Robert Rental: Paralysis 12″ EP (Dark Entries/Optimo Music, 2020)

September 13, 2020 at 1:36 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Robert Rental: Paralysis 12" EP

Robert Rental: Paralysis 12″ EP

Robert Rental’s first 7″, from before he released music on Industrial Records and Mute, has now been expanded to a full EP thanks to Dark Entries and Optimo. The title track is well named, as it feels like much of the body is just devoid of feeling, cut off, unreachable. A drum machine ticks away and a guitar is flicked at, but the vocals are nearly zombified, and there’s an unsettling electronic whirring over everything. “A.C.C.” seems a little more together, with a tighter rhythm at least, although the vocals are still a little zoned out. The remaining three tracks are seeing release for the first time here. “G.B.D.” stumbles into a dilapidated, echoey drum rhythm before some ragged psych guitar soloing surfaces. An untitled track is unexpectedly tender, with lonesome vocals intoning a desire to be with someone over the barest tick of hi-hats and skeletal rhythmic guitar. “Ugly Talk” is leagues away from anything else on the EP, a 7-minute flotilla of interlocked fluid melodies which sway in impressive waves. Nothing remotely ugly about it at all. It fades out at the end but I’d take an entire LP side of it.

Spotify playlists

September 12, 2020 at 12:17 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I’m not sure why but I’ve been looking back lately (probably because I’m stuck at home and can’t go anywhere) and I ended up making playlists of some of my favorite songs of the past 2 decades. I’ll keep adding to them as I think of more things:

Best of the 2000s
Best of the 2010s
And these are just various songs/pieces that pop up in my head from time to time, regardless of era. I’ll warn you that it ended up skewing towards silly/goofy stuff after a while:
Something (on my mind)

Ethan Daniel Davidson: Come Down Lonesome LP (Blue Arrow Records, 2020)

September 11, 2020 at 7:08 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Ethan Daniel Davidson: Come Down Lonesome LP

Ethan Daniel Davidson: Come Down Lonesome LP

Michigan-based troubadour Ethan Daniel Davidson has traveled far and wide, and has been interpreting various facets of Americana for over two decades. Come Down Lonesome is one of several records he’s made with His Name Is Alive’s Warren Defever, who co-produced the album along with Gretchen Gonzales Davidson (of Slumber Party and Universal Indians/Universal Eyes, and now Ethan’s wife). The program includes traditional tunes, original compositions, and songs penned by artists including Reverend Gary Davis, Mississippi John Hurt, and Bob Dylan. The atmosphere is a mixture of the rustic and the ethereal, with numerous guest musicians and backing vocalists lending to the album’s richly textured production. Songs like the opening “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” (Davis) are bleak and wondrous, and a few tracks have some noisy, droney undercurrents which adds a strange, compelling edge to them. Hurt’s “Louis Collins” sounds like it has an air raid siren whirring in the background, and Dylan’s “I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine” would sound gentle and inviting if it weren’t for the searing feedback and distortion lurking beneath. The traditional “Turkle Dove” is perhaps the most mantra-like track, but others are hypnotic as well. Danielson’s originals, including the near-title track, are closer to lonesome downer country. The album ends on this note with Cowboy Joe Babcock’s “I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water”, which consists of little else beside Davidson’s resonant acoustic guitar notes and sorrowful vocals.

Kara: Colors (Leaving Records, 2020)

September 8, 2020 at 9:01 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Kara: Colors

Kara: Colors

Devin Daniels has been playing saxophone for over a decade, and is currently studying jazz at a university in Switzerland, but he also ventures into beatmaking as Kara. His first tape for Leaving Records is a brisk set of 20 tracks which constantly stays upbeat and even celebratory, arranging inventive beat patterns and coloring them with lush sounds like harps and saxophones. The spiraling tones and skipping beats of “Kale” are carefree and light-headed without being lazy. None of these tracks sound like a bunch of samples simply thrown together, but it can be easy to overlook how complex they are, as there’s such an untroubled aura to them. Jenna Noelle lends her dreamy vocals to “Over U”, which features an incredibly detailed beat pattern and sweet, rapidly bubbling melodies, making a lot happen out of so little. The brief, slapping “scramble” sounds like a funky Speak-N-Spell beat, except it doesn’t actually use the vintage electronic toy. “Bunch a Snow” drops sweeping strings into its bumping, feel-good beat, elevating the mood further. Spinning unexpected samples into obtuse, loopy patterns, Kara expresses joy in unconventional ways on this uplifting tape.

Show #546 – 9/6/20

September 6, 2020 at 10:57 pm | Posted in The Answer Is In The Beat | Leave a comment

The Microphones ~ The Microphones In 2020
Jayda G ~ Are U Down
Brain Rays & Quiet ~ Draco Mills
Linda Guilala ~ Mucho Mejor
Addison Groove ~ Out of Nowhere

devonwho: Offworld (Leaving Records, 2020)

September 6, 2020 at 2:09 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

devonwho: Offworld

devonwho: Offworld

devonwho’s first release in years was created during a period in which he relocated back to Oregon from California. While it starts out sounding like the wonky, laid-back hip-hop we might expect from him, it quickly spins off into other directions, in an exciting way. “soar” is halfway between footwork and synth-funk, then “blas” is a radioactive pinwheel of jittery percussion and soothing synths. “queue” is another track that creates a blissful vibe, then ups the complexity on the beats, making it seem extra excited. “tricorder” doubles down on that astral bounce, while “cars” has a slow, heavy thunk for a beat but still manages to float high in the clouds. Then “wave” is another one that fuses prickly IDM and juke, but keeps things on the uplifting, non-aggressive side. Very illuminating, inventive stuff here, looking forward to hearing where he takes his sound next.

v/a: enter​:​protopost 12″ EP (art-aud, 2020)

September 4, 2020 at 7:48 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

v/a: enter​:​protopost 12" EP

v/a: enter​:​protopost 12″ EP

Throwing the arbitrary idea of genres out the window, Italian label art-aud presents a half-dozen tracks that share little in common other than creativity and a need to be heard. The opener by Kreggo + Train To Eitanin is a slow, dubsteppy crawl filled with rapid flickers and quizzical, pitch-shifted voices. Maxwell Simons’ “Test160” is footwork nearly on the verge of a nervous breakdown, creaking and covered in flop sweat. Mi Croevkhas’ “A25” is all out of proportion, with the blaring synths and tinny breakbeat nearly drowning out the thudding kick drum underneath, but this just serves to keep the track interesting and original. Loraine James’ “Anyways” seems to approach Jersey club but riddles it with glitches and soft, fizzy melodies, upsetting the club while letting it pause to reflect. The Horn’s “Phoneme” is slower and kind of awkward, finding its stride with some added percussion sounds halfway through, but then ending at 3 minutes. Cyclonix’s “Majic Soup” swerves in with a more commanding beat and trippy fx, gliding through and keeping the energy flowing. None of these tracks are obvious club anthems, but they all offer different perspectives on how to approach dance rhythms, and they’re all worth hearing.

[.que]: And Inside (sound in silence, 2020)

September 3, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

[.que]: And Inside

[.que]: And Inside

Nao Kakimoto’s newest album is a mixture of glitchy sound design, sparkling post-rock, and ambient techno, all sounding crisp, warm, and emotionally gripping. “Haze” is open-hearted glitch techno with an abundance of vibraphone-like melodies and strings. “Sepia” is the sound of a one-man digital post-rock band gazing out at the sun slowly descending over a gulf. “Divagate” is a set of wistful snapshots attempting to preserve an era that’s quickly fading and will be almost forgotten before anyone realizes it. “Film” is simply a lovely, heartfelt guitar reflection. “Inside” gets more beat-heavy, and it’s like if Tycho wasn’t so background-y. Drifting away from rhythm is the intimate, crouched drones and piano twinklings of “Thaw”, and the piano sail-away “To”. Brilliantly moody material here.

Eternell: Imagined Distances (sound in silence, 2020)

September 2, 2020 at 6:15 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Eternell: Imagined Distances

Eternell: Imagined Distances

Sweden’s Ludvig Cimbrelius has released over a dozen albums as Eternell, with many more projects appearing on his label of the same name, and others such as A Strangely Isolated Place and Silent Season. While some of his other work, particularly as Purl, is closer to dub techno, Imagined Distances is vast, spacious ambient music which matches any number of breathtaking nature scenes, such as the nearly submerged sunset on the album cover. Two of the tracks run over 20 minutes; “Singularity” is a constant flow of shimmering, crystalline waves, while “Imagined Distances” is a bit lower-tide. Other tracks incorporate lilting, incandescent guitar licks, and even subtle, textural vocals. All of this, needless to say, is extraordinarily relaxing, yet carefully crafted, supremely relaxed but not lazy.

Bay B Kane: Bay B Kane Presents – Jungle Livity Releases (Ruff Guidance, 2020)

September 1, 2020 at 6:41 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Bay B Kane: Bay B Kane Presents - Jungle Livity Releases

Bay B Kane: Bay B Kane Presents – Jungle Livity Releases

This Bandcamp exclusive gathers Bay B Kane productions and remixes originally issued through Jungle Livity Records between 2011 and 2015. The first two tracks carry an Eastern motif, from the martial arts-themed “Lethal Technique” to the more meditative, midtempo “China” (an XBass co-production), which incorporates gorgeous samples of traditional instrumentation. “Get Madd VIP” samples that monologue from Network, and even though you’ve heard it countless times before, hey, guess what, listen to it again because it’s still relevant. Two songs match tough, rolling breaks with breezy, expressive vocals from Ruth Sharples, “Kool Breezin” and “Seven Kingdoms”, and other tracks like “Forsaken” offer similar vibes. “Concrete Clouds” traps a familiar sax lick (the one used in “Rump Shaker”) in a darkside thunderstorm. “Chills” is a similar tidal wave of swirling effects and slamming breaks. Tunes like the somewhat film noir-esque “iTurn” and more early Bukem-esque “Eternity” are set at ’92-like tempos, delivering heavy breakbeat pressure without the chaotic speed of jungle. Plenty of quality material to choose from here.

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