Inigo Kennedy, Distant Circles [Asymmetric – ASY MP3 020, 2011]

February 22nd, 2011 Comments off

‘Distant Circles’ is the fresh start for the New Year on Inigo Kennedy’s Asymmetric label and the twentieth MP3 release (JAN 2011). And like it’s predecessor this EP consists of five exceedingly well-produced electronic pieces and once more epic techno tracks.

In sequential order; starting with ‘Albedo’, a big drum track with some subtleties, pure techno if that is even a valid term these days, a track that stretches back in time, with the big exception that the sound quality was very different at the time (no one would have known.) Tempo is most definitely up! (Maybe, just maybe drum’n’bass has something to do with that tempo change in music the past decade or so?)

‘Caverns’ has beautiful and classic build up (you need the time to play the intro though) and progresses along a pathway of good things, bass and added musical complexity and yes, the steppers can find their way as well, given they can survive the massive break! Rest assured the drum returns… in my inner vision I can see that build-up effect in all it’s beauty, the hesitation and I can also indeed see all the smiles! The drum is BIG, but so are the breaks. In one word sonic effectiveness!

This could very well be the most interesting track of them all, on Inigo Kennedy’s “Distant Circles” namely, ‘Skedaddle’ a hybrid of styles, but with a breakbeat focus that simply can’t be missed. And being produced by Inigo Kennedy there just has to be an individual twist and there most definitely is! It is a very effective track and in some senses a bridge between all the things that are well produced these days and that still remain in the up-tempo sphere (a lot of production excursions have taken the path down the BPM ladder rather than up). Kennedy, as renowned techno producer on the other hand has chosen, until now more or less unknown middle ground in ‘Skedaddle’ and it’s all to great effect! I really, really wish this track will crossover.

‘Jupiter’ is a techno banger with soul, BIG drums fused with sounds to keep you interested and most likely overwhelmed if on the floor (given the sound system is actually there). In my mind this is very close to the definition of ‘Techno’ music (whatever that may be). Finally I suspect that the title of the song doesn’t entirely reference the celestial body, but hey, it’s just my personal observation/suspicion.

The fifth and last track is entitled ‘Disorder’ and it concludes the ‘Distant Circles’ EP in an orderly way, and yet it is something different altogether. The setting is different and so is the track’s overall mood. Lushes of atmospheric sounds accompany the beats. Actually it is similar to the closing track on the previous release and it also stands as vivid reminder of just how good electronic music can be.

‘Distant Circles’ is available as free download from asymmetric and so are all of the previous releases.

Zainetica, Overcast City, [En:peg Digital – EN39, 2008]

January 19th, 2011 Comments off

En:peg Digital is, or rather used to be the only digital branch of US label n5MD. The label originally started out releasing MiniDiscs. That would be Sony’s quirky and strange MiniDisc format that they eventually decided to discontinue as recordable media in 2006. They then left the US label among a few others with CD:s, vinyl and digital downloads for output.

n5MD has released some of the very best electronic music makers around in the late 1990’s and beyond, for example all-time favourites and (in my mind) unsurpassed Dutch dynamic duo, the untouchable Funcken brothers. And if I’m not completely mistaken, the first Funcken Bros. n5MD release ever made was made using the Quench moniker and I’m also pretty sure that not all that many people knew the true identity of Quench at the time, even if their productions techniques is the obvious give away today…

That was the related history for this time around, let’s move on to the mighty Zainetica and his Overcast City album, definitely completely overlooked by me and dear I say some others… This excellent album starts out with the massive Overcast City stretching some 23 minutes and probably is two or three tracks combined in one majestic piece. Staring off with excellent scenic and continuing on a logical part to my favourite part some 12 minutes in when the mood changes and all the deepness is reinforced with solid bass and the most of the beauty materializes in to solid bass. The seven tracks on Overcast City are all a testament of Zainetica’s musical craftsmanship and mind you only someone in love would ever name a track The World is You, and could you, honestly think of a better thing in this World? It’s a beautiful song as well…

Zainetica’s Overcast City is available at the En:peg Digital site. I suggest you give it a listen right now!

Lackluster, Aeration EP [TwoCircles Records – [ [2circlesNet002], 2009]

December 23rd, 2010 Comments off

Lackluster, what can one say? This entity (human) embodies the very essence of what contemporary electronic music is all about. This human has been producing music of the highest quality imaginable for a decade (that’s more than 10 years mind you) and possibly even longer, it is impressing to say the least and even more important it is reassuring.

In the ‘Aeration EP’ a two-track release on Two Circles you get more than merely two tracks of expertly composed contemporary pieces of electronic music, supposedly free of charge, then again the question immediately rises, why would the supposedly best be free of charge? And the answer it is not free of charge of course, because time is always time and as any sane person would know, time is anything but free…). That aside, if you like two tracks of expertly put together contemporary and nice electronic sounds and beats then investigate otherwise the strong suggestion is to move away quietly.

And finally in the dying end of 2010, please answer me this simply question: why is the best offerings supposed to be for free? You can download the Lackluster Aeration EP here.

Teho Teardo, Soundtrack Work 2004-2008 [Expanding Records – ECD31:10, 2010]

December 19th, 2010 Comments off

After the release of Pq debut album ‘You’ll Never Find Us Here’ and following a period of quietness. This surprising second album appears on Expanding Records in 2010. It was released just a mere month or so later (AUG2010). As would be expected (it’s Expanding after all) it is another excellent debut album, this time around it’s entitled ‘Soundtrack Work 2004-2008’ and it’s written and produced by: Teho Teardo. He is half of Modern Institute and in 2006 they released the ‘Excellent Swimmer’ album on Expanding Records the other half of Modern Institute is fellow musician Martina Bertoni.

On ‘Soundtrack Work 2004-2008’, which also happens to be a very descriptive title of the album you’ll find expectedly crafted soundtrack tracks, a selection of Teho Teardo’s compositional work related to cinema. On the album (compilation) the sonic work included in five movies is included. Given that the origin is the same, that is, the same person has written the music there is a theme of sorts and listening to the album end-to-end is a gratifying experience. It soothing music with a lot of warmth, in some sense transparent and with nothing but a cinematic feel.

I usually try very hard to refrain from making references to the general or the concept of the general when writing about music, but when it comes to soundtracks, then it becomes really hard not doing so, because they, the soundtracks that is, do seem to have a general trait and would appear to be sharing something that is a common and mind you, this is not necessarily a bad thing. That being said, ‘Soundtrack Work 2004-2008’ is one beautiful collection of music, put together with great care and it caters for a nimbleness listen and to sum it up it’s another great release from the pursuers of excellence: Expanding Records.

Ludvig Elblaus, R1 [Resurface – RESUSE001, 2010]

December 14th, 2010 Comments off

R1 is a live-set by Ludvig Elblaus and it was recorded in 2010-12-03 at R1. The venue R1 (Reaktor 1) used to house the very first Swedish nuclear reactor and it is situated 20 meters below the ground in the firm bedrock under the vast KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. The venue is spectacular to say the least and so is the Ludvig Elblaus R1 live-set!

During the years that have passed since the album debut Flannel Poet in 2003, 2004’s critically acclaimed New Speak EP Furious Styles and the sadly delayed 2006 Electronic Desert Recordings’ Trials album, Ludvig has been busy exploring and deepening his understanding of the core of music making and that is meant to be understood in a literal, actual and very precise sense.

And as would have been expected the elements that used to be somewhat unconventional in his previous musical output have now become refined, amplified and finalised in a sense. There are carefully crafted soundscape and drones, pure sound construction, that is was what comes in mind, but also the freedom obtained of breaking loose from preconceived formats such as album etc. in other words the directness of the live setting. The space that sound naturally occupy as well as the necessary reminder that music is very much a physical thing as well as a spiritual one.

R1’s 22 minutes and 16 seconds say it all really…

The live-set also spawned the idea of branching out the activities of resurface to incorporate contemporary music as download in combination with the texts. Consequently R1 is available as a 320VBR MP3 ZIP file with artwork for download here at: resurface.se.

The cover photo was taken by Axel Hammarbäck and is used with kind permission by the photographer.

This is RESUSE001 enjoy!

Pq, You’ll Never Find Us Here [Expanding Records – ECD30:10, 2010]

December 14th, 2010 Comments off

After being quiet for a period of time a new release on Expanding Records finally arrives (JUN2010)! And it is another debut album and it is as many times before a high-quality piece of music. Reflecting the undeniable and dramatic changes in the near past, this is appears to be a CD release only (no vinyl this time around, a pity, but not all that surprising). Once the unquestionable beacon of well-thought-through purist electronic music, Expanding has adapted its position in order to stay in front. And with the years’ that have past and especially looking back, Pq’s debut album is not a turning point for Expanding. I dear to say that it happened some albums ago and I also think that in even that aspect Expanding was ahead of their time. ‘You’ll Never Find Us Here’ is excellent and it seems to have a longevity factor to it (mind you 2010 hasn’t ended yet). It might be because of its production, it might be of its enticing beauty, it might be because it ‘s an Expanding release, it might or it might not be because the majority of the rest of the contemporary releases just doesn’t sound as good. Honestly, who can resist a solitary un-damped piano track? For sure it is not electro, and it is not all that electronic, but then again this is not the year 2000. Expanding Records manages to surprise once again… I strongly suggest you make up your own mind.

Monoceros, A Glorious Afternoon [Imaginary Nonexistent Records -INR014CDR, 2010]

December 14th, 2010 Comments off

The well-known artist Monoceros, producer of high-grade electronic music and releases on such prestigious labels such as Expanding Records and Fueradeserie run imaginary Nonexistent Records. The mini-album (8 tracks) in question ‘A Glorious Afternoon’ is a direct continuation of Monoceros’ earlier work. It is warm, melodic and extremely well produced and in my mind, for being a 2010 release, ‘A Glorious Afternoon’ is exceptional, simply because it is completely devoid of ‘genre’ nervousness surrounding too many of the electronically inclined releases this year. It does not fall into any given newly invented category, on the contrary it is just good electronic music and I guess, in the end, that is what Imaginary Nonexistent Records is all about. Download or CDR is available at the inrecs website.

Neuron, Planet Fendor, [Imaginary Nonexistent Records – SMON004CDR, 2010]

December 14th, 2010 Comments off

No question about it, this is an excellent piece of music! Deep, bassfilled crystalline soundscapes, beautiful in a mesmerising and melancholic way. I feel compelled to say something more about the bass, it’s excellent handled and nothing less than hypnotising. Depending on your set-up you might go for the headphones (if your neighbours are away this does not apply you and especially not if you go by the name of Jaques Lueder).

Imaginary Nonexistent Records goes for the Drone and those so in style! With three simultaneous and somewhat connected releases, but nevertheless by three different artists. Neuron’s opening track ‘Olace’ has to be commented on since is one of the best tracks I’ve heard in some time and the album Planet Fendor in its entirety is highly recommended. However, it also comes with a caution, watch your bassbins or maybe your headphones, excellent low frequencies present on this one! Very, very, well done! Download or CDR available at the inrecs website.

Inigo Kennedy, Magnificent Spaces [Asymmetric – ASY MP3 019, 2010]

November 18th, 2010 Comments off

‘Magnificent Spaces’ is the nineteenth MP3 release on Inigo Kennedy’s Asymmetric label and the first to be written about here at resurface. The EP consists of five exceedingly well-produced electronic pieces and dear I say epic techno tracks.

In sequential order; starting with ‘Muck Shelf’, a real treat incorporating forward-moving (UK flavoured) beats, a dirty filtered bass and a lovely melody lingering in the background, simply put an excellent track.

‘Laconic’ steps closer to the purist techno realm with it’s big sounding drum and analogue haunting melody, it also contains some decidedly broken sounds all to great effect and all engineered to set the dance on fire.

‘Roundabound’ is broken; a relentless synthesised loop is fused with scattered beats and offbeat handclap creating a chaotic as well as hypnotising setting. What’s needed is an open-minded dance floor. ‘Roundabound’ ends as it starts, which makes perfect sense when you come to think about it.

‘Triangle’ brings things back on the techno track. It’s a beautiful, majestic and strongly built track with beats straight as autobahn, and yet still filled with groove and excellent chosen sounds. As good as they come.

The fifth and last track entitled ‘Mood’ concludes ‘Magnificent Spaces’, the beats are not as prominent and they are accompanied by warm lushes of atmospheric sounds. The Americana electronic legacy is clearly audible. ‘Mood’ is a perfect example of the emotional strength of repetition in music as well as a vivid reminder of just how good techno can be.

‘Magnificent Spaces’ is available as free download from asymmetric and so are the previous eighteen releases! The fact that music of this quality is available for free and the actual state of the post-digital World is something that will not be covered in this particular text.

Amorph, Midsummer [Boltfish Recordings – BOLTDIGI016, 2010]

November 18th, 2010 Comments off

Amorph’s debut album entitled ‘Etats d’esprit’ was released on Boltfish in 2007. This four track EP ‘Midsummer’ sees Amorph return in form on the very same label. There’re four tracks of delightful breakbeats of the nicest persuasion. It’s been stated here before and it can very well be stated again, good music does not have to belong to a musical journalist’s newest invented sub-genre to be good. Hey, at the end of the day, good music just has to fulfil the requirement of being good! The ‘Midsummer’ EP is all that and more and it is what you’re looking for, it’s a breakbeat treat. The track ‘Sunrise’ is the ultimate testament, come 2010 and you get perfectly laid down beats, flawless production and execution and triggering an automatic replay, what can I say, but, that it’s an excellent track! I just wish, imagine that I actually would under any circumstance hear this track being played out, once, and no that’s not going to happen anytime in the near future, and frankly that is just a shame…