Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cyclic Defrost Magazine

Cyclic Defrost Magazine

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Walter Gross – La Pink Filth (I Had An Accident Records)

Posted: 08 Nov 2009 05:10 PM PST

Walter Gross - La Pink Filth

Walter Gross brings the dirt, opening this eight tracker with some brutal spoken word, synth snarl, and a bass drop that would hint to the biggest dubstep mutations, not unlike King Cannibal's brutalism. It’s lodged somewhere between the bass pressure of dubstep, or even drum'n'bass, electronic and crunk synth overload, and the experimentation of renowned noise exponents. This really is an overload on the senses, Walter Gross owning up to loving the art of sampling. You can see why here; snippets have been taken from everywhere, making it nearby impossible to categorise.

I'll go out on a limb here, many music lovers from differing favoured styles would like what is enclosed here, there is just so much sound crammed into each track, and although confronting at times (especially to my aging ears), sounds seem to naturally shift and morph into something new by the close of each track. Just as "Headhunterz" starts as what seems a brutalists take on dirty hip hop, it degrades to a wall of noise so naturally. Included is the rather superb Youth Kill screwed remix of 10shun's "Mindfuck", listed here as "10shun Findmuck".

It could be a 70's psych classic played with a totally destroyed stylus, re-grooving the record as it spins, or Muslimgauze at his most experimental with an even bigger blanket of distortion, or even John Carpenter on crack, but whatever it is, it’s brutal, in your face, an assault on the senses. If Walter Gross wants his listeners to hear him, he's going about it the right way: you have no choice in the matter.

Wayne Stronell

Walter Gross – La Pink Filth (I Had An Accident Records) is a post from: Cyclic Defrost Magazine.

Shinobu Nemoto – Improvisations 1 (Experimedia)

Posted: 08 Nov 2009 03:49 PM PST


The five long, noisy drones on Improvisations #1 were recorded live, in one take onto a 4-track by Japanese artist Shinobu Nemoto using only electric guitar and ’stomp boxes’. The first response to these vast pieces is disbelief at their simple construction, as there’s a wealth of mysterious activity going on. Each piece moves gradually from whispered hum to grand squall, the towering feedback augmented with assorted clinks and blips, presumably from the stomp box. There’s a nod to Krautrock in the mystical shimmer, and the likes of Main and Flying Saucer Attack in basic construction, and an aesthetic akin to contemporaries Sunn O))), minus the metal posturing. For all the ruckus Improvisations #1 sits comfortably alongside Experimedia colleagues Billy Gomberg and Sylvie Walder, ambivalent sound poised between genial approachability and sinister malevolence.

Joshua Meggitt

Shinobu Nemoto – Improvisations 1 (Experimedia) is a post from: Cyclic Defrost Magazine.

Lambent – Smoothness Extract (Project Mooncircle)

Posted: 08 Nov 2009 11:52 AM PST

Lambent - Smoothness Extract

Project Mooncircle continue the quality of their releases with the new full length album from Lambent. This time delving into a more wonky world of futuristic hip hop, warm organic sounds with a Dilla-esque approach to his beat making.

The obvious comparisons could be applied here, Dilla, Flying Lotus and Dabrye, but Lambent has his own sound, one far more soulful in many ways, warm keys and sweet melodies twist and weave around the skewed beats. As with some wonky stylings, Lambent doesn't fall into the trap of the beats been too disjointed, becoming to wonky to dance to, as some of the copyists seem to become guilty of, after all, I still want to be connected to a rhythm, not forced to accept an unnatural one.

Highlights from the album are "Wish", "Resemblance", both as sweet as any Flying Lotus productions, "I Am Alright", which has a psychedelic soul flavour extracted from the future. "Norm" and "Hook Rip" have all the trademarks of Sheffield electronics coupled with the bass culture of today, two of my favourites from the album, the later reminding me of intricate textures pioneered by experimenters Autechre. "Scaler" lays down a hard beat as good as Dabrye or Mark Pritchard, while "Night Woose" has a futuristic afro rhythm with looped harp segments bringing the warmth felt from legends such as Alice Coltrane.

What could be discarded along with other 'wonky' releases, Smoothness Extract steps out on its own, showing its soul as something a lot more, full of warmth and heart, intricate melodies and subtle beat scapes, full of hidden treasures to behold. Project Mooncircle deliver yet again, a label showcasing some of the worlds finest new talent, given to us as usual in exquisitely designed packaging and artwork.

Wayne Stronell

Lambent – Smoothness Extract (Project Mooncircle) is a post from: Cyclic Defrost Magazine.

Fink – Sort Of Revolution EP (Ninja Tune/Inertia)

Posted: 08 Nov 2009 12:51 AM PST

Fink - Sort Of Revolution

The smokey voice of Fink has always had some attraction, the warmth draws you in, and its this Northern Soul warmth that always encourages me to checkout something new from Fink.

The Sort Of Revolution EP is an EP worth having a listen to, if only for the Cinematic Orchestra remix, which doesn't do too much to the original, but adds an ethereal feel that lifts this quite sombre song. The full remix by The Cinematic Orchestra uses their current trend of stripping everything back to bare bones, back to bare emotion, utilising understated orchestral passages and washes of strings, very beautiful, and a style that really seems to sit well with the vocal. The original is a fine mix of warm voice, simple acoustic guitar, subtle percussion, and most surprisingly, an addictive dub bass line, with a subtle use of echo toward the end.

The single exclusive "Don't Look Down" is the usual voice/acoustic guitar/subtle percussion, that could almost be mistaken for a Radiohead outtake, if it wasn't for Fink's distinctive vocal, a really nice track. The "Sideshow Dub" of "Sort Of Revolution" is a real surprise, just straight up dub steppa, minimal vocals and lots of effects, lots of space for the sounds to ricochet.

Sombre but uplifting. Nice.

Wayne Stronell

Fink – Sort Of Revolution EP (Ninja Tune/Inertia) is a post from: Cyclic Defrost Magazine.

Silkie – City Limits Volume One (Deep Medi/Inertia)

Posted: 08 Nov 2009 12:51 AM PST

Silkie - City Limits

Dance oriented full-length albums can be somewhat problematic, becoming more of a collection of tracks, not very cohesive as a whole, but individual tracks working well in the mix.

Silkie's City Limits Volume One must be given credit on a few levels, firstly, although pigeonholed as a dubstep producer, there is far more going on here, and secondly, the tracks flow well to create a journey through a futuristic urban landscape. What initially strikes you is the way Silkie beds his roots with 2step and drum'n'bass, but weaves in so many other influences, dubstep, broken beat, nu-jazz, and Detroit techno. The later is, for me, what makes this album shine, from the offset with "Concrete Jungle" to "Turvy", "Spark", "Purple Love", "Planet X", "Mattaz" and the closer "Beauty", proving that the fresh , crisp sounds of the Detroit sound have stood the test of time, and when added to modern bass music production, add another depth to the sound palette.

Silkie has created a warm, emotive album that is worth checking out.

Wayne Stronell

Silkie – City Limits Volume One (Deep Medi/Inertia) is a post from: Cyclic Defrost Magazine.

Markus Kienzl – Density (Klein Records)

Posted: 08 Nov 2009 12:49 AM PST

Markus Kienzl - Density

Founding member and key figure of the Vienna-based electronic-dub-collective Sofa Surfers, Markus Kienzl brings us his second solo album, merging electronics, dub, rock, hip hop and soul, melted together into Kienzl's special blend of urban paranoia, and a further development from the intrinsically dub roots of past Sofa Surfers productions.

Musically, Density has a dirtier, harder edge, full to the brim with live drums, bass, guitar and the usual studio wizardry we've come to expect from Klein releases. Rock riffs sit comfortably next to dub effects and vocals from a variety of vocalists and MC's. The electronics are the glue in the project, subtly underpinning the live sound of the instrumentation, and that is its major strength, enabling a traditional song structure to incorporate originality and inventiveness.

Supported by a vast array of talent, Cutty Ranks, Oddateee, DJ Collage, Jack Hirschmann, Tania Saedie and Dolli Melaine, Kienzl paints a picture of a sounding and shining dark monolith, pulsating with enigmatic forces in a chimerical urban soundscape. There is a bleakness to Density, but it works as a gripping journey through disturbed urban environments.

"For Real" is the perfect track for Oddateee to spit over, its not a Dalek production, but it's the next best thing, while "Infrared Dot" lays down a similar hard beat for Oddateee, sampled most probably from the same source as the last EP from Jamie Vex'd. The electro-clash of "Scream" leaves me somewhat cold, and seems out of place here. Kienzl switches things around for "The Kung Fu Divas" and "Sniper, Sniper (A Cutty Ranks Tale)", bringing us back to a dancehall sound that artists from Vienna always seem to be drawn to, and Cutty Ranks toasts like no other. Rounding out the album with "One Of 33 Million", kind of a cross between Hood and Glen Porter, Density is an album full of inventiveness, this may be downtempo, but it has a harder edge. Worth seeking out.

Wayne Stronell

Markus Kienzl – Density (Klein Records) is a post from: Cyclic Defrost Magazine.

Kush Arora – Boiling Over EP (Record Label Records)

Posted: 08 Nov 2009 12:48 AM PST

Kush Arora - Boiling Over

Hailing from San Francisco, Kush Arora has made his own imprint on bass music with his particular blend of dancehall, dubstep and Indian music, all rooted in dub and electronica, developing his sound over the last decade. An active member of the Surya Dub Crew in San Francisco, supported worldwide by top name magazines such as XLR8R, Pitchfork and Mix Magazine, earning them the best club night in San Francisco

On Boiling Over, Kush Arora teams up yet again with Sub Swara and J.Rogers which span the desi 2step and deep bass realms, while Kush's ambient roots are revealed on "The Staircase". "Deal Breaker" is all gurgling bass and electronics, while "We're Upstairs" is a beautifully executed roots steppa. "SF Shuffle Riddim" rounds out the seven track EP with the familiar Indian tinge to his sound.

There is great variety here, not choosing to stick to a formula, and willing to collaborate whenever possible, and this is what stands it apart from even the massive names on the UK dubstep scene, where progression in that scene has slowed for some artists, the US seems to be stepping up to push the sound further.

Wayne Stronell

Kush Arora – Boiling Over EP (Record Label Records) is a post from: Cyclic Defrost Magazine.

An-ten-nae – Acid Crunk EP5 (Muti Music)

Posted: 08 Nov 2009 12:50 AM PST


Crunk came and went, as most was pretty forgettable, but there are some artists out there that still fit the mould such as Modeselektor and Ghislain Poirier, and they do it so well, and An-ten-nae have been releasing some stormers, managing to mesh everything good about grime, dubstep, hip hop and electro.

Hailing from the West Coast of the US, An-ten-nae have been making waves, especially in the UK, gaining attention from Mary Anne Hobbs of BBC Radio, along with other upcoming artists Glitch Mob, Lazer Sword and The Gaslamp Killer.

Jamaican dancehall star Buccaneer features on "Warning", adding a futuristic dancehall vibe, which is further broken down like failing machines on the additional remix by An-ten-nae & Outersect. Two instrumentals are included, "Ill" and "Get Low", taking the mid-tempo beats to a new level with mammoth bass drops and twisted distorted electronics.

An-ten-nae, along with other luminaries like Lazer Sword and Megasoid, just maybe the future of club music.

Wayne Stronell

An-ten-nae – Acid Crunk EP5 (Muti Music) is a post from: Cyclic Defrost Magazine.

Various Artists – Geometry (Touchin’ Bass/Inertia)

Posted: 07 Nov 2009 07:47 PM PST


UK-based label Touchin’ Bass was originally founded back in 2002 by Andrea Parker with the stated aim of focusing on leftfield / experimental ghetto tech and booty electro, and following a brief period of inactivity this latest unmixed compilation ‘Geometry’ sees the label presenting nine tracks from a range of different artists on their roster. In this instance, rather than ghetto-tech styles, the focus falls firmly upon post-Warp Records influenced ‘intelligent’ techno, with Bogger’s opening ‘Mineral’ building itself up out of a dense web of ricocheting, elastic synthetic tones before razor-sharp IDM breakbeats rise up and take over the entire mix, sending things down into menacing, surgically-edited darkness.

By contrast, Ben Milstein’s ‘Osity’ favours a more shuffling approach that tickles the senses as much as it confuses them, as twinkling near-acid squelches and proggy drones roll over over a treacherous backbone of fluttering rhythms that constantly change their time signature, before Bitstream opt for comparatively more conventional electro waters on ‘Nest’, the swirling, moody nightdrive synths and rippling rhythmic pulse calling to mind Cybotron as much as it does Anthony Rother. Elsewhere Alpha 606 & Sync24 pick up the momentum and roll with it on the tumbling, timestretch-happy breakers’ electro of ‘Warped Juice’ as clicking 808 snares tread their way beneath blippy analogue synth-bass tones and howling, distorted drones, before Wee Djs’ ‘No Resolution’ offers up what’s perhaps this collection’s most straight out dancefloor-based offering as tribal techno rhythms pound beneath eerie sampled radio signals and evil-sounding synth sweeps. Fans of The Black Dog’s broken ‘intelligent’ techno and electro could do far worse than investigate ‘Geometry’, which sees the artists here traversing a distinctly post-Warp Records based aesthetic with consistently interesting results.

Chris Downton

Various Artists – Geometry (Touchin’ Bass/Inertia) is a post from: Cyclic Defrost Magazine.

Biomass – Electrozali (Low Impedance Recordings)

Posted: 07 Nov 2009 07:45 PM PST


Napoli born and now based in Athens, Panos Kyveleas somehow manages to balance his sound design and production with visual scuplture work and a day job as a pharmacist. Three years on from his preceding ‘Market’ CD/DVD collection on Quetempo, this third album from Kyveleas as Biomass ‘Electrozali’ sees him increasingly working with sampled traditional instrumentation as source material, in this case the Cretan lyra, a bowed stringed instrument. For the most part, the nine tracks gathered here see Kyveleas working in predominantly downbeat / ambient territory, with distant traces of dark cinematic atmosphere surfacing amidst a glitchy dub / downtempo aesthetic. Opening track ‘You Must Log In To Do That’ provides an apt encapsulation of this approach, with moody processed string drones building an engrossing sense of rich atmosphere, shortly before dark, electro-dub beats and bass pulses rise up gradually in the mix to drive things towards their conclusion.

By contrast, ‘Altamura’ sees Kyveleas working with treated vocals and looped hand percussion, creating a dizying backdrop of echoing tribal polyrhythms over which skewed Cretan lyra strings dart and swirl amidst sudden scratchy burst of white noise and digital detritus, before ‘Near End’ scatters tight hiphop rhythms and swirling looped lyra strings across a backdrop of sampled astronaut chatter, in what’s easily one of this album’s most impressively ‘widescreen’-sounding moments (keep an ear out for the chaotic whistling as well). Elsewhere, the title track sees Kyveleas reaching for the sort of motorik journey fashioned by the likes of Neu! As streamlined, repetitive rhythms flit away towards the horizon amidst flickering traces of guitar and whispery hi-hat traces, the whole track curiously calling to mind ultra-stripped back blues at points. While at just 39 minutes in running length ‘Electrozali’ comes across as teasingly short, it’s impressive to see just how much ground Kyveleas manages to cover across the seven tracks here.

Chris Downton

Biomass – Electrozali (Low Impedance Recordings) is a post from: Cyclic Defrost Magazine.