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

Mon, 31 Oct 2005

Simon Fisher Turner

Simon Fisher Turner, Lana Lara Lata
CD + DVD, Mute

"Lana is sort of ghost music ..." is a quote from SFT and it is ghostly in a non-spooky way. Sounds and fragments come and go in a kind of ethereal way connected by artful use of timbre, level, and small thematic excercises.

This is a collaborative effort between SFT and Rainier Lericolais, and T um, an Italian electronica duo. Simon Fisher Turner is a pretty interesting guy -- ex-child actor, Jonathon King promoted pop failure, punk fan, artist in residence at the ICA, film track author, and now soundscaper.

The DVD presents visuals to go along with the music and the mood remains consistent with what goes before. There is also supposed to be a mixer toy thingy but this didn't become apparent on a Mac.

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Royksopp, 49%

Royksopp, 49 Percent 
(from the Album 'The Understanding')
CD, Virgin

"One of the hallmarks of a great band is the consummate ease with which that group constantly strive to adapt, to evolve, to innovate; thereby ensuring that they never repeat themselves or do something tepid or commonplace"

This latest single released by Royksopp is fantastic. (You can hear a few shorts from that album on their website if you are interested in listening before you buy).

Royksopp are Torbjoern Brundtland and Svein Berge. Their Melody A.M. album is a good example of quality and success - 1,000,000 copies sold worldwide, half of them in the UK. As the quote above suggests, they are always striving to be original. This latest example - 49 percent - introduces lyrics; an unexplored avenue! The simplicity of the voice, juxtaposed with the rhythm and melody, couldn't be better. The remix examples, also on the single bring out the different textures available showing just how flexible music should be. I particularly enjoyed the M.A.N.D.Y. remix, and the West London Deep / 1% Deeper Mix.

They show yet again that it is perfectly possible to be original in everything that you do as music writers. I sense a real inventive touch to everything that they have produced both now and in the past. They are doing justice to the world of contemporary music. (E Walton)

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Rolldeep, Shake a Leg
3 track single, Relentless on Virgin

With roots, raga, and hip-hop, and a sense of humour, there is only one place this could come out of. In fact it's kind of interesting that while lots of other genres are dead on their feet from a lack of any new vision whatsoever, this genre, whether you like it or not, has plenty going on in both a stylistic and content way.

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Richie Hawtin

Richie Hawtin, DE9|Transitions
DVD and CD, Novamute

I spent an hour or two with a Roland MC909 the other day, generating full-on techno by pushing puttons for different patterns while sliding the faders to bring the parts up or down. DJing without turntables or straightforward creation? It's somewhere between the two I think.

Richie Hawtin has been voyaging away from turntables and in his "searching for what's next" he's used Abelton Live and Pro Tools to reassemble bits and tracks. "That's the big question behind all the DE9 CDs - what can I do now with the technology and how can I push it in a new direction to further the experimentation and heighten the experience?". It's also a voyage towards having more of a say creatively, and quite a long way down the path from merely playing other people's work.

In this set is an ordinary CD of the tracks but this is called a "bonus CD" because one of the main things here is 5.1 Surround Sound and that is used on the DVD, where you get the tracks along with minimal screen activity. There's also a filmed conversation with Richie and an excerpt from a music event at Mannheim only a few months ago. One of the interesting points made in the conversation is that, a few years ago, software could only beat match over shortish time periods of twenty seconds or so whereas now it is able to match much longer periods, so making it easier to get further away from the turntable.

In all of this Richie Hawtin manages to maintain his connection with people through their feet -- all of this pleasurably danceable.

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Melnyk with Sara Berg, Silence
LP, Gay Monkey

Melnyk is a Canadian from Alberta who came to live in London, England, where he makes clubworthy electro. Gaymonkey is a Swedish label formed to save that country from sugar pop and metal death and, although I'm personally fairly naive about that sort of thing, appears to be, well, gay. That should cut the homophobes out but what about those of us who don't care what people do in their own houses?

I guess the caracature of gay music is big disco and a certain sort of smoothly produced electro. This falls in the latter group. There are some nice songs that are nicely and smoothly arranged and Sara Berg provides some vocal interest. (Thunderfinger)

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Crazy Girl

Crazy Girl, Get Picked Up
Single, Tummy Touch

You can learn and see more about Crazy Girl in our interview here and about the song too, which is a Betty (wife of Miles) Davis song.

We've got the song and three dance edits here. The first is a synth-rich retro romp with CG's high vocals getting the message across. The remixes come from the likes of Black Fu's and Niyi and the third track is a real stomper. (Dr Boots)

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various, Sound Affects: Malmaison
2 CDs, Bottletop

This is great stuff. I got a surprise when this was randomly selected from a pile to play the sound wars game with a neighbour who likes her TV volume set to stun. The first CD is a collection of rare Afrobeat from ... yes, Africa. The tracks have vibrance and life along with a barefoot funk that seems especially inspiring when you consider the sorts of places this music comes from. For people who are knowledgable about this genre, artists are the likes of Honny and the Bees, Orlando Julius, Awa-KLaSH, Dele Sosimi, and Yahoos.

The second CD consists of remixes by well known mixsters such as Bonobo, Zero, Okenfold, and Quantic. This is good, fun stuff, as well. Who wouldn't be inspired by the original tracks?

This is actually a charity set. Bottletop have to do with sexual health education iniatives and they also sell things like iPod cases and clothing. Malmaison are apparently a "lifestyle hotel group" and I guess they put up the seed money for this project.

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