31 August 2010

Kyle Bobby Dunn - a young person's guide to (2010, Low Point)

Two disks, close to two hours of ambient atmospheric soundscape music,  both daunting and saturating to listen to this record , when , first there is not much variation and secondly, others have already explored the genre and imposed their approach, style and aesthetics.
If I look at the picture on the cover I see someone eating in a trendy, probably Greek, restaurant. Is this record like a restaurant and I'm invited to consume? An consume a young person's guide to the artist, like discovering a city with a Lonely Planet guide?

video : "Techno" by Coconut

Music Video for Techno by Coconut from The Heap on Vimeo.

30 August 2010

The .Nude Hours - winter and smoke (2010, Paperheart)

Back in the days. I used to listen to Elliot Smith early releases, I'm still in admiration about The Lemonheads circa "It's a shame about Ray" and "Come on Feel", I'm a deep fan of most of Julie Doiron and Pedro The Lion discographies, without mentioning my primacy towards all things slowcore. Speaking of the influences François Milet - The Nude Hours is the solo project of the singer/guitarist of Paperweight - mentions on his myspace it's on the power pop & indie rock side that I follow him less. At least these days, back in the nineties, I was listening to such stuff.

29 August 2010

Landrecorder - morning, afternoon, evening (2010, Feedback Loop)

Short ep released on Feedback Loop, a netlabel from Lisbon, Portugal, "Morning, afternoon, evening" is the first release of Landrecorder, an artist that doesn't want to disclose his name but he is based in the UK.

These three tracks mix field recordings and instruments. With the revolution of affordable portable digital recorders such an evolution in the ambient field was expected to bloom and this ep, like the one Padang Food Tigers recently released too is an impressive success in this direction already opened a few years ago by Yuichiro Fujimoto or Daisuke Miyatani.

28 August 2010

Yamon Yamon - this wilderness (2010, Tenderversion)

Like Last Days of April, Sambassadeur or Jeniferever, Yamon Yamon comes from Sweden. Like those acts their sound production is smooth, crystal clear, polished, warm and dynamic, youthful and refreshing but lacks of innovation and of a strong or moving personal dimension.

27 August 2010

Padang Food Tigers - go down, moses (2010, Under The Spire)

UK duo consisting of S. A. Grady and S. J. Lewis (two thirds of Rameses III), based in the London area, Padang Food Tigers offers here a debut release as a short ep of three instrumental tracks for a total length just below the ten minutes mark.

It reminds me of the softest parts of Scott Tuma's discography along early albums by Collections of Colonies of Bees, Rameses III on their most bucolic side or the intimate instrumental folk parts of Bridget St. John ("Ask me no questions" era).

26 August 2010

George & Caplin - secluded malls and scenic byways/requiem for an encyclopedia (2010, Plastic Sound Supply)

George & Caplin is a du from Denver, Colorado, consisting of Jason Fredrick Iselin and Jeffrey Wentworth Stevens,  exploring ambient music but with certain debt towards the psychedelic post-rock  or ambient folk-rock explorations of bands like Scenic or Eleventh Dream Day, not in an obvious manner, it's not even sure they know these bands but they share a common attraction for these desert landscapes often depicted in Cormac McCarthy books.

25 August 2010

Szymon Kaliski - out of forgetting (2010, Audiomoves)

Is it a Polish sensitivity like there is an Australian one or a Japanese one. The temptation to draw links with Tomasz Bednarczyk or So Quiet, or even here to a movie like "The Double Life of Veronique", is strong and maybe a too easy shortcut for a reviewer but I can't resist with the austerity, the use of electronic piano and a sense of electronic abstraction and a feeling of winter which are somewhat shared.

One Second Bridge - one second bridge - (2006, Burö)

Released in 2006, recorded between 2003 and 2004, the debut album for an Argentinian duo - Vincente Garcia Landa and Matias Bienaszweski - is a strange object. They released an ep and a b-sides album in 2010 before calling it quits and moving to new projects that until now fail to catch my interest. 

Chihei Hatakeyama - august cdr (2009, Under The Spire)

My discovery of Chihei Hatakeyama's works has been delayed by his first album on Kranky, “Minima Moralia”, which failed to convince me, but the discovery of his magnificent project Opitope decided me to give him another chance, and everything I've heard gave me a strong impression.

“August” seems a good place to start, three tracks and just below forty minutes, a CDR release on this small but astonishing label based in Wales, Under The Spire. Only 200 copies exist and of course, it is out of print.

24 August 2010

Federico Durand - la siesta del ciprés (2010, Spekk)

Siesta : “An afternoon rest or nap, esp. one taken during the hottest hours of the day in a hot climate”.

Between awakening and sleep, not in deep sleep but with a dissolved consciousness, listening to “La Siesta del Ciprés” is like walking through a deep fog, unsure if it's a dream or the reality, but without losing track, keeping alert while almost weightless.

23 August 2010

Mole Harness - a present from the future (2006, Stray Dog Army)

Instrumental post-rock, with guitars and electronic manipulation, by a musician with a melancholic sensitivity and a good musical culture (he's a fan of musician like Sébastien Roux, Fennesz, The Durutti Column, The Red House Painters or Steve Reich, among others). “A present from the future” sound somewhere between a more emotional and mysterious Helios and a more direct, rapid and terrestrial July Skies. At times I wouldn't be surprised to hear a few whispered vocals but they never appear.

Gregor Samsa - rest (2008, Own Records)

When I discovered this album by Gregor Samsa in 2008, there was one french word that directly arose and seemed to encompass perfectly my perception : “Rest” was “ampoulé”.

Sadly i can't get an accurate translation of the word so I'll have to explain it better. “Ampoulé” could be translated into “turgid”, “pompous”, “bombastic” or overtly precious with a religious theatrical candor.

20 August 2010

Chauchat - upon thousands (2008, Yer Bird)

"Upon Thousands” is not a difficult or modern album. It could have been certainly already released in the first part of the nineties. Except maybe the fact that the voice is sometimes prominent (a fact that could be understood as an early Bright Eyes similarity or as an emotional position). It's the melodies and the instruments that marks this time limit of a very attractive and engaging record that would have been a classic (or at least critically mythic) album if released then. Most of the songs on “Upon Thousands” are slighly reworked version of the ones on his record on the netlabel Sundays in Spring.

Foxes in Fiction - swung from the branches (2010, Moodgadget)

Even if the stylistic comparison is limited, chillwave and not folktronica, dreampop and not electronica influences, Foxes in Fiction, aka William Hildebrand, from Toronto, starts where Khonnor seemed to have disappeared after his album “Handwriting”. 

Yet “Swung from the branches” is more a compilation in two parts, more a mixtape than a coherent and massive album.

19 August 2010

Jónsi & Alex - riceboy sleeps (2009, EMI)

The musical result of five years of intimate artistic collaboration between Jónsi (Jon Thor Birgisson – Sigur Ros) and Alex (Alex Somers – Parachutes and behind most of the artwork of Sigur Ros) is a long instrumental album with the episodic interventions of the members or Amiina and a children's choir.

The Relict - tomorrow is again (2006, Pehr)

Innes Phillips started The Relict when he left The Clientele but while listening to “Tomorrow is again” (from 2003 but re-released three years later on Pehr) you'll get the impression he never went too far – members of The Clientele have helped here - from their sound only a little bit closer to the softer sounds of Galaxie 500 and Mazzy Star , but not so much.

17 August 2010

Beneva vs Clark Nova - sombunall (2008, Fenêtre)

This is the debut album by this Norwegian duo (their second one is already out). On “Sombunall”, Frank Benjamin Finger and Rudi Simmons have slightly changed of purpose if you compare it to their first ep. There is less room here for contemplation of blurry atmospheric landscapes, less ambient introspection and more actions & melodies. They moved towards the electronica & folktronica side of a band like The Books, if you want to resume the situation.

Paperweight - snails of april (2010, Paperheart)

"Snails of April" is rich of its influences - from The Posies to Death Cab For Cutie, from The Lemonheads to emopop bands- , an album full of power pop indie rock songs, this is the debut album of this self-produced Belgian band whose anonymous status never stopped them to progress.

16 August 2010

Belong - colorloss (2008, st. ives)

“October Language” still haunts me, at least sometimes I return to listen to the two first tracks of their debut album fervently and let the rest of the album flow.

So it wasn't without high expectations that I've listened fervently to their next ep. And expecting more of the same I was disappointed as instead of originals, it features four songs, as much covers than reworking of the original versions.

Bart & Friends - make you blush (2010, Lost & Lonesome)

As a member of The Cat's Miaow, Hydroplane, Pencil Tin, Bart & Friends and The Shapiros, Bart Cummings acquired slowly an iconic status on the indiepop scene as another essential songwriter besides Robert Forster and Grant McLennan from The Go-Betweens or Peter Milton Walsh from The Apartments, yet much less known than these ones.

14 August 2010

Taylor Deupree - stil. (2002, 12k)

On “stil.”, Taylor Deupree is exploring electronic music fields explored previously by german artists like Gas or Oval. This album features four long repetitive ambient tracks between 10 and 23 minutes, where he uses waves of sounds, minimal beats, clicks and rhythms for. The atmospheres are quiet, warm and appeasing and at times the use of loops can create the kind of soundscape William Basinski developed.

10 August 2010

Ghost To Falco - like this forever (2007, Below Pdx)

I've been very impressed by the debut release of Ghost To Falco, the solo project of Eric Crespo. I was then very curious to discover his first full length and a little bit anxious about the fact he recorded it with a full set of guest musicians. Turning a solo project into a full band can corrode a sensitivity completely.

Tucker Tota - tucker tucker tota is dull and ordinary (2010, Fall)

Solo project of a Brooklyn based songwriter, "Tucker Tota is Dull and Ordinary" is apparently his second album. These songs are mostly upbeat, catchy, vocals have an acidic quality. At best it recalls me of Kickball or early Minus Story records, with a tense, dark and dynamic vibe. 

08 August 2010

Hammock - stranded under endless sky (2005)

Hammock is a strange entity, instrumental ambient/post-rock duo of Marc Byrd and Andrew Thompson. This 2005 ep was recorded during the sessions for their debut album "Kenotic" so it is quite similar. Four tracks and 25 minutes, warm and hallucinating soundscapes that will give you the impression to fly.

Balmorhea - balmorhea (2007)

If the duo falls into the hi-fi and opulence on their second album, their debut is exquisite, intimate and lo-fi. Perfect acoustic instrumental music closer to early Owen stuff than to your average acoustic post-rock or indietronica offerings. But at the same time, it never breaks new ground, never as moving as Owen or early Album Leaf stuff, or less introspective and deep than Bexar Bexar. It is very pleasant but there is no lasting impression.

06 August 2010

Taylor Deupree - northern (2008, 12k)

"Northen" follows chronologically the splendid Taylor Deupree reworking of the Eisi album so the fact that this album is less electronic, more intimate, warmer and includes sounds from real instruments or with a more acoustic/analogic feeling than his previous solo works, with the use of electric piano, guitar, melodica or field recordings. "Northern" explorations are minimal and atmospheric, developing complex layers of sound creating evolving textures and ambiences. The album's cover offers a perfect perspective of the nature of its content, with organic construction out of a mineral / digital cold world of snow.

William Basinski - el camino real (2007, 2062)

El Camino Real is an historical road of 966 kilometers, in California, (built between 1683 and 1834) that makes the junction between Sonoma and San Diego. Along this road were placed distinctive bells.

05 August 2010

Sleep Whale - little brite (2006, Western Vinyl)

First ep for this instrumental duo from Denton, Texas, compositions floating somewhere between folktronica and post-rock between Helios and Balmorhea. They mix electronic and acoustic sounds, Joel plays guitar and cello, and Bruce plays violin.

Mount Moriah - the letting go (2010, Holidays For Quince)

First ep for this new project of Heather McEntire (guitar voice), concurrently with Bellafea and Un Deux Trois. With Jenks Miller at the guitar and James Wallace (percussions), she explores here a mix of americana and country, which follow the path opened by Jason Molina these last ten years and more.

04 August 2010

Mick Turner / Tren Brothers - blue trees (2007, Drag City)

This is a compilation of rare tracks of two side project of Dirty Three. A split between the Tren Brothers - Mick Turner (guitars, melodica, harmonica, keys and loops) and Jim White (drums and percussion) -, and Mick Turner solo. It's Dirty Three's post-rock style explorations but less the violin of Warren Ellis. Strangely the first track, “Swing (part 1 & 2) is figuring another violinist, Jessica Billey, for almost 10 minutes of peaceful contemplation of late summer landscapes.

It's a nice record but without real coherency, without major standout tracks but with a good number of nice sounding ones. So it is more for fans of these musicians than for newcomers who plan to discover the band, as it compiles various singles.

It works perfectly as a background ambience, distilling quietness and authenticity as time flows while your mind is occupied by various activities.


The Sandwitches - duck duck goose! (2010, Secret Seven / Empty Cellar)

Big departure for the Sandwitches from their album “How to make ambient sandcake”. They are reduced to a duo here, the drummer has been sent back home. Reverb has been invited and a whispered folk attitude has replaced their previous indie rock style. It's like discovering a totally new band embracing with talent a melancholic songwriting with debts towards 70's folk (Bridget St-John, Nick Drake, Pearls Before Swine), or more recent explorers of slowcore like Movietone, Scott Tuma, Rivulets or Tara Jane O'Neil.