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various / state of the union / spectral
- a look at the underground techno scene in Montréal, featuring deadbeat, mike shannon and the mole
listen: sleazy skankin - deadbeat

lawrence / spark ep / ghostly
- deep beautiful magic
listen: wasting a fall

mountains / mountains / apestaartje
Mountains is a collaboration between Brendon Anderegg and Koen Holtkamp, the label heads behind Apestaartje. Through their combined efforts they've succeeded in creating the greatest electronic album I've heard since Fennesz's Endless Summer. Like that particular album, this one reaches beyond the boundaries of its genre. Too many so-called experimental records are simply content to wallow in a self-inflicted ghetto-isation, never bothering to attempt to bridge the gap between what can be listenable and still artistically forward-thinking and compelling. So what we have here is a rare feat indeed, four slowly unfolding tracks that are artfully and meticulously constructed and which use computers and layers of field recordings as well as various and sundry live instruments to provide a palpable humanness.
listen: paper windmill
listen: down under the manhattan bridge overpass


various artists / minimize to maximize / minus

Nice, new, compilation from Richie Hawtin's Minus imprint featuring all new artists. Minimize to Maximize is full of deep, pumping throb-funk, with the dry minimal production of Perlon mixed with the funk of Playhouse. The tracks develop nicely and generously with sudden shifts and builds that don't rely on played-out, traditional transitions.
listen: magda / the black room
listen: marc houle / east to west

markus guentner / 1981 / kompakt

Markus Guentner is known as being "the inventor of pop-ambient." Guentner's latest release is beautiful ambient textured bliss. Why would anyone want to miss out on this album?
listen: wanderung
listen: wenn musik der liebe nahrung ist
listen: jelly fish
listen: hi-jacked
listen: sommergewitter
listen: umgebung
listen: der wuestenplanet
listen: der hotel shanghai


sam prekop / who's your new professor / thrill jockey

Fans of the Sea and Cake and Sam Prekop's previous solo release will be pleased to hear that his newest solo venture doesn't wander too far from the sound that made him famous. (It also probably helps that three-quarters of the Sea and Cake play on Who's Your New Professor, as well as Chad Taylor, Josh Abrams and Rob Mazurek, the same instrumentalists responsible for his earlier solo album's lighter, jazzy touch.) "Something" opens the record with Prekop's layered, breathy vocals hovering over the sounds of a cornet and bass. The album follows through with a mix of livelier instrumentals and flowing, soothing songs, Prekop's melodies melting into phased-out guitar and gentle rhythms; in "Magic Step," his vocal disappears allowing the warm, Caribbean-inspired percussion to carry the track. Perfectly gratifying for these last (let's hope!) nights of winter.
listen: density
listen: dot eye

masha qrella / unsolved remained / morr

Sweet vocal melodies with experimental indie-tronic pop. "Destination Vertical" by Rechenzentrum and Masha Qrella was also previously released on ~scape's But Then Again five year anniversary album.
listen: destination vertical
listen: feels like

goldmund / corduroy road / type

Goldmund is the alias of Keith Kenniff, a young Berklee student who has previously released an album of electronic music on Merck. This sparse tastefully performed solo piano music is very delicately played, and with only the barest accompaniment, Kenniff manages to create a compelling dramatic arc over the course of the album's 13 songs.
listen: ba
listen: door of our home

minamo / shining / 12k

Japanese electro-acoustic minimalists Minamo have returned with the much-anticipated follow-up to 2003's aptly titled Beautiful. Last year, band member Keiichi Sugimoto released two great solo albums under the name Fourcolor. I was enthralled with his gorgeous processed guitar pieces, but upon popping the new Minamo album into my stereo I realized that I'd forgotten the wonderful intricacies and dynamics of the full quartet's interplay. As on their previous four full-length releases, Minamo have built the album around live recordings and improvisations, with lulling electronic textures and ambient drones building and weaving amidst simple piano and acoustic guitar passages. This is a group that doesn't need to hide behind a massive and dense wall of sound, but instead works with an incredibly light and precise touch. Shining is a fantastic album, quite possibly their greatest one yet. Of the many groups working with laptops today, very few have figured out how to develop this level of organic interaction between the musicians. Minamo makes the process look deceptively easy.
listen: raum
listen: tone

dj hell / ny muscle / international deejay gigolo

DJ Hell borrowed A.R.E. Weapon's track title for his latest album, NY Muscle, and hired some "NY muscle" to help him make a new album of nasty dancefloor rumbling jams. The album is peppered with a few bleepy nouveau electro tracks Keep on Waiting and Wired featuring Jon Selway, plus a cameo by James Murphy adding his muddy/blown speaker, smash-cymbal disco rock vibe to Tragic Picture Show, but the majority of the album is nouveau Chicago: dark, pumping house grooves with a teaspoon of nastiness thrown in. Let's party!
listen: keep on waiting (feat. erlend oye)
listen: listen to the hiss


lawrence / the absence of blight / dial

How could I have missed this album? Beautiful deep minimal house that warms the heart with lovely elegant ambient melodies. Great comfort listening while indoors and avoiding the March winter wonderland outside.
listen: -
listen: fifteen minutes with you
listen: winter green
listen: somebody hold me


top albums each year:

2004: michael mayer / fabric 13 / fabric

2003: ellen allien/ berlinette / bpitch

2002: múm / finally we are no one / fat cat

2001: fennesz / endless summer / mego


montag / alone, not alone / carpark/grooom disques

Montréal resident, Montag aka. Antoine Bédard has sampled sound sources of 17 different classical instruments at the Conservatoire de Montréal to create his second album Alone, Not Alone while including notable guests like Broadcast's James Corgill and Amy Millan from the Stars and the Broken Social Scene to contribute to his album. Bédard's songs are often crafted around '60s-inspired pop melodies, it's what I'd imagine if Stereolab was part of the Morr Music roster.
listen: perfect vision
listen: temps partiel