December stuff

December 30, 2009

A month treading well-worn paths, since I’m spending most of my time watching BAFTA screeners.

CLUSTER – Qua – a GIANT release snuck out on a tiny US label earlier this year. Was happy to see Cluster active and treading the boards again and was hoping they’d record new material, though I admit that my expectations weren’t high.  What a surprise – both referring to their past achievements and suggesting future avenues, this is already amongst my favourite Cluster releases.

CLUSTER – One Hour – had a cassette of this for years, worth getting again on CD.

HARMONIA & BRIAN ENO – Tracks & Traces 76: Shackleton remix – download of two tracks reworked from the ‘lost’ Harmonia/Eno classic. Passes the time, nothing special.

MUSLIMGAUZE – Uzi Mahmood – download of this triple vinyl only release on Soleilmoon – Muslimgauze’s attempt to go dancefloor.

MACHINEFABRIEK & TIM CATLIN – Glisten – no drop in quality, as per usual…..

MACHINEFABRIEK/SOCCER COMMITTEE – Clay – 3″cdep – ditto

MACHINEFABRIEK/GARETH DAVIS – Ghost Lanes – 3″cdep – ditto

MACHINEFABRIEK – Take A Closer Listen – book of brief ruminations on the favourite ambient sounds of selected correspondents.

THE RESIDENTS – Arkansas – limited Ralph website CD containing stuff that didn’t make it onto the Bunny Boy CD.


a November to remember…

December 1, 2009

here we go with November’s goodies….

MAPSTATION – The Africa Chamber – way back in the late 70s/early 80s I distinctly recall reading somewhere that Kraftwerk had almost completed work on an African-influenced album – although there’s nothing I can find on the web now to back up this odd memory.  The prospect of electronic-African hybrid music excited me, but I had to wait a few more years before Hector Zazou and Bony Bikaye’s groundbreaking Noir Et Blanc album on Crammed Discs went some small way towards satisfying my curiosity. Unless I’ve been missing something, this genre mix has remained seriously underexploited over the years, so I’m happy that someone with the pedigree of Mapstation seems to be heading in this direction. It’s not (to these ears) an unbridled success on this occasion, but my appetite has been whetted. More please.

KREIDLER – Mosaik 2014 – well, you wait for ages then two come along at once – well, not quite, but there are pieces of African-influenced electronica on this.

And speaking of Kraftwerk (as I was briefly, if you recall)…

KRAFTWERK – The Remasters box –  The presentation of the booklets and resleeved cds is stunning – a wonderful triumph of visual design/art, a monumental artefact.  Haven’t delved into the actual discs yet, unsure where to begin and mindful of the time it’ll take me to go through it all.

MACHINEFABRIEK – Music For Intermittent Movements & Bijeen & Blank Grey Canvas Sky – another three discs,  a recent release (BGCS) and two ‘older’ works, one apparently a compilation, though not of stuff I already have.

THE RESIDENTS – The Ughs! I’ve been a fan since the mid 70s and continue to support them by buying their stuff and seeing them live on each tour that lands somewhere affordable in Europe – but I have to admit that in recent years I’ve not been too engaged by their efforts – the sonic palette a tad jaded, the choice of subject matter more miss than hit.  But every now and again, they pull something special out of the bag that reminds me why I’ve loved them for so long – and hooray, The Ughs is one such record.  I recall loving the instrumental backing for their Voice Of Midnight album – and this is the work that lead towards those VoM backings, shorn of that record’s annoyingly histrionic vocals/lyrics. Great to hear the Rez stretching out again – more please!!

THE RESIDENTS – Ten Little Piggies – a compilation taster of projects they plan to release in the next year (a couple of them out already). Seems that the Voice Of Midnight instrumental album I’ve been hoping for is due for a download release!

THE RESIDENTS – Is Anybody Out There? DVD – Haven’t sat down with this yet, but it’s their Bunny Boy series of YouTube videos collected – and messed with to (presumably) more couch-friendly effect.

XXX RESIDENTS – Attack of the Killer Black Eye Ball – cd & dvd, Japanese import. Billed as a ‘multi-media cosplay unit influenced by the original “The Residents”‘. With a track including Merzbow. WTF?  Try this wee video for a taster http://www.dax.tv/?item=3795 It’s a bit of a 4/4 fest, though heavy on Residents samples – and the final two tracks are noise and lounge approximations. Completists only (this would seem to include me).

DAO & CoH – Dzerzhinsk-9 – 12″ vinyl LP – WTF, you might ask, am I doing buying vinyl? Fair point, since I haven’t had a deck for years. But this is an extremely limited (60 copies + art print) edition of some of the earliest work from one of my favourite artists, CoH (Ivan Pavlov), and an email to the record label confirmed that they have no plans to release on CD. Dammit. So, very nice to look at and great to have, but……. all I can hear for the moment is an intriguing snippet on the label website. Will have to ask around and see if anyone I know’s still able to transfer from vinyl.  Also interesting to read that there’s a new joint work by Andrej and Ivan currently in the works.

THE FLAMING LIPS – Embryonic – nice faux-fur double edition with a lithograph. Only bought this when I heard that TFL had moved away from their poppier iteration towards something altogether rougher and looser.

RYUICHI SAKAMOTO – playing the piano/out of noise – more on this release after I’ve seen him perform along the road at the Queens Hall on 2nd December – I won’t be listening to this until afterwards so that the concert might offer some surprises.

THE BIRTHDAY – meets Love Grocer at On-U Sound, mixed by Adrian Sherwood – Japanese import cdep. Pleasant enough 5-tracker of pop reggae sung in Japanese, but little that obviously marks it as a Sherwood production. Love Grocer. Eh?