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various artists / triple r selection 3 / trapez

The latest addition to the Selection series on Trapez has arrived. This third Triple R mix starts smooth and dives deep immediately. Starring Dominik Eulberg, Hansen & DJ Daniel, Matthias Rahn, Marcos Cabral, an unreleased Sarah Goldfarb track with vocals by Riley Reinhold, and a plethora of the LTD 12-inches.
listen: only love
listen: coco puffs

agf + delay / explode / agf producktion

This first proper full-length collaboration displays an interesting evolution for the duo. Vladislav Delay's production incorporates more deep house elements from his Luomo project while Laub's Antye Greie embellishes her spoken narrations with warm melodies. Minimal and impressionistic, Explode reveals itself with repeated listens.
listen: explode baby

c-schulz / 5. flicker tunes / sonig

This is the first proper release from C-Schulz in over five years! An elder statesman of the experimental electronic community in Cologne, C-Schulz has been quietly creating carefully orchestrated drone pieces out of layers of electronics, field recordings, and various objects and instruments for well over two decades. His self-titled duo CD from 2000 with frequent collaborator Hajsch (C-Schulz & Hajsch) is considered by many, including myself, to be a classic. His tremendous influence on the experimental scene in Cologne is quite evident in his choice of collaborators over the years -- Marcus Schmickler (Pol), Georg Odijk (Kontakta), Frank Dommert (Kontakta), Andi Toma, Jan St. Werner, Harold 'Sack' Zielgler etc.

While 5. Flicker Tunes is no great departure from C-Schulz's previous efforts, his modest and singularly focused approach serves him well on the eight pieces contained on the album. Fluttering electronics gradually envelope subtle instrumental passages and atmospheric field recordings to create an overall texture that's both engrossing and beautiful. Averaging around six-minutes, the pieces on 5. Flicker Tunes are remarkably economical in means and demonstrate a sense of precision and attention to detail not often found in more recent drone based compositions. An extremely concise effort that rewards repeated listening. Let's hope we don't have to wait another five years for the next installment.
listen: flicker
listen: weilland


ellen allien / thrills / bpitch

out may 2005


listen: i fell in love with a dead boy
listen: cripple and starfish


tiefschwarz / misch masch / fine

The much requested mix and remix collection from Tiefschwarz! Two generous CDs, the "Misch Masch" mix features rockin' electro tracks from acts like Sleep Archive, Max Durante with Keith Tucker, Think Twice, Kiki, Code 6 and Mat Jonson. The other is an 11-track collection of remixes done for artists like Unit, Lopazz, Spektrum, DJ Hell and Mocky.

The mix is exactly what you'd expect from the tasteful German electrohouse production duo. Stomping rock-electro-house where big synths weave and swell when necessary. Their production is a cross between Metro Area and DFA on Bpitchcontrol. Synthy, club-rocking jams with pseudo-natural drums to keep the fists pumping.
listen: quad 1 / code 6
listen: decompression / mat jonson
listen: listen to the hiss / hell
listen: mickey mouse muthafuckers / mockey feat. ad hawk

postal service / we will become silhouettes / sub pop

Two years later, Give Up is the album that keeps on giving. The snail mailed tape exchanges between Death Cab For Cutie's Ben Gibbard and Dntel's Jimmy Tamborello seems to have superseded both of their respective main projects, and here's one more single from Postal Service's lone album. The bouncy indie-tronica ode to nuclear obliteration, "We Will Become Silhouettes," is taken from their full-length, but fans will want to check out the three backing tracks. "Be Still My Heart" is a brand new song, while Styrofoam remixes "Nothing Better" and Ghostly International's Matthew Dear puts a nice subtle tech-pulse into a remix of the single's A-side.
listen: we will become silhouettes / matthew dear remix

christo and jeanne claude / the gates / nyc
central park



the mole / meets the bacon smugglers / risquée
bookmat review
listen: mole / lezgo lezgo

polmo polpo / kiss me again and again / intr-version
bookmat review


l'altra / different days / hefty

The Windy City has never been lacking in musical talent. Right now its electronic scene in particular is experiencing a creative boom with acts like Telefon Tel Aviv, Pulseprogramming and Slicker, the musical alias of John Hughes Jr., who also runs the Hefty label. L'altra, is another name that deserves to be near the top of this list. Originally a five-piece ensemble, co-founders Lindsay Anderson and Joseph Costa -- who ended a several year romantic relationship while recording this album -- scaled back the official line-up to just themselves, but among the nine or so guest musicians listed are recognizable names like avant-cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, horn player Nate Walcott (Bright Eyes, Rilo Kiley), and Pulseprogramming's Marc Heller.

Produced by Telefon Tel Aviv's Joshua Eustis, the duo's third full-length, and first with a Hefty logo, isn't exactly electronic in the traditional sense. The programmed beats and sonic textures are rounded out by the warm accoutrements of acoustic and electric guitars, Rhodes piano and bass. It all comes together creating a gorgeously restrained, at times heart-tugging, musical foundation for Anderson and Costa's intertwined vocals. Their sad, hushed melodies are quite sincere, the interplay between the two singers at times reminiscent of Ida's Daniel Littleton and Elizabeth Mitchell.

It's all about slow-building dynamics. L'altra utilize subtle crescendos much in the same way as Efterklang; the lulling tempos of the songs emphasize the lush textures of instrumentation that flow in and out, be it layers of horns, strings or a rare blast of guitar feedback. This is a perfect late night chill-out soundtrack for those looking for something slow, seductive and a little bittersweet.
listen: different days
listen: better than bleeding

bibio / fi / mush

Bibio is in fact an Englishmen named Stephen Wilkinson, who not only has an affinity for playing beautiful, finger-picked guitar passages, but also for impressionistic production inspired by electronic auteurs like Aphex Twin and Boards of Canada, and what sounds to be a love of his four-track. The latter explains the brief, nonsensical album title Fi. His debut album actually blurs the line between hi-fi and lo-fi, Wilkinson processing and layering his cassette recorded guitar passages with unrecognizable drones, tape loops, and nature sounds. During "Puddled in the Morning," the precise fingerpicked notes are almost unrecognizable, overtaken by his guitar's overtones. As the distant melody fades away, what one would assume to be the clicks and pops coming from a stuck groove of an old record suddenly turns into a campfire's crackle.

Warbled tape recordings of Wilkinson's circular folk guitar passages give the album a mysterious, almost timeless quality. One can imagine these songs coming from an unlabeled cassette that had once been covered in moss, unearthed in a damp, English forest. Boards of Canada's Marcus Eoin is actually responsible for introducing the young musician to the Mush label. But while adjectives like hazy, soothing and pastoral can be used in describing both BOC and Bibio, Wilkinson's approach is much more minimalist. Deprived of beats, picture Fennesz processing loops from old British folk recordings or Kevin Shields on a camping trip with Jewelled Antler Collective.
listen: bewley in white
listen: puddled in the morning

alva noto / transrapid + transvision / raster noton

Alva Noto has released two new CD-EPs, each beautifully packaged and printed in a cardstock, fold-over pocket manual sized booklet. The CDs themselves look a lot like the 20' to 2000' CD-EPs from a while back with a few added graphic lines imbedded in the clear plastic. Very nice. Thankfully, the high expectations inspired by the design are rewarded with music that matches the simple intricacy of its package.

The first noticeable quality is its simultaneous closeness and distance to hip-hop. Ultra-sterilized (clinical), isolated bass-bumps, clicks, buzzes and beeps (smaller than 'bleeps') bump, scratch and climb themselves into breakbeats fit for the biosphere -- not that that idea worked, but you know, imagine a manmade atmosphere. (Take the sounds Carsten Nicolai added to the Noto/Sakamoto album and arrange them in fresh, lively, active beat arrangements.)

After hearing both EPs for the first time (and feeling them immediately) it took me a while to realize the obvious: these tracks bear a striking resemblance to recent Pan Sonic releases. I realized that the difference, and the reason that I didn't notice right away, is that here, the hi-fidelity of the sounds is much more inviting; the tracks 'swing' more and are much less static with many buildups and breakdowns -- if Panasonic and Jan Jelinek jammed in a parking lot.
listen: future
listen: j