Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
Daisuke Tanabe's 2010 album Before I Forget is a quality mix of an ambient, watery, brainfeeder sound. Very similar to the direction teebs is heading in. Albums that add these organic, colorful sounds to a beat are best listened to when the bass is turned all the way up. Not because you'll be dancing to this album, but because the contrast between the thump of the low pitch and the haze of the melody gives Before I Forget head-bobbin' replay value. I don't know how many people are setting up their "BEST OF 2010" lists yet, but fans of Flying Lotus, Mount Kimbie, and I'm Not A Gun should give this album a shot before making any final decisions.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
With hints of Bowerbirds, Phosphorescent and Akron/Family, they craft echoey and haunting songs that burrow into your brain stem and remain there for weeks.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Talking about ambient music will always be more complex than listening to it. I have a system, though. Separating ambient music into two groups. The exhale group, and the inhale group. “Exhaled” ambient music is stuff like the droney Emeralds whose music bleeds and is more work to appreciate and is not quite meant to relax you. Chihei Hatakeyama, one half of the exceptional group Opiotope, makes “inhale” music. No, this is not music you sniff glue to. His music wisps around the room like the wind. It glides like cool autumn air and waits to be inhaled.
Saunter is the third album of his discography and althoguh he is often compared to Stars of the Lid, Chehei's has released eight releases in four years.
Saunter It flows so effortlessly like sleepy hummed albums ought to. A balloon slipped out of the hands of a child isn't as chilled and mellow as Saunter. One of these days I'll be skilled enough to describe the sound of Saunter in a more comprehendible fashion, but for now all I can do is guarantee that it's an album you can breathe easy to.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Throughout the four tracks in the Maybes EP you hear an assortment of glitch, hip-hop, and dubstep, all done in a droney style which makes for a refreshing, relaxing sound. It sounds like Burial met up with Autechre and then Loscil somehow got thrown into this blender. Check out this EP before Mount Kimbie releases a ton of amazing music and you are too intimidated by their huge discography and millions weird of genre tags they have on last.fm to try them out later.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Cotton Touch starts off with the amply titled "Climb Over", a slow build up of a guitar, drums and eventual violin that crescendos at the perfect time. It's a fantastic opener, nothing too long or pretentious, yet a wonderful nod to classic post-rock artists. "Complain/Cheer" has an almost live feel to it, very reminiscent of some of the quieter Akron/Family songs as it perfectly mixes the erratic with the subdued. This wonderful mixture continues for the remainder of the album as it's textured with bits of the Microphones and Grizzly Bear(I'm talking Horn of Plenty, not that Yellow House or Veckatimest bullshit) showing through every so often. The album finishes with the fantastic instrumental outro "Summer Love" that will leave you with your eyes closed, head bopping and a smile on your face.
I have fallen in love with this record and I can't wait to see what they will come up with next. If you enjoy meticulously crafted songs full of texture and warmth, you are going to adore this record.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Shad, birth name Shadrach Kabango, is a hip-hop artist from Canada. Shad apparently still lives at home and has released two albums (Third one arriving in May!) and currently has ~200,000 plays on Last.fm. His favorite MC is Common and one hears a lot of that in his music.
Shad's sophomore album, The Old Prince is made up of jokes, lessons, and a highly refined boom-bap style similar to what Murs and 9th Wonder were doing in '04, but even more humble. Through the songs, Shad makes it known that he's just an overall content guy doing what he likes-- even if it doesn't pay well. And it's true, it never does, but Shad also expresses a deep hope in his fans. He's willing to keep making music as long as someone is willing to listen. “Awww” goes the listener. “This isn't bad. That wacky 'Old Prince Still Lives at Home' song was pretty funny”
But Shad isn't limited to comedy.
“Out of Love, Pt. 2” is the in the very middle of the album. As the title suggests it's very much so a reflection on his song “Out of Love” from his first album, When This is Over. But it's also the outcast's anthem, a song for the loner talking with his friends. It's a sad balance of loneliness and hope. Describing the feelings of the guy who isn't angry, just alone. Out of Love, Pt. 2 also kicks off the home stretch of The Old Prince. “Man, this guy raps about about sincere things? Very impressive”.
But Shad isn't limited to rapping.
In, “ I Heard You Had a Voice Like an Angel” Shad is caught softly narrating a story of racism in the music industry. In “Compromise” he's found gasping between pleas of “In this life, I hope you don't compromise / In this world, man, we just can't compromise.” And finally ending the album with a sum of the album in spoken word over strings. “God damn this album rules.”
Shad is going to break out soon, he's too talented and in love with his music not to, and it's going to be awesome and/or sad looking back on The Old Prince and seeing which of his styles he decided to run with.
P.S. Thanks, Adam! You introduced me to Shad.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Emeralds is one of those drone artists that absolutely smother you with 10+ releases a year. Seriously, it's kind of ridiculous. I am usually put off by talented bands that overwhelm listeners with albums upon albums. I have listened to maybe a third of what Emeralds has released, (like 8 albums/eps) and haven't been disappointed yet. Emeralds caught some attention with one of their five releases last year, What Happened. And though it was well deserved, to me, it didn't even come close to my favorite of theirs.
Solar Bridge is a half hour of electronic drone that rises and rises until it finds an altitude it likes and cruises. It doesn't try anything fancy, or destroy the vibe it creates. Solar Bridge oozes at the same rate it does during its intro, climax, and outro. The simplicity here is what makes Solar Bridge great. Highly recommended to fans of Nadja, Windows and Walls-ish Grouper, Natural Snow Buildings... or anyone needing a kick-start to a love of drone music.
Monday, February 1, 2010
Not your amusement park's version of the old west, Worker Bee presents an unrefined diorama of a one-horse town through well-strung (and strummed) songs without sounding overly country or buying a banjo. Pieced together by tape and tune, Tangler has exposed corners of cardboard and frayed bits of construction paper visible, for a raw and ragged album that can get under your skin and into your bones if you let it. From my barstool, it looks something like this, with burned edges and scatted smoke stains.
Dusty melodies billow across the ground while wind whistles through cracks in the walls of an abandoned general store, clicks of drum sticks keep time as the town rots towards its demise. There's a tinge of pain in the pleading first words of "Come Back" over the state of a town left dirty and dollarless, and there's tension beneath the floorboards. Even the dirt's unsettled by the guitar-playing, gun-slinging owner of the town's one horse who rides in kicking up a trail of doom among "Nesting" plodding drums, hectic cymbals, and rapid rim shots, and faint bells dinging in the distance. Singing over slightly twanging strings with a pair of inherited smoker's lungs, the man sits at the bar filling the small, stank saloon with smells of whiskey, gun powder, and dried blood. He's the kind of man who'd take a lady for a walk and return alone. The kind of man who'd kick a dead horse to watch it bleed. Just one glance starts the bar fight between him, the "Cold Rats" and scoundrels, and someone's gotta die before it ends. Embodying the message of "Rough Magic", "a man's mind is always raining", the thick-skinned man stands over broken bottles donned in black coordinated with his core, as drums hit like buckets on a steel roof and tambourines than cling and clank like spurs. You can sit down in his bar, but you better leave your hand on your gun. This album has drums that can drive the devil out of town, and "All Roads" lead to the night, where the men get "burned by the moon" but never die. Tangler leaves you thinking, despite the flighty, feminine name, Worker Bee might not be a band to mess with.
At times resonating more of a 'new west' sound than old, Tangler is a bit rough around the edges, but nothing some smooth whiskey can't fix. So I'm gonna put my faded black boots on, kick a pony in the gut just to get blood on the tips, spur it in the neck to watch the red river wash away the boot prints, then get myself to a local watering hole.
Unbeknownst to most people, Brian Hulick has been making music for almost a decade. His six releases range from Marsen Jules-like ambient landscapes to an electro-folk very reminiscent of earlier Bibio. He seems to evolve with each new release and continues to surprise and impress me each time.
A Year in Waiting is a collection of twelve tracks, each named after a month of the year. January starts off with a quiet distant tone that is gradually accompanied by soft keys as if you were just waking up from a winter slumber, rubbing your eyes and trying to remember what day it is. Eventually the song weaves into a soft glitchy cloud that softly envelopes you and remains until the very end of the record. From the cold and sluggish February to the vibrant and joyful July and even the optimistic and wonderful December, each track seems to perfectly embody the month that it was named after.
DoF is an artist I've been very selfish about over the years. He's always been someone I've listened to and enjoyed immensely, but rarely talked about or recommended to others. Brian is one hell of a musician and if you enjoy anything remotely ambient, glitchy or hell, even electronic, you need to give this guy a listen.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Early Morning Hymns is the perfect mix of frantic acoustic guitars, horns, banjos and even the occasional harmonica. The result is a sound that drunkenly walks the border between the chaotic nature of Neutral Milk Hotel and the calmness of an Owen record.
From this overlooked gem to his criminally underrated band Appleseed Cast, Christopher Crisci just can't seem to catch a break. We can only hope that in the near future he will finally get the recognition he sorely deserves.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
“You must be this tall to ride” signs in front of roller coasters are usually seen as just a rule. Often times they are also warnings. Observing Systems opens with saxes and horns blaring in harmony before the bass line moves in and starts the “official” song.
Listener “A” sees this as a warning thinking “Oh, god this could get weird.”
Listener “B” sees this as an invitation and thinks “Fuck yeah I fucking love jazz.”
Continuing with this roller coaster analogy, Observing Systems broadcasts their fire alarm sound after a steep, exceptional build up of Mouse on Mars-esque IDM. But don't let that put you off, The Tickled Trio loves to scream down their own ascent, they just like to earn it. It's a lot more satisfying that way.
I'm also posting their great “live” album Electric Avenue Tapes because parts of it are more spastic and fun than Observing Systems and that is not a bad thing.
Drawing you into the cage that is his voice - rough on the edges, a little dark, but hollow enough to hide inside, Bazan makes you feel safe, and for a moment a little warm. Simple drum beats, rhythmic guitar strums, and reassuring piano cause you to release that sigh you've been holding in, relax your shoulders, and let a couple guards down. You start to feel pretty damn good when the claps drop. "Please, Baby, Please" might even find you singing along. But don't get too comfortable, this isn't the album to listen to when you want to feel good about yourself, especially if you're a shitty person, and everyone's a shitty person, sometimes - drunks, smokers, priests, liars, even Bazans, though it's hard to believe. So it's okay, he understands, he knows "it's hard to be/hard to be/a decent human being," although, for him it's pretty easy to be a more than decent musician.
Listen to this album and forget everything I said, go ahead, bop your head.
David Bazan - Curse Your Branches
Enough of David Bazan as musician, here's David Bazan as art, by Kyle. Striking resemblance, don't you think? (Of Bazan, not Kyle).