The Swedish based net label El-Ljud tenth release was Plakto’s ‘The Ninth Snail’ and it preceded the excellent thirteenth release ‘Soul’d Out’ by the same artist.
The categorisation is solid E-dub, excellent production and plenty of bass to go around. The 8 tracks on ‘The Ninth Snail’ are a treat and there’s enough complexity for a truly enjoyable and recurring listen. Did I mention the ample amounts of bass, fused with the exact amount of glitch and echo?
‘The Ninth Snail’ starts off exactly like described above; ‘Western Flab’ has a hypnotic bassline and excellent melody. In short a great track. ‘Misplaced Mom’ and ‘The Reset Chair’ are somewhat dubbier in nature, in the classical sense; ‘Artificial Cherry’ is short but sweet, whereas ‘Hypnotoad’ and ‘Satanic Cat Standard’ combine the bass content with some definite techno treatment. To summarise the 8 tracks on ‘The Ninth Snail’ all leave you feeling warm inside and wanting to play them again.
It is an excellent album and the workmanship of a truly talented producer. ‘The Ninth Snail’ and 13 other interesting releases are available as download on the El-Ljud website. Get them now!
One Point Two is the most natural name for the sequel of the first Rednetic compilation One Point (you guessed it) One that saw the light if day in 2004 and was the second release ever on this not that old thriving yet successful label. There’s little point in denying it this compilation is very good and if it has any shortcomings they’re surely down to musical preferences and nothing else. The opening track Queasy by affiliated artist Mint of Boltfish fame and it’s the perfect lush opening for a 14-track session of contemporary electronics. Queasy strikes me as quite an unusual track for being Mint masterminding it somewhat less nice than his regular output. Boc Scadet’s She Spoke of the Sky is another emotive high-tech production by Boc Scadet and it’s not hard to understand how this track ended up on the One Point Two compilation. Polestar’s Retro Future is brilliant with warm lush sounds submerging the sonic picture as they are contrasted with crisp beats and plenty of forward motion a simply seminal piece of music. Zainetica’s Awaken track is classic Zainetica material and the bubbly bassline would grace any open-minded dance floor and the musical references are as vast as is the undeniable talent held by this artist. Cheju’s Hubl holds all the characteristics of a Cheju track apart from the bassline that is decidedly more 80′ like than I’ve ever heard before. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it definitely a different approach for being Cheju. Vizier of Damascus’ Murmurs is anything and everything you would expect from Vizier of Damascus a great ambient track with an edge and the rhythmic work on Murmurs is excellent. However the track’s playing time is too short, weighing in at 03:12 it is much too short. The eleventh track Harajuku is an interesting collaboration between Joseph Auer and household name Lackluster. Actually it seems to be a remix by the ever so productive Lackluster, so I guess it should read something like Joseph Auer Harajuku (Lackluster Pitchmix). And as it turns out it was originally named Harajuku Rain and is taken from his Kyoto Tokyo 2001 EP released in 2004 on the very same label. In the remix Lackluster is opting for the big bass and the slow beats in this summery roller keep the bass heavy and the beats kind of hollow, ya’ll feelin’ it? Joseph Auer’s Probes off Io has all the qualities and the unmistakable sounds of any J.Auer track. It is a solid slab of Americana being served by the artist. Complete with lush strings and forward moving beats in perfect harmony. Superb production and another piece of fine music signed J.Auer. Inigo Kennedy’s Faraway Towns has a melancholy struck melody, crisp beats and massive amounts of bass. It is an unforgiving slightly distorted bassline that is a monster. In Faraway Towns you get the sweet with the rough in a brilliant way. You’ve been warned so watch those bassbins! Sunosis’ Leap is the last track on the compilation and it is taken from the lovely Warmed EP released (and reviewed) on Rednetic earlier this year. In conclusion: One Point Two – More Digital Listening Music from Rednetic (as the full title reads) is a definite show of force by Rednetic and a welcome as it is refreshing collection of tracks that rely on electronics rather than acoustic instruments in what seems to be an unstoppable wave of acoustic releases the past year or so. After all this is the E-desert!
Scandinavian producer Ludvig Elblaus explores the possibilities of setting machines free to create their own music without human intervention judging by his titles, he probably gets them to make them up as well. But on a hands-on, upbeat track such as “Hitta hem”, whose stiff forward momentum and manic irregularities recall such John Baker classics as “The Chase”, such worries are quickly dispersed. The nervous, distended pulsations on “Rymd” and the slowly evolving convulsions of closer “Baltice” both suggest a strong feel for a beat and sure sense of timing, even when his powers of description may have deserted him.
Electronica Reviewed by Ken Hollings, THE WIRE 279 MAY 2007
Foil is Cheju’s contribution to the lovely, but hard to administer 3-inch series by U-cover. The five tracks on the EP is very much a Cheju affair with excellent melodies and distinct warmness to as well production as sound. And his exploration of acoustic aid such as guitars is seemingly continued in this release. The fifth track Nettle has an exercise in call-response of sort and is by the sound of things entirely based on plucking nylon guitar strings. Cheju’s Foil is the fifth instalment in the series and now counting in at 15 (JUL 2007), affiliates Zainetica and Joseph Auer has joined the ranks. And it would appear to be label co-owner Mint that holds the first release spot in the same camp given his 3rd place in the consecutive release order. Other contributors are Joel Tammik and Ontayso. The packaging and production is ace and Cheju is in really good company with this release.
Songs06.txt is up for immediate release (AUG 2007) and it is the French recording artist Vs_price return to the Expanding label. After his much talked about album debut on the same label in 2002 (wow, time does really fly when you’re having oh so much fun). Songs06.txt (an impossible title for an album, but never mind that) contains 10 collage-like tracks and they all have a strong work-in-progress feeling to them. And I for one am fully prepared to believe that their origin is supposedly mainly from various live performances made during the past years. This is also in my mind reflected onto the album itself and that is one of the reasons it displays several musical directions at once from the acoustic to the quite energetic and electronic. Where track number eight entitled Musicman is an example of the latter with its high paced beats and looped melody fused with a touch of glitch, completely contrasting the forerunners it is an interesting track. I can’t help but wondering if maybe Songs06.txt is the perfect testament to the breakwater that can be heard so clearly within the narrow field of electronic music movement dealt with here and where the “victorious” path is surprising or in any case disappointing. Let the machines, be machines… that aside, let it be said that Vs_price’s second full-length is far from being generic and that is is most definitely contemporary. The packaging with its classic striking front cover photograph is beautiful and the overall production is executed to perfection. Vs_price and Expanding line-up the 28th release and do so with grace.
Cracked Mirrors and Stopped Clocks is a debut album on the ever so consistent Expanding label. Moving further and further into the middle-earth of acoustic based music that seems to be the dominating form of the elusive non-category electronica these days. It is mature and precise music, virtually beatless, but showing no shortage of warmth. Origamibiro who is Tom Hill has produced a thoroughly beautiful album that is both pensive and melancholic. In some sense Expanding’s sound is converging toward the sound of Resonant and Static Caravan, but the dramatic setting of the first is not that of Expanding and the label continues to preserve their unique outlook on contemporary electronica. A final note on the album’s artwork because most likely is this year’s best album cover. Pure genius in all its simplicity the minimal graphic concept is reminiscent of the excellent cover for Flotel’s innovative Wooden Beard album released some years ago. But hey, it’s Expanding so anything less would surely have been hugely disappointing. Origamibiro and Expanding line-up the 27th release and do so with grace.
The latest offering by AlephZero (JUN 2007) is the compilation Midnight Souldive and it brings more of their gentle chilled out beats. The contributors are as would be the case with a compilation in most cases both well known and unknown. There are twelve tracks in total and the usual suspects as far as AlephZero goes are: Omnimotion (who recently released the Dream Wide Awake full-length album), Shulman and Bluetech all with previous album releases on the label. The compilation is exceedingly well-produced easy on the ears chill-out music and as the title may suggest it is perfect for that hot lazy summer day while waiting for the next phase of any given day nightfall.
Aespatia is a really good debut album on Boltfish by recording artist Preston. Clean beats and amplitude of nice sounds and well constructed melodies all fitting in the carefully carved out sonic holding place of the Boltfish label. Aespatia contains 13 high quality tracks including four remixes by label stable artists ensuring a nice listen and a welcome reminder that complexity not necessarily brings quality and reinforcing the truth that good music doesn’t have to be anything but that, good music. Track number five entitled Barry is an excellent example of the above statement. Blissful composition. The recommendation is that you investigate Boltfish’s 41st release and Preston’s debut album as soon as you can.
The second release on Minimal Resource Manipulation (MRM) is an in all aspects experimental affair, seeing MRM deviating from the path of the beat onto something altogether different (in all fairness it is not so much as a deviation as it is expanding the horizon given that this is the second release in this young label’s history). Document1 starts off with a collection of incredibly high frequency fragments of sound, displaying the sonic signature of an imaginary ant-farm if magnified into our sonic scale. It’s an abusive, noisy and industrial sound and it’s quite frightening. As the seven-track mini-album progresses the high frequency assault continues with more or less the same intensity. With short stops for the listener to catch the breath and/or mental composure only to come back with even more intensity like the unbearable fourth track Wild Life Howl. However there are moments of suggested rhythmic structure as well. The convincing sixth track Deep Metal Hole still set in UHFD (ultra high frequency domain) is an example. To continue the analogy of the ant-farm the closing track Timbral Dissection would be the working ant’s dream or possibly nightmare if ever recorded. By all means investigate this release made by Seven Hour Germ (7HG) and released on Minimal Resource Manipulation just make sure to check your audio perimeter and maybe more important your treble dials, knobs and volume readings/settings!
Already past the 40th release marker Milieu’s Remodelled album got the subsequent number 39. It’s a lovely full-length that Milieu has produced and it can be said to be the natural continuation of the Tandem Series 5 from last year (2006). What does it all mean? More nice melancholic melodies, more excellent dry beats set in half-crisp and half-distorted and/or bit-reduced environment all creating great contrast and more refined BOAC homage. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable album and well within Boltfish’s production tolerances and as was stated in the beginning counting in at number 39.