Scrapped down minimal ultra-precise über funk from the Japaneese experimentalist Ryoji Ikeda on his second Raster-Noton release. This is so elegant and precise that I just can’t stop listening to it and I really love the low freq one note sinus waves that just drowns my appartment in warmth. A fair guess is that my neighbours finds it to be a bewildering experience. I saw the visuals for it at Sonar 2006 and hope that it will be released as DVD for an even more comprehensive experience.
London Electrics is the result of six collaborating labels: Ai Records, Expanding, Highpoint Lowlife, Seed, Suburb and Uncharted Audio that all have their base in London town, hence the name. This twelve-track compilation is filled with high-quality electronic music not all that surprising considering that it is precisely what one would expect by each and any of the involved labels. The artwork and accompanied website are keeping to the highly set standard. Expanding’s contributors are the usual suspects: Benge and Vessel. Benge who is also Expanding’s founder has contributed with “Panhard” taken from his latest full-length release “I am 9″ classic Benge’s stuff and thereby as excellent as soothing piece of electronic music. Vessel’s “State” is taken from his full-length “Resist”. Other familiar faces would be Digitonal and Posthuman of Seed fame. The surprise is courtesy of Highpoint Lowlife a label previously unknown to me that offers two high-quality tracks. Bovaflux’s and Fisk Industries’ both contribute with forward-moving bass enriched delights. This compilation is a testament to London Electrics and it’s a good one!
It’s not hard to like Del Wire’s full-length debut album “01″ released on the French label amusingly named (it is to me anyhow) Nacopajaz. The album contains 14 well produced predominantly instrumental (except of the occasional vocal samples) and soothing hip hop based electronic tracks. There are also some very pleasant bass excesses incorporated on the album. Sure there’s no musical revolution lingering around the next corner, however it does most definitely not matter. The way the tracks are put together at times with very subtle references to other genres and the coolness of the whole atmosphere it’s a pleasant experience all around. The aptly named “Basicide” is the personal favourite with its ultra deep bass and heavenly strings. A solid piece of down-tempo electronics is what Del Wire and Nacopajaz offer on the “01″ album.
“Horizon Seven-Seven” is a severally limited two track CD apparently containing the music intended for the Van 84 7-inch, when or why it was not released haven’t been disclosed as of yet. The first of the two tracks is the bombastic “Horizon Seven-Seven” starting off with menacing cello-like sounds and building towards a definite crescendo incorporating rather surprisingly harsh sounding drums straighter than Autobahn and layers of guitars. The second track is the quirkier and friendlier “A Beverley Mythic (2004 Version)” complete with nursery rhyme like melody, spinet-like sounds and hand clap. The sound of FortDax’ music is original and perfectly suited for Static Caravan.
“Valeen Hope” is the title of Loden’s debut full-length album, which is a split release (OCT 2005) involving one of my absolute favourite labels, namely: Eat This Records. They’ve released this album together with newly established label Plexiphonic that started out as an electronic events’ promoter in Brussels, Belgium. The latest release by Loden on Eat This was the excellent 7-inch entitled “A better landing” and Loden also contributed to the equally excellent JIP2 compilation (both reviewed here at ED.) “Valeen Hope” sees Loden taking a new musical direction incorporating predominately pop/rock associated elements such as guitars and vocals, and is quite far from his earlier releases sound wise. The first intro-like track “(In)” leads onto “Vlugt (and more for you)” and its distorted guitars and vocal elements. The beat is simple and the structure is pop-oriented with a strong melody. “Tenofour” beats and chords have unmistakable references (read BOAC). “A Star on Your Shoulder” is very similar to “Vlugt (and more for you)” in its composition. “Komop” is probably my favourite track of the album, a steady beat fused with Oriental sounding string instrumentation and solid bassline and quite melancholic at that. “Valeen Hope” and “Our Exploding Lives” features acoustic guitar respectively electrically powered one for base and is musically linked to the before mentioned “Vlugt”. “Tears For the Thirsty” has obvious sonically references and could be paired with “Tenofour”. “So this is Reality” more guitars in a track that has some interesting things going on in the beats department. “Sugar Tea” quite fast-paced track fusing guitars and synthetic beats, maybe a bit too much tongue-in-cheek for my personal taste. “Ideal Skies” and “KNKK” end the album in the acoustically based manner as it was started. On “Valeen Hope” Loden’s displaying a different musical side compared to his earlier releases and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, in the end it’s a question of musical tastes and subjectivity and the dominating pop/rock associated elements are really quite far from my personal liking. Nevertheless it’s still a well-produced and well-packaged album and as an added bonus there’s a video to “Tenofour” included on the CD made by Ewo (who also accidentally happens to be Plexiphonic’s label manager). Finally you may wonder why it’s taken close to four months for this release to be written about. The reason is simply that the first copy “got lost” in the progress of being delivered to the 59° latitude by the various national postal services.
“What You Want Isn’t What You Need” is the title of Lackluster’s full-length release on New Speak and by the looks of it is also possibly the last New Speak release ever! On the album Lackluster has searched his extensive archives and comes up with 10 tracks produced during the years 1996 – 2006. His +3 hour live extravaganza at New Speak for Beginners 3 the 29th October 2005 demonstrated just how extensive this archive is with the outmost clarity. And as you would expect from Lackluster and New Speak it’s a collection of high-quality electronic music that is contained on the album. Ranging from down tempo to up-tempo, with house-influences and without, all in all generally beautiful and well-produced electronic music. Actually the first New Speak release Ola Bergman’s “The Great Family Hotel” coincided with the first ever ED-event and if this really is the eight and last New Speak release, they’re already sorely missed!
The first release from the Greek label Gracetone Recordings is a split 7-inch featuring the artists: Mescalinaeden and Eventless Plot. “October” by Mescalinaeden is a sinister sounding piece with metallic slightly distorted beats and some reversed sound engineering, sound wise similar to grossly underrated Seefeel. “October” is very good stuff indeed. “Artificial Embrace” is Eventless Plot’s debut release and relies heavily on processed guitars virtually beatless to start with and most definitely down-tempo. It’s a haunting track that evolves slowly. The track is ended by the surprising addition of distorted and rough breakbeats, quite cinematic in its setting and somewhat freighting. Last but not least another good track. The format, matching handcrafted artwork and website are all nicely put together. Congratulations to Gracetone Recordings on their first release are in order and it will be interesting to see what the future releases will sound like.
“Invaders” by Scorn-Fury sees Rednetic taking a slightly different musical orientation than previously, namely down the good ol’ drum and bass path. “Invaders” is a 4 track EP with plentiful of beats apart from the opening track “Dark Cults of Evil” that rely on vocal sample, heavily synthesized sounds and a lonely stab. “Invaders” bearing the EP’s title is a classic take on drum’n’bass and given you like the way it used to sound (and apparently still can) you will not be disappointed. “Snowflakes” is excellent, with nervous and very electronic sounding elements (when I come to think of it almost devoid of beats, so much for the introductory statement made above) and its perceived simplicity is just brilliant. “Kages” ends the EP in style and share all the characteristics of “Invaders”. This is another fine effort by Rednetic this time aimed 50% or more towards the dance floor.
“Badshahi” is the title of an excellent release and debut from “Vizier of Damascus” on Rednetic (OCT 2005). This release also holds an eerie actuality related to recent events regarding subjects like tolerance, respect and freedom of speech and the confusion surrounding them in the World of today. “Badshahi” is filled with Middle Eastern / Arabic influences creating a thoroughly beautiful and thoughtful album stretching nine songs long. The album starts off with the vocoderized introduction “Lectures” immediately setting the mood (the only thing missing really is a transcript of the text, but then again it heightens the overall mystical feeling in an effective way to say the least.) “Badshahi” is set in down-tempo mode and features tracks based on stunning soundscapes and atmosphere. As with any good piece of music a written account just doesn’t do it justice. This album comes highly recommended and you should investigate it now!
“Icicles and Snowflakes/ Almond Eyes” is the title of an excellent 7-inch produced by Inch-Time and released by Static Caravan. It’s just a pure pleasure listening to and the fact that it is a actual 2005 seven-inch vinyl release is commendable in itself (come to think of it there are actually two 7-inch releases being reviewed at this ED-moment and that moment would be FEB 2006 Anno Domini, how about that!). You get two tracks with warm sounds, ultra rich textures and an expert’s production. Furthermore this release will ensure you the option of flipping the black 177,80mm in diameter vinyl disc from one side to the other for quite some time. “Icicles and Snowflakes/ Almond Eyes” comes highly recommended and it’s severally limited, but the latter circumstance is in no way ED’s responsibility.