31 December 2011

Swimming - ellipses (Audiobulb, 2011)

"Ellipses" is the debut album for Swimming, aka Devon Ferrucci, from Arcata, CA. His music seems to go through a lot of processing and reworking, with fragments and layers of guitars, keyboards, occasional whispers and hums, lots of beats and percussion instruments, denoting a true sense of imagination, a natural inclination for complexity and an idea of perfectionism mixed with sincerity.

29 December 2011

Au Palais - tender mercy ep (The Sounds of Sweet Nothing, 2011)

"Tender Mercy" by Au Palais is a very addictive song and I was indeed unable to resist and directly I connected it to another similar experience I had with "Lately" by Memoryhouse.

Both bands are duos, except Tender Mercy is a sibling duo, brother and sister, David and Elise Commathe are behind it, both are also coming from Toronton, Canada, and enjoy ethereal - 4AD tagged (This Mortal Coil / Cocteau Twins) - dreampop, thought Au Palais like it colder, darker and with more propulsive beats.

28 December 2011

Squanto - on being lumpy (2011)

2011 hasn't been a bad year for slow melancholic slowcore albums, with Talons', Owen, Rivulets, Saso, Idaho or Deep Waters and I'm lucky enough to close the year with one promising discovery, "On Being Lumpy" from the until now totally unknown to me songwriter Ben Lovell who releases his music under the name Squanto.

27 December 2011

Rivulets - yearlings (2011)

There are five years between "You are my home" (2006) and "We"re fucked" (2011) so it doesn't come as a surprise that a few songs were written and then lost inbetween.

But not irremediably and at the occasion of a tour, six of these songs see the light of the day as a tour CD.

26 December 2011

Ferran Fages - lullaby for lali (Etude, 2010)

I'm a total new to Etude Records and to the discography of Ferran Fages but sound samples from his record I came across by pure luck made me want to experience it completely. I'm not regretting it.

The atmospheres, textures and compositions along his guitar playing remind me of 90's records by Gastr Del Sol and Dirty Three, but with a more lo-fi, intimate and personal approach.

25 December 2011

Black Sea Storm - kayip bir ask (2011)

Black Sea Storm is the solo project of Ali Ozkan who was previously active in the projects Channing Cope  and Shere.

It's the second EP from Black Sea Storm that I am reviewing and similarly if the music and melodies are close and similar to what he did with Channing Cope and Shere, the use of Turkish language instead of English for the vocals is creating difficulties for me.

24 December 2011

Grand Hallway - winter creatures (2011)

I am a fan of Asahi's album "Head above water" (2002) but next I never really enjoyed what Tomo Nakayama did after with his project Grand Hallway: too orchestral, too sirupy, too melodic for me.

But the third album of this Seattle band, "Winter Creatures" is an intrinsically different affair.

23 December 2011

David Sylvian & Holger Czukai - flux & mutability (1989, Virgin)

This is the second collaboration between David Sylvian (ex-Japan) and Holger Czukay (member of Can) and through the years I've stayed quite fond of this release.

There are two tracks, "Flux (A Big, Bright, Colourful World)" and "Mutability ("A New Beginning Is In The Offing")", which are close to the Brian Eno ambient works, but developing their own aesthetics. 

22 December 2011

Astatine - warm machine ep (2011, Orgasm)

Second solo EP for Stéphane Recrosio, one of the members of Acetate Zero. If he was exploring indie lo-fi landscapes on "Free Jazz Valentine EP", here he is exploring a more experimental side for a release limited to 36 copies.

With "Words in decay", we start in the Acetate Zero courtyard but transplanted in the New Zealand landscape as the Jefferies brothers influence could not be denied, a delicate lo-fi song at the acoustic guitar, intimate and desperate.

Minamo - documental (2011, Room40)

If I'm counting right, this is the eleventh release by this Japanese quatuor and if I haven't listened to their whole discography, I have a lot of respect and consideration for their music and "Documental" won't change my opinion.

The opening track "Draw the line" is simply superb and is the highlight of "Documental". Digital waves of sound mixed with intimate guitar playing and reverberated sparse piano sounds, for a contemplative and melancholic effect. Eleven minutes of relief.

20 December 2011

Herzfeld – The Sack (Duophonic, 1994 / Disques Persévérance, 2011)

Malcolm Eden was the singing and playing guitar in McCarthy, between 1985 and 1990, writing political lyrics under communist and far left influence. 

After the end of McCarthy, he formed Herzfeld, who released an EP and a 10-inch album on the Duophonic label, while other members formed Stereolab.

19 December 2011

Devil on the Beach - ep (2011)

This is the solo project by Neil Weir, from Minneapolis. You don’t have to be a devil to know he is a fan of all works by Robin Guthrie and has probably exhausted the shoegaze catalogue - with a My Bloody Valentine option on the sounds of some guitars.

18 December 2011

Johannes Heldén – Title Sequence (Ideal, 2010)

Second album for Swedish ambient musician Johannes Helden,  eight years after his first one, 'Sketchbook" on Trente Oiseaux.

Nothing really new under the sun as it resumes and uses many conventions of the style. Luckily, he has got a clear vision of his style of music so it doesn't sound like belonging to the 90's blooming ambient scene but much more like an updated version, with an obvious knowledge of works by Gas or William Basinski.

12 December 2011

Daisuke Miyatani - kioque (2011)

Four years afer his debut album "Diario", on Ahornfelder, Daisuke Miyatani is back with a second, self-released album, "Kioque", which is a 53 minutes collection of 23 tracks, from 11 seconds to 6 minutes long.

It's like a collection of tiny fragments, loosely connected, potentially revealed by light breeze and sunlight. 

11 December 2011

Cold Mountain Child - high peak hearth songs (2011, Diamond Wave Press)

"High peak hearth songs" could be stashed in a stack of records from Lullaby for the Working Class, Scud Mountain Boys, Lambchop, American Music Club or Hotel Alexis and you wouldn't noticed a difference. 

It follows a two years hiatus, were David and Tyler were living in different towns, different countries, until they both return to live in Kalamazoo, Michigan. 

10 December 2011

Astatine - free jazz valentine (2011, Orgasm)

The only thing which competes with the quality of the Acetate Zero discography is their lack of recognition mainly due to an absence of self-promotion. Their last album as example has been only released on vinyl. 

At least they achieved a certain form of underground recognition and most diehard fans of 90 indie styles of music such as slowcore, lo-fi or shoegazing know them. 

Narrative - sleeping pavements ep (2011)

Second EP for Lewis Gorham, in the continuity of his first one, simply intensifying the quality of his first opus.

Even if this territory of ambient / atmospheric  style of music, mixing and processing field recordings layers of digital sounds with instruments, is well populated by other artists, Lewis Gorham's approach surprises by the warmth, a feeling of shoegazing intimacy and a lasting impression of deep personal melancholy.

04 December 2011

Illuha - shizuku (12k, 2011)

Illuha is a project of Tomoyoshi Date and Corey Fuller, both residing in Tokyo. They met through a common friend, Chihei Hatakeyama, and began collaborating in 2008.

Their debut album, "Shizuku", has been recorded in a church, at Bellingham, WA. While I know their solo releases, "Otoha" for Tomoyoshi and "Seas Between" for Corey Fuller, I'm positively surprised by their artistic organic collaboration. "Shizuku" shows a deep mutual understanding through the exploration of subtle moods.