Trees: Rootwork 12″ EP (Lovemonk, 2014)

April 23, 2014 at 10:43 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Trees: Rootwork 12" EP

Trees: Rootwork 12″ EP

First vinyl release from Ann Arbor’s own Charles Trees. This EP draws on several different shades of groove-based music, starting out on the title track with jazzy horns and drums, starting to drift away for a bit before a thumpy house beat comes in. But even this calms down during certain moments to spotlight the horns. Later a distorted acid bassline comes in, and the track segues into the next one, “Exodus”, a more stripped down house track with live instruments (delicate guitar, spare but funky wah-wah). “Get Adviced” opens with distorted kalimba and shaker-y percussion, and features rapping with a few curse words peppered in, an acid bassline, and a familiar James Brown breakbeat. The label on the record suggests that “Exodus” is the track with vocals, but it clearly lists “Get Adviced” as the 3rd track on the side, and that’s the one with vocals, so there must be some sort of error. “What’s Left” is another jazzy house track with horns, subtle guitar, and live jazz bass. Definitely a highlight of the disc. DJ F’s restructure of “Rootwork” loops bits of the jazzy drums and twists synth melodies into concentric patterns, creating a mesmerizing spiral of sound but not really progressing. Shigeto spends the last 9 minutes of the disc stretching out “What’s Left”, taking away the horns and (of course) emphasizing percussion, with lots of thumb pianos (some in reverse) and busy snares, plus some traces of subdued dub chords.

Chrome Sparks: Goddess EP (Future Classic, 2014)

April 22, 2014 at 11:16 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Chrome Sparks: Goddess EP

Chrome Sparks: Goddess EP

Second vinyl release for Ann Arbor’s own Chrome Sparks, who is now based in Brooklyn, signed to an Australian label, and moving up in the music world. This EP refines his blend of choppy, sample-heavy chillwave, using plenty of tasty synths, added live percussion, and bits of vocals, but not lyrics. The best tracks here are the ones that make the most usage of analogue synth melodies (“Star Step”, the gorgeous “Lost in the Chrome Forest”), but the more beat-driven/detailed tracks are just as impressive. “Enter The Chrome Forest” has all manners of knocking, glitching, fidgeting beats, and still manages to be the most dancefloor-tempo track here. The final two tracks, “ZZZZZZ” and “Goddess”, dip down closer to downtempo Brainfeeder territory, with “ZZZZZZ” having more knocking, off-time wonky hip-hop beats, and “Goddess” starting with Tycho-ish melodies, and then epic trance arpeggios.

Crash Course In Science: Signals From Pier Thirteen 12″ EP (Press Records, 1982/reissued Dark Entries, 2014)

April 20, 2014 at 10:14 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Crash Course In Science: Signals From Pier Thirteen 12" EP

Crash Course In Science: Signals From Pier Thirteen 12″ EP

Holy grail time, kiddos. This is the first-ever vinyl reissue of the only 12″ EP Crash Course In Science ever released. (There was a CCIS box set a few years ago, but it’s super limited and expensive and you’ll probably never own it.) Vintage-as-it-gets minimal-wave that predated pretty much everything. Well, other than their previous 7″ from 1979. “Cardboard Lamb” was the track that got rediscovered by electroclash kids, and was reissued and remixed by Vitalic and a few others, but here’s the original in all its glory. “Crashing Song” is a buzzy instrumental which swoops as much as it crashes. “Flying Turns” is my absolute favorite track here, it’s stark and repetitive and paranoid and absolutely never gets old, I could listen to it on repeat forever. “Factory Forehead” is the most brutal track here, starting with proto-Wolf Eyes thrashing and then adding a fast minimal beat and several layers of paranoid buzzing synths and vocals. Super brutal, super ahead of its time. Totally classic, 100%.

Fennesz: Bécs (Editions Mego, 2014)

April 20, 2014 at 5:25 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Fennesz: Bécs

Fennesz: Bécs

Fennesz returns to (Editions) Mego for Bécs (pronounced “baeetch”), the thematic sequel to his last album on that label, 2001’s masterpiece Endless Summer. So expect plenty of loopy, distorted melodic guitar on this one, as well as all manners of glitch and processing. There’s also a few tracks with drums (“Static Kings”, “Liminality”) and some modular synth. This will indeed be familiar territory for anyone who’s a fan of Endless Summer (the guitar lines seem like variations on those from the older album), but it’s not unwelcome at all. The distortion seems darker and more sinister than previous albums (especially on “The Liar”), so it’s not quite a full return to a carefree, happy summer vibe. In fact, some of the melodies (especially on the epic “Liminality”) are quite sad. The highlight would have to be the title track, which covers a sickly sweet melody in ungodly amounts of blackened distortion, conjuring up images of eating the best candy you’ve ever tasted, and then having your teeth rot and decay, causing you to swear off sweets forever. “Sav” begins with a bit of a muted, crush rhythm, before zoning out to a searing, slightly hallucinatory desert landscape. “Paroles” ends the album with more shining, glowing guitar, with bursts of sizzling distortion.

Heterotic: Weird Drift (Planet Mu, 2014)

April 19, 2014 at 6:03 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Heterotic: Weird Drift

Heterotic: Weird Drift

Second album from Mike “µ-Ziq” Paradinas and his wife, following last year’s Love & Devotion, which featured vocals by Nick Talbot of Gravenhurst. I wasn’t feeling the preview clips of that album, but this album seems a lot more interesting. The synth sounds and melodies certainly sound like what Mike Paradinas’ vision of “pop” would sound like. The tracks with vocals feature Vezelay, who released an EP on Planet Mu back in 2011 that I don’t think I’ve actually listened to. They fit in with a lot of current indie-electro-R&B type stuff that’s everywhere right now, but musically, there’s some interesting things going on. The ultra-skittery beats on “Boxes” definitely sound in line with the last µ-Ziq record, and the slow, distorted beats on “Lumber” are reminiscent of the excellent XTEP from last year, as well as plenty of Paradinas’ older output. More than half the tracks feature vocals, but with a couple interlude-y exceptions, the instrumentals are as fully-focused and melodic, especially the Italo-esque opener “Self-Importance”, and “Sultana”, which sounds like it could almost be an instrumental version of an ’80s Fleetwood Mac single. “Amniotic” is another lovely little electro-shadow with fluttery percussion and an ’80s new wave melody. Definitely a promising step forward for Mike Paradinas’ most accessible project yet.

Show #239 – 4/19/14

April 19, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Posted in The Answer Is In The Beat | Leave a comment

3:03 AM Hiss & Hum ~ The Shield Around The K-Hole ~ Live Broadcast ~ self-released
3:19 AM Mind Over Mirrors ~ Memorander ~ Check Your Swing ~ Hands In The Dark
3:24 AM Ron Slabe ~ Chemical Dependency ~ Zagadka ~ noise-arch.net
3:30 AM Dustin Wong ~ side D track 1 ~ Infinite Love/A Square Defining A Circle ~ Thrill Jockey
3:36 AM Hans Grusel ~ Zuckerkrieg (Part I) (excerpt) ~ split LP w/ Liz Allbee ~ Resipiscent Records
3:46 AM Rand Steiger ~ Resonateur ~ A Menacing Plume ~ New World Records
3:53 AM Svjetlana Bukvich ~ You Move Me ~ Evolution ~ Big Round Records
4:03 AM Nicolas Collins ~ Devil’s Music ~ Slowscan Vol. 3 ~ noise-arch.net
4:26 AM Selector Catalogue ~ Normal Sux ~ Stimulation Over Stagnation ~ Reject Records
4:31 AM Brock Van Wey ~ Than To Have Ever Lived At All ~ Home ~ Echospace [Detroit]
4:42 AM Teebs ~ Shoouss Lullaby ~ E S T A R A ~ Brainfeeder
4:47 AM Sub Liquid ~ Life Of A Human ~ Beneath Your Reflection ~ self-released
4:51 AM Sir Freddy Viadukt ~ Theme From White Man Abroad ~ You Look Good ~ noise-arch.net
4:56 AM Sheriff Lindo and the Hammer ~ And On The Seventh Day… Dub ~ Ten Dubs That Shook The World ~ EM Records
5:03 AM Heterotic ~ Sultana ~ Weird Drift ~ Planet Mu
5:08 AM Sabota ~ Jeans ~ Sabota ~ Hybridity Music
5:13 AM Sohn ~ The Wheel ~ Tremors ~ 4AD
5:16 AM Eternal Summers ~ Make It New ~ The Drop Beneath ~ Kanine
5:20 AM Real Estate ~ Crime ~ Atlas ~ Domino
5:23 AM Beck ~ Wave ~ Morning Phase ~ Capitol
5:29 AM Anthony Saunders ~ live at Modular Equinox 3/22/14 ~ .wav ~ adhoc.fm
5:34 AM White Suns ~ Cathexis ~ Totem ~ The Flenser
5:38 AM Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks ~ Modern Days ~ Enter The Slasher House ~ Domino
5:41 AM Gezan ~ Man Machine ~ Katsute Uta Toiwaretasore ~ Important
5:44 AM Protomartyr ~ Want Remover ~ Under Color Of Official Right ~ Hardly Art
5:46 AM Dhow ~ Neophyte ~ Amara ~ Inam Records
5:50 AM Tycho ~ Awake ~ Awake ~ Ghostly International
5:55 AM HTRK ~ Blue Sunshine ~ Psychic 9-5 Club ~ Ghostly International

Crush Collision 4/17/14

April 18, 2014 at 9:09 am | Posted in Crush Collision | Leave a comment

10:02 PM Todd Terje ~ Swing Star Pt 2
10:08 PM John Lemke ~ Walizka
10:10 PM Devennue ~ Underforms (Overcast Sound Remix)
10:15 PM Farben & Jamed DIN A4 ~ Please Excuse My Face
10:20 PM Heterotic ~ Self Importance
10:22 PM Light Year ~ No One
10:27 PM Somatic Responses ~ Tachyon Opera
10:31 PM The Drum Club ~ Drums Are Dangerous (Hardkiss Remix)
10:35 PM 808 State ~ Lambrusco Cowboy
10:39 PM cv313 ~ Excursion 1 ~ Live At Primary
10:46 PM Illum Sphere ~ Embryonic (Legowelt Remix)
10:50 PM Dan Curtin ~ House Spirits
10:57 PM LFO ~ Nurture
11:00 PM LFO ~ Tan Ta Ra (Moby Remix)
11:05 PM Orbital ~ Impact USA (The Earth Is Burning)
11:15 PM B12 ~ Epilion
11:21 PM The Future Sound Of London ~ Dead Cities
11:26 PM Millie & Andrea ~ Temper Tantrum
11:30 PM µ-Ziq ~ Within A Sound
11:35 PM Aphex Twin ~ Donkey Rhubarb
11:41 PM Oxynucid ~ pHilter patH
11:48 PM Tycho ~ Montana
11:52 PM Hidden Orchestra ~ Disquiet (Floex Remix)
11:56 PM Lewis Fautzi ~ Sick

Show #238 – 4/12/14

April 12, 2014 at 2:36 pm | Posted in The Answer Is In The Beat | Leave a comment

3:01 AM Hiss & Hum ~ Brain-Dead Chile (Slight Return) ~ Live Broadcast ~ self-released
3:08 AM C. Spencer Yeh/Okkyung Lee/Lasse Marhaug ~ Tonight We Sleep Like Empty Hard Drives ~ Wake Up Awesome ~ Software
3:12 AM Nels Cline Singers ~ Red Before Orange ~ Macroscopic ~ Mack Avenue
3:21 AM Gezan ~ Getsumen No Tsume ~ Katsute Uta Toiwaretasore ~ Important
3:25 AM Pairs ~ Ballet Theme Downstream ~ Your Feet Touch Ground, A Carousel ~ Metal Postcard
3:32 AM Trouble Books ~ Stacking Spheres ~ Love At Dusk ~ MIE Music
3:36 AM The Space Lady ~ Humdinger ~ The Space Lady’s Greatest Hits ~ Night School
3:39 AM Jef Barbara with Laetitia Sadier ~ Chords ~ Soft To The Touch ~ Club Roll
3:43 AM Fever Witch ~ This Is Your Funeral ~ You’re The Worst/You Deserve It [split tape w/ Hiss & Hum] ~ self-released
3:45 AM Odd Nosdam ~ Trish ~ Trish ~ Baro Records
3:50 AM Sensum and Clunch ~ Strawberry Days ~ Sensum and Clunch ~ Holodeck
3:53 AM D33J ~ Empty Sunset ~ Gravel ~ Anticon
4:01 AM Strata Florida ~ Hang On ~ Made Of Stars ~ Saint Marie
4:04 AM Settle ~ Colony ~ Paper Thin ~ Life Like
4:10 AM Squarepusher x Z-Machines ~ Dissolver ~ Music For Robots ~ Warp
4:17 AM µ-Ziq ~ Jiggery Panky ~ My Little Beautiful ~ Virgin
4:23 AM Qixoni ~ Disharmony (Mr Proxxxy 2k4 Beer Heart Mix) ~ Disharmony Remixes ~ Techno Belligerent
4:26 AM Hardon Collider ~ track 8 ~ Particle Exciter ~ self-released
4:31 AM Bernard Hiedsieck ~ Poeme-partition X (second version) ~ Poeme-partition X ~ Alga Marghen
4:36 AM Bubblegum Octopus ~ Defeat Of Logic ~ Critters ~ Moth Lite
4:37 AM Phyla Zen ~ Seamlessly Weaving ~ Surrealist Nightmare ~ cOmaRecOrdz
4:42 AM enn{kdog ~ Aristippus ~ Bags ~ Immigrant Breast Nest
4:46 AM Blipvert ~ Insect Bleach In 4 Parts ~ Wax Cathartic ~ D-Trash
4:54 AM Felix Kubin ~ Speed ~ Zemsta Plutona ~ The Omni Recording Corporation\
4:58 AM Stave ~ Tower 9 (Isreal Vines Remix) ~ Trust ~ Trensmat
5:05 AM Bobby Draino ~ Sean’s Beach ~ Brain Drain ~ 100% Silk
5:11 AM Lidless Dogs ~ side 2 ~ Lidless Dogs tape ~ Life Like
5:28 AM Henri Pousseur/Michel Butor ~ Gamelang Celtibere ~ Paysages Planetaires ~ Alga Marghen
5:35 AM Hydropark ~ side A track 1 ~ Hydropark (3rd tape) ~ Life Like
5:39 AM Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks ~ Catchy (Was Contagious) ~ Enter The Slasher House ~ Domino
5:43 AM Protomartyr ~ Ain’t So Simple ~ Under Color Of Official Right ~ Hardly Art
5:45 AM Tycho ~ Spectre ~ Awake ~ Ghostly International
5:48 AM Future Islands ~ A Song For Our Grandfathers ~ Singles ~ 4AD
5:53 AM HTRK ~ Love Is Distraction ~ Psychic 9-5 Club ~ Ghostly International

Blanche Blanche Blanche: Breaking Mirrors LP (Wharf Cat, 2013)

April 5, 2014 at 11:16 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Blanche Blanche Blanche: Breaking Mirrors LP

Blanche Blanche Blanche: Breaking Mirrors LP

I really should’ve reviewed this after I saw this band in Brooklyn last year, but now I’m going through my “review” folder and deleting stuff I’m just never going to get around to reviewing and I realized I never talked about this. Anyway, this group released my favorite album of 2012, and have since grown from a home recording project into a band with several members (I counted at least 6 onstage) which plays live and recorded this LP in a studio. Which means that it misses out on the hissy lo-fi sound of the earlier material, but now has expanded realms of studio trickery and composition complexity. More angular guitar sounds instead of chintzy out-dated keyboards. A bit rougher and angrier, too, not as much of the oddly tender moments on some of the previous records. There’s also a new sense of repetition; “Fire” repeats the titular word throughout the entire song, and “Zeroing In” similarly repeats “zero” until it truly does zero in. Just another bizarre, confounding album from one of my favorite weird-pop groups of the past few years.

Brain Collider tape

April 5, 2014 at 10:49 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Brain Collider tape

Brain Collider tape

Somehow I completely missed out on Hardon Collider until a few weeks ago, when he played at Far House. Totally unexpected and awesome explosion of glitch-fried circuitbent breakcore noise mayhem. I got a CD-r from him, but it looks like it actually came out in 2012, so I’m not going to review it. I also got this tape, and I have no clue if it’s new or not, but I’m going to assume it is. I’m not sure who the “Brain” part is, but this takes the trashy, glitchy, electro-fried sonic mess of Hardon Collider and melds it with a blasted-out noise-rock band. Generally slow, loose guitar and drum rhythms scarred and smeared with filth-covered electronic feedback. The wavering sound quality of the cassette makes it even more unhinged. Lots of blurry, hidden voices behind everything too; sometimes it sounds like some sort of Middle Eastern music, and the second side has clips from some cartoon show featuring McDonald’s characters. Not a whole lot of sense being made here, but it’s all in ridiculous, trashy fun.

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