Browsing All Posts published on »November, 2012«

The Echelon Effect – Field Recordings (post-rock/ ambient)

November 30, 2012


The development and inheritance of stylistic traditions is rarely as linear or orderly as is commonly imagined; the evolution of art seems to follow a process of cultural selection analogous to the biological processes identified by Charles Darwin. In art, as in nature, developmental processes diverge, converge, intersect and run parallel in unpredictable ways; just as convergent evolution produces mammals that look exactly like fish, so the pursuit of particular creative inclinations within a broad tradition can lead to rock music that sounds like ambient music, or even Field Recordings. Conversely, the body of artistic practices commonly classified as ‘post-rock’ diverges quite radically at its extremes, with heavy guitars and mathy complexity at one pole…

Various Artists – Singles and EPs

November 20, 2012


Why do I write reviews? Largely so that I can blag free music instead of buying it like everyone else, and so I can kid my conscience that my inane ramblings are an adequate substitute for paying musicians their due. Of course I can (and will, given half a chance) list any number of more high-minded motivations, but I always feel that the transaction is balanced in my favour; so when this CD was pressed on me by guitarist Simon Rollo, and a review requested with the circumspection of a man asking me to clean the diarrhoea off his sofa, I was amused, embarrassed and confirmed in my impression of Three Thrones, which is that whatever they’re full of, it’s not themselves.

Straw Bear – Black Bank (folk-pop-rock)

November 17, 2012


Songwriters are faced with a number of choices, regarding the weighting of significance towards the different parts of their practice. Many or most of those that might be described as singer-songwriters signal their emphasis on writing rather than performance, or on non-verbal aspects of composition, by ensuring that the ‘music’ doesn’t draw attention to itself. Leaving on one side the issue that the music can’t be effectively separated from the lyrics (at least not when speaking of anything that makes effective use of the conventions of songwriting), this usually entails staying well within the bounds of a stylistic safety zone; one wide enough to encompass the generic tropes of country, folk, blues, rock, swing, the tamer regions of punk …

There Is No Teenage Love – There Is No Teenage Love (ambient/ drone)

November 12, 2012


This album is enigmatic from the start, or even earlier in fact. Who is this skinny, elfin featured, uncomfortably hunched girl with smoke in her mouth and a triangle drawn on her sternum? What do they mean by saying ‘there is no teenage love’? As a statement, it is true in some senses, and untrue in many others, depending on your own valuation of its terms. When the music begins, it is entirely unclear what it’s going to mean; several minutes into the first tune we are still wondering what’s going to happen, what we should be feeling, when the threads are going to come together into an audible utterance, when the tension is going to unravel and release us. Around the fourth minute meaningful sequences of harmonic material begin to emerge…

Various Artists – Album Roundup

November 8, 2012


As far as I know Dialect are no longer an active collective, although its members continue to release razor sharp and uncompromisingly independent hip-hop on their own account; they have released a lot of great music, and are clearly a mainstay of hip-hop in the Northeast, and this is the second album of unreleased tracks to appear on emcee Joe Eden’s Killamari Records imprint. You don’t expect a bunch of disparate tracks like this, recorded at different times for different reasons, to sound like an album as such when they’re bundled together for release, but there is a certain coherence to this music, a consistent aesthetic that makes it clear it’s a Dialect album, not a bunch of tracks by the crew’s various members. The rhymes speak …