September 2006 Archives
After a month spent spassing my life away on work, American teenagers and Berlin street cuisine. Expect October to be filled with more words about music....
Various Artists: Sacred Symbols of Mu (Planet Mu) - CD
Single-handed determination from Mike, a genre-hopping roster and a release schedule that leaves every other electronic label in the dust has resulted in Planet Mu actually making money for the first time in its eight year life span.
Of the 24 tracks on offer, I'd say around half were worth the effort. Of those, contributions from the dubstep class of 2006 shine through (Pinch, Distance, Vex'd, Boxcutter). But also excellent support from Leafcutter John (possibly the best track on here), Tom Burbank, Breakage and Jega.
Various Artists: Nortec Collective - Tijuana Sessions Volume 3 (Nettwerk) - CD
Dunno if I could listen to this more than a couple of times, but it's pleasant whilst it's on. I remember the music press getting into a tizz about the Mexican electronic scene a few years back. Since then, only Murcof has really delivered in terms of quantity and quality.
Nothing seriously deficient here, just the whole thing is afflicted with 'Carnival Syndrome'. Y'know, where everything is so up and jolly that after a while, you wished for something dark, brutal and downright nasty to tear into your permanent grin. I guess the residents of Tijuana don't have that built-in sense of urban dread like us Londoners do.
Cassy: Panorama Bar 01 (Ostgut Ton) - CD
Magda: She's a dancing machine (Minus) - CD
Heidi: Monza Club Ibiza Compilation Vol.1 (Get Physical) - CD
Call me sexist for lumping together three
minimal techno house mixes by female DJ's, but see if I care. You could say this review is themed.
Having just got back from an intense tour of duty of Berlin, I'm tempted to jettison all minimal techno, relocate to some organic farm in Devon and spend the rest of the year picking vegetables. Still, Cassy's mix is suitably taut, lithe, bursting with colour and comes closest to soundtracking my time there.
Magda always bores me to tears during her DJ sets and this is mix is so technically perfect that it's ultimately no fun. Computers have a lot to answer for.
I occasionally have to be face to face with Heidi when I see her in Soho's Phonica records. So there's no fucking way I'm saying anything horrible about her mix.
The idea of paying for mixes on CD still baffles me though. Haven't any of these people heard of podcasts?
Christopher Willits: Surf Boundaries (Ghostly) - CD
Cut from the same cloth as Aeroc's classic debut album 'Viscious Solid'. Christopher Willits' previous offerings were works of precise guitar laced with interruptive electronics and considered use of effects. They were experimental in compositional structure with emphasis on exploring the range of sounds he could muster from his guitar, laptop and software patch setup.
'Surf Boundaries' though is more song-based in approach. Clearly made evident with the opening summer wash of 'Colors Shifting'. Where five-part vocal harmonies (with assistance from New-Zealand vocalist Latrice Barnett) slide alongside glitch-ridden riffs and soft echoed rhythms. From this auspicious opening, the album then moves into more textural fields with passages of drone, ambience and even noise.
Moods shift from track to track, but somehow the album retains its narrative. You could say this could soundtrack seasons in a state-of-flux; a time for transition, change, renewal.
Three bits of music that have annoyed my neighbours. But you'd do the same when you hear the only thing on their musical rotation is Radiohead's 'OK Computer'. On a loop. Forever.
Gerritt: Space Level Blaze (Misanthropic Agenda) - CD
Superior nihilist noise from Gerritt - from basement recorded screams to precision-timed static to laptop-interfering frequency riots. Liberal uses of delay and echo on 'Untitled 4' make this the stand-out moment. No real narrative here, but there doesn't have to be. Just a sense of uncomplicated, noisy fun from the six tracks. Manageable too, especially with its considered 21-minute running time.
Giuseppe Ielasi & Howard Stelzer: Night Life (Brombron) - CD
Enter at the right angle and you'll find yourself being led through a forest of beguiling soundscapes. Initially soothing guitar picking and found sound on 'Ruin 1' is just a sonic ploy before 'Ruin 2' pummels you with shears of dispersive metallic noise.
'Ruin 3's fluttering drone is unsettling but preps you nicely for the parting lull of 'Losing our taste for the nightlife'. Where detuned guitar and disrupted tape loops struggle to keep up with each other. Exploratory, experimental, excellent.
Joe Colley & Jason Lascallet: Annhiliate this week (Brombron) - CD
Awesome collaboration of industrial drone and rasterised disturbance that moves through differing environments. Opener 'Prayer' sounds like the audio off a documentary about power stations. 'Nervous Laughter' is a jittery and violent walk through prohibitive woodland. But it's the screw-turning tension of 'Hazards peculiar to the night' that reigns majestic. Supremely fucked / fucking supreme.