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isan / meet next life / morr

It's been over two-and-a half years since "Lucky Cat," ISAN's last full-length, and not much has changed in the world of these Morr Music staples. Their ultra-melodic brand of warm analogue electronica is still here but this time out there is a slight twist. Robin Saville and Antony Ryan have for the first time added organic acoustic instruments into the fold, and what comes out is a beautiful amalgamation of both the traditional and the modern. Downtempo beats are the backbone, while spacey analogue synths float by, electronic blips and bleeps add some texture, and various acoustic instruments like acoustic guitars, hand percussion, glockenspiel, and many more flesh out the songs. The one thing about ISAN is that their tracks are meticulously composed, even though the melodies are extremely simple with each miniature part an essential to the whole. Once again, ISAN fail to disappoint and "Meet Next Life" is another exquisite album in their almost flawless discography. Recommended.
listen: isan/ birds over barges
listen: isan/ one man abandon

casino versus japan/ hitori + kaiso 1998-2001 / attacknine

Casino Versus Japan drops a bomb on us this week. Milwaukee's Erik Kowalski gives us 29 unreleased tracks that he recorded between 1998 and 2001. Why these songs didn't make it onto any "official album" is beyond me because they are far from "throwaways" as one might expect. All of these tracks are stunning, right from the very start of Disc 1. Album opener "Buried" is a lush downtempo jewel that could compare to any of the amazing tracks on Boards Of Canada's "Music Has the Right to Children"... yes, it's that good. The first disc is comprised of mostly upbeat and lush sounding songs with some of the more ambient pieces left for Disc 2. Freescha and your Attacknine label, I thank you; for if not for them "Hitori + Kaiso" probably would have never seen the light of day, and that would truly be a shame. By the way this is a 2-CD for a single CD price, and well worth it.
listen: casino versus japan/ buried
listen: casino versus japan/ bound by your smile