Grails - Burning Off Impurities
I am repeating myself but this is my record of the year so far and I am predicting the 'so far' will become a 'definitive'. Awesome record that encompasses almost everything I love: folk, ethnic sounds, the best bits of postrock, epic progressive and twangy motorik. Love it, love it, love it! Play loud and all the time!
Poor School - Voor Niets In Zijn
I am predicting hereby that Joris's productive label will be a household name by next year. After the brilliant Psalm Alarm release this is already the second absolute scorcher on Cut Hands. This guitar-drums-sax trio goes freak-out all the way on two sizzling hot avant jazzrock workouts. Blistering shit!
Merzbow - Coma Berenices
This is the first Merzbow release that I found listenable. More than that, I even enjoyed it. OK, it is still a whole lot of unpenetrable and pitch-black noise but at times I could hear some kind of beauty deep down in the heart of darkness. A nice entry into the Merzbow catalogue for the uninitiated.
Goldie presents Rufige Kru - Malice in Wonderland
Six new tracks that sound like mid-nineties d'n'b. Nothing wrong with that. Liquidly exciting.
Björk - Volta
Stop the presses of the world! Björk has made a good record. And Goldie too! This resurrection of two old lovers can be no coincidence. No, seriously, the Timbaland tracks are the best (no signs of running on empty from the R&B maestro) and even Antony is agreeable. Rejoice!
KTL - KTL 2
Four more ambientish dark epics inspired by the sounds of the previous Kindertotenlieder. Not a lot of guitar to be heard this time around (except, and this is typical, on 'Abattoir'), but still creepy as hell, particularly the almost psychotically intense 'Theme' with its distorted organ tones.
Mute Audio Documents Volume 1
37 tracks constitute the first episode of the reissue program of the first Mute releases. And what a joy it is to hear all those classics again. Fad Gadget, The Normal, Silicon Teens, Depeche Mode, DAF... each and everyone groundbreaking and, more importantly, still relevant. Also included: timely cd reissues of the insanely rare Robert Rental, Boyd Rice and Smegma 7-inches. The second set is on the way as you read this.
Embryo - Reise
From 1981 and a great mix-up of progressive, funk and ethnic sounds from the Middle East and Central Asia. The band was on a two year journey to record sounds for this album and rather unluckily got stuck in Teheran during the Islamic Revolution of Khomeiny. I just love that kind of anecdotica. An album that proves that there was still plenty of life in the old Krautrock bitch well into the eighties. Highly recommended.
M.I.A. - Bittersüss
Long time ago that there was some techno on these pages (To be honest I am very, very bored with techno, especially of the minimal persuasion, at the moment). This is a nice one, though, from Michaela Grobelny. Sexy nocturnal electro-ish not-too-minimal techno with a female touch (love those longing string samples) and featuring M.I.A.'s sensual vocal(i)s(ations) on top.
Shackleton & Appleblim - Soundboy Punishments
A fat and über-essential compilation of the first five Skull Disco releases plus some unfindable Shackleton tracks on other labels, AND - at last, at last! - the 19-minute Villalobos remix of 'Blood on My Hands', one of those addictive Ricardo remixes that gets better and better with each listening. Ricardo rules, man! But Shackleton and Appleblim rule even harder with the fattest basses on the planet and the best percussion in the whole of dubstep. Get punished!