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Abfahrt Hinwil – Links Oben/The Light

Label: Expanding Format: 7″

Abfahrt Hinwil - Links Oben/The LightAbfahrt Hinwil‘s contribution to the Expanding Records EVS Series clicks and wheezes to life with “Links Oben”, built around a distracted melody constructed from synthetic bells. The undercurrents gurgle, fizz and whirr with biomechanical trills, keeping the electronica sweetly chilled. “The Light” starts off langorously swirled, rotating on a synthetic textural axis while deep down a bass tone generates vibrations.

A gradual insertion of ticks and echoed clicks passes through, merging seamlessly with environmental sounds in the classic ambient sequence of “was that on the record, or outside?” remarks. Warm and enveloping, “The Light” slips easily from audibility with hardly a trace, but a slight sense of absence remains.


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Einstürzende Neubauten – Strategies Against Architecture III

Label: Mute Format: 2CD

Strategies Against Architecture III - sleeve detailOkay, so it may be the wrong time, given recent events, for a band whose name translates as “Collapsing New Buildings” to release an album called Strategies Against Architecture III, but, heedless of a Stockhausen-style backlash, those wonderfully inventive German sonic terrorists (again, perhaps not a good analogy, but what the fuck) Einstürzende Neubauten are at it again, this time with a double CD retrospective of their work since 1991. And yeah, compilation albums by your favourite bands aren’t usually much to write home about- you’ve already got it all, apart from the couple of tracks they chuck on to make you buy it as well as those who haven’t religiously bought all their stuff. But this is different- the majority of it is unreleased and alternate versions, with the sleeve notes giving a

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Bobby Conn – The Golden Age

Label: Thrill Jockey Format: CD,LP

The Golden Age - sleeve detail Welcome to the end of the world. With civilization on the brink of destruction, and all those Biblical prophecies starting to look not quite so funny, the inimitable Bobby Conn bounds back onto the scene, perversely enough eschewing the eschatological apocalypses of Rise Up! and giving us an album of (among many other things), good time sleazy RAWK’n’RAWL!!! Yeah!

Coming on like a camp Lou Reed, or a butch Prince, the boy Conn kicks in with “A Taste Of Luxury”, a narcotic swoop through Jason Pierce‘s Velvet Underground collection, bombastic strings never quite hiding the Garage guitar strum below. It’s pleasant enough, though fucked. Then, however, the true madness begins with “Angels”, a tale of drug-induced psychosis and attempted suicide that starts with a kind of laid-back strut punctuated by Bobby’s whoops and

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Faust (live at The Royal Festival Hall)

An angle, grinding London 12 October 2001

ZappiGiven that this appearance by Faust marks both their 100th live performance since the group’s reformation in 1993 and possibly their final show, it’s somehow appropriate that the emergency services soon became involved once again.

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Wild Silk : An Evening With Keith Tippett & Peter Fairclough

Bluecoat Arts Centre, Liverpool 11 October 2001

Whatever combinations of players you find Keith Tippett in there is always an element of the spiritual, in a broad sense, in his playing. He says he plays to ‘move people’ and ‘remove them from chronological time’ and often that’s just what he does.

On this occasion, as part of Liverpool’s Frakture Festival, he was in the company of drummer Peter Fairclough, the kind of pairing he’s used with Louis Moholo in the past. Piano and drums are perfect partners in many ways, especially if you regard the piano as a collection of finely tuned drums. And Tippett has unerring good taste when choosing drummers. His playing moved between dark explorations at the lower end of the scale into rapid forays across the keyboard and often made use of powerful layers of sustained chords. His usual array of woodblocks and other objects were

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To Rococo Rot – Kölner Brett

Label: Staubgold Format: CD

K�ner Brett- sleeve detailWhat better subject for a To Rococo Rot concept album than a highly modernist building in Cologne? With twelve modular rooms to work represent both the structure and purpose of, the logical method the band took was to compose a three minute track for each section. What emerges is a stripped-down album which works within the structural constraints to deliciously minimal effect, whether on the cyclical guitar figures of Track 3 or in pulsing barebones Electro rhythms elsewhere.

Kölner Brett is a gem of an album, where warm flows of deft Funk click and cut over to a meandering groove of post-post-Rock with all the smooth musical engineering processes which have come to characterise the melodic side of German electronica, and more specifically To Rococo Rot. Their dub influences infect everything with a subtle hypnotic swell, as

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Set Fire To Flames – Sings Reign Rebuilder

Label: 130701(UK, Europe)/Alien8(North America)/P-Vine(Japan) Format: CD,2LP

Sings Reign Rebuilder - sleeve detailThis recording contains the result of collaborative jamming from musicians including members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Fly Pan Am and Exhaust. They set up in a house in Montreal, ‘an old falling down monstrosity’, and recorded solidly for five days more concerned with the actual experience of collective playing/recording than the end results. But it’s the end results that we have here.

It is like being taken on a tour of the creaky old apartment where the recording took place and hearing different musics from the 13 players at different times. Drums echo, sparse guitars picks at fragile melody, a violin weaves in and fades away. There is some remarkably delicate music here and not just flat-out improvisation. Cello and electronic scratchings rise and fall over hypnotic drumbeats, drones are set up

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