• Ahhhhhhmmmmmmm

    Ott 30 2007, 3:59

    I had a bit of a music overload this week, getting about 10 CDs on Thursday alone. I'm actually a little surprised I got through all of it.

    Brian Eno Thursday Afternoon
    Just recently have I started to pick up the ambient releases from Brian Eno. I got Neroli earlier this year and finally Music for Airports a few weeks ago. This one was shipped to me from a user on the CD trading site lala and contains a single hour-long track, similar in style to the Music for Airports stuff. It was also supposedly the first album ever to be released exclusively on compact disc. The music is pleasant and functions well as ambiance, but I don't really think it compares well to more modern compositions like Biosphere's Substrata, especially considering that by 1985 this style wasn't exactly anything new. Still, it's a nice thing to have in my ever-expanding collection of ambient music.

    Lithops Scrypt
    Another Lithops release already for me? Well, these next six albums were all found in the clearance bins this week for 95 cents each, and I can't pass up prices like that. This release is a lot noisier than Uni Umit, the other Lithops album I have, in fact it often approaches hard to listen to. The effects of Jan's collaborations with Oval as Microstoria really start to show through here, a lot of the album making use of very glitchy sounds. Tracks like "Play Through" showcase a lighter mood, but much of the album is very aggressive.

    Désormais Climate Variations
    Désormais is a project of Mitchell Akiyama, who I don't really know much about but I understand is an important player in Montreal electronic music. I would describe this album is noisy ambient glitch music, maybe sort of like Tim Hecker, but generally with more going on. I might not even call it truly ambient. Most of the tracks have some percussive elements and well-defined melodic parts. I haven't actually heard very much music like this at all, but after hearing it it sounds like such a logical direction for music to progress in, very "genuine" sounding unlike a lot of non-dance electronic music these days. The packaging is pretty cool too, I haven't seen anything like it before — it's in a cardboard case with a little paper sleeve for the CD and a tab sewed on that holds the cover in place.

    kiyo Chaotech Odd Echo
    Schematic Records. I haven't heard anything from them in a long time. Last I heard they were only putting out mp3 releases or something like that now. This release falls within the glitchy IDM camp, from some Japanese guy I don't know anything about. I actually heard this Kiyo guy before on a Schematic compilation disc, but his material didn't impress me much there. I don't listen to this kind of stuff much anymore, but it's actually not bad at all. The album's flow is a little disjointed (for some reason I knew it would be this way from the cover art), but that tracks stand well on their own. I really like the song called "Flow", which is like a glitched up, ambient The Gentle People track.

    Bird Show Lightning Ghost
    The people on last.fm have this tagged as "ambient", "electronic", and "post-rock", but I can't really agree with that at all; I think it has more in common with the "freak folk" movement than either of those. It's very similar to another artist I've been listening to recently, Glissandro 70 from the Constellation label. Both have a sort of "tribal", rhythmic, chanting sound and make use of plenty of unusual instruments. The first song has fairly accessible vocals that remind me of the Finnish artist Sala-Arhimo (though they are in English), but most of the other tracks are a lot more "free".

    Parmentier Luxsound
    I bought this not because I knew anything about Parmentier, but because this album was released on the Sigma Editions label, which is the label that put out Vladislav Delay's first album, Ele. (I kept hoping to find other stuff from the label while browsing around the shop, but unfortunately didn't see anything.) It turns out Parmentier are an ambient or drone music group from New Zealand. I was actually very impressed with this one, and have been using it to fall asleep to several nights during the past week. It's an amazing feeling listening to this when in half-sleep, like being in heaven and hell simultaneously I thought when it first happened.

    D. DIGGLER Atomic Dancefloor
    It's been a while since I got a real dance music album. I think the last ones were Akufen's My Way and Luomo's The Present Lover about a month ago. I have a compilation with a few tracks from D. Diggler on it, I think it was the Hypercity compilation from Force Tracks, so I decided to pick this one up when I saw it for 95 cents. The music is nothing that I haven't heard before, really, just your typical dub-influenced micro-tech-house, but it's very solid, probably one of the best I've heard in the genre. All the tracks here are great, no filler at all. The title is sort of lame, though.

    White Rainbow Box
    This is a five CD, one DVD box set, and I got it for eight dollars and change online, shipping included. I'm not sure where I first heard of White Rainbow, actually, maybe it was on the last.fm radio, or maybe I just noticed he had an album coming out on Kranky. It's just one guy, and he makes beautiful, organic ambient and drone music. I'm also loosely associating this music with the "freak folk" scene, though last.fm doesn't seem to agree with me. The Box is really way too much music for me to try to take in during just one week, but I tried. I didn't get through the entire DVD, but watched a few things on it. It was OK but nothing really stood out for me. I'm coming to the realization that I really don't care for the concept of music videos and DVDs, though I did like the one that came with Pan•American's Quiet City. The packaging for the Box looks nice, but functionally it's pretty weak. It's basically three Kranky-style cardboard sleeves that hold two CDs each glued together, and it's extremely hard to get the inner CDs out of the thing, and in doing so I probably scratched them up a little bit. Needless to say, I'm never going to put them back in there again, and am instead storing each disc in an individual slim jewel case.
  • Not a journal entry about 100000 tracks being played

    Ott 21 2007, 23:57

    I just passed 100000 tracks played on last.fm today, and I thought it might be cool to start writing journals regularly again. I've been acquiring new music at a fairly rapid rate lately (while trying not to spend too much on any single CD... spending most of your time looking through the clearance bins rather than regular-priced stuff helps with this I guess) and I'm getting excited about the annual "World's Largest Garage Sale", which is coming up in one or two weeks now. I always pick up a lot of good CDs there. Anyway, here are the new albums I got this week:

    SoleLearning to Walk
    Got this one from the (formerly?) CD-trading site lala. Not really an album, but a compilation of old tracks from 1995 to 1998. I used to have a different CD by Sole, I think it was Mansbestfriend Part 2 or something like that. Unlike this CD that one was self-produced, and I really just couldn't handle the ultra-lo-fi sound quality. The tracks on Learning to Walk are produced by several different producers more skilled than Sole himself, including Alias, making the CD a lot more listenable. The tracks are arranged in reverse chronological order, and I found that my favorites are near the beginning. The production here doesn't impress me much, but it's not bad either. To be honest I really haven't listened to this one much really, though, maybe only about two times through... I haven't been in the mood for rap for a while.

    Volcano the BearCatonapotato
    These next three discs were purchased at the Electric Fetus in Minneapolis this week. Their Halloween sale should be coming up soon, I think. I discovered Volcano the Bear less then two months ago by hearing them on the last.fm radio, and now this is the third album by them that I own. I don't know if they're easy to find and I've just never noticed them before, or if I've just been lucky. I think I was listening to the Kemialliset Ystävät similar artists station when I first heard them, but it's hard to put them under that "psych-folk" label. It's just weird music that's hard to describe. I think this album is a collection of live recordings, which means the sound quality isn't great, but it hasn't really been bothering me. The songs here from noisy free jazz on "A Universal History of Infamy" to folky pop songs like "My Favourite Tongues".

    Here's another one I discovered thanks to the Kemialliset Ystävät radio. I think they might even share some members. The style of Jättiläisrotta is more rock-oriented than what I've heard from KY, maybe because they are actually more of a real band. I've really gotten into this psychedelic, folk-influenced sound in the past few months, starting when I bought a couple of albums from the No-Neck Blues Band. It's such a strong contrast to one of my main areas of interest prior to getting into this stuff, minimal techno (not that I still don't like that). While minimal is so precise and technically perfect, psych-folk is organic, chaotic, imperfect, and impure. I might even say it's changed my entire outlook on the world. It's strange that the music I'm most interested in seems to be situated on the two opposite extremes of chaos and order.

    Rob MazurekSweet and Vicious Like Frankenstein
    I wanted to get this album for years, and now I finally found it, and even the first edition in the special case. Rob Mazurek is mainly a jazz musician and has played in groups like Isotope 217, but this is a noise and ambient album made using a computer. Maybe the Mego label has a thing for bringing in artists to do something out of their usual style (I'm thinking also of the Jim O'Rourke album I'm Happy...). Sweet and Vicious... has just two tracks, one 37 minutes long and the other 25 minutes. The first part is relatively quiet, for the most part, consisting mostly of ambient passages and experimental soundscapes with the occasional noisy bit. The second part is much louder and glitchier, sometimes reminding me of the purely digital music of pxp. This might be something good to play on Halloween.

    Achim Wollscheid60 x X
    These next two were purchased on Half.com on Monday and received and both were released on the Ritornell label. While Mille Plateaux was weird compared to Force Inc., Ritornell was weird compared to Mille Plateaux. I had never heard any of Achim Wollscheid's music when I bought this (it was only $0.75), so I didn't know what to expect, and when I listened to it I was pleasantly surprised. 60 x X is broken into 60 one-minute tracks, just like Explorers_We by Farmers Manual, and like that album it is a very good example of true glitch music (not just the minimal "clicks + cuts" style). Farmers Manual suggested that Explorers_We could be played in shuffle mode, so maybe that would work for this album as well... I haven't tried it, though. A lot of glitch music can seem sort of detached, but there are a few points here were emotion and humanity really shine through, in particular a beautiful section of sampled classical strings starting around the 15th track.

    Asmus Tietchensβ-Menge
    Asmus Tietchens was also a new-to-me artist. I was previously under the impression that his music was to unaccessible for me and I wouldn't be able to appreciate it. I see from this release that I was wrong, though it is still rather unconventional, especially from a standpoint of typical rock and pop music. The music here sometimes reminds more of old-style experimental electronic composers like Tod Dockstader and Arne Nordheim, with noises that sound like weird electronic organisms crawling about. A few of the pieces are more in a very minimal electronic drone style, as well. I'll definitely be trying to pick of more of his releases from now on... I'm especially interested in completing the *-Menge series (which I believe is up to six releases now, four on Ritornell and two on Line), all of which have very cool cover designs.

    Oh, by the way, my 100000th track played was "Modish Ride" by Chris Liebing and Speedy J.
  • I'm bored...

    Giu 17 2007, 5:58

    ... so I will do a journal entry ... haven't done one here in a while. I have still been listening to a lot of excellent music, though; just today I got Spellewauerynsherde by Akira Rabelais as my first receive from the CD trading site SwapaCD. Their selection and number of traders seems a lot smaller than the CD-trading heavyweight lala, but they have some features (like artwork guarantees) that make me thing they could be a serious contender if only they got their membership up. Most of what is available on the site seems to be country, Christian, and '90s pop junk, though.

    The Akira Rabelais CD is great, I've listened to it fully a couple times now. Apparently the source materials are some old religious song recordings from Iceland. On several of the tracks the editing is very minimal. I'd say my favorite right now is the second track Glower Conf. II. 20... it's very beautiful... most of the editing on this track seems to be simply layering of different parts and the addition of a bit of reverb. It almost reminds me of stuff I've heard from artists like Coil and Current 93.

    Speaking of Current 93, I have the CD Sleep Has His House coming from the other trading site lala right now. I also have Understanding Wildlife by Shuttle 358 coming from them, which I am very, very excited about, since Frame is one of my favorite albums ever.

    I also got Expert Knob Twiddlers by Mike & Rich from lala a couple days ago. I haven't listened to it that much yet, but a couple of the tracks sounded good to me (especially Mr. Frosty, which is a lot of fun) while others didn't really stand out. Still a good album to have in the collection no matter what, though, I think.

    I haven't listened to the Mike & Rich much since on the same day I got an order of three CDs from the 12k label. They're having a (sort-of) buy-two-get-one-free sale going on right now as a promotion for the new Jodi Cave album for myria. So I got that one as well as Status by Bretschneider + Steinbrüchel and Sart by Pjusk. I also just now did a new one-album order from the 12k shop of Sawako's hum because they're saying there are only a few copies of it left. I figure it's best to get it now and avoid having to search around for it later.

    The Jodi Cave album is quite nice and seems to be in the ambient/avant-garde/electro-acoustic/field recording style of music that one would expect from 12k these days. It's probably not breaking any new ground, but it's very pleasant and very much the type of music I've been in the mood for lately. Any recommendations of stuff in a similar style would be appreciated!

    Bretschneider + Steinbrüchel's Status is also an excellent album. I'm not familiar with Steinbrüchel's work, but Frank Bretschneider's presence on the album is very apparent. I think it may be a bit more ambient, but it could almost be confused as a Bretschneider solo album. Very much in his typical style of blippy, clicky experimental techno.

    My favorite out of the bunch of three is definitely Pjusk's Sart. It almost seems like a strange direction for the 12k label to be heading in, since nothing that I know of from their past or present catalog sounds anything like it. I think it's a bit more "conventional" sounding than their usual output, but that certainly isn't a bad thing. When I was reading descriptions of the album I was thinking that the common comparisons to Biosphere were simply because both artists are Norwegian and making ambient music, but after hearing the album I can confirm that they are actually pretty valid. Sart is a little similar to Dropsonde or maybe even Substrata. The sound palette of the album is really varied, ranging from acoustic guitar to deep bass pulses. My current favorite track is Flyktig which reminds me a bit of something from Plastikman's Consumed.

    I guess that's all for now, since I'm bored again... I like how Last.fm doesn't do the "Artist - " thing in front of album and track connections anymore!
  • Seeking Ambient Music Recommendations

    Dic 9 2006, 8:50

    I'm looking for some interesting ambient music and throwing out a lot of connections so maybe someone with some good ideas will post a reply. Actually I think I'm at least moderately knowledgeable about the genre, but my trading on lala has slowed considerably and I'm looking for stuff to add to my wantlist.

    On the noisier side of things, one of my favorite albums ever is Tim Hecker's Radio Amor. I also have his Mirages album and the Trade Winds, White Noise CD is coming to me now. All of his other albums are on my "to buy eventually" list.

    Also on the "to buy" list are Robert Henke's Layering Buddha and Tod Dockstader's Aerial series. I've listened to samples from both of these and they both sounded very nice.

    Biosphere's Substrata is a true classic that I initially wasn't especially enthusiastic about (my initial reaction is in an old blog entry somewhere), but now I really appreciate it. The other album by him that I have is Autour de la Lune, which I also like. The first track is excellent.

    I've seen that album compared to the work of Thomas Köner. I've got his Teimo album, which I've been listening to lately. What other stuff is there like this? I've seen it described as "dark ambient".

    I have a Stars of the Lid album, The Tired Sounds of..., which I also enjoy.

    Finally I've been getting into Coil a bit more... I especially like the longer tracks on the album Astral Disaster and the track "Magnetic North" from Winter Solstice.

    Some other quick connections: Shuttle 358, Gas, William Basinski.
  • Coil albums and other things

    Dic 3 2006, 3:32

    I need to brag about my most recent purchase. I went to a used music and book store yesterday and got 11 CDs, a lot of them pretty hard to find, for less than $20. The best things I got were some Coil albums... seven of them: Stolen and Contaminated Songs, Windowpane and The Snow, Astral Disaster, Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, Autumn Equinox, and Winter Solstice. I also got a couple µ-Ziq CDs: The Fear and µ-Ziq vs. The Auteurs. And also Futique's Luv Luv and Amon Tobin's Chomp Samba.

    Pretty much all of the Coil CDs are excellent, and in my opinion they're better than the two I've had for a while now (Love's Secret Domain and Worship the Glitch), except for maybe the collection of remixes of "Windowpane" and "The Snow". Astral Disaster is my favorite of the lot, consisting of six tracks alternating between long and short (short as in around four or five minutes). The long tracks are really the highlights though; they're all very beautiful and ambient with occasional vocals. It's the most coherent Coil album I've heard so far. Stolen and Contaminated Songs as apparently made up of outtakes from Love's Secret Domain, but is even better than the album it's based off of. The album as a whole seems more "mature" than LSD. Track highlights for me are "Nasa-Arab", which has a really The Orb-like feel to it, and the chilling "Who'll Fall". I think Windowpane and The Snow collects the tracks from those two EPs, and while they're both pretty tracks on their own, listening to so many remixes in a row is a bit much. It's still a nice disc to have around though, I suppose. The other four CDs, Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, Autumn Equinox, and Winter Solstice, are EPs that were collected on the Moon's Milk album. The tracks on each span a wide range of styles but the series is actually works remarkably well together. My favorite of these four discs is the Winter Solstice, which starts out with a beautiful vocal track, then two ambient pieces ("Magnetic North" is reminding me a lot of something off Biosphere's Substrata), and finally a Christmas song (?). Before getting these seven CDs I still wasn't that enthusiastic about Coil, but so much of the stuff here is really amazing.

    µ-Ziq's The Fear is a single I have on vinyl, but I don't listen to vinyl that much and I remembered it having some good melodic B-sides on it. It's a lot of fun. I don't understand why the Royal Astronomy-era µ-Ziq gets so much hate. It's almost as good an album as Lunatic Harness and way, way better than the unlistenably high-pitched Bilious Paths in my opinion. I haven't really given the vs. The Auteurs album a full listen yet, but what I did hear sounded all right, having a similar clangy sound to Salsa with Mesquite (also a bit underrated, I think).

    Futique's is a collaboration between Savvas Ysatis and Taylor Deupree (it just wouldn't be a journal entry without a connection to him). I haven't really listened in enough detail yet, but Luv Luv was released on Instinct Ambient seems to be a sort of weird album. I wouldn't really call it ambient, for one thing. There are a lot of organic sounds, even in the drums, but also a lot of electronics. Maybe it's a sort of transition to the very organic feel of their album Tower of Winds. I need to listen more.

    The Amon Tobin EP I didn't really care for and I've traded it away on lala already. I have one of his albums, Out From Out Where, on vinyl and I like it, but this earlier work of his I found boring. I've experienced a similar thing with Animals on Wheels, another Ninja Tune artist, before, where I bought and loved the album Nuvol I Cadira and was then disappointed by its predecessor Designs and Mistakes.
  • More from 12k

    Nov 12 2006, 4:42

    Hi, this journal is about three releases I have recently obtained from 12k: 1am by Taylor Deupree, Abri by Goem, and Chessa by Shuttle 358.

    Taylor Deupree: 1am
    This one-track, 21-minute EP by Taylor Deupree just became available at the 12k online shop a week or two ago; before that it was sold during his recent Japan tour. I've been subscribed to the 12k blog's RSS feed and it's been interesting to read Deupree's documentation of the production of this CD, starting with an apparently disappointing performance by him at the Decibel festival to this disc's creation from 60 salvaged seconds of that performance. It's pretty different than his latest album Northern, in fact Deupree compares this 1am to the 2002 CD Stil. on his website. Despite the similarities, 1am is definitely not a "still" release; rather than being calm it's noisy and organic-sounding, but it still has the characteristic of slowly evolving layers of sounds. It's sort of like Stil. created with the production techniques of Northern with a darker mood than both of them. Or something. The other cool part about this release is the actual physical medium. It comes in a paper sleeve like (I believe) all of the Limited Series releases, and the disc is a 3" CD enclosed in a clear plastic 5" ring like Raster-Noton's 20' to 2000 series. The clear outer ring has a white printed pattern, the data ring is white with the album's information, and the inner ring is a light blue. It's lame trying to describe it... I'd take a picture of it and put it here but I'm too lazy, but it just looks cool.

    Goem: Abri
    This is also on 12k, I bought it from their online shop when I was buying the other two because it was cheap and there were only a few copies left. And also because I was curious to hear what it sounds like. Prior to hearing this I had only heard one track by Goem, a track they did for the Mille Plateaux Clicks + Cuts compilation. It was the last track on the last disc and one of the most minimal of all of them. Abri stays in that Pan Sonic-style with maybe just a bit more focus on conventional rhythms. The whole thing starts off with a super-high-pitched track that will hurt your ears and make any nearby pets go insane. I've found that after the first minute or two it seems to stop coming from your speakers and start coming from inside your head. The rest of the album isn't quite as much of an endurance test, but consists of ultra-minimal, ultra-abstract techno. It's actually very calming if you let it be.

    Shuttle 358: Chessa
    After physically challenging your ears with Goem it might be a good idea to relax with some good old-fashioned ambient, which is what this album is. Chessa was released on 12k last year, and I think Dan Abrams' sound has really had an influence of Taylor Deupree. I was listening to Frame the other day and when "Lyndon Tree" came on I suddenly couldn't remember if I was listening to Shuttle 358 or Deupree's Norther. Anyway, I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but I do know that this music is good. Chessa isn't quite on the level Frame is, but it's still a strong album. Now, I don't normally point out specific points in music but the track "Melt" on this album at 2:54 is just amazing, one of the most beautiful moments in music I've ever heard. When it hits those downward notes it seriously almost makes me cry. I'm not exaggerating. And I was going to write about Frank Bretschneider's Rand and Human Mesh Dance's Hyaline but this track has just made me want to stop writing and listen. Maybe I'll do those two tomorrow.
  • Arc, Tiny Objects in Space, Drum Komputer, Bionaut, and Jan Jelinek

    Nov 9 2006, 7:46

    Hi, here's a new journal entry where I will discuss releases by Arc vs. Tiny Objects in Space, Drum Komputer, Bionaut, and Jan Jelinek avec The Exposures.

    Arc vs. Tiny Objects in Space: Arc vs. Tiny Objects in Space
    One of the early releases on 12k records, this disc has five tracks by Arc, which is Taylor Deupree and Savvas Ysatis, and five from Tiny Objects in Space, which is just Taylor Deupree, although I would have a hard time telling one from the other. Even though everything here could probably be classified under the "minimal techno" label there is actually a pretty wide range of sounds represented, from somewhat experimental stuff like Arc's "Sci" to tracks that wouldn't seem out of place on a dancefloor like Tiny Objects in Space's Detroit-styled "Tetris" and Chicago house bassline of Arc's "516". It's not particularly impressive or groundbreaking stuff here, but still quality and certainly not bad. Plus I've been obsessing over the 12k label lately...

    Drum Komputer: Alphabet Flasher
    Another 12k album, another Taylor Deupree release, this time accompanied by Dietrich Schoenemann, who I must confess I don't know anything at all about. Alphabet Flasher is sort of similar to the Arc vs. Tiny Objects in Space album, but perhaps a bit less minimal. It's interesting how albums from artists I generally associate with the glitch scene (I'm thinking some early releases on 12k like this one as well as the Raster Series on Raster-Noton) before the genre really came into existence have a sound so similar to the Artificial Intelligence stuff. Maybe the thing has to do with artists switching from hardware to computers, and I'm sure at least some of it is just trendfollowing. Anyway, I like this album and, like the above album, find it very nice but not amazing.

    Bionaut: Big Causeway To Gone
    I don't really know anything about the two guys behind Bionaut, and I just got this CD because it was so cheap (I got it for $0.25 from the same eBay seller a got the two above 12k releases from). I think they called this kind of kind of music "synth ambient" and it sounds exactly like you'd think it would sound with a name like that. At times it's really cheesy (the first track, for example, has samples of what seems to be a film or documentary on acid running through its ten minute entirety), but based on the press-release the artists may purposefully be trying to be ironic or something. Not bad, really.

    Jan Jelinek Avec The Exposures: La Nouvelle Pauvreté
    I've been meaning to get ahold of this Jan Jelinek album for a while, and just recently I bought a used copy off Amazon. I think at this point it is fairly well determined that The Exposures are simply yet another Jelinek alias, but I'm not sure if there has ever been any definitive proof of that given. Anyway, I think this was his second album released on ~scape (after Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records), and, as I've mentioned in a shoutbox post already, it really shows the progression between his previous album and Kosmischer Pitch. He starts using less "manipulated" sounds and more in their pure form, a couple tracks even showing that repeated guitar strumming that really is a defining element of Kosmischer to me. The overall sound is much less "submerged"-sounding that Loop-Finding as well. This is actually his most diverse album, I think, even compared to the one with Triosk, which, by the way, also shares some similarities with this album, mainly in the instrumentation. Another thing worth mentioning is the presence of vocals on a number of tracks here, sometimes treated or pitch shifted like on "Facelift", but mostly (relatively, at least) clean male vocals. I don't know if it is Jelinek himself singing or not, but they don't really detract from the album at all despite the fact they don't seem to be from especially well-trained vocalist. This is now my second favorite Jelinek album, Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records still holding the top spot.

    That's all for now... I was planning to talk about Taylor Deupree's new EP 1am that just became available on the 12k shop a week or so ago, Shuttle 358's Chessa, Goem's Abri, and Frank Bretschneider's Rand, but I'm tired now and I'll save it for another time.
  • I Got Like Five CDs in the Mail Today

    Ott 31 2006, 5:23

    Two from eBay and three from lala. I'll start with eBay.

    Komet: Rausch
    This album, released on 12k records in 2000, is sort of similar to the other Frank Bretschneider albums I own, being made up of minimal clicks and tones while keeping a steady groove and at times allowing subtle melodies to emerge. Like Bretschneider's other albums that I have this one plays as a continuous mix, with each track flowing into the next, making the disc a lot stronger and more coherent than a track-based album, in my opinion.

    Shuttle 358: Frame
    I think I first heard Shuttle 358 on the Chronologi compilation that was put out with tracks from 12k's first releases. There were two tracks by him on that comp, one from Optimal.lp and one from this album, Frame, which is a really beautiful ambient album. It has a 4.9 rating on Discogs, which is the highest I've seen for something with a decent amount of ratings. 12k is quickly turning into my label of the year, passing up Chain Reaction in the number of releases I've bought.

    Dynamo: Außen Vor
    Dynamo is T++, also known as Torsten Pröfrock, also known as a current member of Monolake. Außen Vor was released on Din and I received it through the lala CD trading site. It's very "techno"; there's not much here in terms of melody or even Chain Reaction-style chords. It does sort of remind me of Chiastic Slide-era Autechre without any "notes" though, maybe because they both seem to use quite a bit of reverb.

    Neina: Subconsciousness
    I got Neina's Formed Verse album earlier this this year, and quite a while before that I heard this Japanese collective's contribution "Clairvoyance" on the Clicks + Cuts compilation. Subconsciousness is very similar in style to its predecessor, being mostly quiet experimental ambiance occasionally venturing into noisier territory. I think the comparisons to Oval that the group often gets are fair.

    Crane A.K.: Pink Eyed Pony
    Pink Eyed Pony is a solid collection of micro-tech-house tracks put out on the Force Tracks label. It's the sort of stuff you'd expect from that label I guess. I think I first heard Crane A.K. on the Hypercity mix released on the same label. Fans of this should check out the amazing album Discord by Geoff White and Stewart Walker, which is in a similar style (and better, in my opinion).
  • World's Largest Garage Sale 2006 Part 2

    Ott 14 2006, 5:21

    I went to the "World's Largest Garage Sale" again on Wednesday of this week and got a lot of stuff. Here's what I bought for only $6.50:

    Adam X: Fate Unknown
    Reviews on the Internet describe this 2xCD set as a mix of techno and industrial, which seems like a good enough description to me. Apparently this guy is also the brother of Frankie Bones. I don't really listen to this harder kind of techno very often, but for what it is it's not bad at all.

    Bear vs. Shark: Terrorhawk
    Not for me. It's on my list of things to trade.

    Blue States: Man Mountain
    I remember reading somewhere that the first album by this artist was good. I don't know if it was from a source I'd trust or not, but these things are only costing me a few cents so I figured there's not much to lose in taking a risk. I haven't listened to this one much but it seems to me to be very generic "chillout"/"downtempo" music. I'll probably hang on to it but so far it hasn't impressed me at all.

    Chab: Dub, Edits & Whisky-Coke
    Right now I would give this album something like 9/10. It's house and it just works. I had heard of this guy because he collaborated with some other guy on a track that was on some DJ compilation I have. And I don't even think that track was especially that good. But this album is a lot of fun and consistently excellent.

    Conjure One: Extraordinary Ways
    Ugh. This is just a bit too much "worldbeat"/"female vocalist" new age cheese for me. Of course, I haven't been able to get through the album, maybe there's some good stuff on here, who knows.

    Grey Area: And Then The Clouds
    An interesting album from an artist I know nothing about. For the most part the album is dubby electronic music; a few of the tracks might even feel at home on a label like ~scape... there are a lot of sounds similar to those used by Kit Clayton on Nek Sanalet. I like this one. It's pretty minimal and laid back.

    H-Foundation: Environments
    Deep house. I haven't listened to this one that much either, but it seems like a good enough album.

    Sweet Trip: Velocity : Design : Comfort
    I first heard this band (I think it's a band) through the track "Noise is a Social Skill (v.0.8)" on a label compilation. It seemed like a pleasant pop song so I picked this disc up. Well, some tracks keep that pop song feels while others are a lot more experimental or just plain noisy, such as the first track "Tekka", which is "breakcore", at least according to what I think that genre is, and most of the time I just can't listen to stuff like that anymore. I think this one requires some more time before I can tell what I think of it.

    The Locust: Safety Second, Body Last
    This is quite out of character for me, since I'm not really into whatever this is called. "Grindcore"? LOL. I actually think it's interesting enough to keep around though.

    Tiga: Sexor
    Is this sort of stuff still popular? This is a fun album but there really seems to be a lot of filler. There are about four or five tracks that I really like and a lot more that I skip over.

    Tosca: Souvenirs
    I'm not really into Tosca (except for the excellent second disc of Dehli 9), but I'm hardly paying anything for these. This is a remix album I guess, though I'm not exactly sure what the focus of it is, maybe remixes of their most recent album. I noticed a few familiar names on the list of remixers, although I haven't really listened to anything from here at all yet. Well I'm listening to the Burnt Friedman mix now and it's OK.

    V/A: Sounds of Om v.5
    I don't even like this label but once again if the price is low enough I guess I'll buy things I don't even have any interest in. Decent dance music compilation.

    I also bought second copies of these CDs and traded them the same day:

    Infected Mushroom: IM The Supervisor
    Murs & Slug: Felt
    Frankie Bones: Computer Controlled 3
  • World's Largest Garage Sale 2006

    Ott 9 2006, 1:28

    Well yesterday I went to the "World's Largest Garage Sale", which is put on every year by the American Cancer Society. I always look forward to it because they have tons of CDs for really cheap. I'll probably go again on the last day (half price day) like I did last year, but even after going just once I feel like I got a lot better stuff this year. I got 15 albums for $23.00 (plus the $3 to get in on the first day). I haven't fully listened to any of these albums so these are just my first impressions of a few tracks from them.

    Alsace Lorraine: Through Small Windows
    I think this is the same band as Alsace, which had a beautiful song called "Warm Tears" on one of the Little Darla Has a Treat for You compilations. They're an "indie" band with mostly female vocals, maybe something like Lali Puna but less electronic and less political, though I haven't really paid attention to the lyrics. Nothing has amazed me like "Warm Tears" yet, but it's not bad.

    Black Dice: Broken Ear Record
    This is the first album I actually own by Black Dice, but I've heard a few tracks from their other albums. It's interesting and funny and noisy (but probably not "noise"). I haven't listened to it well enough yet to say much, but there seems to be a lot of stuff going on and a lot of depth. Or something.

    Cex: Know Doubt
    The first release I bought by this artist was Maryland Mansions. I traded it away a while ago because I'm not in the Linkin Park target audience, but since this EP was so cheap I decided to give Cex another chance. The first track was good enough but I just don't like his voice.

    E*vax: Parking Lot Music
    I don't know anything about this artist but the name and the label seemed familiar. It's OK pleasant melodic electronic music I guess. Sort of like I Am Robot and Proud, except none of it has caused any emotional response in me so far. Pretty generic stuff, in my opinion, but I might put it on once in a while.

    Erik Truffaz: Saloua
    I don't know much about this guy except that he's a jazz trumpet player. I've heard a few tracks by him on the Last.fm radio and I was impressed. This album is very nice also, although it is really quite "all over the place" with the jazz, dub, rap, Arabic singing, and who knows what else. The track "Gedech" is awesome. This is one of my favorites I got this year.

    Freescha: What's Come Inside of You
    I bought Freescha's Slower Than Church Music a few years ago when there was a small hype surrounding it and I thought it was a good album with a few really beautiful songs. A lot of the same sounds are used on this album none of the first five or so tracks have really come close to "Gole" from Church Music.

    Global Communication: Fabric 26
    To be honest I haven't even listened to a single track from this mix CD so I can't say anything.

    Infected Mushroom: IM The Supervisor
    Buying a trance album always deals a heavy blow to one's "indie cred" but whatever. I think this is the first album of what's called "goa trance" that I have. It's very cheesy and over the top (I LOLed at the first vocals in track one) but it's sort of fun.

    MSTRKRFT: The Looks
    I actually bought three copies of this album, one to keep and two to trade on lala. They were brand new (they still had the shrink wrap and stickers) and only $0.25 cents each. Of all the CDs I bought yesterday I've listened to this one the most. It's just a lot of fun, especially the first track "Work On You", although it gets a bit tiresome by the end. It's electro/disco/house or something, and after reading the reviews it seems it gets compared to Daft Punk a lot.

    Murs and Slug: Felt
    Minimal techno and minimal music in general have been the focus of my attention for most of the past year, but if I wouldn't have been distracted by that I probably would have acquired a lot more hip-hop albums. I haven't listened to this one that much but it seems like a solid EP.

    Roots Manuva: Awfully Deep
    I've heard Roots Manuva on a few tracks as a guest, but this is the first album I've heard from him. And I've been listening to it a lot. It's another highlight of my purchases this year. The production is really interesting for a pretty popular artist.

    Swayzak: Dirty Dancing and Loops from the Bergerie
    Another "new" artist for me. I guess this is somewhere in the realm of house, maybe microhouse. Both albums remind me a lot of Herbert's Around the House, and most of the tracks have vocals. Both are excellent albums.

    And that's what I got at the World's Largest Garage Sale this year so far. I'll hopefully be going back on Wednesday.