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Music

Martin Buttrich: Crash Test (CD, Desolat, March 2010)

There is a lot of variety in this collection of 11 tracks of laid-back minimal. What unifies them is a production style which is detailed, deep, and assured. There’s nothing here that sets my world alight, but every track is superbly put together, and there’s a great warmth to it. I bought this from Boomkat. […]

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Music

Ólafur Arnalds: Dyad 1909 (CD, Erased Tapes, December 2009)

Strings and piano combine with occasional ambient washes, devastating electronic thumping sounds, and computer vocals to excellent effect. This was written as the soundtrack for a dance piece, and is unashamedly dramatic. But it stands very well on its own. Some of it feels like modern classical. Some of it feels like ambient. Some of […]

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Music

Richard Skelton: Landings (CD, Type, January 2010)

An exciting collection of 12 works for strings. There is a great ragged, wild feeling to this record, along with an intense sense of location — many tracks were apparently recorded in ruined farmhouses and the like, and this really comes through. The pace is always measured, but there is a great variety in technique, […]

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Music

Claro Intelecto: Metanarrative (CD, Modern Love, March 2008)

40 minutes of warm, melodic, dubby, huggy techno. It’s not going to set any dancefloors on fire, and it’s not going to win any prizes for experimentation. But when I pop this on the headphones, it makes me happy for a while, and that ain’t too bad. It has the soft (I believe the term […]

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Music

Masayoshi Fujita & Jan Jelinek: Bird, Lake, Objects (CD, Faitiche, March 2010)

The most obvious thing going on here is the layering of found sounds, presumably the work of Jelinek. It’s densely textured, a very accomplished piece of production. Over that we get Fujita’s chiming vibraphone: at some times playing tinkling (improvised?) melodies, at other times just chiming away in the distance. I found it very evocative: […]

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Music

Yellow Swans: Going Places (CD, Type, February 2010)

Noise goes pop! Yellow Swans are Pete Swanson on electronics, tapes, and vocals, and someone called GMS on guitar, tapes, and electronics. They have given us 44 minutes of buzzing, clicking, and squawling. It’s a huge monster of a record. But it’s not in the least bit difficult: there are tunes, and what’s more there […]

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Music

Nils Frahm: Wintermusik (Erased Tapes edition) (CD, Erased Tapes, December 2009)

I am finding a tendency to overuse words like “lovely” here. This short record of compositions for piano (with accompaniment on celeste, reed organ, and some kind of tapping I can’t identify) is, though, lovely. The three tracks each move between liltingly playful and hauntingly wistful. The third, Tristana, makes up over half the album, […]

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Music

Peter Broderick: Home (CD, Bella Union, October 2008)

I previously knew Broderick mostly for his wonderful Float, a modern classical masterpiece. This is very different: gone are the lush strings, gone the cinematic beauty. In are vocals, layered choral harmonies, acoustic guitars, home-made clay whistles, and (whisper it) proper songs. That said, this is not a conventional folk album. The production is too knowing […]

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Music

Goldmund: The Malady Of Excellence (CD, Type, July 2008)

In which Keith Kenniff plays some pretty tunes on the piano, and charms this listener’s socks off. Nobody could accuse this of being over-complicated. Goldmund is a solo piano project, and the tunes are quite simple and played without a great deal of flourish. At a casual listen, they could be mistaken for grade 3 […]

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Music

Carl Craig & Moritz von Oswald: Recomposed (Music by Maurice Ravel & Modest Mussorgsky) (CD, Deutsche Grammophon, October 2008)

In which the 2nd-generation Detroit deity and the more famous half of Basic Channel rip apart Ravel’s Bolero and Mussorgsky’s Pictures At An Exhibition, chuck in some old-skool drum machines and synths, and create a 64 minute techno megamix. It’s possibly too easy to call this symphonic techno. Also slightly misleading, as neither of the […]