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Pavan, Norra Kvarken [Flora & Fauna – FLO 7-006, 2003]

August 25th, 2003 Comments off

pavan_flora_norrakvarkenA 7-inch produced by Pavan released on the Swedish Flora & Fauna label. First side’s “Norra Kvarken” offers a funky piece of electronica with a lo-fi leaning selection of sounds and an associative melody. It’s quite an addictive track. Flip the heavy vinyl 7-inch for “Default Deluxe’s” dubbed-out washes of bass alongside glitches to go around. It’s slow moving, atmospheric and slightly melancholic 21st century electronic dub at its finest.

Sense, Learning To Be [U-Cover – U-COVER 015, 2003]

August 25th, 2003 Comments off

sense_learningSense on U-cover makes sense! The album is outstanding, so emotional, so warm and so electronic. At times it sounds like it was made before the fantastic Neo Ouija full-length release “A View From a Vulnerable Place” and there are resembles, but it is still a striking album, very much so in fact. It strengthens the position not only of Sense as a producer, but of the U-cover label as well. They’ve had string of amazing releases the past two years and have managed to tie some of the world’s finest producers to their label. Sense being one of the latest additions and before him ICL L’Usine, Bauri under the Deltidseskapism monkier, Funckarma, Lackluster and so on…I can’t even begin to describe the emotions the latest Sense album generates and there’s really no point. Just make sure to get “Learning To Be”, you get 11 tracks of pure melodic bliss, melancholy and bass riches to satisfy, experience it for yourself.A full-length album by the ever so emotional Sense out on U-Cover is most definitely a treat. Sense previous full-length was the outstandingly beautiful “View from a vulnerable place” on Neo Ouija. If you like that release the recommendation is to get “Learning to Be” immediately, because it is as good as the Neo release. In fact it is an all out highly individual and in all aspects exquisite release.

Myrza, All You Can Eat [Delikatessen Records – PLATE6, 2003]

July 8th, 2003 Comments off

delikatessen_plate6_2002The sixth offering from the ever-impressing Delikatessen label. The sixth plate is like the previous servings a 10″ the artwork and packaging is as brilliant as ever. The artists Myrza deliver “Lylt”, “Taksi” and “Lescal” three superbly composed tracks, they all contain cleverly constructed beats and the 10″ is really focused on the rhythmical side of things, not forgetting the bass. All in all it is very reminiscent of the musical ideas of my personal favourites a Dutch duo that goes by the name of: Funckarma. But, hey, the identities behind Myrza are still obfuscated and very much unknown, even though I have a strong suspicion who’s behind it all… The first single track relies on hip-hop influenced cut-up vocal samples and as intense beats programming in combination with some really nice sounds and melodies. Two remaining tracks contain as indicated above lots of well-crafted beats extravaganza and sonic wizardry. Whoever made this, delivered a piece of top quality music! Get it now it will not last. It’s delikatessen!

Esem, Serial Human [Merck – MERCK014, 2003]

July 8th, 2003 Comments off

esem_serialThe second full-lenght album produced by the talented Esem and released by Merck. “Serial Human” is decidedly more up-tempo than the last album (Enveloped reviewed in 2002), drawing heavily on techno, house and especially electro without becoming generic whatsoever. The twelve tracks on “Serial Human” displays a darker and more intense musical side of Esem and could be considered as a slight change in direction. Not fearing the more experimental side of things there’re also completely beatless sonic passages included on the album as well. “Tjiccli” is the first track and the harder setting of the album can be sensed straight away it’s a well-produced track with interesting sounds and quite an atmosphere alongside clinical beats. “Cee” displays an interesting take on the way of the Americas strings are included. The third track “Bleece” has less tempo than the previous track and a melody to kill for. The (extremely) long titled “Swift urban departure from what was once an innocent soul” starts of with environmental city sound takes and develops into a fairly fast paced bass monster, with straight forward and effective beats, nervous and somewhat claustrophobic synthetic constructs.”Sofiatram as I hear it” is beatless sonic experiment and one can but hope that the sounds of the trams in Sofia aren’t amplified in any higher degree! “Square Lamp” and “Outburst Nue” together with “Alipe Lacks” are currently my personal favourites of this album. “Square Lamp” is a clever take on electro, but with lots of atmosphere and masterly constructed soundscapes. Mid-through the track breaks down just to resume with even more intensity. And that is the key word here, intensity, not aggressivity. Brilliant! “Outburst Nue” comes next in line and that too is a marvellous track with solid beats programming a hint of electro and great atmosphere. More heavy basslines and straight forward beats in “Kyes Irrload” and “Scatterhaunted & Vellin Street” that follow. “Upward Instlr” is a mood change with gentler beats and fantastic melody leading on to the best track on the entire album with superb beats programming, fantastic bassline and the sweetest of melodies, all put together in the best possible way, two words: instant classic! “Tawn” ends this delightful second full-length by Esem. Who’s responsible for this release? Well, it’s Merck of course!

EU, Mandarines [Delikatessen Records – PLATE7, 2003]

July 8th, 2003 Comments off

delikatessen_plate7_2002EU on Delikatessen what can you say? With out a doubt a worthy follow-up to the mysterious Myrza release. Not as intense beats programming, but excellent down-tempo bass-filled electronica bearing EU’s analogue sounding trademark.There are four tracks on the 10″ ranging from the hallow yet solid beats and quirky melody in the forward moving opening track “Blizzard” to the fantastically bassy and jazzy “Ruw” on the A-side. Flip the vinyl over and you get in down tempo beats and melancholy in “Snowstorm” and a funny reversed bassline in “Frost”, a take on things that I haven’t heard in a long time. All in all, four thoroughly enjoyable tracks and a definite buy, but surely you had already guessed the conclusion: it’s delikatessen!

Adam Johnson, Chigliak [Merck – MERCK016, 2003]

July 8th, 2003 Comments off

adam_johnson_chiglickAlthough he’s already had some releases Mr Johnson’s music was completely unknown to me until I received my copy of ON Records compilation 002 and heard his excellent contribution “Boungy”. I’ve been waiting for his first full-length release for some time now and finally here it is. The 16 track CD is entitled “Chigliak and is released by Merck. It’s a very well produced album with a strong focus on rhythmic elements and a fair amount of electro influences. “Chigliak” starts of with a beatless atmosphere enhancing soundscapes acting as intro. “Trinity” has soothing guitar-based melody and steadily paced beats. “Version02” starts off with a calm intro leading on to dry percussive elements alongside straightforward beats and bassline. Reminiscent of those days now long gone… The aptly named “Autopop” has a similar structure, but is rather heavily influenced by those legendary Germans and is constructed out of nice sounding melodies and sounds. “Some Say She’s Naive” incorporates more straightforward and effective beats programming fused with vocoder-based melody. It’s a quirky electro-like track. “Lounge Pig” again very nice selection of sounds and beats programming. The strings add an American feeling to the track and to that particular brand of techno. “Sensible Imposter” is like a second part to or a remix of “Lounge Pig” difference being a bit more intensity in the handling of the beats, and that is also my interpretation of the title. “Anex” follows and gives you a down tempo track packed with beautiful melody fused with glass-like percussive elements. And it truly is an outstanding track. All tracks on the album, but one are previously unreleased: “Captain Wood” was first released by Parotic Music on a 12″ entitled “Pressure Point EP” in 2001 under the name A.J Hunter, which apparently also was the debut release for Adam Johnson. “Captain Wood” is as fresh sounding as any other track on the album in fact it is possibly one of the best tracks. Lovely piece of music! “Shade” marks a drastic tempo shift with its atmospheric, beatless soundscapes it’s an interlude of sorts leading on to “Kriegspiel” bringing back the beats in grand style, it’s a bass filled delight. Then the strangest thing happens after 11 tracks of variety and a fair amount of originality the mood of the album is altered. “Malk” is an electronic dub by the format track, it is as well produced as the rest but not that interesting. “Traber” is moving along the same lines, but instead of being dub-influenced it’s house-influenced. “Croupier” ends this album in the same beatless way that it started, in short a classic outro. The album would most likely have benefited from having a couple of fewer tracks, but nevertheless it is an impressive debut album by Adam Johnson. And a final word must be said about the nice looking but fragile packaging. Merck continues releasing high-grade electronic music and the signing of Adam Johnson promises much, much more to come.

Lackluster, Showcase [Merck – MERCK015, 2003]

July 8th, 2003 Comments off

merck015_lackluster_showcasA more than aptly named album by the Lackluster and don’t get it wrong this is a share show of force. There’re 19 tracks ranging from world class electronica, to old-school sounding electronics and beyond. In the warm melodic vein of things the number two “LL7 01/10/00”, number fifteen “mes 19/10/99” and number sixteen “11/11/99” are all exceptional tracks. An interesting take on electro with a fairly harsh edge is number five “24/04/00” or why not number fourteen “buzz”. With 19 tracks to choose from it just goes on and on and actually there’s something for everyone on the album. Produced by Lackluster between 1999-2001, compiled and released by those nice people at Merck.

Xela, For Frosty Mornings and Summer Nights [Neo Ouija – NEO18LP, 2003]

July 8th, 2003 Comments off

xela_frostyExcellent full-length album by Xela released some time ago on the ever-impressive Neo Ouija label. The album starts of with “Afraid of Monsters” with its sweet melody and really warm sounding basslines, which by the way also is the common denominator for this album. A high-pitched rim-shot leads in the second track alongside harmonica like sounding melodies and vocal samples acting as rhythmic support. A small tempo shift is offered in “Japanese Whispers”, hip-hop-esque with its synthesised handclap, moderate use of sampled vocals and lots of atmosphere, thereby serving as a perfect complement to the two previous tracks. “Inbetween Two Rooms” finishes off the first side of the LP is a down tempo dub-influenced track with heartbreakingly beautiful melody, sprinkled glitches and deep, deep bass.The first track on the second side is entitled “Impulsive Behaviour” and has really nice melodies, and a lonely piano that creates an atmosphere filled track with some glitch added for good measure. “An Abandoned Robot” does not only have a brilliant title, but a slow and gentle build-up, terrific sounds and is devoid of beats. “The Long walk home at Midnight” is the jewel of the crown! It begins with a short interlude of glitch, effectively hiding what is to come, a perfectly executed synthetic handclap and a deep bassline. These two elements are moving the track forward effortlessly and in a steady pace, accompanied by harmonica-like sounds and melody. Simply Brilliant! Last track on the LP “Last Breath” is quite mellow, uses vocal samples and a guitar. The album by Xela is awesome and I can’t but wonder what treasures are hidden on the CD version, which apparently holds a couple of more tracks. Hat and cap off to Xela and Neo Ouija, they’ve done it again!

Nynack, Pattern Errors [ON Records – ON103, 2003]

May 21st, 2003 Comments off

nynack_on103After releasing two outstanding compilations ON Records’ have just released (May 2003) “Error Patterns” a six-track EP by an artist called Nynack. This release does not have much in common musically with the earlier compilations and one reason for this is naturally that it is not a compilation it is an EP by a single artist. It becomes more than apparent while listening the opening track “6minus23”, it’s a fierce, very high-paced number containing disjointed melody, in layers and it sets the tone for the rest of the EP. It is followed by the even faster “00 returns”, mashed-up beats, distorted basslines and a beautiful melody serving as contrast, it works, but the pace is breathtaking. Things settle down in the interlude “Baalogus 2” with soothing harmonies made out of retrofitted sounds. You get a breather, but you better be quick because then “K the Drummer”, whit a multitude of beats and heavy cutting assaults you alongside sinister solitude chords. It ends as abruptly as it starts. Don’t be fooled by “Leaf Pitching” and its sweet sounding child-like intro melody, because it won’t last, the melody literary breaks and is accompanied by cut-up furious beats, some beautiful strings and you even get some white noise. The final track Lqirup_Domr is a short and concise ending to this six-tracker. “Error Patterns” is intense, with a focus on cut-up beats in all its glory and form. This release is somewhat confusing in it’s harshness, but it’s always refreshing to see a label that follows its own path rather than someone else’s and have the courage to change. I suspect that some voices will be raised about heavy drawn musical influences, especially in the two first tracks, but never mind that, this release only emphasizes the need to keep an eye on the future activities of ON Records.

Various Artists, Seed Volume One [Seed Records – SEEDCD06, 2003]

May 21st, 2003 Comments off

seed_vol_one_cd06Seed Records’ are releasing “Seed Volume One” a CD compilation featuring their entire live roster and some of their forthcoming releases. A total of twelve tracks by electronic household names such as Ardission, Digitonal and label runners Posthuman as well as new fresh and unheard talent. I suppose the compilation is meant to be a road map of sorts to the Seed label and the directions given by the road map are clear, they deal with electronic and electro music. But, they avoid falling into the obvious trap of genres and succeed in staying on the experimental and unconformable side of things. Hence there’re plenty of good tracks on this compilation and something to cater to any electronic music listener’s taste. The first track “Distant Personal” by On/Off is a perfect example of that. It’s built from a precise and clear analogue melody, with tempo shifting upward, processed vocal elements and nice beats treatment, it’s really a treat. Apparently Seed are planning to make an individual release by On/Off and I can just say I can barely wait. Cursorminer’s “Fructalbeak” is a track with some seriously treated funk beats and a kick with a lot of stopping power. Direction? To the dance floor! Fourth track is intriguing in it’s deceiving simplicity, it’s a great electro track, and in fact one of the better I’ve heard this year. It is delivered by Kansas City Prophets and entitled “Detraffec” in likeness with On/Off the future releases of KCP will be highly interesting. Posthuman’s “Moment of Weakness” features some apt drum machine programming and deep bass alongside an atmospheric melody moving towards tempo and beats change. It moves relentlessly forward, slowly increasing the density of the sonic picture and thereby creating an uncompromising and beautiful track. [Snyzch]’s “Snort Porridge (Do Me Mix)” almost defies description, not that the song’s elements are that strange in themselves, but the combination makes me wonder, is it the Porridge or is it the mix? Peachfish “Pushkin” features some serious beats handling and enough of them to make anyone with the smallest inclination towards beats to be more than happy. And you get a lovely break and deep strings, what more could you possibly ask for? It’s in the vein of the grossly underrated Icarus. Ardission, The Video Age, Doubtful Guest and Cold Fusion Mafia all bring their highly personal touch to the compilation. Jazzfinger’s contribution “Cornish Salt” is at the same time claustrophobic, melancholic and beautiful. A piano in solitude is accompanied by assorted sounds and distortions. It’s disturbing and it’s very good, not for the fainthearted and definitely depending on your general frame of mind… The final entry is made by Digitonal and is entitled “Snowflake Vectors” it’s a lovely track, defining an era containing an abundance of high-quality electronic music, and that era is now!