Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Kona Triangle - Sing A New Sapling Into Existence


Kona Triangle
"Sing A New Sapling Into Existence"
Porter Records 08/09/2009

Kona triangle is a collaboration between British producers Tom (AKA Keaver and Brause) and Matt (AKA Lone).
Remember those dreamy, floaty soundscapes you experienced when you first heard Boards Of Canada and those random sliced up swung drums you first heard on that Flying Lotus record? Well Kona Triangle combine the two in their debut album “Sing A New Sapling Into Existence” to give you a sonic depiction of the subconscious.
Although the mood of album is very much ambient, many layered sounds appear at different levels of concentration. There is a strong emphasis on creating original sounding synths, rather than emulating en-vogue sounds.
“Sing A New Sapling” is full of contrasts. Although the beats reflect the current LA club scene pioneered by Flying Lotus and the whole Brainfeeder crew. The melodies and textures are more introspective and relaxed perhaps adding a sense of Britishness.
The average track length is relatively short for an electronic album, more like atmospheric snapshots than high adrenalin dancefloor stompers.
Stand out tracks include “Long Mountain” with its cheerful filtered swells. “Craig y Don Lightshow” strongly evoking the surreal moods of Blade Runner. “Air Lock”, with its suitably vacuum sounding synth. The melodic syncopated staccato fragments of “Nemgo Broadcast Co.” and the detuned machinery of “Toybox Kona Remix”.
This album is perfect bedtime music, helping you channel your thoughts toward sonic dream worlds.

Links: Kona Triangle Myspace
Nice Little mix by Lone (one half of Kona Triangle)

Tracklist:


A1: Heavens Gate
A2: Shine A Light
A3: Pinchbeck
A4: Long Mountain
A5: Astorias Ascent
A6: Fresh Flowers Ahead
A7: Craigydon Lightshow
A8: Airlock
B1: Sings And Wonders
B2: Nemco Broadcast Co.
B3: Mango Rubicon
B4: Toybox (Kona Remix)
B5: Mauna Loa

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Skream! accused of using Dub midi file

Croydon dubstep innovator Skream! has been criticized by dubroom.org (a website offering free midi versions of Dub tunes) for using their version of "Rock The Nation" by Messian Dread. In a statement posted on dubroom.org, They accuse Skream! of using the file in his "Blue Eyez" track featured on his 2006 self titled debut.
This is of course a slightly unusual example of the issues in sampling in hip hop and electronic music as midi files are not actual audio files in themselves but a kind of "digital score" which your computer plays back with whatever synth is available (often a nasty cheap sounding piano).
If Skream! in fact used the midi file, he mapped it onto a synth which, assuming he programmed it himself, means that he still had some creative input into the sound if the sample.
However, such blatant use of a melody could still be regarded as lazy composition. It would be interesting to see what legal rights Messian Dread and dubroom.org have in this case. However, since both releases probably sold too few copies in the grand scheme of things for any legal action to happen.
You can check out the similarities for yourself at:
Skream! - Blue Eyez
Messian Dread - Rock The Nation midi file

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Radiohead live at Reading 2009

Radioheads Reading set was a classic performance encompassing songs from all of the bands eras from "Pablo Honey" to "In Rainbows". Unfortunately, I wasn't there to witness it first hand, but the lovely BBC have put most of the set up on the iPlayer. You can watch this until monday.


Thursday, 27 August 2009

LFCast 003

Here's the next installment of the LFCast with a load of new music for you to enjoy. Comments appreciated.




Download LFCast003

Tracklist:


Fanu - Homefree [Lightless]
Radiohead - These Are My Twisted Words [Radiohead]
Bop - Nothing Makes Any Sense [Medschool]
Instra:mental - Watching You [Non Plus+]
Imogen Heap - Canvas [Megaphonic]
Hreda - New Pastures [Self Released]
Tokimonsta - Star Gazing Coma [Unreleased]
A Made Up Sound - Archive [Clone Basement Seies]

Links:


Free download of Radiohead - These Are My Twisted Words

Mary Anne Hobbs' Experimental Music Show on Radio 1 with an exclusive mix by Instra:mental (available to stream till next week

Tokimonsta Podcast for Brainfeeder

Hreda Myspace

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Audioscope: Drum Eyes




Wednesday, 19/08/09, The Wheatsheaf, Oxford

Drum Eyes
Hreda
The Keyboard Choir

Tonight’s vocalist free bill takes place above Oxford pub the Wheatsheaf, with a crowd of about 50 mid twenties to mid thirties punters many wearing Mogwai T-shirts and drinking ale.
The gig opens with the Keyboard Choir, yes they do play keyboards and drum machines exclusively, however, they are not about perfectly harmonious melodies like most choirs. Pumping beats accompany the insane whirling synth sounds the various members create and distort with an array of effects pedals. Their sound relies on layers of sustained synths and basslines with one member experimenting at a time. This is all directed by an insane conductor to produce a pretty enjoyable live synth experience.
Next up, we have Hreda, a 3 piece and bassless post rock outfit who entice us with their intricately intertwined guitar melodies. Unfortunately, one of the guitars stopped working at a crucially epic point half way through the set forcing them to stop and play the outro separately, but on the whole a very hypnotizing set.
By this point, the venue is getting unbearably sweaty, it is august after all. The crowd empties into the tiny narrow alleyway that separates the pub from the high street, only to regroup when sounds of the headliners tuning up pour down the stairs.
Drum Eyes, (as many of the crowd are no doubt unaware) is the side Project of Japanese game boy gabber producer DJ Scotch Egg. They are a 6 piece consisting of 2 drummers, a guitarist, a sampler/keyboardist a synth/trumpet player and Shigeru Ishihara (Scotch Egg) on bass and laptop. Their sound consists of many layers of heavily distorted instruments over some heavy doom metal style drums. Though the idea sounds simple but the textures the band produce combined with the sheer noise they make is quite hypnotizing. There is not really any obvious need for the extra drummer most of the time apart from the added volume. About halfway through the set, Shigeru and newly recruited guitarist Kai, jump into the crowd adding an element of audience participation appreciated by all.
All in all, tonight’s bill is different and varied exploring 3 sides to forward thinking instrumental music in an intimate venue which, apart from the heat, was a very enjoyable evening.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Zomby - One Foot Ahead Of The Other


Zomby
"One Foot Ahead Of The Other"
Ramp 25/08/2009

Zomby is an artist that has generated considerable interest since his 2008 debut album “where were you in ‘92” and his self titled "Zomby EP" follow up on Hyperdub. He has established a characteristic aesthetic of retro 8-bit computer game sounds and disjointed melodies, whilst demonstrating an affiliation to both the old skool hardcore rave movement and the “wonky” dubstep scene.
After these 2 interesting releases, I was excited to see where zombie was going to take his sound to next. "One foot ahead of the other" confirms Zomby’s decision to stick to dubstep rhythms. It’s different from the Zomby EP, there is less focus on sound design as on previous tracks like “Aquafresh” and “Gloop” and although he continues to give tracks synesthesic titles like “Polka Dot” and “Bubble Bubble”, the sonic-visual connection seems a little forced compared to previous efforts. There is however more emphasis on tonal melody and maximizing the use of basic chip tune sounds to turn them into sonically interesting tracks.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t take many listens to discover that all the tracks on "One Foot Ahead Of The Other" are constructed in a pretty formulaic way. Each track consists of a basic 2-step or 4X4 rhythm made to sound more complex by layering constant triple time Nintendo arpeggios and melodies. Although this syncopated structure is interesting for the first couple of tunes, it's not enough to constitute the basis of a 9 track EP. Unlike the "Zomby EP" which showed us different sides to the artist, "One foot" seems a little 1-dimensional. There are some nice stand out tracks (“Polka dot”, “Godzilla” and the title track) all of which would introduce an interesting element to any dubstep set as something Link and Zelda might rave to in a digidub world. As a collective piece of work however, "One Foot Ahead Of The Other" lacks a sense of variety displayed in Zomby’s previous efforts.

Links: myspace

Tracklist:


A1:One Foot Ahead Of The Other

A2: Helter Skelter

B1: Pumpkinhead's Revenge

B2: Polka Dot

C1: Godzilla

C2: Expert Tuition

D1: Bubble Bubble

D2: Mescaline Cola

D3: Firefly Finale

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Bop - Clear Your Mind



Bop
"Clear You Mind"
Medschool 27/7/2009

Bop is a vegan retro computer game enthusiast from St. Petersburg who makes ambient tinged electronic music. His album “Clear Your Mind” is proof that an electronic dance musician’s style is not defined by his/her chosen genre. The album spans the tempos of Drum ‘n’ Bass, Dubstep and Techno perfectly naturally whilst demonstrating a unified and unique approach.
The tracks all have a spacey techno aesthetic strongly favouring the use of synthetic glitchy percussion sounds and blade runner style pads over the edited Amen Breaks and ragga vocals that are more common place in Bops scene. His approach to drum programming is also very different to his Medschool label mates, focusing on 2 or three spaced out hits at a time rather than a mass of multi frequency layers.
The music has real dream-like quality to it, the ambient synths matched with minimal spaced out percussion could describe a slow motion run through a sea of clouds.
A few artists spring to mind when listening to the album, such as Boards of Canada, 2562, and Gui Borato however, like these artists, Bop’s music displays a distinct sound that is definitely his own.
Stand out tracks include the minimal space-garage vibes of “Clear Your Mind”, the vocoded synth cries of “Nothing Makes Any Sense” and the glitchy iceyness of “Random Thoughts”.
One of my pet hates is labels that release the vinyl version of an album with half the track listing of the CD version. This is especially frustrating coming from a division of Hospital records who claim to support vinyl with their “Stop the war on vinyl campaign”.
Most labels these days include a full CD or download insert with the vinyl copy. Consequently, this review is only concerned with the vinyl track listing including the “Song About My Dog” 12” single.

for more info:
The Drum 'n' Bass forum site Dogs On Acid have done a feature on Bop and the album, this includes a mix that Bop recorded for them.

Here is the official promo mix for the album, including most of the tracks featured on the album. go to Bop's website for the mix tracklisting and more free stuff.




Tracklist:

Vinyl versionCD version
A : Ataraxia01. Tears Of A Lonely Metaphysician
B1: Clear Your Mind02. Enjoy The Moment
C  : Nothing Makes Any Sense03. Ataraxia
D  : Chaosomos04. Forms, Ideas and Chips
05. Lost In This World
06. Clear Your Mind
07. Nothing Makes Any Sense
08. Zakoulki Soznaniya
09. Random Thoughts
10. I Found You
11. Rovor
12. Chaosmos
13. Song About My Dog

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

The Mars Volta - Octahedron



The Mars Volta
"Octahedron"
Mercury Records 2009


Having been a big Mars Volta fan since their 2003 debut "De-loused In The Comatorium", I am always excited to hear what the ex At the Drive-in members have to offer next. Having been a little disappointed by the last 2 albums, I wished for a return to form on this record.
The band seems to have taken a new direction with Octahedron. There is more focus on the songwriting structured in (dare I say) a more traditional rock way demonstrated through a more obvious 1970's prog-rock influence (think Pink Floyd and King Crimson). Big choruses on Tracks like Teflon and the single Cotopaxi stick with you in a way that brings you back to the days of At the Drive-in. These are accompanied by quirky hooks and great riffs with the trademark TMV de-tuned guitar effects.
It is interesting to see that Cedric sings in English all through the album which is mirrored in the music, which has much less of a Latin influence than some of their previous work, emphasizing the more traditional prog/psych rock feel of the record.
Octahedron opens with the unexpected ballad "Since We've Been Wrong" with a lovely clean picked riff and harmonized chorus. It's a slow builder with a verse - chorus - bridge structure and drums kicking in at only 5:10!
We continue with Teflon, a stand out track driven by a spastic syncopated break beat and fuzz bass line giving the song a phat space funk feel. It's nice to see that the band have cut down on their long weird ambient links between songs, opting for less dragged out slightly more distinct lead-ins (although there still a few slightly lengthy synth drones).
Halo Of Nembutals and With Twilight As My Guide demonstrate classic TMV work with a more laid back, acoustic feel.
The single Cotopaxi is a much heavier number full of strange grooves and time signature changes with a great riff.
On Desperate Graves, Cedric demonstrates his amazing vocal abilities, jumping the octaves between lines and displaying his characteristic twisted psychedelic imagery in his lyrics.

"Dressed in the slurs of bovine engines
to feast upon the carcass of your mother"

The slow Copernicus sees the unexpected use of glitchy programmed drums which could perhaps have been put to better use on a different track but displays the bands continued interest in experimentation.
Octahedron closes with Luciforms which begins with another Pink Floydesque bass line and develops to uncover a blinding performance both on drums and lead guitar.
All in all, Octahedron is the return to form I was hoping for. It’s not repeating what was done on the first two records but demonstrating the bands more rocky influences and adding a personal touch to them without being too self indulgent. Arguably there best work since Frances the Mute.


Here is the video for the single Cotopaxi:


Tracklist:


1.Since We’ve Been Wrong
2.Teflon
3.Halo Of Nembutals
4.With Twilight As My Guide
5.Cotopaxi
6.Desperate Graves
7.Copernicus
8.Luciforms

Apologies


Hi all,

Just wanted to apologize for the lack of posts in the past few months. I have been very busy moving house and Job hunting. Posts should be a little more frequent from now on. Thanks for your support.

Will

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Hospitality, Digital, Brighton, Sunday 3/5/09




Hospital records, the home of High Contrast, London Elektricity and Logistics, have always been at the forefront of promoting musical Drum ‘n’ Bass and are known for putting on great nights, whether it is at super clubs like Heaven, Ibiza and now Matter or at one of many provincial cities that host Hospitality.
Tonight’s venue is different from previous Brighton Hospitalities; They have moved out of their residency at Audio in order to present a second room alongside the main Hospital stage.
It’s 10.30, the event was sold out 3 days ago, there are 100 tickets on the door and at least 300 people in the “no tickets” queue outside the club. Luckily my sister and a friend have been there since 9 so I could come straight from work to pretty much the front (cheeky I know!)

As I entered the club, I was immediately blown away by Digitals Function 1 sound system; the separation of the lows/mids was very clear and invited us to dance almost immediately.
The crowd is very balanced for a D’n’B night, lot’s of girls and a healthy age range of 18-30. Everyone here is friendly and has left there attitude at the door, people are here for the music, not to be scenesters, every time a tune drops, I make eye contact with someone in the crowd who gives me that “what a tune, this is awesome!” look.
We spend the first art of the evening in the main room. After a great introduction to the night by Sci Phi, Logistics steps on the decks and the MCs start.
His set is very varied, playing a steady mix of classic tracks and new, hard, liquid and a few deeper tracks before finishing off with some classic old school Photek.
Anyone who’s ever seen Hospital CEO London Elektricity DJ will know that he always plays a great set mixing each track in key whilst building tremendous excitement throughout his sets and managing to keep it all sounding melodic. He opens with Mistabishi’s “from memory”, a beautiful anthemic tune which seems to connect the crowd and has everyone’s hands and lighters waving through the air before dropping and setting everyone raving to the rest of his set.

Room 2 is hosted by sister label Medschool which concentrates on more leftfield artists that blur the lines between drum ‘n’ bass, dubstep and electronica. Instra:mental presents us a very deep style with a lot of retro 80’s synth sounds that wouldn’t feel out of place on a Prince record accompanied by some often minimal but strangely syncopated beats.
The true star of the Medschool room is the German Martsman, playing and eclectic set beginning with some strange dubstep/techno hybrid through half step drum’n’bass ending with some more modern sounding jungle and breakcore. This is my personal favourite set of the night, although most of the crowd are downstairs stomping and singing along to Hospital superstar High Contrast. I did find myself dancing next to Randomer, who excitedly pointed out to me that Martsman was playing his latest track “down in the woods” another interesting take on technoy D’n’B.
To finish the night off, we decide to watch the second half of Cyantific’s set in the main room. He tears it up rinsing out old school jungle classics like Dilinja’s “Massive” back to back with Hospital anthems like High Contrast’s “If We Ever” squeezing the crowd for every bit of raving energy they have left Leaving them screaming for more before playing a couple of jump up tunes to finish the night off. The MCs thank us for making the night extra special and we all go home satisfied with a night of dancing!
All in all, the night was a brilliant showcase of the diversity of talent within the modern Drum ‘n’ Bass scene, showing that there really is something for everyone to enjoy in the genre. This all went together well with an amazing friendly atmosphere to make the night incredibly memorable.

The next Brighton based hospitality will be on the 3/6/2009 at Audio, With:

DJ Die
Breakage
Sigma
Callous
Akademic
MCs: AD, Ruthless, ID

More details at:
Hospital Records
Audio
Brighton Hospitality Facebook

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Fever Ray - Fever Ray



Fever Ray
"Fever Ray"
Rabid Records 30/03/09

When I got the weekly newsletter from my independent record shop hailing Fever Rays solo debut as ‘an astoni! shing, brooding piece of magic’, I looked it up to find out more only to find the Guardian had given it 5/5. This made me curious enough to have a listen.
Fever Ray is the lead singer of the Swedish electro pop band ‘The Knife’ (you may remember their Heartbeats single). This record sees her straying away from her fun-loving synth pop side to more serious alternative solo singer territory in the vein of Bjork and Kate Bush.
The vocal and main instrumental melodies have a strange feel to them which implies more African folklore than Scandinavian electro. This is outlined by minimal, ambient production of synth pads and sparse, glassy, minimal percussion sounds accompanied by the occasional spacey guitar riff.
I really want to love this album, but after a few listens there are two big problems with it: Fever Ray just hasn’t got the vocal technique to make this kind of album, there just isn’t enough variety of timbre and range there for this to stand out in the same way a Bjork record does. The album tries to make up for this using post production vocal techniques like pitch shifting which works on a few tracks but seems a little lazy. Also, although there is clearly space for a wide variety in production style, every song does tend to sound a bit samey and again, lacking variety.
Fever Ray is not a bad album though, The Single “When I Grow Up” is strangely enticing and unexpectedly catchy as well as featuring some clever lyrics:

"You’ve got cucumbers on your eyes,
Too much time spent on nothing,
Waiting for a moment to arise."

Seven is another stand out track with an uplifting chorus and more interesting lyrical content.
There is potential and talent in this album, but something prevents it from being the record it wants to be.

You can stream the whole album from Fever Ray's Website: here

Here is the video for the single "When I Grow Up"


Tracklist:


1. If I Had A Heart
2. When I Grow Up
3. Dry And Dusty
4. Seven
5. Triangle Walks
6. Concrete Walls
7. Nows The Only Time I Know
8. I’m Not Done
9. Keep The Streets Empty For Me
10.Coconut

Saturday, 21 March 2009

LFCast 002 New music (and a bit of talking)


Well here's the next episode of the LFCast, Hope you like it! Don't hesitate to get in touch with the show either by leaving a message or e-mailing willmunn@hotmail.com with LFCast in the subject.




Download LFCast002

Tracklist:


Gui Borrato - Atomic Soda [Kompakt]
Chase 'n' Status - Against all odds ft. Kano [Ram]
Burial - Untitled [Hyperdub]
Instra:Mental - Photograph [Darkestral]
Zu - Ostia [Ipecac]
Sylvain Chaveau - Nuage III [Kompakt]
Venetian Snares - Deep Dicking [Planet Mu]
Boxcutter & Kinnego Flux - A Familiar Sound [Kinnego]
Your Inafamous Harp - Null Sand Mandala [unsigned]
Synkro - Tell Me [Synkro 002]
Stressor - Throwback [Dub]

Links:


Robotronic Radio with Gui Borrato interview and album preview

Autonomic Podcast (compiled by instra:mental)

Your Infamous Harp album stream and download

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Various Artists - Kompakt Pop Ambient



Various Artists
"Pop Ambient"
Kompakt 23/02/2009


Ambient music, by its own definition, can often be over-looked. It's easily ignorable and sometimes just hides away in the subtext of world or art cinema.
This compilation series, now in its 9th edition, demonstrates the variety of approaches that can be taken to create dream like states through sound. From Popnoname’s synth based Nightliner to the simple string and piano chord progressions of Sylvain Chauveau’s Nuage III, the album takes you through a series of textures, shimmering timbres and intriguing repeating patterns.
There is a certain sense of honesty that comes with these pieces, the composers have built on the ideas of the minimalist and ambient pioneers such as Reich, Eno and Nyman to produce work that doesn’t require conceptual justification but speaks for itself.
These tracks are perfect for relaxing and reflecting to, it’s the kind of music that allows you to take a step back and see your life from a “birds-eye view”.
Stand out tracks include: Nuage III, A dream of a spider and True enemies & false friends (yesteryears suite).

Check here for clips.

Track Listing:


01. Klimek - True Enemies & False Friends (Yesteryears Suite)
02. Sylvain Chauveau - Nuage Iii
03. Mint - Hindemith
04. Popnoname - Nightliner
05. Sylvain Chauveau - Fly Like a Horse
06. J├╝rgen Paape - Ausklang (Burger/Voigt Mix)
07. Marsen Jules - It’s Only Castles Burning
08. Tim Hecker - Shosts
09. Andrew Thomas - A Dream of a Spider
10. Burger/Voigt - Frieden
11. The Fun Years - I Am Speaking Through Barbara
12. Klimek and Husak - The Godfather (For William Basinski & Snoop Dogg)

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Commix - Fabriclive 044



Commix
"Fabriclive 044"
Fabric 02/09

As a Drum ‘n’ Bass fan, I find there has been a severe lack in innovation in mix CDs of recent times, DJ’s relying on big anthems to make up for the mediocre productions that make up there sets. However, this mix is different, it features tunes varying from minimal techno tinged 2-step to deeper tracks with an old skool amen break influence.
The way in which the mix itself is constructed demonstrates commix’ affinity for techno music; there are no rewinds, scratches or double drops. Instead, just smooth long mixes to keep you locked into the groove.
Out of the 4 of Commix’ own productions featured on the mix, D-Bridges remix of Belleview particularly shines through. But the mix showcases great tracks from Logistics, Instra:mental, Photek and Spectrasoul.
At times, some of the tracks seem a little bare and lacking the energy you’d expect from a d’n’b mix, the use of unusual and interesting sounds keep you interested.
Overall, a hypnotic set showcasing an alternative to the somewhat stagnant mainstream jump up drum ‘n’ bass scene. Great for getting lost in time both on and off the dancefloor!

Here's a little video interview of Commix explaining what they're trying to acheive with this mix and other current projects.


Tracklist:


01. Commix - Life We Live
02. Rufige Crew - Sometime Sad Day
03. D-Bridge - Creatures of Habit
04. Alix Perez - The Reckoning
05. Data - The Causeway
06. Logistics - Murderation
07. Commix - Justified
08. Spectrasoul - Buried
09. Calibre - Can’t Get Over You
10. Lynx & Alix Perez Ft. Kemo - Dangerous
11. Commix - Belleview (D-Bridge’s Belle-reviewed Mix)
12. Spectrasoul & Ben E - Suppression
13. Calibre - In Denial
14. Commix - Bear Music
15. OAK - No Sunrise
16. Jonny L - Common Origin
17. Breakage - Old School Ting
18. Instra:mental - No Future
19. Photek - Yendi
20. Instra:mental - Photograph

Saturday, 14 February 2009

LFCast 001 The LFSaw Blogs own podcast!


I've been working hard creating a podcast for this Blog. It contains new and interesting music (mostly electronic) that I discover. Please check back for new episodes and let me know what you think!




Download LFCast001

Tracklist:


Scuba Tell Her [Hotflush]
Squarepusher Delta-V [Warp]
Laroux In For The Kill [Kitsune]
Frog Pocket Celebrimbor Tur-Anion [Planet Mu]
Noisia Diplodochus [Quarantine]
Starkey Dark Alley [Planet Mu]
2000F You Don't Know What Love Is [Hyperdub]
Fujiya & Miyagi Lightbulbs [Full Time Hobby]
The Prodigy Omen [XL]
Zomby Spliff Dub [Hyperdub]


Links mentioned in the show:


Amon Tobin Live in Brussels Mix featuring unfinished Noisia Colaboration

2000F January mix for getdarker