Rotations (Dec 7)


7. Dez. 2007, 17:05

The end of year is creeping up, and soon it will be time for the best of 2007 reviews. Yet I dont feel like I've completely caught up to last year. Perhaps I will make an exception and write up the best of 2006. Especially now, that I take a look back at all the dubstep that seemed to saturate the market, and my newly discovered love for postrock. I'll take a look at my year in music in another couple of weeks, meanwhile here is another dose of my biweekly rotations...


Mr. 76ix - 3 (Minority of 1) (Skam, May 2007)
This is what I imagine people with no previous exposure to electronic music expect it to sound like. Abstract, noisy, rhythm-less, breaky, bleepy -- all of those great things! This unknown Skam artist (going only by P. Wood) whips it all out - the old skool 303 square waves and 808 cow bells; the pad sweeps and synth arpeggios; the sampled loops, vocoders and over processed rave memories. I would not necessarily call this a memorable album [this is my third listen and I can't recall hearing some of these tracks before], however, when you need a head cleaner from all the sonic overloads blocking your synapses, Mr. 76ix delivers a perfect blend of fresh beans to sniff in between your choice of poison. IDM Is Dead. Long Live IDM! Favorite track: Games People Play.

Gui Boratto - Chromophobia (Kompakt, Feb 2007)
Guilherme Boratto is a Brazilian producer used to laying out minimal tech house twelve inchers for prominent German labels like Plastic City, Harthouse, and of course Kompakt's offshoots K2, Kompakt Pop and Kompakt Extra. Hailing from São Paulo, Gui was approached to contribute a remix to the City of God soundtrack. Chromophobia is a light and refreshing take on over-used building blocks of the style. Familiar beats, simple melodies, and straight to the point approach remind me of the feeling I experienced when I first heard Benny Benassi (before he exploded all over the charts). Listening to the album, a smile creeps upon my lips, being happy for the fact that techno continues to survive and evolve in an over-saturated scene. A unique and memorable sound.

Ben Frost - Theory of Machines (Bedroom Community, 2006)
I already mentioned this album in my April '07 journal entry, quote : "like an angry furry armadillo with a cold long needle, the overdriven guitars and beats slowly creep the insides of my legs and leave me panting in cold sweat". Since then, the album appeared once and again on my rotations, not to forget a track's appearance on my liftmyziek sessions (vol 15) smells like autumn. Frost, born in 1980 in Melbourne, Australia, and now residing in Reykjavik, is "[...]interested in ugly sounds, cold sounds.". The packaged CD contains an impressive 12 page booklet with photos of Ben chained to machines in some obscure medical (musical) laboratory, and a thorough description and musings on each album track. A must, if you want to appreciate experimental noise that is painfully beautiful. Favorite track : Stomp.

Xela - For Frosty Mornings and Summer Nights (Type, Jan 2007)
John Twells has already contributed with some profound output to the current electronic and experimental scene. He is the one half of Yasume, a founder of Type Records, and a reviewer for Boomkat. Add in his employment for Baked Goods distributor and you can see how far his digital tentacles stretch into the musical realm. With this reissue of a 2003 release on Neo Ouija, we are reminded why John is more than just a key player in the business side [the ugly side] of the music. The ambient soundscapes with lightly sprinkled IDM glitches spread calmly across a subdued and frosty sound landscape. The title of the album can not be more than self descriptive. Recommended if you like to feel all snuggle in the mornings, yet slightly chilled at night.

Yasume - Where We're From the Birds Sing a Pretty Song (City Centre Offices, Sep 2003)
Is it just a mere alphabetical coincidence, that Yasume is literally the next in my playlist after Xela? Perhaps. But the transfer of mood from one to another is flawless. Together with Gabriel Morley (Logreybeam), John Twells (Xela), releases this single classic that sounds absolutely eternal. Melodic IDM with delicately programmed rhythms, digital crunch, and hazy sweeps over punchy beats elevate this album into the classic collection of abstract and experimental downtempo. The only thing I wish for is that the boys would get together again for another treat. Absolutely all time favorite track : Rengoku

world's end girlfriend - The Lie Lay Land (MIDI Creative / Noble, Feb 2005)
What a weird album.... There are classical oboes and cellos, glitchy trip-hoppy beats, post rock shoegazing guitars, carnival sounds, and who can forget the screeching children that make my skin crawl. Katsuhiko Maeda is a single parent of this creation (not to be confused with his other side project World's End Boyfriend), who by the age of 10 was inspired by his father's collection of classical albums. Currently residing in Tokyo, Katsuhiko's knowledge and use of musical genre blending leaves one breathless. It is near impossible to pinpoint the style. This task is, however, unnecessary, because the music speaks for itself. I will definitely pick up his other (more recent) albums, because my ears are perked up. Favorite tracks: Give Me Shadow, Put On My Crown and Scorpius Circus

Kwoon - Tales and Dreams (not on label, 2007[?])
This is a completely random find. I think I saw a journal entry on best post-rock, ambient and indie crossover acts of 2007. Well, this French post-rock release is not on any label, and the notes reflect that "it was recorded in the heart of the Hakuma mountain in 1582". Nicely done. The only other thing I could find about the band is the myspace page [blech!], and that too in French. Well, who gives a blue cheese about the origin! The music is absolutely astounding. I could describe the light melodies and the dynamic explosions, but I think you should hear this for yourself. For the likes of Mogwai, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and Mono. Favorite tracks: Eternal Jellyfish Ballet and Kwoon.

VA - The Silent Ballet, Vol V - I Let My Fears get the Best of Me (July 2007)
This free compilation, from an excellent review site, features some of the unreleased material from the newest talent in the post-rock and indie scene. Although on quick glance, none of the names ring a bell (for me) - it is still worth a listen [c'mon, it's free!] and you may discover some amazing choons. Previous releases featured now prominent bands (on my rotation) such as God Is An Astronaut, Yndi Halda, Samuel Jackson Five, and Destroyalldreamers. The fifth installment contains selections from Loser Superhero, Cue, Hermitage, and Omega Massif, just to name a few. Anyway, you just can't go wrong with free music, especially when it's well compiled from people "in-the-know". DOWNLOAD HERE.

Miwon - Pale Glitter (City Centre Offices, Jan 2006)
With his first album on City Centre Offices, Hendrik Kröz, delivers a finely defined German minimal tech house[y] electronic pop. With a previous EP a couple of years earlier on the same label, Hendrik foreshadows his debut with a super tight mid range kick which guides you through a four-to-the-floor giddy rhythmic skip and synth hop. One can not help but flashback to Berlin's semi-underground clubs, like Tresor (which I was lucky to hit up one night) towards the early [or just super late] hours, when the pounding strobe light induced techno subdues down to the ambient fog enveloped lighter beats. Favorite tracks: Brother Mole and Rain or Shine.

Faction - The End of Tel Aviv (Neo Ouija, May 2004)
A very subdued ambient progression speckled with miniature clicks and pops, complemented with complex bass lines. Faction comprises of a two members Yair Etziony and Rani Golan using music to guide us through the rich and complex history of Tel Aviv. Faction has many influences - Brian Eno, Autechre, 4AD, Biosphere, Boards of Canada, Ulrich Schnuass, Komet and Alva Noto... And these voices clearly stand out in their work. Recommended for those gloomy and wet mornings when you feel like you're stuck in the society of revolving doors and financial electronic cycles. Favorite tracks: Cutters Way, Inside Out, and The End of Tel Aviv.

Wisp - NRTHNDR (Sublight, Nov 2005)
Reid Dunn takes the melodies and the breaks and interleaves them with news and interview bits from his hometown, Niagara Falls. I'm not going to say that this record is groundbreaking - there are a lot familiar hooks and programming treatments (of all the things I loved from Squarepusher) - but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable. This release made an instant impression on me, even if I'm catching up to it years later. I was overcome with the same feeling as when I finally picked up The Flashbulb - more so angry with myself for missing out on this release in the past. Highly recommended. Favorite tracks: Negions Fail.

Tom Burbank - Famous First Words (Planet Mu, Oct 2006)
It's about time I got my hands on this keeper from one of my favorite labels. Part glitchy IDM, part instrumental trip hoppy beats, part experimental downtempo, Tom's got my head bopping with every track, reminiscent of productions by Prefuse 73, edIT, and RJD2. Not much is known or written about Burbank, except the fact that he's from LA and has been a DJ member of BrokenBeat network within the West Coast scene. If the former mentioned artists have evolved and progressed onto their "next thang", while you're left helpless still craving more of that sound, Famous First Words is almost guaranteed to fill in the void. Favorite tracks:Tha Chop, Cracked, and Juno Rhapsody.

DJ Hidden- The Later After (Ad Noiseam, Mar 2007)
Noël Wessels lets you have it. This Dutch producer tops my charts for dark drum'n'bass and breakcore, leaving me craving for more and more (speaking of which, The Gehenna Device vinyl release is absolutely astonishing). Wessels wraps elements of jazz, hardcore techno, and atmospheric IDM into a thick fog of evil that claws from within its underground shadow. His inspirations include "...the night, [...] cities and their urban decay, [and] perhaps a little insanity." If you're bored of formula-driven drum'n'bass, pick up this album and let Wessels awake your dark side. The former mentioned EP on Sub/Version records is also highly recommended. Favorite tracks: The Later After, Ghost Breath.

Architect - Lower Lip Interface (Hymen, Feb 2007)
Since I'm on a kick with Tom Burbank and DJ Hidden, I feel that I underplayed my previous mention of this album. Daniel Myer is the architect behind the overdriven breaks and atmospheric layers working solely with samples. With this fourth LP on Hymen, Daniel returns the evil to our exorcised minds. And that's just one side of this German producer. Together with Dejan Samardzic he already released countless industrial and EBM albums on Metropolis and Off Beat (among many other) under moniker Haujobb. His other LP aliases include Cleen, Cleaner, Dr. Myer and Destroid. The noiser side of production experience in EBM, electro, and [even] techno clearly shows in this outstanding IDM vs. drum'n'bass release. Recommended (as I said before) for all those dark and gloomy days. Favorite tracks: Ghost Of A Working Man, Catch The Target, Stairway and R For Vendetta (Ribi For President).

Bong-Ra - Stereohype Heroin Hooker (Ad Noiseam, Jun 2006)
Entering the territory of breakcore, is a long time Dutch veteran, Jason Kohnen (he's also a member of The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble with Gideon Kiers). Here's an injection of adrenaline rush in four attacks, followed by four remixes in the same fashion from the scene's favorites ("Old Flesh"): Duran Duran Duran, Drop the Lime, Parasite and Enduser; and four more variations by up and coming producers ("Fresh Meat"). My favorite tracks include the nostalgic samples from 4 Hero's 1995 breakbeat classic Mr. Kirk (which was in turn sampled from the original Star Trek series), and the sped up vocal from Kelly Charles' "You're No Good For Me" [previously successfully used by The Prodigy's in No Good (Start the Dance)]. Additional elements of straight up jungle and hardcore create the desired intensity within the remixed context. "Mr. Kirk? Your son is dead. He died of an overdose".


Ending my week of rotations on such a dark note, I can't help but wonder if it's the weather that has awakened my cold and evil grin. Riding the train on my headphone commute the trees look somber and aging when the guitars cry the post-rock in my ears. The same trees and buildings look industrial and rigid, when the drilling breakcore grinds my teeth... We'll see how my quick trip to New York goes over this weekend, as I pump in the Airport Symphony all through my flight. See you in two weeks!


  • Derail6782

    Nice list, I love both the Xela and Yasume albums. I'm gonna check out Kwoon as well cause I've been on the lookout for good post-rock lately. Check out my journal for the best of '07 if you get a chance. Oh, and thanks for the add. : )

    11. Dez. 2007, 2:50
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