Browsing All Posts published on »June, 2011«

Ports Of Call – Fractals (shoegaze/ dreampop)

June 22, 2011


Bass and drums provide Fractals with a spare and sturdy scaffold, from which they hang their shimmering banners of translucent, liquid sound. There are vocals, with audible lyrics, but for me they function similarly to the guitars, as a textural element: reverb returns are often separated in the mix from their sources, vocal or instrumental, but the effect is usually so wet, so expansive that it overrides the ‘literal’ dry sound. This is a music of soundscapes: it’s something of a cliché to talk about ‘visual’ music, and people often do so without being clear...

Future Gibbon – Begin Tofu Rub (jazz/ fusion)

June 21, 2011


The entire fusion/ jazz dichotomy has always been a bit of a spurious one. Sure, there are acts that are very clearly fusion, such as Weather Report, or Tribal Tech, and those that are very obviously acoustic jazz, such as, well, any of the huge variety of famous and unknown, creative and cookie-cutter bands that feature double bass, drums, piano and one or two horns. However, where many jazz fans look at history and see Miles Davis summoning fusion from the ether around 1967, there were precedents.

Monday Musings: Aesthetics And Meanings, Or How To Value Any Sound

June 20, 2011


Looking back at the variety of reviews I’ve written in the past few months, variety is the principal thing that strikes me. There are stylistic tendencies, but they have come about through natural enough processes, such as artists who know one another sending me their music to review: as far as my own proclivities are concerned I’m almost freakishly eclectic. This is a tendency I’ve noted in myself for many years, going back to when I was a young punk rocker who also enjoyed listening to the George Benson records I’d inherited from my dad, and it’s become more and more pronounced with time.

Saturday Summary 015

June 18, 2011


Freemium, and streaming models that offer entirely chimerical value are struggling this week. Which is nice. Pointless middlemen are finding it harder to get by in a market where they can no longer control access, and where ideological control structures are slipping away (or are starting to reflect a reshaped power structure). Oops, did I sound Marxist? I’m not, but the industry’s travails give the lie to the line they peddle about the nature of the business.

Word Or Object – They Shoot Horses, But Why? (dark ambient/ drone)

June 17, 2011


The cover of this release shows a dead horse still harnessed to the broken cart before which it met its demise. This is a different sort of horse shooting than that referenced in the title: this beast was (one presumes) executed for its usefulness to its killer’s enemy, or simply killed as a byproduct of its proximity to a human participant in armed conflict. Applied to such a scenario, the question They Shoot Horses, But Why? seems to question the cruelty of conflict: applied to the stories told in the novel and film entitled They Shoot Horses Don’t They?, asking ‘why’...

Chattabox And Samuel Otis – Hard Graft (hip-hop)

June 16, 2011


Thankfully it’s no longer necessary to pretend to be American to be taken seriously as a rapper, Brains McCloud & Silibil notwithstanding. Now you can spit lahk you be comin’ from sahf London unarmeen? Or you can ignore the scene’s prescriptions, and do what comes naturally. A big part of this album’s appeal (and it has a lot of appeal) is that it showcases a variety of voices, the voices of people rhyming like they come from where they come from. ‘Keeping it real’ has long been a touchstone among rappers who don’t, but it’s obvious from listening ...

datapuddle – MonkeySkyMonkey (indie/ folktronica)

June 15, 2011


This is an entertaining and individualistic album, that makes you laugh one minute, with its absurdist, science-fiction tinged humour, and then, while your mouth is still open, slaps you with something altogether less superficial. This is music with something to say, and it says it without going to either extreme, of ramming it down your throat with bespoke dissonances, or of speaking in clichés. datapuddle is a collaboration between stevepuddle and lextrical, whose Deletia I have recently reviewed: all those lower case names!