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Håkan Lidbo, 06.10.60 [Mitek – mitek5cd, 2002]

November 26th, 2002 Comments off

hakan_lidboA musical collage of sorts, 6 tracks à 10 minutes each and all interconnected to give 60 minutes of continuous playtime, hence the title “06.10.60”. It’s already known that Håkan Lidbo is a man of many talents and it doesn’t seem to be any field in the electronic music sphere he doesn’t produce or put down into physical form. This time it is Mitek’s fifth CD release and it’s a full-length by the very same Lidbo. It’s dubbed out and contains lots of interesting sounds, minimal to say the least, yet with lots of structure. The 4/4 sets in and the micro-tech house sound that has become the trademark of Mitek grows to full force alongside some vocoder action thrown in for good measure as well. Keeping it short: if you’re into the minimal vein of things Lidbo’s “06.10.60” is most definitely worth checking out.

Claudia Bonarelli, Everything Happens Only a Certain Number of Times [Mitek – mitek6cd, 2002]

November 26th, 2002 Comments off

claudia_bonarelli_everytingMitek’s sixth CD “Everything Happens Only a Certain Number of Times” is a full-length album CD release by yet another debutant: Claudia Bonarelli. And no matter if it’s the given name or not there’re 10 tracks of glitch filled dub tech. Definitely leaning towards the dubbier side of the spectrum. Did I mention glitch, because there’s amplitude of that commodity. The album’s tracks evolve along steadily paced grooves and are accompanied by relentlessly effective basslines. It’s simple really this is first class minimal dub tech as it’s usually constructed in that big European country we know as Germany. So if that’s your cup of tea get this CD immediately.

Funckarma, Bourbon Sounds [Delikatessen Records – PLATE4, 2002]

November 12th, 2002 Comments off

delikatessen_plate4_2002After the blinding opening done by this relatively new label the plate number four offered by delikatessen is delivered by none other than Funckarma. The Bourbon 10″ contains four tracks and starts of with the previously released “Noir” and it’s crunchiness defined giving the track a hint of harshness however lush strings creates a soothing background. Apparently “Noir” is also included on a compilation on the label “Prospect Recordings” at the moment unfortunately unheard. The second track “Sphere” is filled with warmth, atmosphere, basslines, string and choir arrangements and the sweetest of melodies. It’s in all aspects a complete and beautiful composition and probably my personal favorite on plate4. The b-side offers “Velvet” a string filled and layered track with steady and solid beats. On the down-tempo side of things the haunting soundscapes creates atmosphere. The fourth and last track “Sparkzz” features more beats of the crunchy persuasion with an abundance of layering, powerful and beautiful melodies with more than a touch of melancholy. Classic stuff! To sum up, yet another fantastic piece of music signed Funckarma out on the label called delikatessen. Apart from the high quality artists releasing contributing to delikatessen’s 10″ series the packaging and artwork is also excellent and naturally the “Bourbon Sounds” 10″ is far from being an exception.

Lilienthal, Anti-Matter [Delikatessen Records – PLATE5, 2002]

November 12th, 2002 Comments off

delikatessen_plate5_2002The fifth installement in the delikatessen 10″ series is called “Anti-Matter” and features Lilienthal. Oddly enough Plate5 was released before the fourth release by Funckarma. (At least where I obtained my copy…) But now the order has been restored and five delicious plates are available from delikatessen. The fifth being a four-track offering. “Infinity” contains light treading beats, ultra-crisp percussive elements and beautiful melodies a serves as the perfect opening of the Anti-Matter record. Followed by “Kitty Hawk” down-tempo feeling to the beats and an adorable choice for melody – block-wood reminiscent sounds. A healthy dose of handclap helps the track’s transition into an up-tempo drum’n’bass inspired setting to the beats, nice! “Compactor” is built around simple and effective beats creating confident forward movement alongside a hint of glitch and dreamesque soundscapes. Finally “Shadows” that contains some really nice bassline handling and beats reminiscent of previously mentioned “Compactor”, colored with keyboard and just the right amount of glitchy elements. Delikatessen is a label very much in form and Lilienthal did his part of the job, indeed.

Various Artists, MD2 [Merck – MD2, 2002]

November 12th, 2002 Comments off

md2Five tracks by as many artists on Merck originally released on n5MD as a part of the MD2 compilation. Featured artists are: Proem, L’usine ICL, Jvox, Tim Koch and Spark “Laid back off” by Proem features his cut-up treatment and some interesting choices in sounds, creating a dubby feeling to this track and beats are functional as ever. “Don’t Interfere”, L’usine ICL delivers again and delivers in style: excellent glitchy beats, subbass and organ like melody, forward moving and lots and lots of atmosphere. Jvox’s “Cardona” a playful track with some truly beautiful sounds and heartbreaking string arrangements follows it. Tim Koch’s “poly800vs.6581” features straight up beats and some really nice layered structures alongside effective chords. Spark’s “Array” ends this EP with some nicely played basslines and tempo shifts together with playful electronic sounds.

Proem, 2 = 1 [Merck – PM, 2002]

November 12th, 2002 Comments off

proem_1+22 = 1 features six tracks by Proem and is released on Merck. Two of the songs are taken form his full-length albums “Negative”, two other are taken from his n5md release “Among Others” and two are new. “Binary+bored” is besides being cleverly named a beatless intro and a track with haunting sounds and plenty of atmosphere. In “skylup” you get crisp beats, nicely played basslines and glass-like structures. It’s followed by “Early rings” nice, nice beats in combination with melody saturated by melancholy alongside bass and a hint of processed vocal samples. Rather complex beat handling in the forward moving “Crash map” filled with cut-up melody with a healthy dose of reminisce in the choice of sounds. “Access Mike (failure to connect)” display more rather nice beat handling and a fair amount up cut-up sounds in the track, but the solid beats keeps the composition intact. Finally there’s a remix of “Early Rings” courtesy Tim Koch. Proem goes from strength to strength and rumors have it that a second album is to released on Merck in 2003. It will be highly interesting.

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Lowfish, Maintain the Tension [Suction Records – SUCTION014, 2002]

November 12th, 2002 Comments off

lowfish_suction14A six track EP of that trademarked quirky, electronic sound that is: Lowfish. Undiluted drum machine patterns and an acute sense of melody in combination with simplicity create enjoyable collection of tracks. There’s one track in particular that craves attention it’s “flakmot” by far the best track with the playful bassline, dry dynamic beat programming and seriously constructed bubbling melody. The solution’s simple, hit the repeat button!

Lusine ICL, Iron City [Hymen / Mad Monkey Records – ¥721/MMR08, 2002]

September 9th, 2002 Comments off

lusine_iron_cityA blinding full-length by L’usine ICL, apparently in great form, with releases to the left and right. Last reviewed here for his contribution to the excellent delikatessen imprint, but also for his contribution to the Hymen compilation “Masonic”. And not (just yet) reviewed 12″ releases on Hymen, Isophlux and Eat This. This time it is a collaboration-release of Hymen Records and Mad Monkey Records. “Iron City” and its 11 tracks is a treat in much the same way as the previous L’usine ICL releases. Very strong album opening with “Blind”, solid beats, accompanied with an as solid bassline and on top of that nice chords. L’usine is not in any hurry and lets the track evolve in a steady pace, there’s even a break included. “Invisible” is following directly on the excellent “Blind” and features beats constructed along similar lines of thought and again the track builds nicely into a forward moving, warm groove sprinkled with interesting sounds. The track’s then slowly disintegrated and is never reassembled again. It is a fitting description for the third track as well “Shoot the Moon” add a powerful break, a rebuilt track and some crunchy beats. “Strand” is slightly more down tempo and contains some heartbreaking melody and clever use of sound positioning. And it just goes on, “Numbers”, “Tonic”, “Scheming”, “Bent”, “The Fast Lane”, “Perpetual” and “Running in Place” are equally good tracks. Aha, 11 good tracks out of 11 available? Yes, it is a good thing in every aspect.

Various Singles, The Condition of Muzak [Expanding Records – EVSC1:01, 2002]

September 9th, 2002 Comments off

evsc101cover“The Condition of Muzak” is a compilation based around Expanding’s evs 7-inch series. The series comprised of nine singles released in 2001 and each single was limited to 400 copies on coloured vinyl and in custom packaging and all contain exclusive tracks, featuring works of UK-based as well as International artists. Needless to say, most of the singles have already become collector items and are not available anymore. But, all the a-sides from the singles and some exclusive tracks can now be found on the CD compilation instead. The artists partaking in the evs project were: Antoni Frankowski, Benge, Stendec, Tennis, Fibla, Volume, Abfahrt Hinwill, Zorn and David Mooney. And a newcomer to Expanding also contributed with a song to the compilation: Vessel. He will also be releasing a full-length album later this year. The CD compilation is a perfect testament to the unique sounding and ever-growing record label known as Expanding Records. Get it now, before it’s too late.

Esem, Enveloped [Defocus – FOC364CD, 2002]

September 9th, 2002 Comments off

esem_envelopedAfter the delightful “Ikae” 12-inch release on Defocus in 2001, Esem returns with this full-length album entitled “Enveloped”. The 13 tracks contained on the CD version all contain brilliant beats programming, bass and beautiful melodies. The compositions are all strikingly well balanced. That is, Esem’s music isn’t at all to be categorized as minimal, but neither is it to be regarded as burdened by over production, it’s just that, very well balanced. The rhythmic strength in his music is especially noticeable, and it’s a display of a not to complicated, but nevertheless interesting percussive elements, giving the tracks plenty of forward motion. And in combination with the strong melodies, sounds, creating tracks that are very enjoyable indeed. Sure, there’s a lot of stuff that is more abstract and complex, but there’re few that are as nice sounding. The closing words: a very complete album debut by Esem that stands a good chance of becoming timeless.