Saturday, 31 July 2010

Khan & Walker - Radiowaves

I haven't posted anything involving Khan for a while, so here's another excellent album beamed down from the acid bleeposphere. There's super-minimal packaging on this one - they usually tell you what kit they have used to make their records, but I'm pretty sure it's the same equipment they were using on all their other releases around 1995 when this one came out. Actually, my album cover is different to this one, but I can't seem to find a decent image of it. This has the usual crispyRoland percussion pattering away; phased and dazed synths sweep across the background while acid lines, bass and the odd syncopated mid range line bubble and swing in the centre of your headphones. Throw in the odd bit of speech sample, some high wispy frequencies, twiddle the knobs a bit, and there you have it - a classic snapshot of the Cologne sound which is glorious to my ears: deep, spacy and trippy. The beats are all fairly light - no pounding 808s, here - ranging from slow breakbeat rockers, to jittery electro, and 5am trance-out on the splendid and epic 'Radiowaves 4'.


Thursday, 22 July 2010

White Rainbow - Prism Of Eternal Now

Rather superb space-psych from one man band Adam Forkner. The fabulous opener 'Pulses' is a real statement of intent - bongos and shakers usher in a fat analogue synth riff, which is soon accompanied but some fantastic looped vocal ejaculations - referencing the kind of 70s art rock/serialism of Laurie Anderson, and some kind of ecstatic stereo pan sect. Then in come the stratosphere-scraping lead synth and guitar(?) and the track takes off into space, with some more chanting for company. Gorgeous and sublime freakery. Although it's possibly the highlight, every track on this album is excellent - there are lushly cosmic ambient washes like 'Waves', 'Awakening' and 'Middle' - flotation tank splendour. There is more wild and driving psych in the shape of 'Mystic Prism', and further expansion of the sound in the electronic dubby textures of 'Warm Clicked Fruit', which brings to mind the warmly enveloping digital pulsations of deadbeat and Vladislav Delay. There is another fantastic avant synth exploration in 'For Terry' (Riley), which has a similar fat mid range analogue synth wobbling along in a strange out of time sequence, while a high pitch line oscillates and flutters upwards. Then some beautifully processed lead guitar comes in, recalling mid-70s Fripp, and a more rocking take on his collaborative albums with Eno.
Luscious and deeply psychedelic, this is a real recent favourite of mine. This and the more recent White Rainbow album are available from Kranky: what a brilliant label - so much good music. Go there and buy something direct from them.


Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Sensational - Loaded With Power

1997 debut album by this very idiosyncratic rapper, on the Wordsound label. This may be the most mashed hip-hop album ever recorded, from his superb, lurching, deranged rapping style, to the ultra low fi beats. The vocals on this album were recorded through headphones, and the music with a four track and not much else. Whatever was used - it usually sounds like it's malfunctioning, with stumbling beats and massively overdriven bass. It's an album full of wrongness and experiment, but works brilliantly. It does sound like the product of a demented brain, and I remember reading in The Wire that later in his career he sold his equipment to buy crack, although I should add that he sorted himself out again and has continued to record.


Sunday, 11 July 2010

Ghedalia Tazartes - Tazartes' Transports

Back to the weird end of the spectrum! This contains music written between 1977 and 1998, and despite being firmly in the experimental/avant-garde camp, this is extremely listenable and enjoyable, if you are open to strange music. This is a real psychedelic jumble of found sounds, tape loops, odd snippets of speech, as well as a variety of instruments. It is masterfully created, using abrupt introduction of sound as well as cogent and structured phrasing. The clashes of sounds work brilliantly - like the bleeping analogue meltdown, with mongo percussion, and bird chattering panned across the top of it on track 5. Of course, it is virtually all deeply weird, but can also be very beautiful: track 6 is composed from wisps of backward tapes - voice, piano and possibly orchestral samples, to create an ethereal and otherworldly hymn to something quite likely beyond human understanding.
There is also a healthy sense of mischief - you would think that some of the blurting vocals on track 7 are purely designed to freak out stoned heads: there are definitely echoes of some of the weirder bits of Revolution 9 off the White Album. This is an inspired and freaky gem of an album, and I have Dimitri to thank for it. Check out his blog for a selection of amazing and far-out compilations.


Friday, 9 July 2010

White Dot Electronica 2

Another wad of superb electronica for you. Slightly more upbeat, lush and tuneful this time, epitomised by the glorious opener by Four Tet vs. Pole. This also contains what I think could be the finest piece of electronica ever: Autechre's remix of Beaumont Hannant. I'm sure there are proponents of Carl Craig's 'At Les', too - a total classic. The other Autechre remix is completely awesome, too, and the Balil track is one I never tire of. Two hours of niceness: hopefully there will be some revelatory discoveries within.
1 - Four Tet vs. Pole - Cload (V/A - Osmosis Leaf Sampler)
2 - Apparat - Limelight (Walls)
3 - As One - Meridian Max 404 remix (Reflections On Reflections)
4 - Softballet - Jail Of Freedom Autechre remix (Softballetforms)
5 - Bersarin Quartet - Mehr Als Alles Andere (Bersarin Quartet)
6 - Mouse On Mars -Owai (Instrumentals)
7 - Dabrye - No Child Of God (Instrumentals)
8 - Kettel - Any Waken Sly Bonda (Whisper Me Wishes)
9 - Balil - Parasight (V/A-Artificial Intelligence 2)
10 - Kiyoshi Izumi - Bedroom Glow (Effect Rainbow 12")
11 - LA Synthesis - Agoraphobia (Matrix Surfer)
12 - Nonplace Urban Field - Roll Over Ehrenfield (V/A-Deutsche Funk)
13 - Boy Robot - Magic Toys For Girls & Boys (Rotten Cocktails)
14 - Principles Of Geometry - Golem (Lazare)
15 - Vulva - Kellog's Corn Circles (From The Cockpit)
16 - Cristian Vogel - The Time Lock (Station 54)
17 - Carl Craig - At Les (V/A - In Order To Dance 5)
18 - 16B - Falling: Two Lone Swordsmen remix (Falling 12")
19 - Beaumont Hannant - Psi Onyx Autechre remix (Psi Onyx 12")


Roy Andersson - World Of Glory (Härlig är jorden)

When I started this blog I had grand plans to post loads of short films, but for some reason I never seem to get around to it. Here is a remarkable and brilliant short by Swedish director Roy Andersson, from 1991.
It is a series of still-camera vignettes, based around the wan, distant and tormented figure you can see in the stills above. This character speaks directly to camera, and the combination of his measured voice (I find the Swedish language inexplicably lovely); the washed out colours and the ghostly and brilliant music to be totally mesmerizing. I don't really have the mental energy to go attempt an explanation of the themes and meaning within: it deals with guilt, with ones engagement with the world: basically life, the universe and everything - yet in a series of often painful, sad, short scenes that are laced with pitch black humour, but which deal with the minutiae of everyday life. However, there is a horrific opening scene that obviously calls to mind the dominant historical happening of the 20th century, one that is possibly more prescient to a Swede. It also defies a perfect reading, so that's my excuse - you have to interpret it yourself. Not only that, but it is as much about an emotional reaction as an intellectual one.
I am a huge fan of Samuel Beckett, and to me this film dovetails nicely with his latter novels and short prose - the way that the narrating character breaks down the relationship with the reader/watcher and author; with the characters inhabiting the grey area in between. Literally grey, too, calling to mind the foetal characters inhabiting the wastelands in Beckett's short prose. But it's the dark humour that mostly connects the two. And if you're a Beckett fan, the same desolate beauty.
This is a .avi, with a .srt subtitle file, whatever that means for mac users, as I'm a pc man.


Thursday, 8 July 2010

Susumu Yokota - Sakura

Susumu Yokota is a prolific electronic musician, and this is a fabulous offering from 2000. Highly recommended for fans of Eno, Cluster, and early ambient music, this displays strong influences from this scene right from the beginning. Opening track 'Saku' has gently pulsating synths, phased drones, and gently tinkling electric piano lines all wrapped up in a cosy cloud of reverb. This would be good isolation tank music, but is gorgeously engaging, too, as it develops organically into throbbing bass. 'Ucho Tanjyo' adds some grooving ethnic percussion, with some gent from distant shores mumbling cryptically, which works excellently with the tremolo, phased synths soaring in the background. 'Genshi' even has a kick drum and cymbals driving it along, but the same lush and lovely synth melodies are present throughout the album: this is almost a set of variations, until 'Naminote' rather strangely injects a bit of a swinging jazz vamp. Highly recommended.


Thursday, 1 July 2010

Alexander's Dark Band - Dobutsu Bancho

A 2005 album by J Saul Kane, aka Depth Charge. This is a loose and dirty beast of an LP, full of rough and drunken beats - mostly breakbeats, distorted bass, and rotten analogue keyboards held together with sellotape. There's plenty of influence from dub - check out the rude, throbbing bass on 'Dead Metal Dyno Rock', with nasty backwards sounds and some expert knob twiddling. There are some terrifically monged sounds on here - tweaked beyond the realms of good taste, and ending up crashed in a smoking heap at the end of brainfuck road. Virtually every track exudes a bad attitude, and has the rough beats to back it up, and twisted editing/brain prodding sounds poking you in the chest for extra provocative effect. It also rocks mightily, and has plenty of raised-fist triumphant moments, some lino-polishing retro grooves (The Immortal Squirrel), as well as some menacing frequency assaults (Baka Monkey Doll, EH O400).