Friday, November 26, 2010

Mark Fell - Multistability (2010)


For fans of: Ryoji Ikeda, Thomas Brinkmann, Autechre

Here Mark Fell proves his mastery of creating intensely complex rhythms. It's just as sanitary and brain oriented as anything on raster-noton, but it has a strange accessibility to it at times. The sounds do not vary much, and are not particularly aesthetically pleasing, but work perfectly with the varying tempos. There are multiple layers of sound that slowly reveal a great beauty. The effect is like something that might be played in an alien nightclub, full of ecstatic built-ups and oddly funky beats. - Matthew Foster

"SND's Mark Fell makes a late entry for one of the electronic albums of the year with his latest solo opus: 'Multistability'. As one half of SND alongside Mat Steel and solo as 'H', Mark uncompromisingly operates on the bleeding edge of digital music production. He's in possession of a beautifully rare talent; the ability to make highly academic music with an innately Funky and dare we say, accessible, edge. He himself and many others may not agree, but there's something so listenable to his rhythmically-driven and melodically aware style that we can't help but hear him in that context. The conceit behind 'Multistability' is assuredly highbrow, referring to the notion of seeing two separate images at once, kinda like a Rubin face/vase effect. From the outset we're entangled in a meticulous mesh of ultimately chaotic, but incredibly well organised patterns and sonic topologies - essentially the result of experiments whose side-effects just happen to be the most extreme and stripped examples of digital funk imaginable. Believe it or not, Mark cites his collaborative efforts with friend and fellow musician Yasunao Tone as a major influence on these tracks, which is understandable when it comes to their constantly morphing aesthetic and deliberate intentions, but seriously, we couldn't ever imagine feeling as compelled to twitch like this when listening to a Tone CD. We'd be more inclined to compare his constructions with the fiercest UK Garage/Bassline or Footworkin' Juke, albeit filtered and reduced into the most minimal variant possible. Just imagine those hyper-concatenated rhythms zipped into more "conventional" dancefloor sounds - in a parallel universe Marcus Nasty is whipping up a hypestorm with blends of 'Multistability' and the latest Pantha dubplate. However, as the label correctly states, 'Multistability' should be understood in light of Fell's claim that "Music is a technology for constructing an experience of time", which really sums this album up more succinctly than we ever could, while leaving his whole oeuvre brilliantly unresolved and open to the wildest interpretations. We're not using this lightly - ESSENTIAL!" - Boomkat

Friday, November 5, 2010

Kno - Death Is Silent (2010)


For fans of: CunninLynguists, Mos Def, Dessa

This is definitely one of the best hip hop albums of the year, however it doesn't contain the much of the year's best "hip hop." Understand? While it's far from bad, the rapping here is not the best. Rather, what makes this album great is its production and overall mood. There are no real hard-hitters here, it's all relatively soft and soulful. Unlike your average hip hop, this is lush, thoughtful, and elegant. There are guitars and singing throughout many of these songs, and there is never a shortage of aural captivation. The lyrical themes focus on death and life at large and are very contemplative. This is simply a fantastic and explorative piece of musical production that isn't confined by its genre. It's one of those lonely late night albums that'll take you away from your surroundings. - Matthew Foster

"My opinion on this album isn’t fixed. It’s not how we listen to music. You shouldn’t be listening to music through memory, it makes your ears secondary. Point is – what this album means to me will change from tomorrow, to next week, to years from now. It depends where my life is. The listener always brings a lot to the music. You will also interpret this album differently because it’s so honest and real. We have learned more about Kno on this project than his past projects combined. Some of you may not like his delivery choice on some tracks as he’s in character, but then you’re missing the point. Please listen to the lyrics and take your time with it. The dude is pouring his soul out.
Musically, Kno introduces his ear for synths. Combining samples with synth and creating a dreamy, break beat like project has made a great marriage with the topic of the project. It’s mature, yet it has its fun moments but for the most part it requires your favorite headphones and attentiveness. For me, it feels reviewing this because I’ve been thinking ‘what’s the fucking point?’ People care about honest music? Value and appreciation is seldom. Should I care about sharing what I think about this project and more importantly how could Kno even care about what we think after an album like this? Maybe it’s hope? Maybe this is the first in many steps in breaking the silence." - JTX