Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Tiger, My Friend

Psapp blend soft vocal hooks with perhaps the most playful and creative approach to making music heard this year. Their sound is unique, but if pushed for a comparison, the duo bring to mind a variation of Stereolab; albeit one that plays with mildly abused garage sale keyboards and uses percussion made from bits and bobs around the house. Instrumentation ranges from glockenspiels and hand-plucked violin, to even a BB pellet plink-plonking around in an old coke bottle. “Leaving in Coffins” features a childlike melody and syncopated glitches, as if Aphex Twin hired a chanteuse to sing over his mayhem. “Chapters” is decidedly darker and tempered with romantic unrest, featuring thick, standup bass stabs and a frosty vocal delivery. Personable and highly innovative, it’s all too easy to forget Tiger, My Friend is a debut album.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

CD REVIEW: John Tejada, Logic Memory Center
Plug Research
Released Nov 2004
$11.99 (Amazon)

Emerging from beneath the polished veneer of minimal house and techno, pop has been slowly bubbling to the surface of electronic dance music, as artists like Matthew Dear drop vocals over beds of complex microsamples, snaring a wider audience with their meatier hooks. On his 10th studio album, John Tejada strikes a balance between this formula and his trademark techy sound, honed over years of productions for scores of labels — and one high-profile remix for the Postal Service. "Strange Creatures" sets the alien, near-robotic cadence of vocalist Kimi Recor against thinly sliced samples that dash in and out of the soundfield; "Possessive Patterns" adds an assertive snare/kick to supple, off-kilter rhythms; and the album's most minimal cut, "Loose Change," demonstrates Tejada's compositional talent with a limited palette. (CJN)

Friday, December 03, 2004

Giant Step Holiday Bash feat. Dego and Platinum Pied Pipers
Mon 12.6 (10pm)
Canal Room (285 W Broadway, 212.941.0900)

One-half of the Mercury Prize nominees 4Hero, Dego's musical path has run the gamut, from sinister drum 'n bass early on, to the jazz/nu-soul styles illustrated on the duo's 2003 LP, Creating Patterns. Alone, Dego is seen as one of the most influential producers in West London's vibrant broken beat scene — for a taste of his sound, check "Got Me Puzzled" with Kaidi Tatham, an electrified, percussive shaker that shows just how grooving the genre can get. Tonight, he brings the latest in soulful, syncopated funk, and is joined by Waajeed and Saadiq of the Platinum Pied Pipers playing live cuts from their forthcoming record on Ubiquity. (CJN)
Daddy G
DJ Kicks

A founding father of the Wild Bunch and Massive Attack, Daddy G was instrumental in defining the Bristol sound — a blend of reggae, dub, soul, funk, and hip-hop he originally showcased as a soundclash DJ in the early '80s. In this installment of the DJ Kicks series, the master lays bare the definitive influences of his style, which prove to be anything but the diluted downtempo that cluttered cut-out bins in the late '90s. From the opening strains of Willie Williams' dub classic "Armegeddon Time" to a rare Massive Attack remix of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and a Danny Krivit edit of Aretha Franklin, Daddy G narrates an auditory journey of record-box gems that encapsulates the heart and soul of the trip-hop sound he helped create. (CJN)
Various Artists
Compilation #2
November 2

iPod loyalists alienated by DFA's vinyl-only releases can rejoice once again. Compilation #2 pulls together the singles the label has released since Compilation #1, along with an exclusive track from Black Dice and '80s proto-electro act Liquid Liquid's "Bell Head." Pixeltan bring gloomy bass lines and pulsing disco drums with "Get Up / Say What" while former Major Force members J.O.Y. add the percussive funk swagger the label is known for. Refreshingly, the Juan Maclean get some long-overdue exposure, with new tracks "I-Robot," the dub-electro riddims of "Dancehall Modulator," and their finest moment (and bass line!) to date in "Give Me Every Little Thing." Disc 3 is mixed, running the gamut of the back catalogue and winding down with the unreleased LCD Soundsystem track "On Repeat." (CJN)

But Then Again

To mark their five-year anniversary, Berlin-based ~scape have assembled new, unreleased tracks from their impressive stable of artists. The songs range in genre from Thomas Fehlmann's mechanical dub, to John Tejada's melancholic minimal techno, all the way to Crackhaus' glitchy dancehall oddity, "Birthday Bangers and Smash." Plug Research's Soulo and Headset experiment with electronics, acoustics, recorder, and harmonica on "The Fall of Knee High," while Jan Jelinek provides one of the record's finest moments on "Western Mimikry." The track blends warm guitar tones with sparse jazz cymbals as a gentle string tremolo eerily shifts up and down the scale, adding a simple yet resonant texture. (CJN)




From Earplug.cc

Moment Returns

October 19

Inspired by Jan Jelinek's influential album Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records, the Sydney-based jazz trio Triosk begin experimenting with a hybrid format. After narrowing down their sound to incorporate new compositional forms made possible by computers, the trio eventually collaborated with Jelenik on their debut release 1+3+1. Moment Returns was recorded around the same period, and the resulting record brims with dusty crackles, textures, and samples filling in the space between stand-up bass, slight jazz percussion, and piano. The track "Tomorrow Today (Part 2)" brings to mind the Cinematic Orchestra's compositions, and this jazz-in-the-foreground, electronically augmented background sound generally sums up Triosk's approach. The exception is "Goodnight," a dreamlike track where watery keys slowly spiral in and out of tune, with tones decaying into the ether. (CJN)