Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Certainly the most anticipated release from Rod Modell's Deepchord project, this incredible package also marks the debut emission from the Echospace imprint, a label curated and steered by Modell in conjunction with Soultek's Steve Hitchell (Hitchell and Modell are also writing together under the Echospace moniker, with their debut efforts included here with 4 tracks and soon due for an appearance on the Modern Love imprint for a series of twelves). Apart from the fact that this album has taken several months to painstakingly put together, and the fact that it is limited to a measly 1000 copies worldwide), "Vantage Isle" also boasts a rare remix effort from Convextion, three new Deepchord mixes and five versions from Echospace - there are 13 tracks here beautifully mastered in Detroit by the legendary Ron Murphy and handpackaged by the Echospace crew with all the bespoke attention to detail you might expect from a package of this nature. The music, well, its just vintage Deepchord : kicking off with the mighty DC version of the title track, a lilting Maurizio-style killer that seems to hover over its own percussion with a million shards of space-echo and reverb breaking out of the mix - pure, hazy brilliance. The debut Echospace "Glacial" mix is up next and more or less sums up what this collaborative pairing is all about - a towering wall of fuzz and washes of delay drench the mix in a cascading variation of the primary dub sound-palette, an analogue leviathan that just blew my mind listening to on headphones - mighty, mighty stuff. On to the Convextion mix : and you get just about what you expect - the spacial hemorrhage of the original squashed into a pulsing BASS killer, sparse yet menacing, the chords taking on their own signature sound - deconstructing and re-building itself into something you could only really describe as epic. The Basic Channel continuum once again casts its influence over its legions of drooling followers, with this release finding one of their most sought-after, well-realised transmissions to date. Awesome.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Titus Andronicus

Titus Andronicus is a rock and roll band from Glen Rock. In the beginning, there were only three people in the band. At one point, there were eleven people in the band. Today, there are five people in the band. Titus Andronicus take their name from a minor Shakespearean tragedy, not, as many people believe, from some sort of killer robot from the future. Titus Andronicus formed in the spring of 2005. Titus Andronicus' debut long player, "The Airing of Grievances" was released in April of 2008 by Troubleman Unlimited. Titus Andronicus have shared stages with such noted, world-famous luminaries as Matt and Kim, Holy Fuck, Foals, Dr. Dog, Cloud Cult, and Call Me Lightning. Titus Andronicus practice at Ian's house. Titus Andronicus sometimes disagree on what is the right thing to do. Titus Andronicus like to scream and carry on at excessive volume. Titus Andronicus like songs which are fast more than songs which are slow. Titus Andronicus think slow songs are okay sometimes. Titus Andronicus never sing about love, only hate. Titus Andronicus have no hope for the future. Titus Andronicus believe only in nothingness. Everyone in Titus Andronicus was born to die. Titus Andronicus crave your approval but will settle for your utter disdain.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Slow Dancing Society

From the outset The Slow and Steady Winter sets itself up to be an epic. Clocking in at over an hour long and comprising of only eight tracks the album paints its majestic landscapes with both measure and purpose, unfolding a sound that moves from immersive ambient evocations to beatific bliss rock.The Slow and Steady Winter is not concerned with singularity but rather the totality of experience. The album is a gorgeously choreographed chronicle of a Spokane winter from the ice covered fields of ‘The Early Stages of Decline’ to the thawed warm edges of spring in ‘February Sun’. The album serves as a wonderful progression from Slow Dancing Society’s previous work both in sound and mood. In part it presents a much darker vision while still radiating an ineffable sense of humanity and heart.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tangerine Dream

Phaedra is one of the most important, artistic, and exciting works in the history of electronic music, a brilliant and compelling summation of Tangerine Dream's early avant-space direction balanced with the synthesizer/sequencer technology just beginning to gain a foothold in nonacademic circles. The result is best heard on the 15-minute title track, unparalleled before or since for its depth of sound and vision. Given focus by the arpeggiated trance that drifts in and out of the mix, the track progresses through several passages including a few surprisingly melodic keyboard lines and an assortment of eerie Moog and Mellotron effects, gaseous explosions, and windy sirens. Despite the impending chaos, the track sounds more like a carefully composed classical work than an unrestrained piece of noise. While the title track takes the cake, there are three other excellent tracks on Phaedra. "Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares" is a solo Edgar Froese song that uses some surprisingly emotive and affecting synthesizer washes, and "Movements of a Visionary" is a more experimental piece, using treated voices and whispers to drive its hypnotic arpeggios. Perhaps even more powerful as a musical landmark now than when it was first recorded, Phaedra has proven the test of time.


It starts in the upper atmosphere, in that rarefied air where silence sings and time is little more than an abstraction. As it makes its way down through the tree line, to sea level, to the ear canals, elliptical windows and auditory nerves of the great unwashed, the shapes begin to shift. The sine waves become more distinct: swarming, swirling guitars, drums like a churning steam press, a chorus of celestial voices. Instru- ments collude and collide in a roiling shoal and then dissipate, leaving a cavernous hole, a ghost town, the vestiges and echoes of a brief terres- trial existence. Out in Denton and “other parts of the country,” where seemingly mild psychotropic disturbances can have vast and sinister implications for certain elements within the local populaces, Pyramids conjure the cacophonies of the great unknown, one song at a time.


Building upon the multi-genre musical narrative established on last years critically acclaimed ‘Future Rock’ album, ‘Electric Soup’ is the latest release from Portland, Oregon based Strategy, aka multi-instrumentalist, programmer and DJ Paul Dickow.The compositions feature material initially road-tested during his whistle-stop tour of the UK and France in October 2007, which were then refined through a studio process that fuses old-school analogue equipment with modern digital sound design and manipulation. It is this blend of the old and new, combined with Paul’s own retro-futurist outlook which makes the songs on Electric Soup seem instantly familiar yet still unreservedly unique.From the Kosmiche of 'Unconventional Wisdom' through to the final theremin squeals of 'Primordial Soup' (which also features a guest appearance by Nudge cohort Brian Foote on additional guitar and synth duties), the almost dizzying array of textures, themes and musical motifs blended into the 24 minute running time provides food for the senses. Anyone for soup?

Blue Magic

The third Blue Magic LP continues to subtly refine and expand the group's approach. While their gossamer harmonies remain squarely at the forefront, 13 Blue Magic Lane features more pronounced club grooves than on their previous records, bowing to the inexorable shift from classic Philly soul to disco. Arranged by Norman Harris and Ron Kersey, several songs feature electronic textures that add surprisingly complementary muscle to Blue Magic's delicate vocals. In fact, despite the presence of sumptuous ballads like "Chasing Rainbows" and "Loneliest House on the Block," up-tempo fare like "We're on the Right Track" is even better. The times would later pass Blue Magic by, but for this glorious album, they were not only in lockstep with the prevailing attitudes but further ahead of the curve than any of their contemporaries.


Absolutely stunning debut album of ambient electronic space rock from afrighteningly young three-piece from South London - their first fullrelease, having had an early version of album track 'The Tinderbox' includedon the Type Records 'Free The Future' compilation.Having met at school, Sam Purcell, Josh Rothberger and Karl Jawara startedexperimenting with various musical instruments and sounds using software andbasic recording equipment, inspired by the music they were into and with theaim of creating their own wall of sound. After 14 months they emerged withsomething they were sufficiently happy with to allow it to be heard byothers, and ultimately that brings us to the present day - an eight-track,45-minute debut that is comparable to any in this field in recent times.Our Sleepless Forest's music is multi-layered, complex and dense, yetdedication and attention are rewarded as the intricate slow-build melodiesare revealed beneath the feedback, crackle and hiss. Reminiscent at times ofthe likes of Loscil or even Radiohead's more out-there moments but on thewhole avoiding the predictable comparisons associated with music of thisgenre, this is an album that simply has to be heard.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Extra Life

"Secular Works"
Extra Life is the new band led by New York-based guitarist/vocalist Charlie Looker (member of ZS and Ocrilim, ex-Dirty Projectors). While the music retains some of the heady instrumental abstraction of his work in ZS, Extra Life moves into a far more melodic song-based realm. The compositions are still epic, complex and aggressive, yet with a lush, personal, dramatic spirit; dark, heavy avant chamber pop with a cold Gothic beauty echoing that of Medieval chant. In addition to Looker's voice and guitar, the band includes Tony Gedrich (bass, member Archaeopteryx), Ian Antonio (drums, member ZS), Travis Laplante (keyboard, tenor saxophone, member Little Women) and Caley Monahon- Ward (violin, member Nat Baldwin band).