Browsing All Posts published on »January, 2013«

Pttrns – Body Pressure (electronica)

January 29, 2013

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Simon Reynolds wrote an interesting book about the recycling of culture, particularly mass- and popular culture, particularly music (it’s called Retromania if you want to read it). His central point, that culture is revived and recycled on an every decreasing cycle until it reaches the point at which no new language is possible, a sort of stylistic event horizon, is a valid one. However, underlying this observation is the important understanding that all language, of any kind, has always been concerned with other language; Pttrns make extensive use of established practices and motifs in Body Pressure, but so has every artist in every field. The moments of apparent rupture come in work that is fortunate enough to crest a technological …

Buke And Gase – General Dome (indie rock)

January 21, 2013

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Buke And Gase armour themselves in symbols; the inquisitive listener’s eye, probing the album’s packaging for keys to the music’s meanings may find some affective affinities between its appearance and the sound (that’s a matter for their own aesthetic conscience), but its gaze will be reflected, denied admission by the obviously meaningful but unyielding glyphs that adorn it. The duo have announced that clues to assist in the decoding of their bespoke graphical alphabet will be meted out on their website once the record is on general release, but in fact everything you need to crack the code is right there on the cover (I have to thank my daughter for spotting the album title, from which everything else fell into place) …

The Blackswords: Episode 6

January 18, 2013

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Amudr knew that their time in Tua was coming to an end. He was probably alone among the Blackswords in regretting it. The city was not large, but it was a cultured place, with booksellers and libraries, and good discourse to be found in its taverns. Soon he would be living on horseback again, and earning his way by stitching and cauterising the awful rewards of battle, or by easing its victims’ onward journeys to the Halls of Yats. At least they would be well-supplied with the smooth black wine for which the city was known, and they planned to return there when the campaign was concluded. The Barony of Minessor, of which it was the capital, was closely allied to Amudr’s home city of Megano, and he had the feeling of being in …

Various Artists – Album Roundup

January 16, 2013

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Sufficiently independent not to sound ‘indie’, yet aesthetically straightforward enough not to sound ‘experimental’, Neurotic Wreck’s schtick is a pretty accessible art-pop stew; a predominantly electronic production mashes up trip-hop, electro, shoegaze and other downbeat sources, into a melancholy and and carefully textured soundworld, freighted with nostalgia and regret. The album is all about its songs, which is to say it’s as much about lyrics and melody as it is about production, but the creative textures and arrangements are a central part of the utterance; it’s moderately avant-garde, but it’s also furnished with a pop sensibility, and very well put together. It’s not party music, but it’s very listenable, and indeed re-listenable.

Aartwork – First Draft (folk)

January 7, 2013

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‘Lo-fi’ has become an important part of the creative discourse of recorded music. Etymologically it’s nonsense: ‘fidelity’ has only ever been an ideological black-box in relation to the construction of ‘recordings’, while aesthetically the term points to a number of artistic strategies relating to the employment of specific textures rather than to any thresholds of quality or accuracy. Some of those textures are characteristic of technologies that are associated with poor quality standards, but the fact is that a cheap dynamic mic printing onto cassette can do a far better job of portraying the space and circumstances in which a recording has been made than expensive studio gear often does, not least because the listener is more likely to have some …

Paragaté – Spaceflight Pharmacology (ambient)

January 6, 2013

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Possessed of a melodic simplicity that invokes naïvety, and a harmonic rhythm that deploys some erudition in the service of fairy-tale inevitability, ‘Friendship’, the brief G. Cook piano piece with which Tom DePlonty opens Spaceflight Pharmacology, is a scene setter. Quickly succeeded by a piece that might more readily be associated with Paragaté’s established interest in ambient music, it serves notice to the listener that they should have their ears open, and that their critical responses should be held in abeyance until they have heard the entirety of this hour long utterance. Many of the pieces that follow are more aurally discursive than is common in ambient music, and although atmosphere is clearly a concern throughout, with a sense of…