Wednesday, June 22, 2011

АукцЫон - Птица

 Auktyon are very unique in the contemporary music scene in Russia: they just cannot be pigeonholed, this group draws its inspiration from such remote sources as folk, ska, reggae, new-jazz, ethnic music of North Africa and Middle East, beat- and pop-music of the 60’s. Their principal songwriter, Leonid Fedorov, is songwriter whose skills are unparalled as far as Eastern Europe is concerned (to my limited knowledge). 

Best thing out of Russia since vodka. I don't understand a word of what they're saying, but this is the stuff of legends. It's pretty much an incredible journey all the way through, from the opening seconds of "Птица"(one of the greatest openers in music history) to the PA PA PA RA - PA RA RA RA RA breakdown in "Спи, солдат"; not a wasted second on this album; the influences are diverse - ranging from local folk to central asian traditional and a bit of punk/post punk thrown in for good measure, the sound Auktyon have achieved on this works like a paradox; perfectly nostalgic and yet completely original both at once.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Marcel Dettman - Berghain 02

Marcel Dettman is a demigod of sorts in Berghain, in Berlin. For those not in the know, Berghain is probably the mecca for electronic music fans, a legendary club that hosts the best Djs and considered immensely important to developments in the modern techno scene. Here's a mix Dettman put together in 2008, you're definitely gonna thank me for this later. A review from Resident Advisor:

With the rise of minimal, techno's centre of gravity shifted. The harder sounds which had long reigned supreme—The Advent, Surgeon, Speedy J, and Chris Liebling are just a few of the biggest names—fell out of favour, as most techno DJs started slowing down the BPMs and refilling their record crates. This shift was most clearly symbolized with the closure of the mighty Tresor club – for so long home to the hardest techno about. The general consensus was that techno had gotten into a locked groove—too loopy, too banging, too stuck in the same sounds—and its charms were tiring.

Yet recently we’ve been seeing the emergence of a new take on techno. And while Tresor may be up and running again at a new location, it is at another Berlin club, Berghain, where this renaissance is taking place. This new sound clearly shares some characteristics with minimal—most notably a Hardwax/Basic Channel influence and much slower BPMs—but it is clearly distinct, and undeniably techno. If you want a snapshot of the sound (and you can’t afford a ticket to Berlin), thenBerghain 02 is for you: this is one of the best, and most timely, mix CDs to have appeared in the last year or two.

In providing a clear manifesto for this new sound, it’s fitting that Berghain 02incorporates a number of specially commissioned tracks, including the records from veteran producer Tobias and newcomer Norman Nodge which open the mix. Their tone sets the scene for what to come: much like the architecture of Berghain itself, the sounds are stripped back, spacious, and hard-edged. Nodge’s ‘Native Rhythm Electric’ is dark, dynamic and captivating, and later in the mix, the thunderous ‘Vangal’ by Samuli Kempi proves to be a real highlight.

It’s a forward-looking variety of techno, but it’s also rooted in what’s come before. In the clubs, Dettmann likes mixes in the classics, and Berghain 02 finds space for three older records. Closing with Strand’s ‘Zephyr’ (1996) works perfectly, but the placement of the other two feels a bit forced. 'The Jacking Zone' (1986) is an amazing track no doubt, but its inclusion here disrupts the flow, while the abrupt crossfade that announces Kevin Saunderson’s ‘Just Want Another Chance’ (1988) is also rather awkward. These are minor complaints, though.

Elsewhere the mix is something of a definitive statement of where techno is at now, and where it is going. It’s a purist vision to be sure, but it is by no means limited: T++’s excellent ‘Mo 1’ is dubsteppish, ‘Warped Mind’ by Shed is standout neo-Detroit, while the piano riffs and gradual undulations of Radio Slave’s ‘Tantakatan’ underscores the link between Berghain and Rekids’ crossover hypnotism (Radio Slave fans new to Dettmann are advised to give this mix a try.) In short, it’s something of a guided tour of the most innovative and forward-thinking techno around.

Simply put, this CD is a winner. The track selection is near flawless and the mixing is of a standard you’d expect from a veteran like Dettmman. André Galluzzi’s first volume in the Berghain series was somewhat underappreciated, but that fate won’t befall Dettmann’s volume. Chances are we’ll look back at Berghain 02 as a defining movement when techno got out of that locked groove, and started moving forward again.

berghain 02 

Monday, June 20, 2011

V/A - Ayobaness! - The Sound of South African House

Let's see if I can find a working definition for Kwaito:

"Kwaito is a music genre that emerged in JohannesburgSouth Africa, during the 1990s. It is a variant of house music featuring the use of African sounds and samples. Typically at a slower tempo range than other styles of house music, Kwaito often contains catchy melodic and percussive loop samples, deep bass lines, and vocals. Although bearing similarities to hip hop music, a distinctive feature of Kwaito is the manner in which the lyrics are sung, rapped and shouted. American producer Diplo has described Kwaito as “slowed-down garage music,”

Long story short, this is fucking amazing. Ever wonder how house music would integrate itself into local musical cultures around the world? Well not only does this compilation do that, it's immensely fun too. 

nisho njalo

Goodie Mob - Soul Food

Atlanta hip hop outfit Goodie Mob has been active since the early 90's, and are one of the best southern acts that are not named UGK or Outkast. They were also Cee-Lo Green's first group, and his performance on this album is unparalleled. This is my favourite Goodie Mob album, Soul Food.

i'm so happy we made it, i knew one day we would
all these years of struggle were never understood 
now my eyes are open and I can clearly see
we didn't die for nothin' ,and we are finally free.

cell therapy

Sunday, June 19, 2011

V/A - Xpressway Pile-Up

Xpressway Records was a short lived New Zealand music label that lasted a few years in the late 80's and dissolved after releasing 23 records on its catalog. I'd like to call them Flying Nun's twisted little sister though, they nurtured and established the more experimental NZ acts of the late 80's, whose influence over independent music over the 90's cannot be understated. Here's a compilation of whacked out tunes compiled after Xpressway disintegrated.

Chronicles the best of the short lived Xpressway label from NZ. Despite having only 23 releases to its catalog, Xpressway lived to be immensely influential to the local scene and housed the more experimental acts in its roster; and as such that is what you get on this compilation. Ranging from aural assaults to mumbled drones, from gloomy introspective balladry to exercises in improvisation and noise, it features some of New Zealand's best musicians (Peter Jefferies, Dead C, The Terminals, Plagal Grind, Alastair Galbraith and the like) and is fairly essential for anyone reaping the rewards of the NZ music scene and looking to dig a bit deeper.

you and me, walking on the wire

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Theredsunband - The Shiralee

Theredsunband was a band I stumbled upon quite randomly. I was wandering through Australia at a very hazy, melancholic phase in my life, and happened to see them perform at the Oxford in Sydney, only word of mouth leading me into them ( I'd previously heard that they resembled Mazzy Star, so I was sold fairly easily, I should say). They were touring at the time in support of their new record - The Shiralee. Well, suffice it to say it was an enchanting evening, I've been enamored with them ever since.

Their brand of dream pop/garage rock, lazy, breezy and introspective seems perfect for what I look for here. It's a pretty personal record, they've stepped up the songwriting since their debut; and the mid-end section of the album is flawless. Also contains an amazing cover of Bill Callahan's 'Bathysphere'. Hope y'all dig it as much as I do.

you were already gone, i just heard the echo

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Beautiful Machine - Home

One of many recording monikers of Aussie musician Skye Klein. Here's my favourite work of his, Home. Pretty great in terms of pure blissed out space rock.


Brian Eno - Another Green World

Brian Eno. Doesn't need any introduction. Pioneer in pretty much every genre he worked in - there's very few musicians as accomplished as this man. Here's Another Green World, an album that requires no introduction as well.

Breathtakingly ahead of its time, Eno's outlandish experiments somehow coalesce perfectly into his pop sensibility. Can never tire of this.

St. Elmo's Fire

Further reading on Eno's ambient work courtesy of a fantastic feature here.

The Church - Priest = Aura

The incredibly prolific and dreamy Aussie outfit The Church have very few peers, really. They've been active since 1980 and are still going steady - and have released 23 albums to date. Here's my favourite Church record, 1992's 'Priest=Aura', a hypnotic, dissonant masterpiece of rock music. Here's a lovely and ever-cryptic blogpost on the record from Steve Kilbey himself.

ya see
now im working for ya
i respond so much quicker to yer ree-quests n dee-mands
and a very pithy commenter yesterday
was saying c'mon kilbey stop complainin'
you were in it for the money n fame etc
and yes my perceptive friend
thats a given
i still am, if it comes my way
but that dont mean working with idiots aint painful
in fact
does it have anything to do with it at all?
i guess
i confess
i thought you all knew
i want(ed) to make beautiful music AND lotsa money
after all at what i do im one of the crem de la crems
a crem de menthy
i see no real contradiction
one does not cancel out the other
im a master craftsman of songs in the melancholy school
of course i wanted reasonable remuneration (a fortune!)
and pear group recognition (divine fame!)
baybee who can ever realy say what their motifs are
i wanted the glory the money the lurks n perks
n whatever else they was givin' out
but that never cancelled out my desire for lovely music
can ya understand this important distinction?
i hoped for the cash
but i never delivered you trash
(beginning of sk rap?)
i bet michaelangelo gotta fortune for the cistine chapple
he should have
just like me baybee
i did score big
for the greatest melancholy album ever made
by anyone anywhere
thats right
i got 125 grand publishing advance on that one
my one big kahoona ever
the xyz conglomerate
coughed up a hundred n twenny five gees for my next batch o songs
and they got their moneys worth too
these are great songs especially for the times
everything i'd ever wanted to do
i finally did on this record
the fucking widescreen cinematic wraparound
the walls of noise
the snaky bass lines
the infinite varieties of guitar sounds
i loved gavin mckillop
a producers producer
a funny clever shrewd warm hearted scotsman
he n i made a great team
we both wanted to make the same record
marty n peter both firing in top form
jay dees excellent n inventive drumming
+ his calmness and voice of reason
unfortunately i was in the "honeymoon" stage of opiate addiction
it was like ye olde devil sittin' there waiting
till i finally cashed in a little
and he calls in the demon handling my case
an' he says
ok now break out the heroin
i also was smoking eating drinking opium
anyhow anyway
you can hear it on this record
the ponderous slowness n depth
the warmth n sickly sweetnesses
the disconnected voice
turning dark words
its a masterpiece
rolling stone said at time its rotten
rolling stone in new encyclo says its brilliant
masterpieces arent easy to swallow
fucking hell!
some people buying a cd arent even looking for a masta-peece
they just want that tune they heard on telly
and maybe some more like that
they dont neskaserrily want the rise n fall of western civ.
as described by a rocknroll band
we wrote it easy
i was indeed connected into some opium universe
its like a mousetrap
i mean
a mousetrap kills the mouse
but it DOES have some cheese, right?
so for a very very few months
the opium n smack filled my head with ideas
new ideas
ideas i cant articulate or i woulda actualized 'em
sammy tailor collaridge type ideas
grandiose vistas
whole lifetimes in one opium dream
most is gone upon awakening
but the poet can struggle to recount
a tiny reflection of the vision
this then
what more is there to say?
i wrote the lyrics in feverish trancelike states?
yes i did
i snorted white powder off a black piano
and i wrote n wrote n wrote
i was like a receiver of messages from somewhere else
it all came whole
i didnt write it
i dreampt it up
the six string bass lines
the keyboard lines
dripped from my fingers like i been playing em forever
the other guys all brilliant too
they were high by osmosis
they were picking up
on this thing we were stumbling into
i smoked joints full of opium
a new way to get high
i saw the pot as the treble
the opium as the bass
the opium was playing my white six string bass those sessions
now my mother will say
why oh why sun all the drugtalk?
because thats the thing about this particular record
i paid a terrible horrible price
i still am
no one gets off scot-free from the gear, the scag, the stuff
but nonetheless
its an english tradition
poet + opium = good(for a short time)
thats how i saw it
i dont now nessacelery
its half true
please keep yer indignant antidrug comments to yerself
i aint glorifying it
or am i?
i cant tell
you'll have to be an adult n decide for yourself
if you think im being foolish
thats ok
im just an olde olde rocker
spinning a yarn about some stuff
that happened a long time ago
some of the other people involved
occaisionally indulged
others like jay dee
were dismayed when o.p 8
reared its very ugly heads
but thats the biz
drugs booze women plane crashes greek mythology
i wrote swan lake for my new twins e n a
it got some good reviews
someone wrote in mm or nme or sounds
that the record would have all the shoegazers
running to their mummies to ask for new fx pedals..
ha ha
i liked that
p=a is an effected record
its cavernous reverbs
its pre-echoes that suck up to your earline
backwards things swoosh by
fizzy percussive zit zit zit tshhh!
the guitars!
mayhem n delicacy
these guys finally emerge as themselves n no others
pk paints huge backdrops n delicious melodic neo-classical
mwp screaming hovering howling pretty
jay dee bang bom boom boom boom
bass goes throb a throb a throb
can you hear the whammy bass?
thats the six string bass high up on beginning of olde flam
i felt sure we'd made a marstabiece
it seems
the world in 1992
did not want
an opiated pre-raphaelite swooning album/poem
but it wanted pearl jamb and
i oh i oh oh im still alive
and stone temp-hill pykelets
and wait till the dogzza found her...
so boy we copped some bad reviews
and boy
did that confuse me
i'd gone n done it!
we'd gone n done it!
me embarking on junkiedom n hard times
mwp embarking on all about eve
pk embarking on solodom
jaydee embarking back to other gigs
g mc k embarking on to other gigs
i still reckon its brilliant
its my berlin
its our #3 record
its our diamond dogs
our systems of romance
the fact that it flopped enhances its appeal
you gotta love it more cos no one else did or could
it deserves your love
its a nice record
its cool
dig it


x "

Buckle like a wreck in the cold green sea