Thursday, April 02, 2009


Duncan Powell, The Push EP
Free EP (download it here)by UKG producer whose Something's Wrong EP I loved and bought a few years back. These deliriously rapturous vocal cut-ups bear the patent imprint of Todd Edwards but are too potently exquisite to seem derivative. There's something to be said for being a master of a style even when the march of time has left it behind.

Black Dice, Repo
The Wire review claimed this bore a palpable influence from Big Beat, a notion so charmingly improbable it intrigued me enough to give this lot the time of the day for the first time since… that really dismal show they did at Bowery Ballroom, most likely. Disappointingly I can't really hear any trace of Bentley Rhythm Ace or Rasmus in here but it does remind me of the deformed and abjectly-leaking travesty of rave perpetrated by Blectum from Blechdom at the other end of this decade.

Lady Sovereign, Jigsaw
A rather chastened and subdued Lady Sov here. (There ought to be a rockcrit jargon type term, a la "sophomore," for album-after-the-hotly-hyped-debut-that-didn't-in-fact-blow-up-like-was-expected). Flashes of the former ferocity flare up here and there… but the tune based around The Cure's "Close To Me" panders moistly (and worse panders, you just know, in total vain); the AutoTune-y one is pure sadness; you want to avert your ears during the one about the demotivated depression she sank into during the losing campaign to break America. The nadir, though, is reached with the song about sex play using foodstuffs. Still "Student Union Bar" is interestingly confused, a modern version maybe of "Rat Race" (digi-ska plus class tension) but replacing The Specials' scorn and resentment with perplexed awkwardness ("shouldn't you lot be studying or something?"). And there's one outright killer: opener "Let's Be Mates," deadpan electro + blank-eyed chat-up patter from La Sov.

Kid 606, "Mr Wobble's Nightmare"
Like Caspa & Rusko's remix of "We Are I.E.", appreciated more for the nuum-ological resonances than as a pure sonic delight, but still a giggle. You can download the title track of what otherwise seems to be a maxi-EP here.

Hell, Teufelswerk
CD 1: banging-yet-intelligent; techno-techno as opposed to minimal techno or trance-techno or hardcore-techno or Detroit-genuflective techno or… Techno-techno the same way that,say, CJ Bolland was… and indeed there's little about DJ Hell's sound here to betray this wasn't recorded in the early-to-mid-90s. Excellent stuff. Plus the superstar cameos, while strictly superfluous, amuse: P. Diddy not rapping but jabbering barely tethered to the groove about how some DJs (brave DJs, true DJs) play the full-length versions of tracks, the 10 minute or 17 minute versions; Bryan Ferry, suave and cold-blooded, slotting as perfectly into the icy accuracy of "U Can Dance" as he does with his customary supple session-played funkzak. (He's credited as "backing vocals by", although singing the lead-- for legal reasons?). CD 2: more atmospheric and film soundtracky, with certain pieces recalling John Carpenter and (on "Nightclubbing") the disjointed Fairlight pulses of the Liquid Sky score. Really excellent stuff.

DJ Koze, Reincarnations
Mnml atomized into a fragrant cloud of texture droplets.


Atlas Sound, Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel
Tried but couldn't get into the Deerhunter album, but this blissed me first listen. I'd be surprised if Bradford Cox had never heard i or 69.

Ursula Bogner, Recordings 1969 – 1988
A spoof too lovingly and convincingly executed to be dismissed as perhaps one ought… similar perhaps to how you can find yourself grooving for real on certain Rutles tunes.

OLDSTUFF-FEELING (reissued and non-reissued)

The Fates, Furia
What Una Baines did after The Blue Orchids: feminist pagan folk, with the baneful ambient textsoundscape of "Who Am I? (Ritual)" especially witchy and wyrd.

Inuit Games and Songs
A record I've been chasing--or at least hoping would turn up--for almost thirty years. Heard originally thanks to the ravenously indiscriminate collecting of Oxford legend Micalef, who trawled up all kinds of tat and piffle in his whole-grant-on-records first-week-of-term binges but also wondrous weirdnesses like the album we nicknamed "Venezuelan Vomit" and this field recording of Inuit Eskimo vocal games, which sometimes resemble DAF's interlocking synth pulses but are entirely formed out of human breath (and usually female breath, with the duets often collapsing into giggles after about a minute and a half). Every time I looked for Eskimo music over the years it would always be disappointing compared to the memory of this music (e.g. Sub Rosa's 55 Inuit Recordings CD) but finally thanks to a friend I've been reunited with these sounds, if not the fabulously hard-to-find record itself.

Bernard Szajner, Some Deaths Take Forever / Superficial Music
LTM with some crucial reissues of works by a late-period master of the analogue synth epic genre. Bernard Szajner worked as a visuals designer and lazer expert for Gong, Magma, and Klaus Schulze. His first venture into music-making, 1979's Visions of Dune was inspired by Frank Herbert’s s.f. epic and its swirling clouds of drone and unearthly melodies would have made for a much superior O/S/T for the ill-starred David Lynch movie than the dismal score by Toto. Superficial Music's first side consists of four tracks of ever-more formless wuthering made using the source tapes for Visions of Dune played backwards at half speed and then tweaked with effects; the second side is a triptych titled Oswiecim after the Polish word for Auschwitz (Sjazner's being a Polish Jewish family who managed to narrowly evade being deported to concentration camps) and lives up to its harrowing inspiration. Some Deaths Take Forever, which came between Visions of Dune and 1981's Superficial, is not quite as astonishing but still a thoroughly absorbing slab of uneasy listening, with "Suspended Animation"--a time tunnel-like vortex of losing-my-mind guitar and synth--particularly stunning.