Various Production - The World Is Gone [XL, 2006]
Would-be mix-up of folk and sub-bass (dubstep, that is). The two genres are given a little too much of their own personal space, so a real co-fusion fails to occur. If you like Massive Attack (who doesn’t?) and Tricky’s early cd’s, you might want to give this a try. The record is pretty versatile, so I guess everyone is going to find the song that suits him/her. I know for one thing that I’m going to be able to listen to ‘Hater’ in a few years time and not be disappointed. Could be a stayer, could be not.
Vangelis - Beaubourg [Windham Hill, 1979]
Oh man! Forever soiling my brand new boots in the process, I waded hopelessly through the dreaded Endless Plains of Shit before reaching the first oasis in Vangelis’s discography. Blade Runner you obviously know, but this may be his next best piece. It's certainly his most atonal. Beaubourg consists of nothing more than two long suites full of cosmic wizardry that don’t really go anywhere peculiar. But while you’re there, it’s pure bliss. As much as I do not begrudge the man the limitless piles of money he’s made by setting new standards of bombast for the Hollywood soundtrack industry, it made me nonetheless wonder what Evanghelos Odyssey Papathanassiou could have achieved if only he’d spend his time making this kind of records.
The Emperor Machine - Vertical Tones & Horizontal Noise [DC, 2006]
The new long-player by Andrew Meecham is another crazy journey into a whirling vortex of musical styles. You can hear influences from psychedelics and Krautmotorik, large chunks of library music and rare groove and way-out-there disco and slo-mo electro. Not as immediately gripping as its predecessor but still easily one of the best records you can buy yourself this year. Those who think that Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas are too cheesy and want something with a little more cojones, this is the one.
Lindstrøm - Fast & Delirious [Feedelity, 2003/2006]
Drawn from the recently reissued Feedelity 000, this is the Lindstrøm I like most. Stomping electro groove, no-worries kind of atmosphere, cheese tightly reined in, very musical and full of pointillistic detail, yet entrancing. The perfect Sunday morning house record.
Ican - A Quien [Planet E, 2006]
Kind of an old-fashioned record for Planet E. This four-tracker actually reminds more of the kind of techno that Derrick May might be caning. The summer party screaming titletrack has the feel of Derrick Carter’s Latino-techno classic ‘Theme from Blue Cucaracha’, which ain’t too bad as a reference. The other tracks continue much in the same vein. No real surprises but a return to pure dancefloor technofun.
Akabu - Phuturebound (Âme Remix) [Z, 2006]
Everybody’s screaming about Âme these days and with remixes for Rodamaal and this scorcher for Joey Negro’s Z-label you can’t but agree. Sounding contemporary as hell, it steals a little bit from every evolution in electronic dance from the last 20 years and comes up with a sparkling, jubilant house classic. Âme rule!
Digital Mystikz - Conference (Hand Drum Jam) [Souljazz, 2006]
I’m busy convincing the world that these guys (not Burial!) are currently thee shit of shits. ‘Conference’, drawn from one of their recent singles on Soul Jazz, is a perfect little dance number. Shaolin violins, tight percussion and some deep bass, no more ingredients needed. Functional it may sound, it is also pretty awesome. Drumpower dynamics at its best.
Mental Cube - Q [Debut, 1990]
From the latest incarnations of postrave we continue with this classic from the guys who later became known to the world as The Future Sound Of London. ‘Q’’s blissful melodies are not that far removed from the first FSOL tracks and the general ecstatic feel takes me back to the endless sounding hedonistic dance music that flooded out of the UK in the late eighties/early nineties, right before the Artificial Intelligence brigade took things over. Takes you back, and that’s never a bad thing.
Laraaji & Brian Eno - Ambient 3: Day of Radiance [E'G, 1980]
I was really quite astonished when I heard this. Brian Eno going Philip Glass in the Land of The Rising Sun? Something like that, in any case, because, since he’s only mentioned as a producer, the maestro’s musical role is not too clear. Hypnotizing, magical and essential, whoever made it.
Justin Timberlake - What Goes Around [Jive, 2006]
I think it is fitting that, with all the producing power and studio trickery that has been unleashed upon Justin Timberlake’s sophomore album, it is the rather traditional (with that I mean it screams STEVIE WONDER! and MICHAEL JACKSON!) tearjerker-cum-Spanish-guitars ‘What Goes Around’ that stays with you after a few listenings. Cruel irony, then, that it’s when he’s obviously slagging off Britney (a bit like flogging a dead horse, innit?), that you sense that, for once, he’s actually serious about what he’s singing. Which is a bit sad and gives Motherfuckin’ Justin a vulnerable human touch, after all. “Take it to the chorus!”, then?
Royal Trux – Fear Strikes Out [Virgin, 1995]
I’ve only yesterday discovered the radical new world that is Twin Infinitives, so you will forgive me for including this très Rolling Stones sounding straight little rock number from 1995’s Thank You album. Call it the feared Twin Infinitives Backlash. Hennema’s even more très horny-in-a-dirty-way vocals do it for me on this one. The album as a whole rocks too. And now I’m back off to the everlasting task of unravelling the mysteries of Twin Infinities.
Ash Ra Tempel - Schwingungen [Ohr, 1972]
Join Inn and Inventions for Electric Guitar contain some brilliant music but this the best record I’ve heard up till now from the Ash Ra discography. One of the unmistakable high points of kosmische rock. Thanks to Krautrock-co-conspirator Son of the Silent Age for the tip.
Richard Youngs - The Naive Shaman [Jagjawuar, 2005]
As usual the thirteenth record is the one that surprised me this week. From what I’d read about Youngs I imagined him to be another droning guitar man. But what I didn’t know is that he actually sings the whole of the time. His voice you’re gonna hate (most likely) or you gonna like (less likely), but he really sounds like the naive shaman on the sleeve and for me the obvious limitations of his vocal delivery are compensated by the weird pulsating minimalism that he employs to support it. Sounds a bit like a tripped-out Nick Drake who has been locked up in the synthesizer room and decides to give those machines a try.