Friday, August 31, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Swedish disco explorers Studio bridge a gap between the current wave of Scandinavian retro disco activists (Lindstrom, Prins Thomas and so on) and more song-oriented dancefloor sounds. Clocking in at a mere six tracks West Coast might sound like it might be a tad brief, as albums go, but nonetheless the album nearly clocks up an hour's worth of play time and without doubt crams in an impressive run of ideas. 'Out There' serves as an excellent opener, and itself serves as an example of the group's ability to flirt with all manner of different sub-genres. It's a piece of gloriously lurid neon audio, made up of addictive early '80s-themed passages, even dropping some 'I Feel Love'-style synth arps before switching to a skanking reggae rhythm towards the end. There's something a bit Duran Duran about 'West Side', but somehow that doesn't seem at all like a bad thing. One of the album's more concise pop numbers, 'Self Service' is a clear highlight, sounding like a cross between Saint Etienne and The Knife (but with male vocals). Offering a different slant on Studio's approach to pop, 'Origin' goes a bit Madchester, featuring some bluesy guitar riffs set to a sloppy early-nineties style breakbeat. The whole of West Coast is united by a very specific produxction sound - one which while constantly referencing retro dance music trends always sounds full-bodied and weighty in a very modern way. Splendid.
"As gorgeous a piece of guitar-less indie pop as you're likely to hear this year. Beirut fans looking for more to fuel their hunger should look this way.." - Boomkat
Alaska In Winter came about when art student, Brandon Bethancourt spent a semester recording music in an isolated cabin on the south coast of Alaska. Upon arrival back in New Mexico, he teamed up with Zach Condon of Beirut, Heather Trost of A Hack And A Hacksaw (a Neutral Milk Hotel side-project), and Rosina Roybal (who played viola in the Kanye West symphony) and thus finished the album 'Dance Party In The Balkans'.
Brandon takes much of his influence from all his early years of growing up in the (American) South West, immersed in the musical low-rider culture of Santa Fe, New Mexico, as well as a slight Arabian influence on the part of his parents and their Byzantine church music.
The Conference of the Birds
The tightly-woven strains of Carnatic music have had hallucinogenic qualities for centuries. Practitioners such as Shankar and mandolin master Srinivas have brought the musical powers of their native lands to vastly wider audiences - Saddar Bazaar take the essence of Carnaticism bravely into the world of raga rock, beyond even the efforts of such past groups as Third Ear Band or Between. Amongst a collection of the requisite instruments (sitar, tabla, dholak, kubing, guitars, keyboards and sundry percussion) the quartet trade gently cascading riffs of piquant melodies (Sukoon) against hotbeds of strident percussion and trance rock (Baraka, Arc Of Ascent). Saddar Bazaar's psychedelic ragas function as both a reflection of the galvanising power of music's tradition and an re-affirmation of its' cultural identity in the modern world.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
A beautifully remastered version of the first album by Azymuth -- presented here with a full bonus CD of new remix tracks! The core album is one of the sweetest electric records to come from 70s Brazil -- the fabulous first effort from the Azymuth trio, and work that's hardly been matched again! Although the group here have plenty of the warm keyboard touches of their more famous later work, they're also moving in territory that's a bit more abstract as well -- using some noisier electronics amidst the smoother ones, to create a style that's somewhere between fusion, electric funk, and some of the more soaring Brazilian rhythms of the post-bossa years! The keyboards of Jose Roberto Bertrami are worth the price of admission alone -- and include Fender Rhodes, Arp, and clavinet -- plus bits of Hammond organ too! There's more than a few great breaks and samples on the set -- and titles include "Brazil", "Caca De Conta", "Melo Dos Dois Bicudos", "Manha", "Periscopio", and "Montreal City". The second disc is just as great as the first -- and features 11 great remixes, all by talents very sympathetic to the classic sound of the original -- tracks that include "Wait For My Turn (Yam Who rmx)", "Linha Do Horizonte (Mr Beatnick rmx)", "Estrada Dos Deuses (Recloose rmx)", "Seems Like This (As One rmx)", "Periscopio (Marc Mac rmx)", "Morning (Peanut Butter Wolf rmx)", "Caca A Raposa (DJ Venom rmx)", and "Montreal City (Volcov rmx)".
If you're going to kick off an album with a song called "Divers Do It Deeper," you should either be really good with the comedy or just really good, period. Sorcerer, the nom de plume (or beat) of Dan Judd from the band Call & Response, aims for the good in general, happily, and if White Magic isn't a suddenly out-of-nowhere high point for music in 2007, it is an easygoing but not lazy blend of dance styles that aims for the gently upbeat. Like a fair number of fellow musical travelers, Sorcerer's main fascination seems to lie with a kind of not-quite-real-but-close vision of dance music at the turn of the '80s as a multifaceted blend between understated funk and disco, proto-chillout jazz, and early digital electronic production in general. If the vision isn't per se unique, the execution matters most, and while White Magic almost works better in individual moments rather than as a full album -- though it might have worked best as a continual mix -- those moments can be solid ones, as with the tight guitar riff on "Surfing at Midnight" and "Egyptian Sunset" or the just-anthemic-enough synth flow on "Blind Yachtsman" and "Airbrush Dragon," the latter of which manages the neat trick of suggesting any number of electronic pioneers and popularizers without specifically sounding like any. An even better standout is "Slow Burning Hands," which seems to have everything from a slowed-down mariachi beat to lush electric guitar washes interspersed with soft acoustic filigrees. It might not be a full-on beat apocalypse, but as its own take on a form it's still a reflective treasure, suggesting sunny beaches and the ability to get away from it all, even if only briefly. by ned Raggett
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
“Songs For The Young At Heart” is an enchanting side project bought to you by Dave Boulter and Stuart Staples of the Tindersticks. Inspired by memories from their childhood of music from the radio, school room and television, “Songs For The Young At Heart” features the sunny, simple, dark and sad songs from the halcyon days of school holidays and endless summer afternoons. Hand picking a selection of guest vocalists and story tellers, the album includes the likes of Cerys Matthews singing a sublime version of “White Horses”, Bonnie Prince Billy’s melancholic version of Puff The Magic Dragon and Jarvis Cocker reciting the tale of “Albert & The Lion” which takes you back to the days of Jackanory. Lovingly and beautifully presented, “Songs For The Young At Heart” is for everyone, whether young, old or especially just young at heart…
“Songs For The Young At Heart”, released on February 26th, first comes in a limited edition run packaged in a hard paged children’s book featuring the tale of “Albert The Lion” with illustrations by cult artist Sexton Ming. A video of Jarvis Cocker telling the story of “Albert The Lion” – where Jarvis sits in an actual lions cage WITH the lion – will also be available.
1.Theme For The Young At Heart (Stuart Staples)
2. Uncle Sigmund’s Clockwork Storybook – Sung by Robert Forster (The Triffids)
Originally by The Spinners in 1967
3. Florence’s Sad Song – Sung by Stuart Murdoch (Belle & Sebastian)
From “Dougal & The Blue Cat” – 1972
4. White Horses – Sung by Cerys Mathews
Originally by Jacky Lee in 1968
5.The Lion & Albert – Told by Jarvis Cocker
Original monologue by Marriott Edgar
6. Robinson Crusoe – Performed by The Tindersticks
Theme from the television programme from 1965
7. Hushabye Mountain – Sung by Stuart Staples
From Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – 1965
8. Morningtown Ride – Sung by Suzanne Osbourne
9. Inch Worm – Sung by Kurt Wagner (Lambchop)
Hans Christian Anderson soundtrack 1952
10. Mary, Mungo & Midge – performed by The Tindersticks
From the BBC TV series 1969
11. The Three Sneezes – Told by Martin Wallace
12. Puff, The Magic Dragon – Sung by ‘Bonnie’ Price Billy and Red
Originally by Peter, Paul & Mary in 1963
13. Hey, Don’t You Cry – (Stuart Staples) sung by Stuart Staples