Mujuice – Downshifting [2011]

Posted in electronic,glitch,idm,minimal,russian by jheisel on July 31, 2011

TV on the Radio – Nine Types of Light [2011]

Posted in art rock,electronic,funk,indie rock by deek on March 31, 2011

TV on the Radio have been many things in the decade since they first dive-bombed New York City’s outer boroughs. Arty a cappella reductionists on 2003’s Young Liars EP; sky-bound funk-slop visionaries on 2004’s still-epic Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes; tenacious, politically ravaged anthemists on 2006’s Return to Cookie Mountain; and most recently, a manic pixie dance band on 2008’s Dear Science. Throughout, their songs have been marked by lead singer Tunde Adebimpe’s to-the-heavens demon howl, producer/multi-instrumentalist Dave Sitek’s searing gospel-funk hoedowns, and an ineffable sense of drama — theirs is a sound that is meaningful but shaded, aggressive but delicate. It can burn as quickly as it can fade away. TV on the Radio make Important Music for Important Times. So, as the country claws its way back to sanity, if not normalcy, Nine Types of Light begins as a surprise of sorts: It’s lovers rock. Which isn’t to say this band has never loved. Guitarist Kyp Malone’s “Lover’s Day” from Dear Science remains an oft-quoted Brooklyn sex jam, and they are an undeniably physical band — not quite hip-thrusters, but Adebimpe’s wounded, off-kilter sensuality is a particularly unusual brand. They just haven’t been this intimate about their feelings before. “I’m gonna keep your heart / If the world falls apart / I’m gonna keep your heart,” Malone sings softly on the chorus of the stuttering, mandolin-accented “Keep Your Heart.” Later, on “You”: “You’re the only one I ever loved.” “Will Do” is a torch song that begins with such plainspoken unfussiness that it could appear on a Taylor Swift album. While drummer Jaleel Bunton and bassist Gerard Smith were Science’s lifeblood, pumping and chugging out some fractured take on disco, now they’re barely audible at times. And is that a banjo on “Killer Crane”? It all raises another question: What happened to the lupine fury? The apocalypse of the soul once proffered with such ferocity? It’s still there intermittently — “New Cannonball Blues” and the stomper “Caffeinated Consciousness” jerk the wheel into the oncoming traffic of blues rock. But mostly Nine Types of Light feels like the liquefying of a band, ten years and four albums deep, into the soft tenderness of pre-middle-age satisfaction. Like, maybe family life sounds pretty good right about now — and it fits them well. Interpreting the album’s title is a dicey proposition, but taken literally, it’s revealing: TV on the Radio have shifted constantly, from the humble visible form of light that brightens the world in their earliest days to the violent gamma explosions of Return to Cookie Mountain, straight to the cosmic light of the sky — a destination not unfamiliar to this band during Dear Science. And here, they return to the earth’s surface, intact, with their eyes open to what’s right in front of their faces. They want to be — and have the chops to be — all kinds of bands. And this album has a there-and-back quality, one they couldn’t have pulled off five years ago. TV on the Radio have flashed unknowable cool, have been a troupe for our times, and have shaken their asses to kingdom come. Acquiescence is no simple trick when you’ve conquered. But then, what’s wrong with a night on the couch with a loved one? -Spin

Radiohead – The King of Limbs [2011]

Posted in alternative rock,electronic,experimental rock by deek on February 18, 2011

Oneohtrix Point Never – Returnal [2010]

Posted in ambient,electronic,minimal synth by deek on December 14, 2010

Hailing from Brooklyn (though he records in Massachussetts), Oneohtrix Point Never seems to be ignoring all the wonderful hipsters and angsty song writers that heavily populate the community. Maybe he bought a bunch of synths from an indie band, but no one would have predicted he would play them all at once at live shows. He has said that after growing up listening to Mahavishnu Orchestra’s Birds of Fire he wanted his music to sound just like those synths, but without all the other pesky instruments. Having released a Santa’s sack-worth of very limited releases (all of which sold out quickly), Lopatin’s fourth full-length is a more complete feeling record, snugly composed from start to finish, exhibiting a freedom of space not often heard in strictly electronic drift artists. The music is certainly comparable to the adventurism of Burning Star Core, but without the music’s occasional attempts at killing the audience. The oddity of sounds, including Lopatin’s affected vocals on the title track (a nod to Fever Ray?), are certainly compelling, seemingly self-aware, moving, and living on their own terms. This, to me, is a great success. When music that is purely electronic feels alive, it is truly worthwhile. Retunal’s hypnotic ouroboros is just that. -The Silent Ballet

Gold Panda – Lucky Shiner [2010]

Posted in chillwave,electronic,idm by deek on December 14, 2010

Ever since Burial unleashed Untrue into the ears of those who knew nothing about dubstep, much less it’s many incarnations, there has been a delightful explosion of broken beauty in the electronic beats emanating from London-town. Many have attempted to imitate the musical and emotional depth achieved by Burial, but few have developed an aesthetic that reflects Burial’s but is wholly their own. Now, to say London producer Gold Panda is a direct progenitor of Burial’s UK garage inflected dubstep would be naïve, but what Gold Panda has achieved on his debut LP for Ghostly International is nearly as captivating, nuanced, and realized. It’s been just over a year since Gold Panda stood dubstep critics and fans on their heads with his gorgeous, withholding song “Quitter’s Raga”. Clocking in at just under two minutes, “Quitter’s Raga” displayed Gold Panda’s masterful sampling technique as well as his love for Japanese and Southeast Asian music and culture. Building the track around the majestic sounds of the Japanese koto, the song skips and jumps, edging closer and closer to breaking a part, but ends before it can. The beat structure in “Quitter’s Raga” recalls dubstep’s swing as it eases into a half-time progression, but Gold Panda has refrained from keeping this structure in his latest work, and to great affect. Lucky Shiner (the affectionate nickname for Gold Panda’s grandmother) is Gold Panda’s first full-length LP, and succeeds with an arresting and astonishing collection of sounds, imaginary places, heartache, and celebration. Recorded at his Aunt and Uncle’s rural cottage in Essex, Gold Panda spent two weeks alone, walking their dogs and marinating in a vision of melody and song structure that could be both personal and inviting. From the track’s opener “You” to the album’s closer, (also titled “You.”), the record is bookended by immediacy and intimacy, but travels through genre, place, and time through out the middle. Songs like “Same Dream China”, or “I’m With You But I’m Lonely” use sounds that manage to conjure a vintage, nostalgic vibe with out being heartsick; a xylophone, a Chinese zheng, a cheap Casio from your grandmother. The strength of the record warrants every track a thorough listen, but it’s songs like “Snow & Taxis” and “India Lately” that are the glue that holds the record together. Each song has expert structure, shimmering melodies, and enough drums and bass to put these songs in the club. It’s safe to say Gold Panda has quickly placed himself in a 2010 roster of excellent records, next to Four Tet, Caribou, and Delorean, all artists who already have a depth to their musical catalogs. I only hope Gold Panda won’t get lost in these comparisons, as his productions confidently stand on their own. -PopMatters

Lone – Emerald Fantasy Tracks [2010]

Posted in ambient techno,electronic,idm,instrumental hip-hop by deek on December 11, 2010

Matt Cutler, AKA Lone, first turned my head in 2009 with “Joy Reel / Sunset Teens,” which refracted the burgeoning sense of classic-rave redux (think Zomby) through the dewy ambience and nostalgia of Boards of Canada—a surefire combination, basically. Both tracks stayed in my head even though what was great about them was how they sounded, even more than the tunes per se. Nevertheless, as Lone has progressed since then—from Ecstasy and Friends and “Once in a While / Raptured,” both for Werk, to “Pineapple Crush / Angel Brain” and now Emerald Fantasy Tracks, both for Cutler’s own Magic Wire—he’s created a body of work that forms a continuous line. Which is funny, since one of Cutler’s real gifts is in his packaging; putting his singles on one of the albums would upset their balance as discrete works, carefully planned and executed. Yet everything is immediate: Lone’s riffs tend to grab and hold, and even when he’s muddying the waters with blobby bass and synths that seem daubed on, like bingo markers, he always presents a big picture with details. Emerald Fantasy Tracks bears a similar relationship to “Pineapple Crush / Angel Brain” that Ecstasy and Friends did to “Joy Reel / Sunset Teens”—it’s a slightly softened variation and expansion, more luxurious and therefore more adaptable for settling in for 40 or more minutes, rather than the zig-zag joy-buzzer feel of the singles. Relaxing the ear-grating quality of “Crush”‘s super-sharp synth riff, EFT is every bit as agog, as ravey—only this version is far more Detroit-centric than it is indebted to breakbeats and pitch-shifted divas. Just listen to the snare and hi-hat programming of “Cloud 909,” “Aquamarine,” “Moon Beam Harp” and “Rissottowe4,” whose accents and touches owe the Motor City, not to mention the industrial English North—to say nothing of the loosely lovely synth figures, calm string pads and a feel pitched between rock-the-house and know-thyself. Cutler’s ear for timbre and knack for sound treatments makes the entire album hum. At the center of “Reschooling” is a riff (played on a wooden xylophone?) that’s been treated to just enough filtering to make it go in and out of focus, giving the track even more of an undulating feel. So does the rolling bass of the finale, “The Birds Don’t Fly This High,” which provides an anchor for all that dazzling stuff before it; give Cutler credit for knowing how to come down as well as take off. -Resident Advisor

Brian Eno – Small Craft on a Milk Sea [2010]

Posted in ambient,electronic by deek on October 27, 2010

Music can make life a cinematic experience. I’m writing this from a train ride to New York City, and Brian Eno’s new album Small Craft On A Milk Sea is shaping my view of the scenery as I whiz by. The opening track is gentle and the morning light dances off the fall leaves. But when the intensity of “Forms Of Anger” kicks in, other parts of the landscape pop out — patterns of fencing, graffiti on concrete, shifting heights of foliage. Eno makes two styles of music: songs that showcase vocals and personality and instrumental soundscapes. Small Craft On A Milk Sea, as the name implies, is the latter. And with or without the changing light of a train ride, these tunes alter my perception of the world around me, even with my eyes closed. The album came out of improvisations with two young electronic musicians. The first, Leo Abrahams, met Eno in a guitar shop. Abrahams was trying out a guitar and, as he put it, Eno “was happy I wasn’t playing ‘Stairway to Heaven’ with the amp turned up to 11. (So) he invited me to play on his album.” For the past seven years they’ve worked with such artists as Paul Simon and Grace Jones. Jon Hopkins, who plays piano and electronics, is the other standout collaborator. He and Eno worked on the last Coldplay album together, and the two performed with Abrahams at the Luminous Festival in Sydney, which Eno curated. Unlike many of Eno’s ambient albums, this one has varying moods — sometimes it lulls quietly, other times it’s fierce. -npr

Thievery Corporation – It Takes a Thief (compilation) [2010]

Posted in downtempo,electronic by deek on August 29, 2010

Dynamic DJ duo Thievery Corporation have announced the release of their first ‘best of’ album, It Takes A Thief, coming out on ESL Music on September 21st. The album is a collection of tracks specially selected by Rob Garza and Eric Hilton for longtime fans and for music lovers who have heard of Thievery Corporation but may have never listened to the band. It Take A Thief will feature “Lebanese Blonde,” the beautiful song used on the Grammy award-winning Garden State Soundtrack, as well as “Sound the Alarm,” the funk infused track that has become a staple opening track for the band’s live shows. “We’ve always been a little hesitant of putting together a retrospective CD,” Rob Garza said. “But looking back and realizing it’s been almost 15 years since we started, we figured maybe now is the time. These tracks are some of our favorite moments.” The band is preparing to announce a major US tour for the fall of 2010 and is recording a new album to be released in 2011.

Baths- Cerulean [2010]

Posted in ambient,electronic,glitch hop by umwut on August 25, 2010

M.I.A. – /\/\/\Y/\ (Maya) [2010]

Posted in dance,electronic,electropop,hip-hop,synth punk by jheisel on July 6, 2010

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