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Music

Recomposed by Matthew Herbert: Mahler Symphony X (CD, Deutsche Grammophon, July 2010)

You’ve got to love Matthew Herbert for going the extra mile. Whereas Carl Craig and Moritz von Oswald, say, used Ravel and Mussorgsky as source material for their Recomposed offering, Herbert has clearly used Mahler as text for his. The work in question is the unfinished tenth symphony, a work which seems to be particularly obsessed by […]

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Music

The Resident: Duck Stab / Buster & Glen (CD, Cryptic, 1978)

Ah, the Residents, those lovable eyeball-headed art-rock scamps. We have here 14 short tracks of somewhat self-conscious avant-garde tomfoolery: nonsensical lyrics (I mean this at least partly in the formal sense of nonsense verse), half-sung or recited, often in a cartoonish falsetto, over squelching, belching, horn-honking synths and miscellaneous electronics doodah. It really is more […]

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Music

Gavin Bryars and Juan Muñoz: A Man In A Room, Gambling (Complete) (CD, GB Records, 1992)

So, let’s start with the facts. This consists of ten works for string quartet, composed by Gavin Bryars and performed by the Balanescu Quartet, over which the Spanish sculptor Juan Muñoz reads instructions on how to cheat at cards. In some of the later segments, occasion phrases are repeated by a confused-sounding Japanese man (Yukio […]

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Music

Patrick Pulsinger: Impassive Skies (CD, Disko B, July 2010)

This is kind of frustrating. There’s some really good stuff on this. Nice drum programming, nice rich organic sound, lots of good ideas. But it just doesn’t hang together as an album — it feels more like a showcase of Pulsinger’s range as a producer. This may be something to do with the fact that […]

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Music

Efdemin: Chicago (CD, Dial, May 2010)

This is just really nice, detailed, finely crafted house. It’s quite heavily Chicago-tinged, as you might guess from the title — then again, Efdemin are based in Berlin, and that clearly shows too. It’s not revolutionary, but it’s gently propulsive, sophisticated without any of that glossy coffee-table feel, and overall I found it very appealing. […]

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Music

Jóhann Jóhannson: And In The Endless Pause There Came The Sound Of Bees (CD, Type, April 2010)

Jóhannson is an Icelandic composer, probably best known for the concept piece IBM 1401: A User’s Manual. This (splendidly titled) album is big, swooshing, string-drenched, and shamelessly dramatic. There are moments which remind me of Philip Glass, others which remind me of György Ligeti. He has a great knack for structure, bringing back themes from […]

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Music

VA mixed and remixed by Todd Terje: Remaster Of The Universe (CD + Mix CD, Permenant Vacation, June 2010)

This is a two CD set. One is a compilation of nine of Terje’s remixes. It’s always good to hear his version Lindstrøm’s “Another Station”, though I must already have it on at least half a dozen different mixes. I didn’t know M’s “Pop Muzik” before, but his remix is really extremely catchy. Other than […]

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Music

Monolake: Silence (CD, Imbalance, December 2009)

If you don’t like Monolake (and there are fools out there who don’t, you know) then this probably won’t win you over. If you do, this will do very nicely thank you. Complex, stark, endlessly involving, and atmospheric, this is ultra-minimal headphones techno at it’s best. The thing that struck me most about this, compared […]

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Music

Rameses III: I Could Not Love You More (CD, Type, September 2009)

Awww, my headphones are hugging me. The basis here are long, droning string-like sounds, which pulse at something like the rate of a fast but not frantic heartbeat, and modulate over a much longer period whilst still being recognizably rhythmic. Around that we get touches of lap steel (which can’t help reminding me of the […]

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Music

Vladislav Delay: Tummaa (CD, Leaf, September 2009)

In which Sasu Ripatti takes techno apart, puts it back together all wrong, and ends up with something weird and a bit wonderful. It’s like someone is doing lego on acid, and instead of a car they have ended up with something weird and spidery and liable to fall apart at any moment, but somehow […]