Mstation Pop etc Commentary, Reviews Valid RSS pre Dec 04 reviews are here

Mon, 29 Aug 2005

Sonic Art

The Sonic Art, Do You Ever Feel
debut single, Rough Justice

This is very pretty and has a nice combination of tunefulness and scrumptious production detail. There are three tracks on this single and all have really pretty touches ... so that sounds like it's not perhaps about twenty mega-watts of Marshalls? Quite right, this is in that area of space and dynamics and artful sounds that isn't like Radiohead but some parts could readily have been inspired by them -- oh well, maybe the tone of the vocals is at times quite close but the misery quotient is thankfully low.

The Sonic Art are two cousins, James and Christian Norris and the music is a merging of accoustic and electronica. It'll be interesting to see how they do.


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KT Tunstall

KT Tunstall, Eye to the Telescope
LP, Relentless, EMI

So, The Guardian thinks she is the new Janis Joplin and the totally naff, totally out of touch Sunday Times reckons she is a truly special new talent. What do we make of that, and should we bother to make anything of it? The Guardian reviewer should be sent off to listen to Big Brother and the Holding Company which, I think, was exactly one LP of brilliance and raw power. All the rest of poor Janis's oeuvre was manipulated bullshit presented by yesterday and today's bad people -- Big Music. No, KT Tunstall is not a new Janis Joplin, thank goodness for KT. Janis hung her nerve ends out for us and perished every night and on every line of song and dope and alcohol.

KT is altogether a more polite thing. Sure she has soul, and in comparison with the recent past of recording history she has absolute bucketloads of it, but this has few raw nerve ends and fewer orgasmic moments. Maybe it's politically correct soul -- a sign of the times. She will sell a lot of this. No question. It's smooth. It has craft. It has whispery moments. It will be played in a certain sort of restaurant.


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Trans Slovenia Express

Various, Trans Slovenia Express VOL 2 _
LP, Mute

This is a really interesting assortment of electronic music acts from Slovenia. Marching or dancing forward from the days of Kraftwerk, they have injected elements of their own ancient folk culture and even where they haven't overtly done this there is often an injection of lightness that reminds us of more vocal, less amplified traditions.

Kraftwerk is here too, with repeating electronic figures, as is also a sort of subdued or subtle Trance with slow developments and subtle shifts. Laibach is one name that is known in Western Europe and elsewhere but most of the rest will not have been heard of by the average person... such acts as Silence, the Stroj, Octex, Torul, Bast, and Sequan. They are worth checking out.

(Dr Boots)

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Jackson and His Computer Band

Jackson and his Computer Band, Smash

Jackson is Jackson Fourgeaud and Warp has brought him to us from his native Paris. In Jackson's words, what we have here is "a style orgy, a psychedelic celebration of conflict". Just so, and it all sounds pretty cool as well.

While France has most of the usual electronic genres covered, there is also one which, with a light hand, draws from ethnic and funk sources and creates something quite different from what we're used to. I think what makes it different is the subtlety. There is a different touch at work here and, to some degree, different sensibilities about what's important.

One of the interesting generalisations about is that there is no good modern music coming out of France. To some extent this is true, but the key words are "coming out". There is a whole lot that is there, and this is one part of it.

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Goldfrapp, Supernature
LP, Mute

So what's Goldfrapp been doing over the last year or so? Rocking out in a glam kind of way is certainly one thing. The first track even has a distant echo of T Rex.

This now looks like a deliberate path from the feted otherworldliness of Felt Mountain, through the disco influence of her last album, to this. Is it an effort to broaden the listening base, or just someone following their own interests? I don't know, but the publicity campaign this time around seems a lot bigger than any that went before and Goldfrapp has always shown that her heart is more glam than art.

You might get the idea from reading this that she's headed into full pop land but that's not really the case. It's more a matter of emphasis. There has always been pop in what she does but the layers of ethereality have become less.

As usual, the production is very interesting with all kinds of things surfacing and then fading, and her voice very nicely mixed throughout the whole thing. Will you like it? If you're from the art/soundscape side of the street, perhaps not. A lot of people will like it. (thunderfinger)

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DJ Corner and House Mix download

Tom Baker's latest release on Juno can be had here ...

1. Chart
2. Record Reviews
3. House mix for your downloading pleasure 
4. Unsubscribe Info 
5. Review info and contact details
1. Chart action August 2005;
1. Grant Dell & DJ Deano "Life and Pain" - Inversus
2. Asad Rizvi "This is how we run things" Honchos 
3. Sound Navigators "System Sprain" - Jackin 
4. Bon Johnson "Slumber Party Massive" (J. Youngman Mix) Inuendo
5. Rob Mello  Ft Stella "Critical" - Classic
6. Mango Boy "Ice cold yelly" Mango Boy 
7. DJ Hal Ft Jay Thomas "It takes 2" Blockhead 
8. Brett Johnson "Best intentions for failed inventions" - Classic
9. Digital Minds "On and on" - Nightshift
10. Special Forces "Family Business" (Natural Rythm mix) Blockhead 

2. Record Reviews:
Rosario Genaro & Jay La Forge – Buddy EP
Artist: Rosario Genaro & Jay La Forge
Title: Buddy EP
Label: Exun 
Cat no: Exun2039
DJ Linus's "Experimental - Underground" imprint takes a deep and
contemplative, yet powerful stance on electronic sounding house in
"Fun2night". Soft vocoder murmurings sit subtly over an insistent hook,
and warm effects as a relentless drum arrangement keeps the groove
going. "Mars Attack" pushes the accelerator pedal down a little further
with a no-nonsense drum arrangement, eerie effects and sultry vocal
layers. Both tracks have instant grab to the ear about them and dollops
of groove. 4/5 Martin Landsky – Back (Go for the) Artist: Martin Landsky
Title: Back (Go for the) Label: Poker Flat Cat no: PFR59 Techno 12"
Martin's follow up from the critically acclaimed release "FM Safari"
comes in the form of a typically crisp Landsky production, i.e. jackin,
sparse, and driving. Fluttering hats make way for Filip G's vocals,
which give the track a full accessible feel. The B-side's "I can't get
up" is quirky, distinctive number, where a manic synth line weaves in
and around under a startled vocal "I've fallen and I can't get up"
Simple, effective and impeccable production. 4/5 Troydon – Growing Pains
EP Artist: Troydon Title: Growing Pains EP Label: Drop Music Cat no:
Drop042 House 12" For those following the movements of South Africa's
man of the moment; Troydon, it must have seemed inevitable that he would
be lending his signature jazzy house work outs to Drop Music sooner or
later, and this three track EP lives up to the potential that such a
partnership should inspire. I didn't receive the track titles with the
press release but A1 kicks off with a no-nonsense party bass line, a
well fitted guitar loop and a filtered up vocal repeating "I remember"
before breaking down and kicking back in with trumpet stabs and subtle
flute hits. B1 utilises a nonsensical gravel voice sample arrangement
that could only come from a jazz musician (think "nice "from the Fast
Show), alongside a swinging bass line and scat jazz key arrangement.
Finally B2 is a bopping, double bass led work out. All three tracks
should get good plays here 4/5 Nathan Coles and Mastik Soul –Twisted
Chicken Artist: Nathan Coles and Mastik Soul Title: Twisted Chicken
Label: Warbled Cat no: WAR005 House 12" Two of tech house's funkiest
chickens get together again to melt their naturally similar style and
come up with two bass heavy, knee-slapping tribal workouts. "Twisted
Chicken" fuses multi-layered percussive loops; subtle effects and an
all-engulfing bass line to produce a cut that's built purely for dark
rooms with big sound systems. "Bumlick" maintains the chest height bass
pressure production values and tribal drum feel, but has a lighter mood,
cheeky edits, and colourful samples. 4/5 Phonique - Weapon Artist:
Phonique Title: Weapon Label: Dessous Cat no: DES54 Techno 12" Phonique
returns to Dessous recordings with a dark destroyer of a dance floor
battle-weapon. Sinister synths grate under snappy drums, funky clicks,
noises and a genius piano breakdown makes an appearance in the middle.
The aptly titled "A walk in the park" is certainly a lot less
intimidating and lighter on the ear with 80's Man Parish samples and
bumping bass line. Tracks and the City complete the EP with their take
on "Weapon" fusing a congo-laden groove with Phonique's original to lend
a housey, jackin' workout on the original. 4/5 The Littlemen – Shades
out EP Artist: The Littlemen Title: Shades out EP Label: Mobile Trax Cat
no: mobiletrax008 House 12" Kicking off proceedings; "Down with it" is
the kind of disco tinged, summer-vibe bumper we've comes to expect from
The Littlemen. Filtered guitars and lush chords carry the track into the
vocal that gives the track its title. Sharp edits and little breaks give
the arrangement and interesting tilt, negating the need for additional
sounds as the track progresses. "Side 2 side" features disjointed drums,
a filtered-vocal-bass-line-combo and maintains a disco summery feel.
Finally "smooth" takes a contrasting dark tone and rumbles late, late,
late into the night with intoxicating effects, hypnotic vocals and
rolling, relentless drums 3.5/5 Traffic Signs - 04 Artist: Traffic Signs
Title: 04 Label: Traffic Signs Cat no: TS4 House 12" The latest
instalment in the Traffic Signs story is a starkly cold, un-emotive and
creepy little sucker aptly entitled "infiltrate". With just a two-tone
hook, simple beats and "infiltrate" repeated over and over it somehow
manages to be seriously funky and engaging with minimum effort. It's
only when the track nears its end that I realised it doesn't even have a
bass line. "Hold it" takes minimalism further still, featuring little
more than a fat bottom end, fluttered hats and a clave. There's hope
though as mid-way through a cold synth line drops in to say hello. This
one of those releases you'll either be totally in too, or it will go
straight over your head. 4/5 Dealers Choice – Funtime Artist: Dealers
Choice Title: Funtime Label: 3AM Cat no: TAM014 House 12" Taking a
swerve from the usual vibe of 3am's recent slew of house releases Paper
recordings' Lee Stanley serves up an early 80's sweatbox number in
"Funtime". Drawing on influences from back in the day and now, this
120bpm composition sounds exactly like the sort of track you may find in
an Alexander Robotnick mix. Pete de Feet and Jacob are on hand for remix
work; Pete's mix focuses on crunched up house drums and stabs, before a
cheer-inducing bass line drops in, then with a few extra hits and
strings and you have an effortless roller. The "Dub Out" mix is a
slightly more modern take on the original, with all the hallmarks of a
Metro Area track and finally Jacob's "Battle Ravage" mix never quite
lives up to it's excellent title but will probably appeal to purists of
this new wave sound nonetheless. 4/5

3. House Mix for download
 Tracklisting: 1. Demarkus Lewis - Lime St
- cdr 2. Demarkus Lewis - Reflexations - cdr 3. Joey Youngman - Troubled
Child - Jamayka 4. Natural Rhythm - Vibes Alive (Re Rubba the Dubba mix)
- Tango 5. JV & Granite - Hallucinate (Granite Mix) - cdr 6. Lo/Rez -
Stickwich - Flat and Round 7. Tom Baker and Lawrence Mohammed - La
Diablada (Soulsmith Rmx) - Wrong 8. Lavish Habbits - Clap Yo Feetz -
Select 9. Harrold Heath - Long Relationships (Asad Rizvi Remix) - Urban
Torque 10. Lawnchair Generals - You Got To - Aroma 11. Mario Fabriani -
Release - Nightshift 12. Demarkus Lewis - Rollerboy - cdr 13. Market
House vs Natural Rhythm - Treat you Sweet (Thomas White Remix) - Detour
14. The Littlemen - Stoned (Inland Knights mix) - Mobile Trax 15. Bazar
- Hard To Find - Basic 16. Bran Van 3000 ft Curtis Mayfeild - Astounded
(Fred's Flute Dub) - Bombay 4.Unsubsribe details This email is only
aimed at the music community only and is not intended to irritate, if
its not your thing just reply with "Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn" in the
subject header and you'll be taken off.

5. Reviews published in TTR Magazine,,,,,,,,, +
more ...

Sent promo material too:

c/o BM 9009 27 Old Gloucester St London WC1N 3XX

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Can, Unlimited Edition

LP, Mute/Spoon

Take two ex-Stockhausen students. Introduce them at the height of the 70's to Jimi Hendrix, Captain Beefheart and the Velvets and you have Holger Czukay and Irmin Smidt making themselves into Can with the slogan "no boundaries".

This might make you think of breaking out the tie-dies and chanting "Love and Peace" ... which is probably a good idea: we could do with a little more of that right now. The vibe here isn't a hippy vibe though. It is one of experimentation, and Unlimited Edition at least has dated quite well except for some vocal warblings on one track and some little patches here and there. Mostly, it is fairly timeless -- a sort of journey beyond the immediate trends of the day that weighs less as an anchor as time goes on.

Unlimited Edition is one of four digitally remastered LP's from Can that are being released on 1 August.

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Broadcast, America's Boy and Tender Buttons
single, Warp

Nice voices swirling over a muted electro background with punctuation by lo-fi drums. It's a delicate and very pretty thing that is an atmosphere as much as it is music.

(22 trombones)

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Baxter Drury

Baxter Drury, Floorshow
LP, Rough Trade

Baxter Drury is the son of the late Ian Drury, a much loved fixture of the UK scene in years past. Remember Rhythm Stick? Thankfully, Baxter's schtick is quite different from his father so we don't have to treat what he does as an In Memoriam and make politely dismissive noises while dredging up anecdotes from the eighties.

This is pretty nice stuff. If "English", in this part of the woods, consists of high mixed vocals over thin guitar, then this is more American with some Moby-like craftings of instruments and voice and an extended palette.

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