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lali puna / faking the books / morr

With Faking the Books, Lali Puna have finally come into their own and released their most cohesive and confident album to date. This album screams maturity and growth. The songs are slightly more catchy, the guitars and keys turned up in the mix, and the real standout here is Valerie Trebeljahr. All of those live shows and tours abroad seemed to have given her voice power and you can tell there's a newfound confidence that really makes her stand out as a proper front-woman. All the while the band has come up with the songwriting that allows her to shine while they create their trademark sound with bedroom electronics, analog keyboards, live drums, bass and guitars. Lali puna has created a great pop album by a band who has defiantly reached their full potential. Recommended.
listen: lali puna / micronomic
listen: lali puna / call 1-800-fear

mitchell akiyama / if night is a weed and day grows loss / sub rosa

Montreal resident Mitchell Akiyama's name should be familiar to anyone who has been following the undercurrents of contemporary experimental electronic music for the past several years. Having released several solo albums on labels such as Raster Noton, Alien8 and his own Intr_Vrsn label, Akiyama has somewhat quietly made a name for himself alongside Tim Hecker and some of the more beat driven (think Akufen, Deadbeat) electronic producers currently coming out of Montreal. While much of Akiyama's recent solo work can easily be compared to many other excellent post-Fennesz guitar and computer inspired projects, he continually manages to stand out with his almost classical approach to song structure and hazy production. Although he often works within rather specific aesthetic restraints he has always had an individual approach that is rare in such narrow quarters.

Consisting of mainly heavily filtered and repeating guitar and piano fragments that project through layers of hiss and static, If Night Is a Weed... has the overall effect of an underwater symphony. Melodies drift in and out as waves of static and hiss slowly grow into swelling masses of undulating texture. Akiyama's warm almost fuzzy production style lends itself well to his extremely stylized compositions. With a healthy dose of reverb and some light distortion, Akiyama's work has as much in common with fellow Montreal residents Do Make Say Think as it does with more digitally inclined producers. I was a little unsure of the blatant Steve Reich tribute "With Hope That" (think piano phase), but it's so well done that it's hard to hold it against him for giving a nod to those who came before. If Night Is a Weed and Days Grow Less is an extremely promising album with a range and depth that becomes more expansive with each new listen. Highly recommended.
listen: mitchell akiyama / with hope that
listen: mitchell akiyama / if day wins, night could fail

tape / operette - opera remixes / cubicfabric

The best of the best in minimal electronic music come together to pay tribute to Sweden's incredible electronic/acoustic innovators Tape, whose two recent albums have been big hits with OM's customers and staff. The remixes on this collection are built almost entirely from tracks on the group's first release, Opera. Oren Ambarchi, who has collaborated in the past with Tape's resident acoustic guitar/harmonium master Johan Berthling, offers one of the record's most compelling interpretations with his guitar accompaniment played over a loop of one of Tomas Hallonsten's amazing melodica lines. Hazard's remix adds a subtle pulse to a track that otherwise sounds relatively unchanged, and the minor change in instrumentation takes the song in a surprising and interesting new direction. Other notable contributors include Apestaartje artists Minamo and Anderegg, drone guru Stephan Mathieu, and Pita on one of his most subdued and pleasant compositions ever. Like the music on Tape's studio albums, everything on here is highly melodic, relaxing, hypnotic and just simply beautiful.
listen: oren ambarchi / summa afrique
listen: hazard / noises from a hill

dogville / lars von trier

DOGVILLE is an amazing portrayal of the extremities of humanity. Lars Von Trier's masterpiece and depiction of one town could not be more truthful about the beauty and ugliness of humanity. The acting is superb, that you actually forget you're watching characters set on a stage. The narrator couldn't be more effectively used to describe the story where words from the script / book speak louder than any movie. The act of story telling this simplistic yet complicated tale could not have been delivered better. Truly a highlight compared to any movie watched prior. Highly recommended.


ellen allien / astral / bpitch *out May 2004

vladislav delay / demo(n) tracks / huume

Vladislav Delay returns with his first album on his Huume label. After exorcising his house demons with the recent Luomo LP, our favorite Finnish producer brings us 13 tracks of digi-dub, ambience, and minimalism.
listen: vladislav delay / kohmeesa

funkstorung / disconnected / k7

After four years and 15 remixes, the duo known as Funkstorung return with their new full-length, Disconnected. This time around they've expanded their palette inviting tons of collaborators which include trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer, vocalists Erik, Lou Rhodes (Lamb) and Sarah Jay (Massive Attack), as well as rappers Tes and Rob Sonic, and essentially a live band (piano, electric and acoustic bass, cello, acoustic drums, guitar, DJ). Tired of making purely instrumental music, on Disconnected they showcase their producer skills turning themselves into a downtempo soul/electronic pop/hip-hop collective a la Massive Attack, Telefon Tel Aviv, Lamb, DJ Krush, Vadim, or Scott Herren. Not just simply tracks, this one has 'songs' which blend their trademark snap-crackle-pop rhythms, and cut-up, time-stretched snares and cymbals that made them a name to mention. But there is also a newfound taste for the classic feel of vocal music, be it rapped or sung. Overall, this one is more for the beach rather than the dancefloor with enough bite to keep you out of the chill-out lounge. Full of warm, spring infused vibes and varied moods, Disconnected is urban, digital, soulful and tropical, tastefully crafted with if you will, a gritty beautifulness.
listen: funkstorung / sleeping beauty
listen: funkstorung / moon addicted


deadbeat / something borrowed, something blue / ~scape

The timing couldn't have been better for this album to come out. These days, "digi-dub" conjures up the sound of dark and heavy-lidded, surface-noise filled beatscapes. Don't get me wrong, I still love Pole, Rhythm and Sound, Kit Clayton etc., but I'm not excited about the prospect of hearing just another version of the aforementioned artists.

Deadbeat's new album, his second on Stefan Betke's Scape label, IS a solid member of the "digi-dub" family, but it manages to stand on its own, deftly avoiding falling into digital dub cliché. For one thing, the album is not another track-to-track exploration of the same theme over and over. From the first note the album opens up slowly and evolves, slowly introducing shifts in rhythm and melody that follow alternately open and song-like structures. Killer warm bass is woven into directed ambient moments that progress into nicely developed songs. Good old-fashioned quality "songwriting" that's well sequenced to create an "album" feel. (It sounds like I'm grasping, but I'm not, trust me.)

This album also successfully uses its dub roots as a launch pad instead of an anchor. In other words, it takes its dub inspiration and moves away from it to become something else enjoyable in its own right rather than sounding like a looped tribute album. Sounds easy, but as I hinted at in the "timing" comment earlier, these days that counts for a lot. I've been recommending this album left and right as a downright solid new electronic album. It might not change your worldview, but you'll definite play this one over and over.
listen: deadbeat / fixed elections
listen: deadbeat / white out