Monday, 21 February 2011

Golden Palominos - Dead Inside

The Golden Palominos was the art rock project of drummer and producer Anton Fier. Often featuring Bill Laswell and Nicky Skopelitis, it was a bit of a who's who NY outfit. This 1996 album has loads of obvious influence from the contemporaneous illbient scene - lots of cut up drum and bass percussion along with Laswell's thunderous bass, and some nice trippy sound design - even some acid lines! Somewhat akin to Meat Beat Manifesto. What sets this apart is the spoken word/poetry from Lori Carson on all tracks. Her delivery is excellent - covering a variety of voices, and is authoritative as well as rich. The words themselves are excellent - the first track is a first person account of an abductee locked in the trunk of the moving car of her abductor; delivered over an ominous, beatless tapestry of sound. The album's centrepiece is 'The Ambitions Are' - a bleakly dystopic vision delivered unflinchingly: the ambitions are "Wake up; breathe; keep breathing". A really good album for engaging your brain.


Sunday, 6 February 2011

Kangding Ray - Stabil

Kangding Ray is the project of David Letellier, and this is his first album, from 2006, released on the splendid Raster-Noton label. It is a suite of elegant, introspective and beautiful electronica. Lush yet airy synths glide back and forth in waves - a lot of reversed samples are used, and the percussion is mostly the purely electronic clicking, tapping variety, deployed in a restrained fashion. Some tracks are dominated by the highly musical synth arrangements, and others get a bit of a groove going - 'Sub.res' introduces a throbbing bass tone, some sampled acoustic guitar, and a wider variety of percussive noises to build a gently rocking rhythm. 'Mai' is an exquisite construction - gently pulsing arpeggios of a variety of sounds sweep across each other in a vaguely melancholic haze. 'Nine' rocks it up again, with an Autechre-like beat and some sub bass over a clanking machine noise, then the album finishes with a lovely, luminous synth-only piece called 'Wellen'. Fantastic stuff - also highly recommended is the Pruitt Igoe EP from last year, and his second album 'Automne Fold' which has some heavier beats, some vocals, and also some ominous and scary distorted synth waves used to great effect, but retains the rich musicality.