Archives by month/year

Venetian Snares – Songs About My Cats

Label: Planet µ Format: CD

Songs About My Cats - sleeve detailC(l)attery digital songs for cats from Mr Aaron Funk, Esq., of Winnipeg, Canada. Featuring an opener which sets the pace with eerie wails which don’t sound feline as such, but might once have done so, and they certainly make more recognizable guest appearances later. Dastardly electronic Jazz like Squarepusher was or AFX can be; slippery as a kitten and twice as playful, Songs About My Cats skips merrily on its way from beat to piano plonking to noisy squirms chasing after an unravelling piece of thread. Not having a cat to play this record to (for shame!), the dog will have to do. As with most things musical, she apparently ignored it, despite the tasty high frequency trills shivering their very digital way off the keyboard and through the upper reaches.

The drum

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Autechre – Confield

Label: Warp Format: CD,2LP

Confield - sleeve detailDammit, Autechre can still confound and confuse as much as they’ve ever done. Skims of the sound of the natural world meeting the digital and electronic mesh like no-one else has quite managed to acheive, despite the legions of followers who somehow get the sound but never quite the feel just right. Perhaps it’s not just the selection of what could be a ball-bearing revolving endlessly, stochastically around the inside of a virtul metal bowl which opens the album on “VI Scose Poise”; maybe there’s more than just the way the rhythms seem to fragment, then reveal that they were just taking a different turn than might be expected. Could there be something to the notion that the machines are making the sounds by themselves, and Messrs Booth and Brown are lifting them out as collectors, rather

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I/O: Aidsbot 2000/Bourbonese Qualk/Nish/Crowd Formation (live)

Aidsbot 2000 The Spitz, London 26 April 2001

The I/O event at The Spitz was a little bit of a nerd-fest (meant in the best possible way), as several generations of audio technophiles opened up their various laptop computers and let rip with the best in glitchry they could muster for the occasion. To a shifting realtime backdrop of manipulated visuals, the fizzes, pops and rumbles of digital experimentation shuffled around the venue like so much modem download noise.

Crowd FormationThree chaps and their PowerBooks and mixers were on, with the screen helpfully identifying them as Crowd Formation, and it’s a good thing there was some visual stimulation too. As exciting and innovative as software music can be, without the techno-psychedelic projections, the experience would once again have been as interesting as peering through the windows

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Robert Rich – Somnium

Label: Hypnos/Soundscape Format: DVD

Somnium - sleeve detailSomnium is one of those recordings which serves to illustrate the possibilities of DVD as a medium far beyond the mere shovelling of films, trailers and “interactive” biographical details onto a soon-to-be replaced medium. Remember how Big Black ironically referred to CD as The Rich Man’s 8-Track Tape? Well, even though DVD may be the fastest growing new medium ever – whatever that means; just wait another year and there’ll be another one along like DVD-Audio (for which Somnium would be ideal) and DataDisks to join the CompactFlash, MiniDisc, CD-RW etc. etc. – it’s always a bonus when someone comes along and chooses to push the envelope. The Residents did the business with Icky Flix and its entertainingly innovative interface and layered soundtracks, but Robert Rich has had a go at reproducing his Sleep Concert compositions onto

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Autechre (live)

The Fridge, London 12 April 2001

Autechre play in the dark to an audience bursting the seams of The Fridge. The auditorium is packed, the crowd heaving without much dancing going on, and the beats are fractured into shapes that would make rhythmic movement something of an exacting chore. People seem slightly nonplussed, but no-one’s scratching their chin; or at least not in full view.

The sounds which are emanating from the chunky speaker rig are made in such a way that the ticking percussive parts, the bass rhythms and the stabs of once-keyboards and analogue synth spasms tumble over each other. Undulated snare shapes make collisions, the propulsive sway of loops and precisely-placed polyrhythms even twisting backwards into a regurgitative lurch of a gear change across the entire mesh of interlocked pulses. Software drum and bass turned upside down, techno twisted through a grinder; HipHop in absentia, yet present

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Current Ninety Three/Antony And The Johnsons (live)

The Bloomsbury Theatre, London 6-7th April 2001

Johanna ConstantineJohanna ConstantineJohanna Constantine

Antony And The JohnsonsPerhaps if Billie Holiday had received nuptial visits from the spirit of La Cage Aux Folles and produced an offspring, that might explain how the universe has been blessed with Antony Hegarty. Perfoming live for two nights in London in support of Current 93 and the David Tibet Show, Antony And The Johnsons provided us with a glimpse into the nature of that blessing. And like a book is always better than the movie, Antony live was far better than even the CDs would let on. He poured himself onto a stage before a bedazzled audience, swathed in pink chiffon, as elegant as an angel, and sang like a violin. With the most beautiful voice of all time, ethereal

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Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – No More Shall We Part

Label: Mute Format: CD, limited 2CD

No More Shall We Part - sleeve It occurs to me as I listen to this new effort by Nick Cave that I might like to have never heard of him. In fact I add up the years and it has been at least nineteen since I first did so. I think I have loved him ever since. No one is able to express such ugliness and cynicism in such a beautiful way. I am sure that he has been responsible in part for the viceral red-tinged view that I take on love and devotion. Always just one fine line between loving and loving to death. Always a proof in poetry that love and hate are nearly the same thing. That there is a matrimony between life and death which will almost never be denied by hope or

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Mouse On Mars – Actionist Respoke

Label: Domino (Europe)/Thrill Jockey (North America) Format: 12″,CDS

Actionist Respoke - sleeve Some high-energy silliness from the Mouse On Mars folk, running straight at Garage with a wild yelp and a cheesy grin before folding it up into bouncy breaks and a full-mouthed wade through distorted vocals, better tasted on the full-length mix. Smartly insane, as is the electronic detritus swept up by the trio and Herbert, AKA Dr Rockit into “DJ Collapse”.


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