Tuesday, May 31, 2005

stars & stripes whatever

Crawling out the middle hole of the US, Chicago's Coughs are a six piece band with kling-klang percussion from sheets of metal, snaking melodies crawling out of exotic instruments, and racy patter. So if you enjoy cacophony, hypnotizing polyrhythms, Deicide, Swans, Merzbow, Butthole Surfers, picnics in the park, and/or intemperate discomfort than consider a new choice for your finicky lifestyle.

Providence Rhode Island's White Mice are a three piece (bass, drums and oscillator) that generate enough round and square wave tones to bring a bonanza bus of nuns three feet (.91 m) off the ground. Combining the menacing (kinda slouched) posture of black metal with blistering oscillator attack is nothing new, but White Mice bring the game to your hometown. The band does dress like lab butchered white mice when playing live.

Mind you trainspotters looking for the RIYL attack: Load says Brainbombs and Melvins, and similar riffraff but with a different toolset mind you. Churning oscillator attacks, belly-bustin' bass, and demonic wails … rock music rewired for a generation punch drunk on its own fart fumes.

The Coughs new album, Fright Makes Right, and White Mice's ASSPhIXXXEATATESHUN are out now on Load Records, straight outta Providence, RI!

the Coughs - Penal Colony
the White Mice - White Mice

Monday, May 30, 2005

maybe starry skies

Like a flower that a blooms in the darkness, Greg Prickman's Chuzzlewit project seems to thrive out of the limelight. His releases are obscure and limited, which somehow seems perfectly appropriate for music so effective in essaying the isolation and solitude of its creator that listening feels uncomfortably akin to eavesdropping. Recording to two- and four-track, Prickman couches his warm, world-weary voice in little more than droning guitars and rudimentary rhythm tracks. He's closer in sound and spirit to cynical romantics like Hood, East River Pipe, Flying Saucer Attack, Galaxie 500 and other lo-fi shoegazers than the ironic miserablists like Lou Barlow or Bright Eyes. His songs are hauntingly intimate, made all the more moving for their stark simplicity.

For ten years Chuzzlewit has slowly been turning out recordings, first on cassette on his own Low Voltage label, then later on for the magnificent Earworm Records. Although he has never played live, the closest he says he has come was when he was living here, where I do, in Bloomington, IN. He had been arranging some songs with Early Day Miners frontman Dan Burton, but he moved before it could see the light of day. Finishing touches are being applied and covers are being designed for a brand new Chuzzlewit album, An Experimental Index of the Heart, on Low Voltage. And for a limited time, we can order direct from the man himself the first three Chuzzlewit cassettes transferred to CDRs, as well as a new limited version of A Map of Maybes that was on Earworm.

Chuzzlewit - Ten Minutes Till
Chuzzlewit - A Sparrow in Short

Saturday, May 28, 2005

8:15 to nowhere

Surely some of you out there in blogland are thinking, damn is all you do write about obscure 80s music anymore? Are you just turning into Lost Bands of the New-Wave Era? (whose work I love, btw) Well, I assure you my tastes are still all over the map. And my partner's iMac just went kaboom, but he will be back soon confusing you with music that you never even knew was music, too. Its just lately I have been coming across lots of odd little 80s gems that I wanna share withya. Today is no different, I hope that's ok.

Vicious Pink's lone album was really a collection of singles and they only played one gig ever (1984 at the Ritz in NYC). However, they hold a special place in many synth pop fans' hearts. After providing back-up vocals on Soft Cell's smash 1981 LP, Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret, the UK based duo started releasing their own 12"s in 1982. Their combination of fluffy Euro-dance and spacey new wave failed to attract much attention until 1984's bubbly and stuttering single "Cccan't You See" was released. It wasn't a hit at first, but little by little, new wave-friendly DJs across the globe discovered it, many giving the B-side, "8:15 to Nowhere," an equal amount of dancefloor exposure. 1985's "Fetish" became another club hit, getting extra exposure on the HBO series Real Sex. Brian Moss continued working as a member of the alternative rock band Drug Free America until that band came to a stop in 1999. In 2000, he announced a new project, Mirazma, with former Drug Free America vocalist Hayley Windsor.

Vicious Pink - CCCan't You See
Vicious Pink - Fetish

Thursday, May 26, 2005

earth inferno

Just look at these dudes. You do not want to fuck with them! Guaranteed they have some sort of six-shooter aimed at your heart even now. They are the dark demonic rock of the desolate apocalyptic wild west! Of all the bands involved in Britain's goth-rock movement of the 1980s, Fields of the Nephilim were the most believable. The group's cryptic, occult-inspired songs were sung in a guttural roar by vocalist Carl McCoy. Live appearances were shrouded with dim light and smoke machines, while bandmembers stalked the stage in black desperado gear inspired by western dress.

The Sisters were about starvation diets, stormy nights and napalm. Fields Of The Nephilim, heavily inspired by Ennio Morricone's epic movie 'Once Upon A Time In The West', are more to do with heat and solitude and wide open spaces, and going for days without water. By the mid 80s the Nephilim were signed to Beggars Banquet, the home of Bauhaus and the Southern Death Cult. Preacher Man was their break-out single in 1986 from the album Dawnrazor. By their next album, their sound had opened up considerably with chiming guitars and etherealness abound. Further explorations of occult themes and lyrics permeate everywhere. Somehow, the single Moonchild managed to chart well in the British independent charts. Their next LP, Elizium, found the band finally making the album of their career. A fully realised epic album with tracks bleeding into one another and with a sound and depth not commonly found in the realms of "goth" music. Truly a one-of-a-kind group never to be duplicated. Be sure to play the bottom three tracks back-to-back-to-back in a playlist to get the true feel of the blended tracks from the album.

Fields of the Nephilim - Preacher Man
Fields of the Nephilim - Moonchild
Fields of the Nephilim - For Her Light
Fields of the Nephilim - At The Gates Of Silent Memory
Fields of the Nephilim - (Paradise Regained)

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

subterrarean modern

Tuxedomoon was formed in San Francisco in 1977 by two electronic music students at San Francisco City College, Blaine Reininger and Steven Brown. Brown's local theater connections supplied equipment plus more frequent contributions from singer and performance artist Winston Tong. Punk and new-wave were opening up the SF music scene at the time, and Tuxedomoon landed an opening slot for Devo in 1978 at around the same time they cut their first single, "Pinheads on the Move."

Their follow up EP, "No Tears", also released in 1978 on Time Release Records, is where today's songs first appeared. A year later, they signed to the Residents' Ralph Records which got them overseas exposure. Feeling that their ideas were more in tune with the European electronic music scene, the band toured Europe after 1980's Half Mute and in 1981, after the release of their Desire LP, half of the band relocated there permanently. The CD reissue of Desire adds these tracks from the No Tears EP.

"New Machine" is parallel to what was going on the very same year with acts such as Gary Numan with Tubeway Army and Devo. Soaring keyboards mixing in with new-wave guitar with distanced robotic vocal. "No Tears" rides a much more post-punk line, barking orders and helping form the foundations of American goth-rock.

Tuxedomoon - New Machine
Tuxedomoon - No Tears

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

an affectionate punch

Billy MacKenzie and Alan Rankine formed The Associates in Dundee, Scotland, in 1976. They released a self-funded 7" of Boys Keep Swinging mere weeks after David Bowie had released his original. This scam got them a publishing deal with Bowie's publishers and a proper record deal.

By 1980 they were touring with The Cure and signed to Fiction Records, for whom they recorded The Affectionate Punch. At the turn of the year they relocated to Situation 2 and put out a string of singles recorded using money from major labels who were expecting demos to be produced with their cash... In tandem with their increasing consumption of coke and speed, the groups' music became increasingly deranged and experimental.

The Associates signed with WEA in 1982. Billy and Alan immediately scored a string of UK top 20 chart hits. The album Sulk (from which Club Country is taken) made the UK top 10, winning album of the year awards in the UK music press. The groups drug use was at a peak and Billy & Alan's behaviour was becoming somewhat erratic. On the eve of their biggest ever UK tour MacKenzie pulled out. A US deal with Island was consequentially lost. Deciding that he couldn't continue, Alan Rankine left the group.

MacKenzie started recording a follow up album. 1984s Perhaps cost WEA £250,000. It took 3 years and 4 production teams to record - twice (dissatisfied with the original production Billy "lost" the first versions' master tapes, forcing a re-recording). The album had some chart success, but WEA were dissatisfied, and started pressuring MacKenzie to follow a more straightforward pop-soul direction. Frustrated by WEA's lack of support, MacKenzie focussed on collaborations, most notably with Yello.

At the end of 1996 he signed with Nude Records. Tragically his first release for the label was a post-humous one. The death of his mother was likely the trigger of an emotional breakdown that led him deeper and deeper into a depressed state. Billy MacKenzie died aged 39, on 22nd January 1997 from an overdose of prescribed and over-the-counter pills.

The Associates - Club Country (12" mix)

Monday, May 23, 2005

vowel movement

The oddly named new wave duo EBN-OZN had one novelty hit, "AEIOU Sometimes Y" in 1983, and then lapsed into obscurity. Featuring Ned "EBN" Liben (synthesizer) and Robert "OZN" Rosen (organ, vocals), EBN-OZN was actually an eclectic act that saw no stylistic boundaries, venturing into synth pop, funk, and salsa with giddy enthusiasm. EBN-OZN was formed in New York in the early '80s. Rosen was introduced to Liben by an acquaintance of his girlfriend. Liben and Rosen were actually raised only a few blocks from one another, but they never met. Fans of punk rock and hip-hop, the two began spending time in clubs with one another, absorbing various forms of dance music from New York, Puerto Rico, and Europe. In 1984, EBN-OZN released their debut LP, Feeling Cavalier, on Elektra Records. Their lone album, it plays something like a Malcolm McClaren outing, full of cross-cultural stylistic pillaging and leg-pulling BS. The difference is that, unlike much of McLaren's work, it lacks any sort of concept that might redeem it.

Feeling Cavalier offers a messy mishmash of musical styles, with salsa ("Video DJ," featuring a guest turn by none other than Tito Puente); fake Africanisms ("Kuchenga Pamoja"); and Fairlight-heavy dance-rock competing for attention. And though the pair's hip irreverence sometimes pays off, as on the funny deflation of uptown artists, "Pop Art Bop," the jokes are more often broad-brush swipes on the order of "I Want Cash." The tongue-in-cheek tone also makes the earnest "Bag Lady (I Wonder)" seem even more out-of-place, although its clumsiness suggested the pair might be better off goofing around. The single "AEIOU Sometimes Y" became a staple on modern rock stations. Accompanied by a video that featured the ponytailed Rosen delivering a stream-of-consciousness rap about "this incredible Swedish girl," and with a more serious subtext about communication, it became a bizarre but deserved hit. However, Liben and Rosen were never heard from again after that, at least not together. Liben started working with Scritti Politti while Rosen created the house music outfit DaDa NaDa for his own label One Voice Records. Rosen eventually left the rock business, worked as a script analyst for Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone, and began writing screenplays. Liben passed away from a heart attack in 1998.

Ebn-Ozn - AEIOU Sometimes Y (extended 12" mix)

Friday, May 20, 2005

let's play domination

The disturbing noise/chaos level achieved by this angular London trio is indeed something marvelous. The astonishing high-pressure racket of Let's Play Domination's opening salvo ("Message for You People") may send you rushing to the turntable to see if your stylus is accidentally gouging a hole in the platter. Besides sturdily unsettling originals, the album - clearly a stiff-upper-lip cousin to Big Black, Birthday Party and other punishing pain-inflicters - includes a relatively straight rendition of L.L. Cool J's "I Can't Live Without My Radio" as well as deranged interpretations of Lipps, Inc.'s "Funkytown" and a U-Roy number. As Dobson layers on the scathing, slithery guitar and sings in a plain, serviceable voice, the rhythm section lurches and pounds in a tight phalanx. - Unsung @ Head Heritage

WDE's blip on the radar came via their first single, "Asbestos Lead Asbestos", which you can hear on Rough Trade Shops: Post Punk 01. Legend has it that Dobson used an old drawer handle wound with copper for a pickup on his battered guitar in order to get that one-of-a-kind, ear-stabbing tone. I ask that everyone else listen to this and ponder why anybody would ever need a Shellac album. - Jason Pettigrew (Alternative Press) on the Stypod

I dunno about all that, but there is a heaping helping of Big Black, Jesus & Mary Chain and Love and Rockets all piled into this here mess. Maybe this will be the next generation of music that gets mined for the retro charts? Could be worse.

World Domination Enterprises - Asbestos Lead Asbestos
World Domination Enterprises - Message for you People
World Domination Enterprises - I Can't Live Without my Radio (LL Cool J)
World Domination Enterprises - Funkytown (Lipps, Inc)

Thursday, May 19, 2005

a drone classic

For over 20 years now PARK4DTV used the available electronic media to create ‘Pure Image and Sound’. In the early days as an illegal pirate-station, later on making use of local cable Networks in Amsterdam (where over 12 1/2 years we distributed a daily ‘1 hour, 1 thing’ via Salto Television), Berlin, New York and Rotterdam.

Now their Raudio division is hosting Leif Inge's 24 hr version of Ludwig van Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. The first movement alone is nearly six hours, the fifth is almost seven. Feels akin to Charlemagne Palestine's organ drones, Rafael Toral's Wave Field, and from there, moments of My Bloody Valentine's fluttering sustain of Loveless.

The skinny: This Raudio Special brings you, as a continuous 24/7 audio webstream, 9 Beet Stretch by idea-based artist Leif Inge. '9 Beet Stretch' is a recording of Ludwig van Beethoven's ninth symphony stretched to 24 hours, without pitch distortion. We started the stream on saturday may 7th, 2005, at 20h15 (the moment of sunset (local time) in Vienna, Austria, where Beethoven's ninth symphony was first performed, on may 7th, 1824).

Beethoven/Inge - 9 Beet Stretch (mp3 stream)

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

a future perfect

Autolux are not concerned with the retro new-wave rewind. They are much more interested in continuing to live in the bright dark ages of the late-80s / early-90s shoegaze-noizerock scene. And I say this with as much admiration and love as possible, those were formative years for me and those bands will remain among my favorites for my entire life. Formed from the ashes of Ednaswap and Failure, their buzz has been building in So-Cal and beyond and the unlikely pairing with producer T-Bone Burnett has produced a gem of a debut LP.

'Turnstile Blues' starts like a march but soon lurches into Bardo's thick-ass pond, yet still somehow manages to have room for some syrupy smooth Ivy-esque vocals in the mix. 'Blanket' begins like a Goo out-take and rips into a lovely shriek that wouldn't sound out of place from Medicine, the 90s project of evil genius Brad Laner. 'Plantlife' could very well be off some long lost MBV EP, but its not. We all know Kevin Shields gave up long ago. At a recent live show opening up for the Raveonettes, they completely blew my wig off with their waves of blissful feedback, a feat seldom occuring in this day and age, much less from a power trio.

Autolux - Turnstile Blues
Autolux - Blanket
Autolux - Plantlife

Saturday, May 14, 2005

king of bluegrass: rest in peace

the undisputed King of Bluegrass, Jimmy Martin, passed away this morning. Please send cards and letters of support to his children-Jimmy Jr., Ray, Lisa, and Buddy at the following address: PO Box 646 - Hermitage, TN 37076

As a youngster in Sneedville, TN, Jimmy Martin was completely fascinated by the sounds of the weekly radio broadcast of WSM's Grand Ole Opry, the pinnacle institution in country music for musicians of his generation. When he was five years old, he made his first guitar out of a Prince Albert cigar can because Prince Albert was a sponsor of the Grand Ole Opry. At the age of 21, Martin was fired for singing on the job in a factory in Morristown, TN. He then boarded a bus to Nashville to catch a show at the Grand Ole Opry. Following the show he talked his way backstage and approached his idol, bluegrass pioneer, Bill Monroe. There, he convinced Monroe to sing a couple of songs with him. Monroe hired him on the spot. During his tenure with Monroe, Martin helped change the sound of bluegrass music. His aggressive rhythm guitar added a fierce drive to his mentor's music and Martin's strong, high vocal range pushed Monroe's tenor up into the sky, creating what has become known as the 'high lonesome' sound. Martin then went on to have a successful solo career as Jimmy Martin & the Sunny Mountain Boys, cutting 136 sides and a number of hits for Decca Records. He became a cast member of the KWKH Louisiana Hayride and then the WWVA Wheeling Jamboree in West Virginia. Both the Hayride and the Jamboree were considered stepping-stones to Opry membership, but while Martin did a few guest spots on the Opry, he was never made a member. Martin is likely the most accomplished figure in bluegrass music to never have been made a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Check out the wonderful documentary about Jimmy, King of Bluegrass: The Life and Times of Jimmy Martin

Jimmy Martin & the Sunny Mountain Boys - Don't Cry To Me
Jimmy Martin & the Sunny Mountain Boys - Who'll Sing For Me
Jimmy Martin & the Sunny Mountain Boys - When the Savior Reached Down for Me
Jimmy Martin & the Sunny Mountain Boys - The Last Song
Jimmy Martin & the Sunny Mountain Boys - Lord, I'm Coming Home
Jimmy Martin & the Sunny Mountain Boys - There Ain't Nobody Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone

everyday is like sunday

Everyone knows Jandek; knows the story; knows everything and nothing. But after near 30 years of personal seclusion, after releasing 40 anonymous records, I think the most bizarre aspect of The Jandek Saga was walking into my Bloomington, Indiana neighborhood record/coffee shop/hangout and being handed a CDR of live Jandek, recorded less than 48 hrs earlier. "Ahh, the interweb...," as my friends and I joke. So, before the weekend was over, the Oct. 17, 2004 weekend when Jandek took stage at Glasgow's Instal.04 fest with percussionist Alex Neilson and guitarist Richard Youngs, anyone could hear what everyone thought would never happen. (Photo here is by Heather Leigh X of Taurpis Tula & Volcanic Tongue.)

Glasgow Sunday is now out, recorded by a Corwood represntative, as is persumed, as Corwood 0779 CD, the 41st Jandek album. And later this month, Janky will be doin it again. No word of the back up band, but Youngs and Neilson were slosshy and prog at once, perfect matches. The metalic web Jandek casts through simple bent blues lines and bangin the guitar's body, resonates as truly in the flesh as the albums. The voice unmistakable, booming yet is still hollow, ghostly transparent.

It's been so long baby / I don't know where I've got it

Jandek live
May 22 Music Lovers' Field Companion Festival Gateshead, England
May 23 Centre for Contemporary Arts Glasgow, Scotland

Jandek - Blue Blue World
Jandek - Don't Want To Be (from interweb bootleg of performance)
Jandek - Naked in the Afternoon (1978)
Richard Youngs - Sky is Upon You

Friday, May 13, 2005

crowning bass

The other day I was burning time at Regulator Books in Durham so I could miss the brutal I-40E rush hour crunch. Leaving around 6:20 is safe if you can't skate out by 4:30 or so; but I've had luck at 5:30 too. Anyhow. With thirty minutes to go I slipped in to browse the magazines and ended with coffee and spotting new listings in the 7th edition of Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD; I got four earlier editions giving me what I want, so was not about to buy this one. But flipping through I came up to a new Crowned album, PJG's highest rating bestowed, this time, on 96 albums: Peter Kowald's Was Da Ist, his 1995 solo bass album. So what wise words did Cook and Morton say?

It may seem difficult, if not impossibly perverse, to justify the highest ranking for a record of solo contrabass improvisations. We remain unrepentant. This is music of the very highest order, technically adroit, emotionally and intellectually concentrated, and beautifully recorded ... A record to savor and ponder; a record to return to as often as time allows.

Wonderously right on; though I hadn't listened to the ablum for quite awhile, probably since Kowald's death in September 2002. After getting home (traffic was sparse) I dusted off Was Da Ist plus 13 Definitions of Truth, duo with percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani, and The Victoriaville Tape, duo with William Parker. Then, sat back for some savoring and pondering.

Peter Kowald - Was Da Ist pt. 1
Peter Kowald - Was Da Ist pt. 2
Peter Kowald - Was Da Ist pt. 20
Peter Kowald - Was Da Ist pt. 23

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

strikin' rocksteady

After first wave Jamaican ska (early 60s) but before roots reggae took over (early 70s), rocksteady was the place to be! It was the late 60s and shit was crazy in American music, but in Jamaica everything was cooler and calmer. During the hot summers on the island, people got too tired too quickly dancing to the fast rhythms of ska. Thus, rocksteady came to be. Highly influenced by American soul and R&B of the time, rocksteady was half the speed, with less horn and more bass (and piano). This is where producers (along with his engineer King Tubby) first starting give the music the space for vocal harmonies and applying the heavy rhythm that would eventually become dub. Reinterpreted hits by the likes of the Supremes, Impressions, Curtis Mayfield, Lamont Dozier and more were all given the Jamaican treatment by producers such as Clement "Coxsone" Dodd and Bunny "Striker" Lee. Moll-Selekta is about to issue an amazing collection of some of Striker's greatest productions from the golden era of rocksteady, circa 1967-1969.

Edward O'Sullivan Lee was born in Jamaica on August 23, 1941; he entered the music industry in 1962 via his brother-in-law, the great reggae singer Derrick Morgan, landing a job as a record plugger for Duke Reid's famed Treasure Isle label. By the mid-1960s, Lee was working with Ken Lack's Caltone imprint, producing his first record, Lloyd Jackson and the Groovers' "Listen to the Beat," in 1967. His first significiant hit, Roy Shirley's "Music Field," followed later that year on WIRL, and upon founding his own Lee's label, he reeled off a series of well-received sides including Morgan's "Hold You Jack," Slim Smith's "My Conversation" and Pat Kelly's "Little Boy Blue." This compilation is a valuable slice of history for Reggae and Soul fans alike, for lovers of great voices, for those who do not confuse “cool“ with cold and appreciate a good love song when it comes from the heart.

The Sensations - Lonely Lover
The Uniques - My Conversation
Glen Adams - Hey There Lonely Girl

Friday, May 06, 2005

street rap

Many have said over the years that jazz is the sound of the city breathing, alive. If thats true, than no city could have been more happenin than the streets of Chicago in the early 70s. Maulawi Nururdin and his group bridged between many different genres, melting then-jazz with the blues of its yesteryears, a latino influence and the outer-space sound of Sun Ra and the Art Ensemble. This is the first of 3 lost albums that Soul Jazz Records are re-issuing following on from first appearing on their recent New Thing! compilation. The sound is a gorgeous day and strolling down the busy street, packed with other people doing the same. All around you are strangers and friends alike calling out to eachother and enjoying "it". On one side of the street you have spicy foods being cooked and on the other children playing. You have pimps and their entourage. There is a stoop with funkified teenagers combing out their afros. Whistles blow, boys and girls look you up and down. You pop into the bar to get a frosty beverage. It might be midday but the band pumps out a deep funk backdrop that perfectly melds to every action that happens around you. It's 'Whats Goin On' for the Black Panthers. Chaos and beauty.

Maulawi - Street Rap

scan this

I've felt repelled by the name Scanner in such a strong, irrational way, that I've stayed the hell away from any of Robin Rimbaud's work for the past 10 years. Even The Crystalline Address, the duo with Kim Cascone and his solo Warhol's Surfaces disk. I just acted as if they didn't exist. So yeah, now, after about six weeks sitting on the shelf, I finally listen to Play Along his collab-a-sorts with composer Jean-Paul Dessey whose conducting a two viola, two cello chamber. It is quite a muted bliss, mid-day zone which I've fallen into twice this week. A surprise for sure.

Scanner's low-end weight keeps the overt classical strings from taking too strong a hold here. A few points he seems to filter in distant choral samples which acts as more of tape-over bleed through. Unfort. the sound is too clean, a little more muddled, analogue saturation, and it would be right-on. Though out of the three pieces -- the title is the collab -- Scanner and Dessy each do solo electronic takes, and Dessy's "Whaling Wolves" shines as bright as Scanner's "Out of the Trench..." Hopefully we hear more.

Scanner - Out of the Trench and Wading Backwards
Scanner - Throbbing Gristle remix from scannerdot.com

Monday, May 02, 2005

colder heat

Working as Art Director for TV and Fashion, Marc Nguyen and his associate and friend Benoit Emery count the likes of M6, ARTE, Paris Premiere, Kenzo channel 4 and Comme des Garons among his clients. Even if his main interest and daily work are more focused around experimenting with video, scenography and illustration, Marc started writing and recording. During the course of 2002 his first musical project - Colder - and sent his first demos to a handful of respected labels, which led to him ultimately signing to Trevor "Playgroup" Jackson's Output Recordings.

Colder's debut 'Again' was released in 2003 to massive critical acclaim and has drawn comparisons with everyone from Can to Depeche Mode to Boards of Canada to Massive Attack to New Order. In parts stark and minimalist, evoking feelings of urban alienation, it is nonetheless an accessible, smooth and sexy listen. The album features the single Crazy Love - sounding like a cross between Serge Gainsbourg and Joy Division. An atmospheric intro gives way to a Krautrock bassline, over a mixture of programmed and live drums before Marc’s haunting vocal begins. One heck of an incisive cut. Akin to the timeless class of Kraftwerk and Suicide.

The new release, 'Heat' has expanded the sound into dubbier territories while still maintaining the dark corners of the early-80s. I haven't been able to find any release information on when Heat rises, but if these early leaks are true it should make an even bigger splash than the first.

Colder - Crazy Love
Colder - Wrong Baby
Colder - To The Music

(sorry- tracks removed upon request from Output)

Sunday, May 01, 2005

mo minia, mo minia

Minamo knocked me ass flat June 2002 at Chicago's Hideout. Venturing with Tim Barnes on a brief US tour, supporting their second disk .kgs, the Tokyo-based four-some delivered shamanistic electronic shape-shifting with band-like breathe of guitar, saxophone and computers. Nearly grass-like, they reached faultless plateaus while cementing themselves without need of studio protection. Quite a striking anomaly amongst the throngs. And .kgs, a half-studio/half-live album and one of my favs of that year, was just as rich if not more. The follow up, Beautiful didn't grab me at all (but did many others), and I missed out on a CD-R that scooted out last year.

So, needless, anxiety has been high in the household for their newbie, the fith, Shinning (12K). Possibly taking extra cues from member Keiichi Sugimoto (Four Color, Fonica) Minamo expands the glowing drone into the forefront. The result is crisp, slow-motion improvisations that echo the jiter of yonder but is now polished into a smoother, digital veneer with minor eruptions and magnetic spikes. Namiko Sasamoto's rious saxophone gambits are missing (she sticks solely to keyboards here) but Yuichiro Iwashita's acoustic guitar sets the true inimitable of Minamo. He plucks string by string though manages a continuum rural folk tumbling that balances between Takoma and Taku Sugimoto. The immense drafts between his note allow distant sine waves rumbling traces to swell and overflow their dark globose forms. Could it be a comeback? I'm still pinning for the .kgs-era Minamo but I can easily soak in these sonorous canvases.

Minamo - Raum
Minamo - We Were
Minamo - Botanica Palallela II from .kgs