Monday, September 28, 2009

Pull Up A Chair

As the summer draws to a close, the relaxing sounds that have been keeping me company in the garden on many a warm evening are sure to feature in the soundtrack of my autumn whilst looking onto the outside from the comfort of my sofa.

Top of the pile for laid-back listening is LJ Kruzer's excellent Manhood & Electronics LP on Uncharted Audio. Equal parts synthesised ambiance and lazy piano melodies, this LP has fitted the bill perfectly on several occasions when the repetitive 4/4 thump that typically soundtracks my life doesn't quite suit the moment as I'm looking to totally unwind. Squeezing 10 tracks into 34 minutes might suggest a fast pace but things couldn't be further from the truth here and as each piece unfolds, you are dragged deeper into the soothing textures Stephen Fiske has conjured up. As hinted by the title, the album was written whilst LJ Kruzer was on on the brink of fatherhood; a timing that can only have assisted with developing the rich emotions exhibited within the album.

LJ Kruzer - Tam // Uncharted Audio buy

With a lengthy list of releases and remixes under his belt spanning the last 16 years, Chris Jeffs aka Cylob has established himself as an electronica producer of considerable note. His largely instrumental work for labels such as Rephlex, Breakin' and his own Cylob Industries also feature on numerous compilations although it's perhaps the disjointed electronica pop of Rewind! that is arguably one of his better known tracks. Jeffs' latest project is known as Ambient News and his album of the same name showcases yet another angle of his take on abstract electronics. Encompassing bells, playful melodies, abstract guitars and a whole plethora of effects, Ambient News delivers a pleasant dose of laid back tunes spanning the ambient and downbeat electronica genres. If you're new to Cylob and like what you hear here, his back catalogue certianly provides plenty of space for exploration; and somewhat generously, you can get your mitts on a healthy pile of it for free via his website.

Ambient News - Lang // Cylob Industries buy

Taking things about as deep into ambient listening as possible, the next release to feature today is another offering from the excellent Highpoint Lowlife stable. Alpine's 'fr:om harmed weather to stark, micro, climates' isn't exactly the snappiest album title I've ever heard but if repeating the name gets your tongue in a twist the ambient sounds that follow will help it unravel itself as the pace of life here provides plenty of time for thought. With abstract ideas incorporating running water, birdsong, passing planes and all manner of other sonic observations this stuff certainly isn't going to generate much movement from your limbs but if you're looking for some intrigue in your headphone listening then it could be just the ticket.

Alpine - micro, // Highpoint Lowlife buy

Dance music DVDs are one of those things that always seem interesting whilst still in the storefront but when you get them home, rarely seem to make repeated viewing. This isn't down to the quality of goods on offer but sitting in front of a TV when great music is booming out never really seems appropriate. Nevertheless, there must be a market for this stuff and one of the latest acts to venture into this ambitious world is Minilogue. Their Animals album has been a a firm favourite of mine right since it's release last year and even some 18 months on, makes regular visits to my turntables. The mellower cuts to be found on the CD version's second disc are more for the home than the first CD (and vinyl version) and it seems fitting that these tracks form a large part of the soundtrack for 'Animals the Movie'. While this DVD isn't the kind of thing you're likely to want to give undivided attention to for repeated viewing, it's an excellent piece of work and as background entertainment whilst chatting with friends it holds its own as the music still sounds fresh and when people devote a few minutes to watching the visuals, the constantly evolving images provide an extremely pleasant interlude. The official release for this DVD was a good few months back now but it's limited presence in the UK is perhaps the main reason why I haven't seen it given much press. You can however, pick up a copy online.

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Sunday, September 06, 2009

R & S Goodies

It's been a while since JD Twitch has featured on these pages but when we heard that he'd been given the run of the R & S back catalogue to knock up a mix we were pretty excited. As you'd expect from a DJ who's well known for keeping the interest levels high, there's a weighty 22 tracks crammed into 'In Order To Edit' and he's thrown in plenty of the label's lesser known cuts in amongst some of the big guns (Energy Flash, 20Hz, Plastic Dreams etc). As the title suggests, there's also a scattering of Optimo re-edits of some of the tracks too.

I'm not sure how long the mix has been out and I've not actually heard a copy yet but the folks over at R & S have provided us with 5 copies to give away. In order to be in with a chance to win the album, you'll need to register for the R & S mailing list via this link and in doing so you'll also get 4 free R & S tracks up front.

Good luck.

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Breaking The Line

Given the solid reputation and impressive back catalogue that Various Production has established over the years it must have been with equal parts pride and fear that Gold Panda found himself as the first 'signed' artist to be putting out a release on Various' eponymously titled label. The Miyamae EP came out in July and it's a definite winner for all concerned as it maintains the high standard set by the label owners while nicely opening up the path for other producers to follow in Gold Panda's footsteps.

As with Various' own releases, Miyamae isn't a record to be easily pigeonholed as it takes in all manner of influences including techno, electronica and dubstep and even includes some good old computer game sounds. Whilst there's a clearly a massive amount of digital processing going on, the EP also maintains a strong organic feel, particularly through the presence of the melodies and it's perhaps the unashamed Japanese influences that are the strongest reference point here. Back Home and Mayuri exhibit strong dancefloor sensibilities, although it would certainly be interesting to hear these dropped in a peak-time club environment. Long Vacation is more of an excursion into sonic experimentation and is delivered at a pace more akin with the live set Langer and I saw Gold Panda perform a month or so back as well as the "Before" mini album of his I picked up too.

Gold Panda - Mayuri //Various Production buy

Various' ventures have long since been of interest to me and I'm glad to say this deviation from their previous path delivers pleasing results. Gold Panda is currently in the middle of his debut live tour and details of further gigs can be found at his MySpace page. Various Production are also due to do a free live gig at London's Cafe 1001 on October 1st.

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