Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Autum LPs #2




Castanets - City of Refuge (Asthmatic Kitty)
Death Vessel - Nothing Precious Enough For Us (Sub Pop)
V/A - Coast2Coast: Charles Webster (NRK)
Style Of Eye - Duck, Cover And Hold (PickADoll)
V/A - Circo Loco @DC10: 10 Year Anniversary (Moon Harbour)
TM Juke & The Jack Baker Trio - Boto And The Second Liners (Tru Thoughts)
Petar Dundov - Escapements (Music Man)
Red Snapper - Pale Blue Dot (Lo)
Morgan Geist - Double Night Time (Environ)
V/A - Great Summer Games Stuff (Great Stuff)
V/A - Sud Up & Dance 2: The Dance Off (Soapsud City)
V/A - Sessions: Meat Katie (Ministry of Sound)
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Castanets - City of Refuge (Asthmatic Kitty)
Web: http://www.asthmatickitty.com
City of Refuge is a remarkable album from Ray Raposa, whose strength rests on its glorious guitar movements, glowing vocals and ’out there’ lofi experimentalism. More a series of fleeting episodes than a ‘normal‘ album, with the occasional fully fledged song thrown in from time to time, this longplayer is a strange, but beautiful beast. Magical moments include the lovely Prettiest Chain, emotional The Hum and the almost growling Refuge 2. It is easy to get drawn in by this beguiling treat that is at times sonically harsh and at others sweet on the ears, but always captivating.

Death Vessel - Nothing Precious Enough For Us (Sub Pop)
Web: http://www.deathvessel.com
By rights, an outfit with a name like Death Vessel should make heavy macabre music, but the concoctions brewed by Joel Thibodeau and friends are somewhat different. There is a certain melancholia to Nothing Precious Enough For Us, but there is an undeniable brightness to the songs on the album, which play lip service to folk, Americana, poppy songwriting sensibilities and various other influences. Album highlights include the beautiful opener entitled Block My Eye, the proud Bruno’s Torso and the rhythmic Fences Around Field. Beauty in musical format.

V/A - Coast2Coast: Charles Webster (NRK)
Web: http://www.nrkmusic.com
Nottingham’s Charles Webster has had a long association with deep and technified house, due to his production work under aliases such as Presence and Love From San Francisco as well as his own name, and his work behind the decks. He is no stranger to NRK and a fitting candidate to select the music for this instalment of the Coast2Coast series. As expected, it is a wonderfully deep, touching and incredibly musical affair, as per usual with this series turning up long lost classics alongside cutting edge tackle. CD 1 features winners such as Pepe Braddock’s macabre 4 and Webster’s own heartstopping re-kiss of Justin Martin’s Sad Piano. CD 2 is another excellent disc, with cuts such as Larry Heard’s beautiful Closer and the thumping JAN remix of Amp Fiddler’s Superficial. A magnificent house exploration from one of the genres most talented son’s.

Style Of Eye - Duck, Cover And Hold (PickADoll)
Web: http://www.myspace.com/styleofeye
Edgy electroid house with trancey overtones is the sound that Linus Eklow aka Style Of Eye is gunning for with this album. It is a long player aimed squarely at the dancefloor and does feature some captivating moments, but is a little too abrasive at times. Hot cuts include the shrieking Ona, warming Amelie and the fun poking Clown. This album may alienate fans of his earlier work on Classic, due to sonic differences, but it targets the hips in a similar manner and will be lapped up by fans of tougher house fair.

V/A - Circo Loco @DC10: 10 Year Anniversary (Moon Harbour)
Web: http://www.myspace.com/dc10circoloco
After a decade of Monday parties at a white isle venue close to the airport, Circo Loco celebrate by releasing three separate compilations. Dogged by the now all to regular governmental barricades to partying, the night has survived and continues to excite a wild crowd from all over Europe and beyond. Musically, Circo Loco is about the skinnier musical end of the deeper house and technoid market, as these discs will testify. Tania Vulcano brings us the first mix, which suggests that minimalism doesn’t have to mean boredom and features winners such as DJ Sneak’s fuzzy Latin Seoul and Rasoul’s throbbing Untitled Deepness. Similarly, the second disc on the first compilation, mixed by Sossa features groovy efforts from the likes of 2-Travellers, who bring us the gorgeous Organ Track and Michel Ho’s disorientating Gisele. Compilation 2 is given over to Arpiar and he brings us a disc of his own material that features a few notable efforts such as the bumping Flying Dutchman and jacking Connected. Arpair’s DJ mix is the weakest of the collection, but still includes a few gems like Brothers’ Vibe cool Feelin’ House and Pedric’s wide eyed Pedric 1. Matthias Tanzman’s contribution to the third instalment is arguably the finest mix and features gems like G-Man’s crunching Quo Vardis and Dot’s key driven Kinda Strange. Thomas Melchior rounds off proceedings with a dark display, where cuts such as Alexander East’s eerie Hope You See and Andomat 3000’s blistering BND2 feature. The artwork and hedonistic atmosphere suggest Circo Loco is nearer a circus than a conventional club night, but these compilations show that the music is just as important.

TM Juke & The Jack Baker Trio - Boto And The Second Liners (Tru Thoughts)
Web: http://www.tmjuke.co.uk
TM Juke teams up with percussive don Jack Baker for an album of South American influenced funk scorched, soul soaked and jazzed ditties. The album features brasstastic work from a bevy of hot musicians and vocals from a quartet of esteemed singers. Highs include a frenzied cover of Mr Vegas’s Heads High that takes the tuba to the dancehall, Rolling Stone To Landslide featuring the luscious tones of Kathrin deBoer and the gutsy Fortune Favours The Bold. A fun filled long player, eschewing samples and processed beats in favour of live instrumental work.

Petar Dundov - Escapements (Music Man)
Web: http://www.petardundov.com
Taking cues from ambient soundscapes and trippy experimentalism as well as clubfloor bound electronics, Croatian studio ace Petar Dundov has created a mind expanding album in the shape of Escapements. His productions have a widescreen feel and incredible depth, inviting listeners to get lost in his world, instead of merely listening to his musical fair. She In Purple is a cosmic technoid opus, with Rain sampling gentle ambient waters and Waterfall bringing beautiful Detroit grooves to the fore. Escapements is a fitting title for this album from Dundov that really allows the listener to enter another dimension.

Red Snapper - Pale Blue Dot (Lo)
Web: http://www.myspace.com/redsnapperofficial
Yes, this is the Red Snapper of old, back to join the dots between jazz, rock and various forms of dance music. They succeed where many others have failed, pushing grooves of different forms together in a way that is natural and makes perfect musical sense. Album peaks include rolling opener Brickred, strutting Lagos Creepers and dubbed out Moving Mountain. How they succeed with their odd musical homebrew is anyone’s guess, but it’s very good to have them back, regardless.

Morgan Geist - Double Night Time (Environ)
Web: http://www.environrecords.com
In some ways, NY based Environ boss Geist will now always live under the shadow of Metro Area, the project he undertook with Darshan Jesrani that magically fused smooth electronics and live instrumentation that was unleashed on the unsuspecting public by the way of four EPs that were compiled into a longplayer. True, there have been Metro Area releases since the first quartet of EPs, but it was these cuts that captured the imagination and emotions of the world circa 2001. There were solo Morgan Geist releases and production work before and after the zenith of the MA period and he has been responsible for breathtaking productions for the likes of Erlend Øye and Kelley Polar. This album is nearer his more recent production work for Polar than previous sharper electronic material, showcasing smooth electronic grooves and poppity songs featuring vocals from Jeremy Greenspan of Junior Boys. Some of the vocal collaborations work wonders, such as the supple Detroit and calming The Shore, but some don’t quite gel as well and have you yearning for more MA esque instrumentals like the sparklingly keyed closer named Lullaby. Double Night Time is a positive musical experience, but does leave you wondering perhaps what it could have been and what else Geist still has up his sleeve.

V/A - Great Summer Games Stuff (Great Stuff)
Web: http://www.greatstuff.eu
The artwork and title suggests this compilation was inspired by the Olympics, whilst the idea of getting twenty four electronic artists to each submit a track that represents a country seems more in keeping with the Eurovision song contest than anything else. Spread over two discs, the music focuses on clubfloor electronic grooves and as with the Eurovision contest and athletics on show at the Olympics, features tracks of variable quality. The gold medals on disc one go to Danilo Vigorito for the bass driven Italy and Ramon Tapia’s wobbly Belgium. The highest points on disco two are picked up by GusGus for the barbed Iceland and Steve Angello for the powerful Sweden. This geographical tour shows that many artists from different countries favour similar musical soundscapes when it comes to clubfloor music.

V/A - Sud Up & Dance 2: The Dance Off (Soapsud City)
Web: http://www.soapsudcity.com
This London based crew may still be peddling soap related jokes, but what is much more important is the fact that they are bringing fine technoid grooves with them. Again this is a compilation with a number of contributions by key players, with Soapsud members coming present and correct with calming yet floor satiating material. Opening cut from Dlay entitled Long Short Story just rolls out for ever, whilst Shaolin’s Fallout bounces around nicely and The Switch from Untying The Knots also hits home. Cleanse yourself in this crew’s purifying technoid fair.

V/A - Sessions: Meat Katie (Ministry of Sound)
Web: http://www.meatkatie.com
This compilation from Meat Katie on MoS puts beyond all reasonable doubt the question over whether Katie and his comrades were just flirting with 4:4 grooves, or if they’d exchanged more traditional breaks based aesthetics for a hybrid groove that fully incorporates housier and technoier vibes as well as fat basslines. Disc 1, the strongest of the two, would give the answer as an almight yes, with most of the material hitting both the bassline and streamlined beats button, with only a few tracks daring to stray into more complicated percussive territory. Winners include the odd Audio Remix of Dubfire’s I Feel Speed, Dustbowl’s acidious Still Burning and Martin Eyerer’s scowling Azul. Disc 2 brings breaks and basslines to the fore, but the vibe is as much bassline driven techy fair as breaks, with winners including Zoo Brazil’s nasty Technik and the ravey Right Now from UBerzone and Lee Coombs. The music from Katie and co is most exciting when it occupies that middle ground between breaks, house and techno, as cuts on this compilation show.

All Reviews by Jon Freer

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