Friday, August 27, 2010

Various Artists - Cocoon Compilation J (2010)***

Listen link removed by request.Buy

For fans of: Basic Channel, Thomas Brinkmann, Marcel Dettmann

With the Moritz von Oswald name attached to it, I expected the first track here to be as great as it is, but to my surprise, the rest of what follows is nearly just as incredible. These tracks are packed to the brim with elegance, power, and subtlety. They relentlessly and shamelessly attack the listener with repetition. Deeply hypnotic, these blizzards of beats don't hold back anything and entrance like a great shoegaze album. This compilation features many of today's top notch techno/house producers and is like a bounce house at night with ghouls laughing behind the walls, it's trippy and immensely funky. - Matthew Foster

"When the then still young Frankfurt label Cocoon Recordings discovered the long-playing format with its Compilation A in Summer 2000, probably nobody could have, even approximately, foreseen the success story of this series. For ten years now, the cocoon-style declination of the alphabet is a guarantor for high-class and exclusively produced floor burners by the international Techno and House elite, and, beyond that, a reliable indicator for the stylistic bandwidth of contemporary electronic dance music. And even with the previous editions A to I having set the bar damn' high, the J edition starts with a true musical sensation, as the opener "Cocoon Dark Dub" comes from nobody less than Moritz von Oswald. "Those who – even just rudimentary – have followed the evolution of electronic music over the last twenty years, know about the outstanding importance of von Oswald's timeless classics like "Domina", "M-4" or the whole Basic Channel series. Insofar, "Cocoon Dark Dub" is maybe the nicest birthday present at all, and an absolute honour for our label." (Sven Väth) So, initially, it's the heartbeat of Dub Techno that pulsates through a lonely piano and noise fractals, and club world keeps its breath for a good eight minutes. However, the Compilation J literally puts out all the stops over the following 110 minutes playtime and shows what modern electronic dance music has to offer in these times. Mathias Kaden's intuition for the crowd and location is legendary, his music is both distinctly ambitious and refreshing, and so is his contribution "Rave Strikes Back". The Dial impresario Pantha Du Prince from Hamburg is celebrating crystalline ice dance ("Bolder"), while Cécille label head Nick Curly, with his sensual Tribal House, is feasting the most compact form of Disco Boogie that one can imagine ("Keep On"). With "SBooty", the Kompakt ambassador DJ Koze, also from Hamburg, is flabbergasting the audience by combining virtually incompatible elements. Improvised horn licks are whirring through a flickering resonating body while the bass kick is filling up the tropic ambient air. However, the invariably Cocoon policy to always support interesting newcomers becomes visible in the contribution of Basti Grub from the Rhine Neckar area, whose label Höhenregler is well-known for several musical insider tips in the past. "Sick" is ascending into your brain immediately with its melodic high-frequency hook line and mysterious vocals, matching perfectly to the melancholic playfulness of the tracks by Guy Gerber. Deep Dish member Ali Shirazinia aka Dubfire and the Parisian Popof are the ones to prove impressively that you virtually can't go wrong with stringent Hypno Techno and a diaphragm-shaking bass drum. Besides the above-mentioned, the J compilation holds such well-known producers like Loco Dice, Extrawelt, Reboot and last not least long-time Cocoon companion Ricardo Villalobos, whose 12-minutes-long dance on the echo-filled "Humusweg" once again draws the bow to the Basic Channel sound from another side, and leaves much room for own visions in between the pulsing metronome of the bass line. In any case, the history of electronic dance music has not been outtold so far." - Cocoon Recordings

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Arandel - In D (2010)


For fans of: Moritz von Oswald Trio, Redshape, Pom Pom

Like that of Burial before 2008 or Pom Pom, Arandel's identity is shrouded in mystery. Also like that of those two artists, Arandel's music is super-contemporary and acknowledges what came before it to create something that can only exist in the 21st century. In D is a reference to the classical minimalism of In C. The album is a minimal techno album in sound and feel, but was carefully created organically with analog synths and real instruments including strings, horns, percussion and vocals, and is much more an avant-garde album in attitude. For something that has an appreciable classic beauty and the ability to make you move ecstatically, this is perfect. - Matthew Foster

"ARANDEL is a secret entity whose only function is to let the music take centre stage. Arandel is a proposal for variations “IN D” - a nod to Terry Riley’s seminal In C and to the American Avant-Garde scene.

+Arandel is a political commitment, the quest of an authentic and organic sound.

+Arandel is a sound dogma, where the rules are deliberately strict – only resorting to his own recordings (no MIDI, no plugins, only analog synths), only his own instruments.

+Arandel is an experimental hub, where creation stays flexible. A Contemporary Classical Music in the broad sense of the word, with no stylistic boundaries. An original concept, a whole unheard-of sound." - Arandel

Friday, August 13, 2010

Terre Thaemlitz - Soil (1995)


For fans of: GAS, Thomas Köner, Alva Noto

In this fast-paced modern world where information is instant and everything we do seems to be for a greater good, Soil will allow you to return to the core of yourself in a way few ambient albums can. These six tracks contain a variety of electronic effects and recordings that will relax the body, but challenge the mind. The recordings include radio transmissions, militaristic chants, and an episode of domestic violence, and when combined with the spacey ambient textures, can be like viewing human life from some kind of an isolated bubble. More than your average music, this is an introspective experience and response to this political world. - Matthew Foster

"A flowing, shifting, almost timeless statement incorporating equal parts confusion and calm across six tracks of entirely beatless ambient. Thaemlitz' ability to infuse elements of immediacy and physicality into a measured, slowly evolving style traditionally bogged down by either disinterested elitism or faux collectivist spirituality figures him as one of America's most important contemporary composers, and a singular voice in new ambient." - AMG

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Wilderness - Wilderness (2005)***


For fans of: Public Image Limited, Liars, Interpol

A very rhythmic album, with punchy drums that seem to circle around the ranty vocals and elevating guitars. The songs are very much construed like any of today's popular anthemic indie rock songs, but something sets this band apart. Maybe it's just connecting with me more than your average indie rock, but every piece of the music is done very well here and it all fits together in a very pure and groovy way. It's almost like a jazz album in the way each instrument has its distinctive role in a complex, yet coalesced whole. It is a meticulously crafted, clearly post-punk influenced album brought up through a modern indie rock context that deserves to be thought of as one of the decade's highlights. - Matthew Foster

"It took Wilderness three years to complete their self-titled debut album. Spending that much time crafting a complex yet intriguing soundscape that has nothing to do with alternative rock, period, is not only beyond impressive, but also brilliant. It's smart in the sense that Wilderness maintain a stance away from the classic three-chord formula. They create their own post-punk-inspired shuffle without falling into the kitsch of their peers. Wilderness is led by the chaotic vocal warbling of frontman James Johnson, an obvious comparison to John Lydon's Public Image Ltd., but also an eerie vocal resemblance to Yan of British Sea Power, quickly establishes the band's disciplined approach. While the ten-song set is an elaborate adaptation of ominous guitars, thunderous drums, and sneaky basslines, Wilderness itself delivers a melancholic nervousness. Songs such as "Arkless," the blighted hopes of "End of Freedom," and the slow burn of "Fly Farther to See" press hard in such a vein. Some could have lost scope of an album's natural psyche with taking such an extensive amount of time recording it; however, Wilderness are a group of extreme perfectionists. This album never had a chance to be anything but good." - AMG

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Big Blood - Dead Songs (2010)


For fans of: MV & EE, Steven R. Smith, Josephine Foster

Genuine sounding psychedelic tinged folk rock. Ignoring modern technology and using traditional instruments to make what they know how to make best, good ol' pure guitar songs with a variety of percussion. It also has elements of drone in it, making it hypnotic, while keeping an energy that contemporaries like MV + EE sometimes lack. Colleen Kinsella has a great voice that makes the music very easy to enjoy. The combination of this voice and the folky guitars is simply great. - Matthew Foster

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ian O'Brien - Gigantic Days (1999)


For fans of: Cobblestone Jazz, Derrick May, Herbie Hancock

This is some great funky and jazzy electronica! It's full of soul and class and is not off-putting at all, but it also stays bright and energetic, never really venturing into downtempo. It's full of drums, synths, and at times what sounds like a flute, which could get cheesy, but it actually works really well. The space between the funky jazz of Herbie Hancock and the techno of Underground Resistance is an exiting place where Ian O'Brien and few others venture, let alone produce something as progressive and enjoyable as this. - Matthew Foster