Friday, November 13, 2009

Cyclic Defrost Magazine

Cyclic Defrost Magazine

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Robot Koch – Death Star Droid (Robots Don’t Sleep/Project Mooncircle)

Posted: 12 Nov 2009 08:24 PM PST

Robot Koch - Death Star Droid

Although this is Robot Koch's debut album, he is in no way new to production, with his club project Jahcoozi, his post rock outfit The Tape, and a stream of beat production for Infinite Lives, Rustie and Amanda Blank, so its fitting his debut is released on his own label.

You may expect another album of wonky beats to just fit in with the crowd, and the opener ‘Death Star Droid’ may not lay rest to that, a mutant, tripped up dubstep beat, with that Starkey relentlessness of boom and synths, but things change with "Away From", skittering vocal snatches and glitched melodies give way to pounding drum breaks, like Prefuse73 jamming with Modeselektor. ‘Hard To Find’ veers into Dilla territory, while "Love And The Machine" turns the heat up with those Starkey/Joker style synth lines. Grace guests with vocals on ‘People Are Strange’, sounding like Edith Piaf if fed through machines, while Manya guests on ‘While’. Its then back to the club friendly themes in ‘Heaven Is My Real Estate’, and the wonkier beats of ‘Memories’, while ‘Gorom Sen’ has a dub/step/dancehall vibe with massive bass drops. ‘A Song Formally Known As Tooth’ rounds off the album with a delicate glitch-hop melodic piece to bring you down from the frenetic pace.

A great album for lovers of Dilla, Modeselektor or Starkey, but standing on its own, as a fun, adventurous album.

Wayne Stronell

Robot Koch – Death Star Droid (Robots Don't Sleep/Project Mooncircle) is a post from: Cyclic Defrost Magazine.

Asusu – Small Hours/Taurean 12″ (Project Squared)

Posted: 12 Nov 2009 08:22 PM PST

Asusu - Small Hours

Asusu is a dubstep producer who has residencies in Bristol and Bath in the UK, is gaining quite a name for himself for his fresh blend of 2step beat science, dubstep bass pressure, and glacial techno melodies. Project Mooncircle with the guiding hand of Paul Cooper has seen fit to start a sub-label, Project: Squared, to showcase new emerging electronic sounds, fitting no particular formula, skirting around the outer reaches of bass culture, offering new possibilities for progression.

The 2step references are peppered throughout the beats, holding great energy, taking me back to garage parties, its all about the high-hats, this is what tugs on memory centres, and propels the energy on a dancefloor. The bass pressure is obviously influenced by dubstep, but Asusu keeps the bass pure, the tonality seems more real, staying away from annoying wobble bass templates. It's the melodies that surprise, it could be looking back to the hey-days of techno experimentation, warm rich synths, repetition as a tool to build suspense. The combination of these elements create an infectious release that could crossover onto many dancefloors. There is a minimalism here that is usually saved for the gods of the slow build, legends such as Carl Craig, and I think that is a pretty big call, but minimalism in music rarely gets the delicate balance right, and I find it exciting when and artist gets it so right.

A strong, outstanding first release for Project: Squared, Asusu will be an artist to watch, and everyone will be watching him after hearing this release. Hear for yourself here:

Wayne Stronell

Asusu – Small Hours/Taurean 12″ (Project Squared) is a post from: Cyclic Defrost Magazine.

Ives – Holidays Symphony II, II, IV (Naxos)

Posted: 12 Nov 2009 08:25 PM PST

Insurance agent by day, arch-modernist by night, Charles Ives’ idiosyncratic, cacophonous works are some of the most exciting and influential of the twentieth, and indeed late 19th, centuries. From songs to string quartets to large orchestral works, Ives’s music veers from the lushly romantic to the aggressively contemporary, his restless inventiveness evident in everything he wrote. Ives was particularly interested in, and successful at, marrying popular, particularly American, musical styles – hymns, jazz and celebratory brass band music – with classical structures, something this set of lesser known pieces for orchestra displays in abundance.

The three movements of New England Holidays Symphony show Ives at his exuberant best: chaotically jubilant sketches of carnivalesque joy and abandon. Stravinsky hailed ‘Decoration Day’ as the definitive musical masterpiece: based on Decoration Day ceremonies experienced in his youth, Ives transforms memories of his father’s marching band playing dirges into a riotous dream-like narrative, recognisable tunes clashing with the crazed noise of the crowd. ‘The General Slocum’ comes under Ives’s ‘Cartoons and Take Offs’ genre, or ‘literal’ depictions of events, in this case the explosion of the titular ship in which over 1000 people were killed. Here we’re in almost hauntological territory, as melodies from popular ditties of the time wash against the ominous throb of the waves, recalling The Caretaker and Gavin Bryars’s ‘Sinking of the Titanic’, before disaster strikes in the form of teeth-gnashing dissonance. The other descriptive piece, ‘Yale-Princeton Football Game’, opts for light-hearted jollity, portraying the activities both on and off the pitch of the famous 1897 match through wild piano improvisations, whistles and camp woodwind bleets. The performances are incredibly vibrant, the recording lush, and the cover art, a reproduction of a painting by Ives’s grandnephew James Bigalow Hall, captures the beautiful madness of Ives’s music perfectly.

Joshua Meggitt

Ives – Holidays Symphony II, II, IV (Naxos) is a post from: Cyclic Defrost Magazine.