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thomas brinkmann / tokyo + 1 / max ernst

Another magnificent release from Brinkmann, this time he's exploring the textural urban landscapes of Tokyo + 1...Greece.
listen: thomas brinkmann / mate song
listen: thomas brinkmann / e-bar



múm / summer make good / fat cat

If you've heard Múm's excellent pair of Fat Cat albums, Yesterday Was Dramatic, Today Was OK and Finally We Are No One, you should have some idea of what to expect from Summer Make Good: songs that stray a bit from traditional form, yet retain an internal sense of structure; a panoply of instruments, real and virtual; a uniquely Icelandic sense of innocence and melody counterbalanced with dangerous swaths of noise and chaos; and a nearly comprehensible yet slightly alien title.

But while the album has plenty in common with its predecessors, Múm is working on perfecting a mode of expression rather than being stuck in a rut. Its choice of instruments has become more subtle, even while the range expands--most of these songs incorporate some form of guitar or piano, but you're just as likely to hear a bit of banjo or glockenspiel played against a MAX/MSP patch. The various elements are interwoven so as not to call undue attention to themselves for eclecticism's sake. Kristin Anna Valtysdottir's delicate, childlike voice whispers simple, poetic lyrics, but her twin sister has moved on from the group, leaving her tiny voice alone among the waves of music crashing around it.

Summer Make Good might be a maritime concept album, as well, as titles like "The Island of Children's Children," "Oh, How the Boat Drifts" and "Abandoned Ship Bells" are hard to miss. Where Múm's music used to reflect the cold-yet-bright contradictions of Iceland, on Summer Make Good it seems to have sailed off into some dark, mythic Nordic sea, and these songs are the half-remembered sea shanteys of a vessel long gone.

Rob Geary
listen: múm / the ghosts you draw on my back
listen: múm / the island of children's children

thomas brinkmann / tour de traum / traum

For Tour De Traum, Kompakt's sister label and its owner Riley Reinhold open the vaults and let the one and only Thomas Brinkmann in to do what he will with them. And that he does. Brinkmann takes his favorite Traum tracks and mashes, splices, fades and overlaps them in a way that only he can. In the first song alone, he melds four tracks into one 3-minute segment that not only adds a bit to each of the individual songs, but he has created something new and all his own. Thomas is never one to make things easy on himself for he has reshaped and interpreted eight of the 13 tracks contained herein, tweaking some ever-so-slightly but still adding his personal touch -- one that is both bass heavy and dubbed out. On this CD I have to say that Thomas Brinkmann has had excellent source material to work with (probably some of the best that Cologne has to offer) and he has created an impeccable mix that lives up to the standards of himself, Traum and I am sure, you, the listener. This is one of the finest mixes that I have heard in some time and it has a surefire place in my CD changer for months to come. Recommended!
listen: thomas brinkmann / surface + today
listen: thomas brinkmann / polar 1: 21: 31