Archives by month/year

Freeform – Green Park

Label: Sub Rosa/Quatermass Format: CD, Limited LP

Green Park - sleeve Simon Pyke, AKA Freeform, has shown himself to be one of those producers of electronic music who fails singularly to conform to rigid genres and substylings thereof. He simply seems content to produce music within the formats open to someone with a bank of samplers, keyboards, mixers and effects units, regardless of constraints of what anyone else might have done along the way. Now that the 21stso-called Century is nearly upon us (again it seems), it’s satisfying that the is a host of musicians turning out music based in firm electronic technology, but not limited by them.

So much for the generalities; Green Park follows on from the previous outing Me Shape with a that album’s clockwork tumblings stripped down even further into more subtly defined directions, with some helpfully descriptive titles –

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Atari Teenage Riot/Lolita Storm (live)

LA2, London 25th October 1999

Prepared and hyped for Atari Teenage Riot, I was ready to hear loud fast music. What a treat it was that the fun started long before ATR ever came on. Other girls have done this, face it, MANY other boys have done this too, but something just chimes right for Lolita Storm.

I can’t tell a single song title from Lolita Storm’s set. Indeed I can claim to know pretty much nothing about them at all. From my bad vantage point behind hordes of too tall men all I could see was a blonde girl and a brunette girl, singing, flailing, screaming at a sea of shell-shocked boys, and I could only see these girls as they caught vertical uplifts and some air. What I could hear was a divine speed beat of lovely female driven throb. So good for girls to do this. So

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Freeform – Me Shape

Label: Sprawl Imprint Format: CD

Freeform - Me ShapeAssembled from the now-usual urban sprawl of sounds which make up the inspiration for much of Electronica’s current output, Me Shape is Simon Pyke‘s contribution to the clockwork maelstrom which characterises this apect of late Nineties music, and of which The Sprawl Imprint and club are particular exponents. Built up from two years of sound recordings and live sets, the album is filled with coiled energy, prowling into view as the slightly ominous bass growl and plinking treble rhythms (hi-hats really doesn’t come close as a useful term here) of “Yours Sincerely” establish a mood of wigged-out fascination with interlocking groove dynamics.

“Munchogram” is not only an excellent track title, but quite descriptive of the attenuated melodies and rolling throb

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Datach’i – 10110101 =[Rec + Play]

Label: Caipirinha Format: CD

10110101 - sleeve detailDatach’i sounds like a deranged child given a selection of technology, old and new, to play with, abuse, and generally mess up sound with. From the get-go, it’s a stream of blurting noise, scrawled low-end mania and samples to reinforce the infantile world of an unsatisfied toddler (on PCP?) – who has heard that they now know their ABC, but are as happy with the concept of deconstruction as much as the musically anal stage of throwing excreted noise around the gaff.

10110101 (Rec+Play) veers from the (relatively) gentle aspects of toy breakbeat melodies such as the seemingly cheesy “Leonard Park” off the scale into scuzzy (SCSI?) noise workouts like the two versions of “VCR Powered Carcass” (another name to add to the roll of great song titles) on the album – which go to show that

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Bobby Conn – Llovessonngs EP

Label: Thrill Jockey Format: CDS,12″

Mr. Bobby ConnFour songs of love as seen through the Continuous Cash-FlowTM filter of Mr. Bobby Conn, Chicago, hell, the world‘s most curious of crooners and estimable heir to the Seventies legacy of Funk-Soul-Rock singer-songwriter troubadour anti-messiahs. In other words, a star.

Llovessonngs - sleeveThere are two new songs from Mr. C. himself – “Free Love”, an epic, near-histrionic bass-slapping time-signature mangler and possessor of a typically twisted lyric: “Where have all the dirty, dirty people gone?” – and “Virginia”, sung as a soaring duet in French with the subject of the song herself. Then comes the eye-opening rendition of Badfinger‘s “Without You” (though apperently inspired by the Harry Nilsson version – who knows if Mariah Carey‘s aspartame massacring of the song got a look in) – slowed to a crawl, in

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Holger Czukay – Good Morning Story

Label: Tone Casualties Format: CD,LP

Good Morning Story - sleeve detailIs this what it’s like to wake up with Mr. Czukay every morning? Well, anyway, Holger’s come back and the general consensus is that he’s looking camp as ever. Good Morning Story is a nice wake up call, sampled generously with lots of Can and it shows. Mr. C. claims this to be his first time playing with an ordinary sampler, rather than his own tape-splice constructions, so it seems logical that he would choose what’s already in the cupboard. Probably a million things could be said and comparisons made about the whole Holger-Can connection/dislocation. Instead of treading on the beaten to death path of that dear argument, how about a look at Good Morning Story without regard to the obvious…

This record is kind of simply epic. It effuses a piercing clarity

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Kraftwerk – Expo2000

Label: EMI/Electrola Format: 12″,CDS

Expo2000 - sleeve detailSmoothness… There is nothing inherently wrong with this. It would be easy to bring the metaphor of the “well-oiled machine” into play in considering these four pieces. Is the situation of the metaphor the dominant theme in the existence of Kraftwerk? Even in the days of the Kosmische, there was this notion of reaching the cosmic, voyaging into outer space through inner space, and otherwise reaching a fair amount of transcendence. So, too, can transcendence be reached by fuck music – which these pieces certainly are, and beautifully so. At lower levels it makes plants grow and at slightly higher levels it can be assimilated into entirely. The sweat-blossoms of the discotheque germinate many carnal and carnivorous encounters. Meat-eater? A Venus fly-trap?

“Man…nature…technology…” – and in other languages, the machine moves seamlessly. It has been alleged

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Randy Greif, Robin Storey and Nigel Ayers – Oedipus Brain Foil

Label: Soleilmoon Format: 3xCD

Robin Storey and Nigel Ayers - Perfidious AlbionBundled together as a boxed set, these three releases bring together the three artists concerned in pairs on each CD via postal exchange of recordings, with the aim of creating a whole which draws more than merely the sum of its parts together. Packaged in appropriately earthy, decaying hues of green, brown and grey environmental close-ups, the set will also be released as individual CDs after the initial run.

To start at random, Robin Storey (AKA Rapoon) and Nigel Ayers ( better known as Nocturnal Emissions) bring an dark, circuitous hissiness to the somewhat rain-drenched disc Perfidious Albion. Kicking off with a monotonous, relentless heartbeat drum machine of “Spiritaully Appraising Things”, and building swirling

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Oh. – 39 6

Label: MDZ Format: 10″

Taken from Oh.‘s recent Ecu album, “39,6” give no clues to its title in the curlicues of almost wistful synth trails, horizontal bass and crystal drum licks which make for a serenely cruising little ditty of a modest, soothing sort. The Sofa Surfers‘ mix offers up the slo-Funk to the main keyboard riff, dubbing up a collage of spreading fragments and taking the vibe down-tempo to the point of ambient stasis, while Console take a groove-based approach. Their happy Pop sensibilities make for a cheerful cycling breeze, barely flickering with the original melody and quite vaporous – but not actually vapid, and sharing the same sense of contented summer afternoon relaxation.

As for Blistex Lips, their version spins everything through some breakbeat science-book essays, chopping and rinsing out the beats as is the way of such things; but with the mellowness largely intact, just shuffled

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Mouse On Mars – Niun Niggung

Label: Domino Format: CD,LP

Mouse On Mars - Niun NiggungMouse On Mars‘ sixth album continues to expand on their almost self-defining genre of energetically marvellously nice Electronica, spinning outwards from the opening processed acoustic guitars into to the humorous-interuptus whoopee-cushion funk of the highly appropriately-titled “Yippie”, and all points silly from there. Neither “nice” nor “silly” are meant a s platitudes – MoMars are decidedly both. Take the skewbald Vocoder loop of “Super Sonig Fadeout” – tumbling samples derived from who knows where make for some music which prompts grinning and chuckles on first listen, and a return to those cheesy but pleasant emotional response on repeated plays. Jan Werner and Andi Toma are in the business of making people happy, and they’re very good

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Trans Am – Who Do We Think You Are?

Label: Spunk! Format: CDS

Who Do We Think You Are?- sleeve

Trans Am must be the most versatile trio ever to call themselves a band. Who Do We Think You Are? is a terrific little six song showing of this as our boys slip slide right through thirty years worth of musical genres in less than an hour. A fast glance to the almighty (if slightly irritating) vocoder and little dips here and there in the humourous pool of Devo-style electronics and it’s on and on through a world of influences which must be as wide apart as Scorpions and Foetus. Maybe even a little Gothic kind of New Romantic cross-breed hybrid of Bolan style glam and the all-Amerikan Mr. Hendrix.

Whenever I listen to Trans Am I simply do not know what to think other than that I love them. With literally

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