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.
The one-man industry that is October Man Recordings continues to release ultra limited records with no sign of stopping. Silent Night is an EP released on the increasingly popular 3-inch CDR format. The OMR releases come individually numbered and with a hand-cut piece of actual(!) photographic paper for cover art. Lilienweiss are Thorsten Scheerer and Dorothea Herrmann and the set-up clarinet, bass, guitar and software enhancement suggests music that is highly acoustic and it is. However, Lilienweiss are not opting for the sweet sounds rather their music is cinematic and gloomy soundscapes dominate the sonic picture all to great effect. The unforgiving electrically powered guitars in the fourth track Rectified could be one example. Lilienweiss’ Silent Night is an interesting listening and a testament to OMR’s persistence.
The latest appearance (and debut if I’m not grossly mistaken) by Mise en Scene was on the Tandem Series number 4. Neo~ylo is broken and quite mechanical sounding as in D:great or the title track Neo~ylo. Overall there’s a great selection of more or less nervous and disjointed sounds on this five track EP. It’s somewhat different from his previous Tandem Series number 4 release and not your typical Boltfish release either for that matter. Neo~ylo is an interesting sonic encounter and counts in as BOLT040.
Lovely four track 3-inch release by a newly found talent named 8yone on Boltfish. Sharing musical commons with label mates like Zainetica and label owners such as Cheju that is mature production techniques and no-frills attitude towards electronic music in combination with great atmosphere. Singling out a favourite? Track four “My Cold Sucks” is by far the best track on the EP, making it another great Boltfish release!
The tenth No Ground-R release is signed HL and is entitled “Takuma”. I’m not 100% sure but I think it safe to say that this release would be the first to bear a Formula 1 driver’s name and even if that’s not the case surely it must be the first time for Takuma Sato? As any serious racing fan would know he is not the most successful driver in Formula 1. “Twenty Years” starts of the ambient four-tracker, the pulsating “Nowhere but Here” follows it. The beatless “Autumn Leaves ” and finally “Your Ghost Still Haunts Me” and its slowly mumbling narrative. This release also includes “Fields That Speak” a 3-inch DVD with visual work made by the artist in question. HL is Dan Hopkins. Investigate this release and you just might get surprised driving your: car, bike, board, underground, airplane, rocket, bus, pace car, boat, submarine, train or mind.
This wonderful and 7th release (MAR 2006) from No Ground-R is signed John Barnes alias Sam Arnold. Sam Arnold used to be part of the group Mountain Men Anonymous and has previously released music using the John Barnes moniker on Machine Records. John Barnes’ music is heavily influenced by beat driven genres such as drum’n’bass and fused with delicate melodies he creates wonderful contrast. And the effectiveness of leaving some space in the production cannot be more clearly demonstrated. So there you have it, if you like beats, don’t mind basslines and support lovely melodies mainly comprised of piano and string instruments, you’ll like John Barnes. However, whether or not you actually like football is not relevant in this context, that being another enjoyable No Ground-R 3-inch release.
“A Rainy Mile” is Cheju’s debut release for the honourable Static Caravan label. The beautifully packaged four track 3″ CD single starts off with “Traces”, Cheju’s signature is clearly audible and it would be the beats that would give him away, however isn’t there a very familiar yet foreign element in this track as well, a sample of another great electronic musician. “Adrift” features devastating vocals and imposing guitars fused with a healthy beat to keep things moving along quite unlike Cheju and at the same time not. “Hikari” brings the big drum and Cheju sounds to go, it’s just a great seminal track. “Prolonged Reflection” is in a sense a retake on one of his own tracks and probably my favourite of the four on this EP. The build-up is superb, beats, melody and bassline to die for and kind of reminiscent of Bauri’s work actually, but still being a Cheju affair. “A Rainy Mile” – a lovely 3-inch release from Static Caravan counting in at 112! It’s only a 200 series’ run, so I suggest you get yourself a copy before it’s too late…
“Song Time Two” is the third No Ground-R release and it followed the lovely “Pre FM Tracks” by PFM. On the eight-track “Song Time Two” Sticker Club has chosen a somewhat different path compared to the two previous No Ground-R releases. It’s a dirtier lo-fi sounding and less rich sonic texture being presented. “Poorly Song” features nursery rhyme like melodies with grit. Not bad at all.” And then follow “Vacation (Go Go’s cover)” with arcade game music influences, “Pooty II” featuring acoustic guitar and dry almost invisible beats and it’s essentially an electronically infused singer songer ballad without vocals for the 21st century. “Mall of Sound” has quirky beats and quirky sounds making a quirky song. “Fage” features more minimal beats, acoustic and electric guitars and a very subtle bassline. It’s song writing ability demonstrated. The lo-fi setting, understated beats and strong melodies could very well be said to be Sticker Club’s insignia, quite unique sounding and that is always a good thing in my opinion. The third release from No Ground-R has some surprises in store.
Pre FM Tracks is the title of recording artist PFM’s three track 3″ No Ground-R release. Exceedingly beautiful and very cinematic in its qualities, layers of strings and crystalline-like structure, without being cold sounding, the first track does its title full justice “The Beauty of Repetition”. The second song on the three-song long EP “Prophet Making” features gently treated piano and guitars, a superb build-up and washes of synthetic sounds added to an increasingly complex sonic picture, all to great effect. It’s a great track revealing the talent behind the composition. “My favourite Memory” is ending the EP, which has a steady no-frills acoustic sounding beat and straight forward melody, until the end that is when the song is completely deconstructed. The shorter story: “Pre FM Tracks” is an excellent second release by No Ground-R.
“A449/19″ is the title of the very first No Ground-R release an independent label activated in Great Britain. Releasing music and visuals on their main format of choice 3″ discs. “A449/19″ features ambient and slightly menacing soundscapes drowned in low frequency assemblies playing the leading role of structure. According to the background information the 20 min long track is based on the experiences and surroundings of the A449. A road between Newport and Monmouth in South Wales and it lasts for 19 miles (30,5km), during this distance it is not possible to turn around and go back to the place of origin. This is excellent ambient music with rich bass textures and very subtle rhythm. And you just got to love the 3″ disc format and the level of ambition of the entire No Ground undertaking of which No Ground-R is an integral part.