Thursday, 18 November 2010

Laub - Unter Anderen Bedingungen Als Liebe

Laub were kind of electronica/post rock crossover who fitted nicely into a loose scene alongside To Rococo Rot, Kreidler; and labels like Payola, Kiff SM, and Kitty Yo - on which this album was released in 1999. These labels and artists are German, and the vocals, by Antye Greie-Fuchs are delivered in German, and it shares the live drums favoured by many of their contemporaries. There is a kind of detached iciness to the vocals that fits perfectly with the clean synths, crisp noises and crystalline tones underneath them. Delivered often in half whispered, or half spoken manner, they add a quiet and restrained intensity to the music. This intensity peaks and bursts forth in the epic title track. It begins with gorgeous pulsating harmonic synths, hi hats, and a keening, melancholy descending 3 note trombone line. Antye is joined by one of her male bandmates on vocals, their combined whispers giving the impression of some kind of ominous warning being delivered, or a description of some kind of ruined dream-like world from a Tarkovsky film. My German is poor - it's probably about something banal, but it certainly doesn't sound like it. The bubbling, resonant synths all the while are rising in the background, becoming more acidic. Some nicely understated guitar lines, and more horns propel the song further upwards. It's a wonderful track, not to dissimilar in overall mood to The For Carnation album, and makes an otherwise decent album completely worthwhile.


Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Phantomsmasher - Phantomsmasher

Phantomsmasher is the pet project of avant guitar master James Plotkin, who has collaborated with a large and fine array of weird-beard musicians, including harrowing mega-doom merchants Khanate. This album couldn't be further from Khanate's crawling, crushing music: it's often hyper fast, with the beats ranging from metallic blast beats to splattercore drum & bass style, played by grind master extrodinaire Dave Witte. It's severely ADHD, manic and brilliant. Smeared across the top are harshly edited and scratched vocal loops, and Plotkin's spangly clanging guitar and bass - often heavily processed, playing queasily grating riffs, and chords that tremble like metal pylons in an electrical storm. It's pretty harsh, and totally unhinged, but is great fun. Plotkin's level of invention on his instruments, and the crazy range of noises and brilliant editing keep up the interest, although the music can be challenging.


Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Salaryman - Salaryman

1996 album on City Slang by this bunch of geeky-appearing bods (I saw them live), that seems to have disappeared into a historical crack. Sumptuous psychedelic grooves abound, with a plethora of overdriven synth lines and a heavy, over-arching sci-fi ambience. Live drums are the driving force, with a backdrop of whispered speech loops, but the trippy looped synths are the stars - pulsating blips and burbles alongside moody throbbing tremelo waves. A live band feel adds a sense of urgency to the sci-fi paranioa soundscapes, and indeed they were pretty good live. It's all good, but closer 'Hummous' is a highlight, with its squalling harmonics and heavy drone dirge; bettered only by the magnificent 'Voids And Superclusters', which lives up to its stellar title: a swirling black hole of churning synths, that has an almost Electric-Wizard-heavy moment as the pounding bass kicks in to glorious, stomping effect.


Thursday, 4 November 2010

Mick Harvey - Intoxicated Man

Yes! An album I can post and get away with writing very little about. An album of Serge Gainsbourg covers by Bad Seed and all-round top man Mick Harvey. Terrific interpretations in a grooving, boozing, Bad Seed/Lee Hazelwood kind of style - hugely enjoyable. Also, check out his last solo album - 2007's Two Of Diamonds - it's rather good.