Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Year Of - Slow Days

Slow Days is an unexpected gem of a rock album. Unexpected especially when one sees a line up that includes Christof Kurzmann, Werner Dafeldecker and Paul Kling (aka Burkhard Stangl… gentlemen generally known for the minimalist, atom-splitting haze of groups like Polwechsel. Eyebrows shoot up then when “Mantra” greets the ears, not with phantom whirrs and clicks, but the jazz/lounge wind-up of an after-hours group about to ooze into a slow-core jam. The quintet also includes Martin Siewert who supplies a full range of guitar motion and much of the album’s warmth, plus B. Fleischmann on live drums and electronics. In the quieter pieces Kurzmann’s hairline vocal resembles a less pliable David Sylvian, or on the up tempo “Stephen Hawking,” a track that you could sneak onto New York without disturbing it’s flow, Lou Reed. “Calling Sky” shows off all the groups strengths, from a slow, crackling electro opening through the cool pulse of Kling’s vibraphone and Dafeldecker’s bass, the track builds through its 15 minutes into an ecstatic blast of horns and guitar noise. It’s an album of crafted detail and jewelers’ sparkling precision , unsurprising for players who usually build epics out of transistors and breath sounds.

Morr Music

Anoice - Remmings

Anoice are a young Japanese sextet together for just over two years. Remmings is their first album and probably a play on the L/R transposition… ergo, Lemmings. In the absence of other biographical facts we have a work that is a veritable sample platter of styles and approaches. Only four of the nine tracks are titled, these being the more “rock” pieces built around piano, guitar, drums and viola. “Asprin Music” [sic] has a bass chug that drags along strings, synths and drum machines in its wake, finding a point halfway between Radiohead and label-mates Larsen. “Kyoto” has an echo-chamber piano and sudden crashing drum parts that feel like late Three Mile Pilot / early Broken Heart Procession. The three central (and shorter) untitled tracks smell of interludes, either through abstraction or paring down of instrumentation. The opening and closing tracks are tonally matched: deliberate pacing, meandering figures, emphasis on space and pure sound… easily the most interesting pieces here. The album has a pleasant atmosphere and the band are talented instrumentalists, but they often grasp at ideas just out of reach only to lay hands on fairly generic substitutes. They warrant keeping an eye on, though.

Important Records

Loscil - Plume

Scott Morgan paints on the wind… or is that he paints with the wind? Whichever. On his fourth full length for Kranky the Vancouverite casts his gaze skywards and gently exhales nine drone-based themes titled for airy phenomena. Plume pulls back from the more “real” instrument overtures made on the previous First Narrows, though it retains some vibes, piano and e-bow guitar for the mix. Much like a West Coast skyline the wispy and foggy elements press densely down upon the surface, reducing them to shadows and traces. On “Steam” Jason Zumpano’s Rhodes maintains a loose bass chord pulse throughout with flickers and echoes of colour nearly describing dub-like shapes. Josh Lindstrom’s xylophone and vibes criss-cross the rubbery snapping path of “Chinook.” Morgan, who also drums for Destroyer, manages to steer the sounds away from potential traps of dirge and mope, including the understated sprightliness of tracks like “Bellows.” Where other sampling composers have moved over to more conventional song forms since the initial clicks n cuts boom, Loscil has cycled back with his most minimal work since Triple Point, his debut album rooted in thermodynamic principles, Seems appropriate when your head is in the clouds.


Friday, August 04, 2006

Surgery 27

One Second Bridge - S/T (Büro)
Susanna And The Magical Orchestra - Melody Mountain (Rune Grammofon)
Marsen Jules - Les Fleurs (City Center Offices)
Tujiko Noriko - 少女都市+ (Shojo Toshi+) (Mego)
Various - Kammerflimmer Kollektief Remixed (Staubgold)
Phonophani - S/T (Rune Grammofon)
Solenoid - Supernature (Orac)
Grizzly Bear - Horn Of Plenty (The Remixes) (Kanine)
Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas - Lindstrom & Prins Thomas (Eskimo)
Anthony Rother - Super Space Model (Datapunk)
Ran Slavin - Insomniac City (mille Plateaux)
Sébastien Roux - Songs (12k)

Track List

One Second Bridge - The Ghost
Susanna And The Magical Orchestra - Love Will Tear Us Apart
Marsen Jules - Coeur Saignant
Tujiko Noriko -マーブルワルツ (Marble Waltz)
Radian - Radian On Equilibrium
Phonophani - Ring
Solenoid - Protein / Lemuria
Grizzly Bear - La Duchess Anne (Safety Scissors rmx)
Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas - Don O Van Budd
Anthony Rother - Sleep
Ran Slavin - Planes And Violins
Sébastien Roux - The Classical Guitar Song

Listen to Surgery 27 click here