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experimusicdotcom "experiment with music" (united kingdom)

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The Aether Obelisk
The Aether Obelisk
Offered by nagiry
Price: £5.24

4.0 out of 5 stars Baja- Aether Obelisk LP (8/10), 12 Jan. 2009
This review is from: The Aether Obelisk (Audio CD)
An obelisk is a monolithic shaft of stone with a pyramidal apex, an often awe-inspiring monument to humanity's achievements and traumas. But if I were to equate `Aether Obelisk,' the fourth album from post-electronica artist Baja (aka Daniel Vujanic), with a unit of architecture, it would be the boulevard, the stretch of road in a dreary urban sprawl that takes a mixture of disparate elements - flowers, shrubs, trees, fountains, sculptures, benches, concrete - and combines them into something remedial. Because, rather than being dolorous and dramatic like a solitary rod of stone, the album is warm, playful and tinged with a hopeful light. Not only that, but it matches the boulevard's fusion of the organic and inorganic, basking in a varied plethora of sounds and styles. Over twelve tracks, Baja saunters through glitchy electronica, tender indie, dreamy jazz, and spectral chamber music, leaving the global metropolis a slightly richer place.

Violently speaking, there are two types of track on `Aether Obelisk,' the first being of a fragmented, postmodern kind replete with striking curveballs of style and mood, and the second being of a more unified and logical kind. `Kitten (Chaos & Numerology)' is of the latter disposition, consisting of a quaint acoustic guitar accompanied by dicey beats, melodious flute, electronic blips and a sleepy horn that appears as the piece slows down into its contemplative denouement. It leads into `The Fever Almanach aka Catscratchcatscratch,' which is definitely of the former kind. This song, lasting a good nine minutes, begins with a funereal piano melody incrementally layered with an off-kilter beat, buzzy electronics, airy synths and female vocals. Around the two minute mark everything slips away, leaving nothing but distant wind chimes and a mournful clarinet. Gradually, an exploratory acoustic guitar slips enigmatically into the scene and the piece advances inscrutably to a quietened moment when a computerized voice announces some kind of obscure rebellion. From there, the song moves to a new, deserted terrain of delicate electric guitar, aquatic electronics and a submerged acoustic drum line, which all eventually evaporate in favour of a static closing lament provided by glockenspiel, piano, echoing guitar, and what sounds like an accordion. When it ends, one would be forgiven for feeling a little dislocated and disoriented.

But it must be said that even with the disconnected style Baja often mines, he still reaches some stunning culminations. Case in point is track 4 `Be Quick, Be Quiet and Mean,' which from a beginning of snowy keys and introspective guitar vaguely reminiscent of Tortoise, suddenly flips via a momentary electronic glitch into a gorgeous section constituted by twinkling electric guitar, buoyant drumming, a driving bass line, and a saxophone that swoops in with a refrain that threatens to collapse under the weight of its own heavy, nostalgic yearning. It's a special moment of simple, lucid beauty in an otherwise dense album.

`Aether Obelisk' is not without other flashes of resplendence in the midst of its scatterbrained exploits either. Track 11, `Deleth,' is a concise yet sonically hazy song of half-remembered lovesickness, given vaporous shape by a fragile acoustic guitar, blearily emotive electronics and such male-sung lines as, `Molecules of you reverberate.' It drifts by in a cloud, where other tracks, such as the title track preceding it, writhe dazzlingly in a continuous interchange of micro-segments.

So if `Aether Obelisk' was a boulevard, it would be one full of secret alleys and niches, of secluded spots hidden in between the traffic-congested roads and tree-lined avenues. It offers adventurous types an entire aural world to delve into and enjoy. It shows us that our confused and sometimes bleak postmodern world can still yield treasures. (Simon Chandler)

For fans of: Jaga Jazzist, Tortoise, Squarepusher, Stereolab, Fennesz, To Rococo Rot, Daedelus, The Books, Gastr del Sol, The Notwist.

The Last Camel In Paris
The Last Camel In Paris
Price: £14.06

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terry Riley- The Last Camel in Paris Live LP (9.5/10), 10 Jan. 2009
This review is from: The Last Camel In Paris (Audio CD)
Terry Riley's fascination with Eastern melodies and his psychedelic re-interpretations of these has been a major source of interest for me. The seed was sewn when one first auditioned the mesmerising 'Shri Camel' and one became border-line obsessed after unearthing and then unravelling the complex and immense body of work that was 'Persian Surgery Dervishes'. Massive scans of musical discographies from Riley and like minded composers was undertaken with little to no joy, only the recently re-released 'Les Yeux Fermes' and 'Poppy No Good...' and elements of Philip Glass's 'Music in Twelve Parts' alluded to this devilishly captive brand of minimalist Eastern-psychedelica. Thank goodness then for the release of 'Last Camel In Paris', a live album captured in 1978 and broadcast by Radio France back in 1979 which is spiritually drawn from the family of Shri Camel recordings developed in 1978 but distinctive enough to retain its own unique shape and flavour.

Utilising a heavily modified Yamaha YC-45D electric organ tuned in just intonation (see the mini-poster included with this release), Riley continues upon his one-man escapade to create music which is strategically designed to make listeners leave their earthly bodies and float into a warm and fuzzy dreamland where LSD addled snake-charmers, vibrantly decorated flying-carpets and melting-Carob trees reign supreme. To get an accurate gauge as to the sound of this release, imagine a sun-scorched plain in a desolate and uninterrupted corner of the Earth that is filled by the deafening chirp of a million Sparrows whilst multi-coloured clouds unleash a torrent of crystallised rain-shards. The way Riley utilises his live channels and his delayed channels from his combo organ allows him to create a heavily textured and multi-layered body of music that ebbs and flows majestically and captivatingly across 60 hallucinogenic minutes. The manner in which Riley develops and perpetuates lushious melodic motiffs in both the foreground and the background, in tandem, is second to none and there are a plethora of such examples that flair up and die-out on this release. This 'one' piece is conveniently spliced into 10 listenable chunks but is designed to be played all the way through. As with 'Shri Camel', the treble-heavy sound can grate but this is a minor quibble. My obsession with such sounds has been temporarily quenched by 'The Last Camel in Paris' and for that one sends a million thank you's to those at Ellison Fields.(KS)

For fans of: Minimalist Eastern Psychedelica and its spiritually enlightening wares.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 22, 2014 5:21 PM GMT

Offered by uniqueplace-uk
Price: £13.68

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Christina Carter- Electrice LP Review (9.5/10), 10 Jan. 2009
This review is from: Electrice (Audio CD)
Possibly one of the most endearing and emotive pieces of music to be put to record, the minimalist and drone-laden strum of the intertwining guitars exude a deeply atmospheric, almost psychedelic feel to proceedings whilst Carter's angelic vocal-whispers seep deep into the mindset and take authoritative charge of your control-centre. With its cascading, progressively structured and nimbley plucked liquid guitar melodies meandering a eerie and uncharted path into a celestial abyss, 'Electrice' is premium audio-food for the soul.

The third track 'yellow pine' is one piece that has never sat comfortably with this reviewer as the way the vocals are wrapped around the well structured soundscape is somewhat off-key, but the other 3 pieces, especially the immense 'moving, intercepted' are amongst the best noir-ish psychedelic/minimalist folk Carter has ever done on her own or with Charalambides. For best results try listening to it at low volume every evening for several years. I did and now late-night silence hurts with only Terry Riley and Loscil having the psychedelic sonic goods to challenge for the mighty accolade of late-night rotation in my system. (KS)

For fans of: Charalambides, Islaja, AMP, Bowery Electric

Carved By Glaciers
Carved By Glaciers
Price: £3.85

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lymbyc Systym- Carved by Glaciers EP Review, 8 Jan. 2009
This review is from: Carved By Glaciers (Audio CD)
Comprising of 2 brothers, Mike and Jared Bell, this Texan instrumental duo originally self-released `Carved by Glaciers' back in 2005. The 5 track EP quickly established Lymbyc Systym as ones to watch and led to them being immediately embraced by the forbearers of the genre. They moved from recording studio to tour-bus, clocking thousands of miles and supporting top-draw acts like The Album Leaf, American Analog Set, Mice Parade and Her Space Holiday. For 2009, Magic Bullet records have taken the rightful decision to re-release this little-known record upon the masses complete with crystal-clear re-mastering and 2 remixes by both Her Space Holiday and American Analog Set.

Staunchly mellow-ite in their ideologies, Lymbyc Systym's synergetic combination of rock instrumentals and hazy electronic trickery exist on the silver-lining of cloud-lined dreamscapes. From vintage analog fuzz to dreamy electronica to the dubby trickle of glockenspiels, `Carved by Glaciers' is the result of laborious experimentation whose aim was to establish something fresh and unique from deep beneath the indie canopy. The closest frame of reference one can give is the mellow-dynamic of Do Make Say Think forged with the electro-fused post-rock structures of Mogwai which are delivered with the dark-dreampop aesthetic of Telepopmusik. It is by no means a perfect analogy but that in itself is testament to the breadth of stylistic traits Lymbyc Systym cover, and make there own.

One of the more surprising aspects of `Carved by Glaciers' is that Lymbyc Systym integrate a slowcore jazz-funk fusion groove to some of their pieces, and do this to wonderful effect. Opener `Lotan Baba' is a total revelation in today's overcrowded instrumental scene. Seriously, one can only describe it as a glorious mish-mash of Do Make-esque funk-rock, Herbie Hancock-esque jazzfunk fusion and 8bit Nintendocore melodics that flows to perfection. These mellow grooves don't stop there as `Selamat Pagi's' slow-burning jazz-funk inspired swagger shimmers hypnotically like sunlight reflecting off a small-ripple made in a large body of still water. The title track `Carved by Glaciers' is a deeply atmospheric exercise in effervescent despondency, hovering around similar territory to `Happy Songs..' era Mogwai whilst eschewing the same melodious burble that Tortoise were famed for. Akin to peering out of the window of a dreary Glasgow council-block and out upon a grey, sleety concrete jungle the day after losing your only true love,`1000 Arms' showcases an epically brooding side to Lymbyc Systym. A side that dishes out an immensely restrained sucker punch right into the core of your cognitive process centre. Its bustling electronic-tinged percussive beatscape rides alongside a deliciously sombre melody before momentarily rising into lusher territory.

The two remixes showcase a similarly restrained and harmonious perspective to the Lymbyc Systym tracks. Her Space Holiday cover the dejected melodics of `1000 Arms' by putting them through a bubbling lounge-rock blender whilst American Analog Set incorporate soft breathy vocals into their dubbed out, Francophile-esque reinterpretation of `Selamat Pagi'. *The Amazon tracklisting doesn't show these 2 bonus tracks but they are there!*

Definitely a contender for indie release of the year, the strength of this release should propel Lymbyc Systym to undoubtedly become one of the leading protagonists of the instrumental scene as they unleash their proprietary but reference-filled brand of melodious instrumental indierock. Lymbyc Systym's contribution to the recent split release with This Will Destroy You entitled `Field Studies' as well as their 2007 album `Love Your Abuser' also proved to be totally enlightening experiences and should be definitely checked out by those interested in this release. (KS)

For fans of: Mogwai, Slint, Labradford, 65 Days of Static, Tortoise, Do Make Say Think,Telepopmusik

Field Studies
Field Studies
Offered by westworld-
Price: £5.49

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This Will Destroy You and Lymbyc System perform "Field Studies" review (8/10), 1 Jan. 2009
This review is from: Field Studies (Audio CD)
Bringing together two noteworthy names in the current instrumental rock, `Field Studies' is the exciting one-off project that was hatched during the late night drives that occurred when the two bands were on tour together. The concept behind the release was to document an exciting time in both bands' lives- both as people/friends and as musical entities and the final product features 5 tracks weighing in at a concise 26minutes. `Field Studies' was produced by at Elmwood Studies by John Congleton (Black Mountain, Modest Mouse, Explosions in the Sky).

On their 2 all-new tracks, This Will Destroy You showcase a further step up from the well-formed brand of deeply textural and elongated post-rock found on their debut album. On the epic 11minute opener `Brutalism and the Worship of the Machine', they strategically glide through the lushest of post-rock peaks and valleys. Bringing into play bombastic percussives, authentic and haunting melodies and feedback heavy skree, they expertly concoct a thickset and atmospheric soundscape that bristles with a proclivity for all that is melancholy and moody. The follow-up `Freedom Blade' clocks in at a far more concise 3 and a half minutes and is the equivalent to an audio documentation of daybreak after a rather eerie night. Melodies ripple organically and progressively through the scales whilst a jittering machine decays slowly on the romantic sunrise-filled horizon.

Lymbyc System are a slightly different proposition. Although their soundscapes are rooted in the same ideologies as TWDY, they bring into play a far more visible and concise rock-led aesthetic. Opening track `Processed Spirits', wastes little time in bursting open the riff-filled floodgates in a brief but euphoria-inducing slice of soaring instrumental rock. The Mogwai-esque `Notations' erects its decay-heavy melodies and glistening rays of sound like building blocks which all slot into place to build a rather sweeping and joyous celebration of sound. The closer `Narita' is their strongest offering though. Being a unique amalgamation of endearing and innocent melodies that are smashed apart by fantastically applied "out-of-sync" and "back-to-front" percussives that stomp authoritatively over melodies that progressively rise in stature whilst digitised shards of crystallised electronica spew in the backdrop.

The crystal-clear production techniques reveal a wide and warm soundstage that proves essential in capturing the organic and engrossing soundscapes provided by both bands. The material on this release is by no means an "after-thought" or a "cash-in" and actually ranks as some of both respective bands best work. (KS)

For fans of: Esmerine, Explosions in the Sky, Mogwai, Hotel Hotel, Romance of Young Tigers, Our Brother the Native


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fauna- Rain LP Review (9/10), 29 Dec. 2008
This review is from: Rain (Audio CD)
Described by their label as an ultra-obscure two-piece based in the temperate rainforest region of the Pacific Northwest, Fauna are a new breed of band working in the black metal genre. Creating an emotive and progressive soundscape which journeys from the lush acoustic valleys to the raw black metal "power and pummel" peaks, theirs is a sound more strongly aligned in spirit with hardcore punk than any of the more commercial strands of black metal, rendering Fauna as a truly unique entity in black metal circles.

`Rain' is the bands ambitious opus, a 63minute tour-de-force that shifts tectonically across a myriad of feelings and emotions, sucking the listener in and then refusing to let go, keeping them riveted with every progressive twist and unforeseen turn that they have in store. After a 5 minute lull of natural rainforest sounds which forces one to get prepared for the journey ahead, `Rain' commences with delicate and plaintive guitar swirls that successfully wring out every last drop of emotional endeavour, the shimmering tones making for a perfect start to Fauna's epic hour-long dreamscape. Akin to watching the intro to a brutally epic film, were a devilishly hypnotic soundtrack plays over a montage showcasing violent and deplorable acts, Fauna's guitar tones meander and swell hypnotically in an innocent yet devious manner, expertly playing the light against the dark in a cinematic yet totally authentic fashion. Deep and mournful `clean' vocal tones seep into the equation with aplomb, crooning subtly as the guitar melodies start to simmer with more intent before gradually growing ever more agitated and military-esque. This escalation is purely organic and thankfully shy's away from the premature and heavy-handed awkwardness found in many progressive instrumental pieces, and as such, a strong sense of authenticity is reached, allowing the listener to drift away blissfully and open-heartedly to the engorging body of sound carved out by Fauna.

At 22minutes in one can evidently see that the piece is about to blow but the way that it does is so totally unexpected and so unfathomably brutal. A charging mass of pounding percussion sweeps away like a thousand irate horses galloping at once whilst heavily downtuned guitars collide at light-speed in the midst of a waxing and waning melody that has the aesthetic of `raw black metal' stamped all over it. The way Fauna constantly play around with the piece whilst staying true to one central theme is jawdroppingly satisfying. Tempo's are shifted, rasping vocals enter the fray at brief intersections, the focus moves away from percussion to the melody and then back again at perfected moments and the whole entity at the pieces middle section is painstakingly designed to launch you into an emotive abyss in the most energetic of fashions. As Fauna reign back the sound at the half-hour mark with a drop down into epic doom-laden symphonics, you just get a chance to catch you breath whilst thinking what the hell just went down. What happens after is a true revelation as Fauna move between `Khanate-ish' doom to Old Man Gloom-esque apocalyptic post-metal. Liquid guitar melodies and skree join forces with rasping black metal vocal signatures and doom-laden percussives in a swelling mass of eternally dark sludgecore. Staying true to their progressive ideologies, these proceed to mellow out in strategic-fashion. Like the first sun-ray shooting its light into a dark wasteland of misdeed, Fauna utilise their melodic post-rock approach to slowly decay the darkness from their shell and after the half-way point, it showcases them whittling back down to the melodic and innocent core from which they started from. During this period many acts would have stripped down to a solitary guitar melody or disappeared in a haze of white noise but I thought Fauna were capable of bigger things and I half expected them to suddenly jolt the system and jump into a necro-assault of biblical proportions. 42 minutes in and they deliver the goods with another (somewhat more stifled) ode to the darkside which results in another beautiful demonstration of Fauna's proprietary melancholic speedcore that shifts wavelike across uncharted territories, none more so satisfying than 49 and a half minutes in. Pure bliss. In its last movement, the album proceeds to erupt frequently but in a more subtle manner as howling vocals and doomcore meet melodic passages and atmospheric waft. As was the case throughout, a focus on the battle between light versus dark is faithfully retained during these last minutes leading to a fully rounded and totally introspective piece that soothes the aching mind whilst providing an outlet for ones rage filled dreams. (KS)

For fans of: Teen Cthulhu meets Esmerine
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Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £10.63

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tipsy- Buzzz LP Review (7/10), 28 Dec. 2008
This review is from: Buzzz (Audio CD)
There was something both comforting and perverse in my first listening to Tipsy's new album, `Buzzz,' on the 21st of December, the shortest and darkest day of the year. Comforting, because its sundrenched sounds - the perfect tonic to the gloomy chill of overcast Britain - gave me something to look forward to. Perverse, because it was essentially a deluded act of escapism, a complete negation of my actual circumstances of existence on the same spectrum as putting my fingers in my ears and chanting "la la la, I can't hear you" while armed terrorists run amok in my neighbourhood. But I shouldn't feel embarrassed or ashamed, because `Buzzz' is a seductive album, more than capable of enticing even the staunchest of realists into an imagined paradise of hammocks swaying in the breeze, surf lapping against glistening sands, and strangers coming together in the middle of the night to either romance or murder each other.

`Buzzz' is Tipsy's third album (why that might be important to you I don't really know. Maybe you're prejudiced against or towards bands at certain stages in their careers), and it sees the duo creating a bizarre breed of divine muzak, the kind of music fellow dreamers might hear played through the PA of the best and strangest beach resort in the world. Its first track, `Midnight Party,' enters with a mystery-tinged glockenspiel and then quickly jumps into a lively groove, interspersed with a recurring reverb-spangled, palm-muted guitar riff, light touches of piano and sax, and the reappearance of the glockenspiel in a more playful and mischievous mood at various key points. From there things only take a turn for the weirder, with successor `A Night on the Town' twisting at the drop of a swimsuit from a sedate, lounging-by-the-side-of-the-pool ambience of serene synths and tropical guitar to an animated spree through flea market back-alleys played out by brisk drumming and a wily piano.

Being a part-live, part-sampled outfit, Tipsy are able to draw upon a wide range of sounds and instruments, and `Buzzz' roams musical scenery in a way few albums manage. Nowhere is this more apparent than on track 6, `Chocolate Moon.' Here, all kinds of instruments combine - piano, strings, horns, and flute - to create a hazy, languorous atmosphere through which a fuzzy electric guitar psychedelically ascends like steam in the desert. Yet its singularity is nothing special, since few tracks if any sound similar to each other. There's track 10, `Kadonka,' with its celebratory trumpets and peppy electronic percussion, which sounds like something from a Mardi Gras parade. Then there's its successor `Big Business,' with its sleepy use of vaporous guitar chords, understated bongos, and the ever-reliable glockenspiel. It floats on by peacefully, like the body and mind of someone in a sensory deprivation tank.

But while all of this variation creates an undoubtedly colourful aural world, there is something about it all which ironically wears the listener down with an accumulating sense of sameness. What this is most likely the result of is the lack of highs, intensity and dynamic escalation. There is nothing on the album that could be described as especially strong or resonant, and there is little that really departs from the same middling tempo and volume. What's more, most of the separate parts simply skip into each other without transitions, bridges or any other structural progressions. This seems to prevent the songs from becoming truly engaging or rousing, and when this same absence of connected movement is repeated over almost 16 tracks things tend to jade.

Though it should be said that high drama and excitement are clearly not what `Buzzz' aims for, and anyone expecting these things will quickly find that they've flown out to the wrong destination. But if they've travelled with the intention of enjoying a wide variety of quirky, summery diversions they won't be disappointed, because Tipsy have delivered them in spades. (Simon Chandler)

For fans of: Sukia, The Go! Team, Cornelius, Pizzicato Five, Girl Talk, Higher Intelligence Agency, The Avalanches, Matmos.

Wasted/Serious Business [12" VINYL]
Wasted/Serious Business [12" VINYL]

4.0 out of 5 stars Exicision- Wasted/Serious Business 12" Review (6.5/10), 21 Dec. 2008
You're lost in space. There's nothing around you for trillions and trillions of miles apart from the terrifying hum of absolute silence and the occasional clicks, bleeps and swirling whirs of your ship's navigational computer. You think - no, you know - that there's no hope of being rescued. So what do you do?

You dance fool! Well, you would if you were Excision, a Canadian newcomer to the murky, demented realm of dubstep. Although you wouldn't dance so much in a nice, civilised fashion as you would in one that was crazed and somewhat erratic, because Excision is not someone who lays down nice, civilised beats and grooves. With his `Wasted/Serious Business' 12" he has given the world two slabs of hard dub that twist and turn in and out of dark, spacey soundscapes like a sleazy politician rendered elastic by a stream of narcotics.

`Wasted' begins in a hollow vacuum of high-pitched electronic blips and cosmic synth washes, and then jumps headfirst into a virulent rampage through hectic techno bass lines and pounding beats, throwing rhythmic curveballs at irregular intervals and dipping back into a forebodingly spectral ambience that serves to create a stark opposition. It's a heavy piece of dubstep, and it makes the likes of Skream and Rusko seem lightweight by comparison.

No less unforgiving and perversely funky is b-side `Serious Business.' Although unluckily for anyone seeking variety in their music it is exactly the same in terms of its concept: from a shadowy beginning of sparkling eeps it abruptly breaks into a riotous spree, and from there it goes through a couple of nebulous lulls before ending with a fade to black.

Regardless of the similarity it bears to its predecessor however, there is no doubting that Excision is on to something here, and it will be interesting to see if he can harness his brunt and idiosyncratic rhythms to a widened palette of dynamics, structures and moods. Here's to his 2009. (Simon Chandler)

For fans of: Skream, Rusko, N-Type, Exos, Fluxion, Vladislav Delay, Deepchord
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Gutter Tactics
Gutter Tactics
Price: £10.83

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dalek- Gutter Tactics LP Review (6.8/10), 21 Dec. 2008
This review is from: Gutter Tactics (Audio CD)
Dalek is a difficult duo, to say the least. Typically, they're mentioned as a recommendation when conversation has turned to hip hop artists such as Public Enemy, Wu Tang Clan, Cannibal Ox and the rest of the Def Jux record label. But if someone only has a strict background in Hip Hop and Rap, they'll probably walk away from Dalek as if they were a mere curiosity. Anyone who truly wants to 'get' the challenging "glitch-hop" of Dalek, usually has to approach them with at least a minor interest in Post Rock, Noise, Shoegaze and, particularly for the purpose of Gutter Tactics, Metal.

Achieving a sort of middle point in between the harshness of Absence and the ambiance of Abandoned Language, the tracks on Gutter Tactics are rooted in a lo-fi abrasiveness borrowed directly from Sludge and Drone Metal artists such as The Melvins, Black Sabbath and Sunn O))). But unlike both of those accomplished works, Gutter Tactics is often a triumph of angsty style over substance, and the more underwritten tracks quickly drown under the enormous weight of their inescapably gloomy productions. Now there were certainly moments on Abandoned Language where Dalek's signature cacophony threatened to becomes a single sea of relentless, indecipherable noise. But here, the moments are too numerous to ignore, making Gutter Tactics a much more frustrating listen. Despite the distinct and terrifying intro, "Blessed Are They Who Bash Your Children's Heads Against A Rock" (brilliantly featuring an infamous sermon from Reverend Wright), everything immediately begins to blur together, with the album's early string of indistinguishable guttural noises, in particular, appearing poorly disguised as separate tracks. It's not till the lurching and sinister-sounding "Street Diction" rolls around, that the album rises above the sloppy collage of squeals and buzzing distortion. "A Collection of Miserable Thoughts Laced..." follows, with it's beautifully illuminating bells and twinkling synths. "Atypical Stereotype" and "We Lost Sight" are pretty good as well, crafting more contemplative walls of sound that stand in contrast to most of the album's horror fun-house productions. But songs like the title track, "Spear of The Nation", "Armed With Krylon" and "Who Medgar Evers Was...", are heaping, squelching wastes of space and repeated listens do very little to change that.

Still, this minor work doesn't quite lessen the worth of Dalek's unique sound. There's not a single artist doing anything even remotely similar in the world of underground hip hop, and so Gutter Tactics may win you over with its sound and confidence alone. But the one thing Dalek has never been known for is likability, so why in the world are they expecting to get by with just that now? (Aron Fischer)

For fans of; Wu Tang Clan, Cannibal Ox, Public Enemy, cLOUDDEAD, Sunn O)))
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 17, 2009 11:06 PM GMT

Nostalgia 77 - Nostalgia Sessions Vol.1
Nostalgia 77 - Nostalgia Sessions Vol.1
Price: £10.94

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgia 77 Sessison Volume 1 Review (7/10), 20 Dec. 2008
Modern life - it's just all so dull isn't it? It's one big overhyped disappointment, never ceasing in its failure to surprise and astound you. Even when an outrage rears its ugly head, the shock expressed by the 21st Century individual is really the shock that they're not surprised, that they've lost not only their ability to be surprised but also their capacity for feeling the rawness of pain as opposed to its simulacrum. Today, ennui is spreading like the plague, infecting once spirited children with the jaded numbness that comes with an overexposure to everything all at once. Passion is no longer fashionable and is no longer believed; everything can be taken or left with equal ease - careers, friends, locales, interests, lovers, personalities - because `it's all arbitrary.' And there are millions upon millions of people who stare out of windows on rainy days, or hazard penetrating glances at old acquaintances, and find themselves disinterested beyond all measure and wishing to do something - anything - that might break the tedium and instil some excitement into their lives.

It seems as though jazz musician and producer Benedic Lamdin, aka Nostalgia 77, as well as veteran jazz pianist Keith Tippett and his experimental vocalist wife Julie, understands this feeling of modern-day lethargy very well. Along with his collaborators, he has produced an album that keenly encapsulates both the listlessness of 21st Century existence and the sometimes playful, sometimes crazed attempts to break free of its bounds. The `Nostalgia 77 Sessions' is a modern jazz record that covers a wide expanse of the genre's ground, running from tight, up-tempo workouts and sombre meditations to loose splurges of horn-led noise, and over the course of 14 tracks it never once succumbs to the monotony it seeks to chronicle.

It begins with `You Don't Just Dream When You Sleep,' a song that is one part sultry lounge-jazz driven by a sleek bass line and another part erratic protestation misled by a convulsive piano. Through its verses and chorus Julie Tippett laments, among other things, how `You can't leave the land of reason' in a vaporous and faintly doleful voice. Her tuneful vocal melodies are accompanied by a breezy sax that flows smoothly through the air, and together they form the core of a tune (yes, it does really qualify as a tune) whose lyrical message seems to amount to the avowal of dreams as indispensable to the endurance of society.

Undoubtedly, Mrs Tippett's vocals are one of the central components of the album, and as well as the harmonious refrains present on such cuts as `Film Blues,' `Rainclouds,' and `Lapis Blue,' she also draws upon the experimental style that prevails in much of her solo work. Track 7, `Soothing The Rattlesnake,' is a sepulchral ambient piece consisting of sparse piano notes, distant, high-pitched horns and the kind of elongated vocal wails more likely to be heard emanating from an anguished torture victim than a middle-aged singer in a jazz band. With this song (no, it doesn't really qualify as a song) the group become vaguely reminiscent of neo-psychedelic/post-rock band Charalambides, and it sounds as though it was intended to express a simmering frustration with the repressive dictates of social etiquette and conformity.

But there are a handful of songs which proceed without any vocal input whatsoever, and of these instrumental numbers it is probably `Vienna' which most subtly and beautifully epitomises the feeling the entire album seems to strive towards. It's a piece which saunters by in a mood of fatigued yet serene languor, with bluesy, delicate piano and a trumpet that sounds endearingly defeated and disillusioned. Around the 5 minutes 33 seconds mark, the piano suddenly ascends in an almost transcendent moment of airily oscillating semiquavers that persist for several bars as a spirited embrace of melancholy before sinking back into the sea of apathy from they had emerged.

Fortunately, for all of its moodiness and neurotic avant-gardisms, the album does possess smatterings and eruptions of effervescence. `Sketch For Gary/Billy Goes To Town' is an offbeat, energetic piece full of sprightly interplay between saxophone, piano, guitar and vocalisations, while `Visions' is a sanguine jaunt that, although not exactly forceful, is happily laidback. And to finish the album off, `New Inner City Blues' contains a determined, affirmative undercurrent that offsets the urbane vitriol it directs at urban violence. The song tells us that the necessary flipside of an omnipresent disappointment is always, no matter how illusory, an omnipresent hope.

And gee, ain't that swell. (Simon Chandler)

For fans of: Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy, John Zorn, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Cinematic Orchestra, Matthew Shipp, Brad Mehldau.
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