Sunday, 30 August 2009

Killing Joke - Hosannas From The Basement Of Hell

My metal choice for this month is this 2006 effort from Killing Joke. Massive, pounding, epic and heavy. They had perfected a great formula on this one: muscular and chugging riffs and Jaz Coleman's roar adorned by nice touches of keyboards. Definitely industrial metal, and you can feel the influence of Youth in some of the arrangements, with some very techno phrasing and some drops. There's even a chugging Kashmir-style track, with eastern style strings, that they pull off with aplomb. Highly enjoyable - good for hammering out in the car.


Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Kopernik - Kopernik

Released on Eastern Developments in 2003, this really should have been one of the first posts on this blog. I love this album, and it is a unique and totally under-appreciated gem. A duo, Kopernik (follow this link for better words than mine) have released nothing since, which is a terrible shame.
This falls somewhere between soundtrack, post rock, ambient and modern classical. Dominated by sonourously bowed bass and shimmering string arrangements, it's a brilliantly recorded and engineered album. Wisps of backwards samples, carefully used vocal snippets of voice and choir and assorted acoustic instruments are all used to perfectly augment the themes. The opener 'Ondoyant Et Divers' encapsulates the sound - a simple and beautiful plucked bass line over some backwards pulsing, then what sounds like a woodwind ensemble swells as the bass switches to bowed, and the piece gradually drifts into a glorious peace. The style is gloriously simple, although 'Man, Myth and Magic' begins with oriental flourishes, what sounds like a dulcimer, and the kind of proggy bass work heard on Eno's mid 70s rock albums, although this gives way to a wonder-filled string arrangement. There are light Eastern influences throughout, melodically; but like the electronic sound manipulation, they are always understated.
I don't really know what these chaps have been up to in the interim - I just look out for a new Kopernik album. Hopefully they are getting tons of soundtrack, or at least engineering/production work that they clearly have the talent for. I actually bought this on cd as well as LP, because I wanted to preserve my LP. It's a magnificent album.


Sympletic - No Name

A post holiday post to get back into the swing of things. A limited 1994 release on the distinctive abstract techno label Ifach, run by Baby Ford. This was a single sided 12", by Mark Broom, who is (and was) a pretty wicked DJ in addition to his obvious production skills.
The one track is a twelve minute epic workout of deep, trippy and atmospheric techno: a masterpiece, I would say. Mr Broom works this shuffling groove into deep space with off kilter hi-hats, and a palpable hands-on feel of mixing desk manipulation. Wonderful.

Update: I've just been cleaning up my links, and discovered the wonderfully named Essex Rascals site, where you can keep up with Mark Broom's activities, along with Paul Mac, Ben Sims and Tony Anderson.


Saturday, 1 August 2009

Anthony Manning - Islets In Pink Polypropylene

Amazing and legendary album from Anthony Manning on the equally legendary Irdial label, from 1994. This album is a perfect summation of the term abstract electronica. Playing out like one long track, this music is beatless, and has a shifting, open structure. Oddly morphing keyboards wobble around some strange and disconcerting background textures in a most unique and strange way. If you work anywhere that requires you to wear a lab coat, this should be playing in the background at all times.
Irdial always was an odd yet pioneering label. Early on to the internet, they engaged with the philosophy of music in the digital age, and at some point in the late 90s they made all their music available for free download. You can get this album online, but this is a better quality cd rip. I also recommend the Anthony Manning albums Concision and Chromium Nebulae. Irdial also released the even more legendary Conet Project, a 4cd box set consisting of recordings of shortwave numbers stations, which can be downloaded here.

Update: It looks like Anthony Manning may be releasing some more music in the future, and possibly playing live! Keep up to date at this website