Saturday, December 13, 2008

Monoceros "Tales From Late Night Remixes"

Artist: Monoceros
Album: Tales From Late Night Remixes
Label: Imaginary Nonexistent Records
Release date: 1 April 2008
Genre: Electronic
Style: Glitch/Ambient Techno
RIYL: Kettel, Xela, Telefon Tel Aviv

01. Background Birds [Flotel Remix]
02. Happiness [Betelgeuse Bipolar Remix]
03. Tales For Silent Nights [Macroeconomics Remix]
04. Warm [Maps And Diagrams Remix]
05. Little Pieces [Heezen Remix]
06. Happiness [An On Bast Remix]
07. Northern Lights [Spoweck Shadow Remix]
08. Tales For Silent Nights [Crisopa Remix]
09. Depression And Vortex At Jan Mayen [Soundhacker Remix]
10. Happiness [Flüor Remix]
11. The Day We Become One [Leon Somov Remix]
12. Warm [The Boats Remix]
13. Happiness Edit 2 [DARK.SINUS.WAVE]
Total running time: 73' 00"

[Monoceros - Open MySpace page]

"Monoceros is Joan Malé. He lives in St Martí d’Empúries, a little town in Catalonia, the north of Spain. He has recorded many albums and Ep’s in Expanding Records, Phonobox and recently in his own label Imaginary Nonexistent Records. He also performed in sonar 2005, producing electronic music classified as “IDM” or electronica. He also uses other names, like Salad (sonar 2006), .Exe (with a EP on Dpress Industries) and Lumière (and old project with Xavi Lloses) who released an EP in 2000 and 2 tracks in US label Basiclux." [source]

Sonic: Free releases rarely come as good as this: gathering a host of glitchy electronic artists Monoceros' remix collection not only stands very strong on its own, but provides us with an excellent starting point to discover many of the artists that have helped to make this such a great record. Highlights include Maps and Diagrams' Warm remix, with its glitchy beats and warm synthesisers that recall Xela's "For Frosty Mornings and Summer Nights". Crisopa's Tales For Silent Nights' remix, with its up-tempo beat and acid sounds, reminds me of Kettel's "My Dogan". Flüor's Happiness remix manages to pull out the difficult blend of ambient pop with classical piano to great effect. An On Bast's own rendition of Happiness is a much meaner affair, with its saturated beats providing for some good but way too short head-bouncing moments. Recommended.



Friday, December 12, 2008

Karma "Thrillseekers"

Artist: Karma
Album: Thrillseekers
Label: Spectrum Works
Release date: 1999
Genre: Electronic
Style: Downtempo/Nu Jazz/Drum 'N' Bass
RIYL: Kruder & Dorfmeister, Tosca, Peace Orchestra

01. Overture
02. Let's Go Thrillseeking
03. Del Mar
04. Romance
05. Got My Mojo Working
06. Drunken Hero
07. 24 Hours Of Le Mans
08. Comeback
09. The Ballad Of Evil Knievel
10. Five Fourth Of A Whole
11. Fittipaldi
12. Danny's Break
13. Bateria E Baixa
14. Stupid Accident
Total running time: 71' 45"

[Karma - Let's Go Thrillseeking - Video Clip]

[Karma - My Resting Place - Video Clip]

"THRILLSEEKING, Karma's second album, is quite the improvement over their first, PAD SOUNDS. For one, the production is much smoother. Secondly, their songwriting is much tighter and more focused. The laidback grooves are still present, from "Let's Go Thrillseeking" (with its revving engine sounds) onwards. "Del Mar" has a strong rhythmic sensibility matched with jazzy undertones, while "Got My Mojo Working" takes the basic 12-bar blues and crafts it into a driving force. Wisely, the Karma boys keep the tracks developing throughout their length, in order to reduce the stagnation that hampered PAD SOUNDS. My favorite track, "The Ballad of Evil Knievel," mixes heavier sounds in with an easygoing rhythm and spacy synths. "Five Fourths of a Whole" goes for pure lounge atmosphere, while "Danny's Break" adds some scratches by the dextrous Danny Breaks. "Bateria E Baixa" increases the rhythmic content but keeps things grounded with a nice plucked bass. "Stupid Accident" ends things on a wandering note, a slow drive through a desert. A wonderful album, through and through." [scoundrel@discogs]

Sonic: I have listened to this album countless times, and I have yet to grow tired of it. It's the perfect soundtrack for when driving around at night in your car with the volume up to eleven: bliss! This one comes highly recommended if you like the nostalgia of Kruder & Dorfmeister's sound.



Kammerflimmer Kollektief "Cicadidae"

Artist: Kammerflimmer Kollektief
Album: Cicadidae
Label: Staubgold
Release date: 14 April 2003
Genre: Electronic/Jazz
Style: Nu Jazz
RIYL: Triosk, Nils Petter Molvær, Eivind Aarset, Jaga Jazzist

01. Neumond Inselhin
02. Sie Tranken Regen
03. Über Die Wasserscheide
04. Blood
05. ...Denn Nacht Ist Jetzt Schon Bald!
06. Sie Tranken Regen (Version)
07. Mantra
08. Eiderdaunen (Gerupft)
09. Irgendwann: Frühling
10. "There's A Weight On You, But You Can't Feel It"
Total running time: 42' 35"

[Kammerflimmer Kollektief - Open MySpace page]

[Kammerflimmer Kollektief - Gras - Unofficial Video Clip]

"This lot have been one of Germany's most interesting musical exports of the last few years. Like a lot of bands from Norway to Chicago to Manchester, they've been exploring the murky hinterlands of electronics and real-time playing that draws from jazz and free improvisation, but the results are very much their own.

Previous Kollektief efforts have hinged around the shimmering, humid soundscapes generated by Thomas Weber's guitar, piano, harmonium and processing. These are prodded and sometimes torn apart by the restless yet simultaneously restrained contributions of the rest of the band, particularly double bassist Johannes Frisch.

On Cicadidae, bass and drums provide restrained slo-mo pulses and fragile, resonant jazz stylings, which are often looped and treated to frame Weber's yearning guitar lines and cloudy atmospherics. Often ("Mantra", "Sie tranken Regen") the music sounds like a 60s Blue Note session beamed in from a parallel universe. Dietrich Foth's saxophone unfurls smoky, hesitant lines and gentle, abstract flutterings, while Frisch provides deep, resonant throb or occasional muttered creaks with the bow. The rhythms are gentle, yet insistent.

An exquisite, all too short reading of Annette Peacock's "Blood" is the album's highlight. Vibraphone and bass sketch the hymnal melody, joined by lush violin figures and soft digital crackle. It's exqusitely lovely. Having said that, there's little here that's not beautiful; there's much that's mysterious and opaque too, which gives the music its power. The same goes for the cover, which is one of the oddest to drop through the BBC letterbox for some time; it might be a still from an early David Lynch film, marked with a kind of surrealist, opulent decadence. Recommended." [BBC]



Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble "The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble"

Artist: The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble
Album: The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble
Label: Planet Mu
Release date: 24 April 2006
Genre: Electronic/Jazz
Style: Nu Jazz
RIYL: The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation, Bohren & Der Club Of Gore, The Cinematic Orchestra, Amon Tobin

01. The Nothing Changes
02. Pearls For Swine
03. Adaptation Of The Koto Song
04. Lobby
05. Parallel Corners
06. Rivers Of Congo
07. Solomon's Curse
08. Amygdhala
09. Guernican Perspectives
10. Vegas
11. March Of The Swine
Total running time: 69' 07"

[The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble - Open MySpace page]

[The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble - The Nothing Changes - Live in Budapest, 2007]

[The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble - Goya - Live in Budapest, 2007]

"Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble (KDE) might be new to some, so first off a quick introduction. They are a duo consisting of Jason Kohnen (Bong-Ra) and Gideon Kiers (Telcosystems). They formed KDE in and around 2000, and started out by creating soundtracks to moody silent films such as Murnau's Nosferatu and Lang's Metropolis. Mainly being a Kohnen/Kiers project, they’ve also added some new members for this album such as Hilary Jeffrey on trombone, Nina Hitz on Cello and Edwin Loman on guitar. The album is apparently heavily inspired by Philadelphia filmmakers and surrealist animators The Quay Brothers, and it is their second release as KDE after their remix for JMX's ’1.2.AB’ 12” released on Life Enhancing Audio in 2003. And what an album it is. Take a piece of The Cinematic Orchestra’s cinematic jazz, a dash of The Broadway Project’s dark/noir, a hint of Amon Tobin’s twisted mutant jazz and a little Freeform Arkestra orchestral ambience. Throw in a minipinch of Dj Shadow and Major Force West, and a good dose of Planet Mu-ism and you’re pretty much there. As you might have understood by now, it’s a very versatile album.

Take the opening track ’The Nothing Changes’ for example. A simple shuffle/percussive backdrop with a heavy upright bass to kill for, sweet strings, a haunting guitar and horror cinema horns on top. Pure quality! ’Pearls for Swine’ hints towards Dj Shadow, although with a little more sophisticated electronics. Track tree is pure cinematic jazz loveliness, and having a big soft spot for TCO, this is one of my favourites on the album. ’Lobby’ is probably the most progressive track on the CD, starting off smooth with only cellos and muted shufflebeats, adding twisted keys and sound effects as it progresses and builds itself to a horror flick climax of noise at the end. Massive track! Onto even more sweet TCO like cinematic jazziness on ’Parallel Corners’, while ’Rivers of Congo’ takes us deeper and darker into Darkjazz noir landscapes. The imaginary motion picture soundtrack continues along a fine cinematic jazz red line until the next to last track ’Vegas’ stirs tings up again to Squarepusher-esque heights, before the epic grand finale that is ’March of the Swine’ sets in. A 20-minute long journey that makes this album from The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble complete. I would love to see the movie... " [Beyondjazz]



Bohren & Der Club Of Gore "Dolores"

Artist: Bohren & Der Club Of Gore
Album: Dolores
Label: PIAS
Release date: 10 October 2008
Genre: Jazz
Style: Ambient
RIYL: The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble, The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation

01. Staub
02. Karin
03. Schwarze Biene (Black Maja)
04. Unkerich
05. Still Am Tresen
06. Welk
07. Von Schnäbeln
08. Orgelblut
09. Faul
10. Welten
Total running time: 58' 24"

[Bohren & Der Club Of Gore - Open MySpace page]

"Four drunk Germans formed Bohren & der Club of Gore one night in 1992 with a single goal: "The audience," Morten Gass told the metal zine Maelstrom in 2003, "must have the feeling of being in a grave." Naming the band inspired debate. "Bohren" means "drill," like what people do to other people in horror movies; "gore" means "gore," like what seeps out of people when they're drilled, and like a Dutch instrumental band they all quite liked; and "and der club of" made them think of jazz. Jazz, they agreed, was cool. It was urban and dangerous-- they liked the idea of it. Stated influences were Black Sabbath and Sade. "As I said," Gass confessed, "we were drunk." Cheers to auspicious beginnings.

The music Bohren makes is slow, quiet, and pretty. It's too structured to be jazz and too vivid to be ambient, but it taps into the ideals of both. They play their instruments like they're worried of waking babies asleep at their feet. Christoph Clöser's saxophone parts leak from the bell of his horn. You can almost see Morten Gass wince as his fingers sink into his keyboard. Drummer Thorsten Benning lives with the task of supressing every teenage dream of beating the shit out his drumkit like the wild animal I suspect he sometimes wants to be. But in near-stasis, there's drama-- each beat becomes a cliffhanger for the next. Bohren don't play dead, they play mortally wounded.

They're the gentlest black metal band on earth. They're anti-social cocktail music. They're exotica, but only if we agree that vacant alleys are exotic places and lying face down in one of them would constitute a vacation. The restraint in their music creates as much tension as it does calm. At best-- 2004's Black Earth-- Bohren sound like they're passing through darkness, palms out and eyes open, in search of a lightswitch. It's the same eerie, bloodless quality of ersatz jazz that David Lynch depended on for club scenes in Mullholland Drive or Audrey Horne's twirling in "Twin Peaks", where the mellow becomes queasy and relaxation sours into uncertainty – when what's supposed to relax you starts to actively upset you.

Creeps? First-rate. But they're strangely affectionate, too, a quality brought to the fore on Dolores, their sixth and latest full-length. Absorb the title and cover art-- a woman's name, glowing; moths pouring from the neck of some sexless, celestial being. It's cozy, leaden music. Songs have shortened to three or four minutes. Some of the melodies aren't just memorable, but actually hummable. Call this their "standards" album-- More Near-Static Ballads of Death's Sweet Embrace. Bohren aren't fabulous enough to be goths. They keep it austere. The grave might be a lonely place, but the dead always downplay its warmth." [Pitchfork]

[Kudos to jazzever for this link.]