Thursday, August 17, 2017

UNKLE: The Road, Part 1 review – cinematic, orchestral and pensive

(Songs for the Def)

When James Lavelle ran hip 1990s label Mo’ Wax, his genre-busting UNKLE project called on stars from Thom Yorke to Ian Brown, before Lavelle’s career nosedived in a blizzard of cocaine. Today, the guest list – ranging from soul singer Eska to Tricky-like rapper Elliott Power – isn’t so starry, but it is effective, and Mark Lanegan delivers the strings-soaked symphonic goth of Looking for the Rain with typical aplomb.

Elsewhere, Lavelle’s bankruptcy has brought reflection. UNKLE’s cinematic first album in seven years opens with actor Brian Cox asking, “Have you thought about the mistakes you’ve made?”

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by Dave Simpson via Electronic music | The Guardian

Ghostpoet: Dark Days + Canapés review – grey-sky thinking about modern life

(Play It Again Sam)

Poet and musician Obaro Ejimiwe’s fourth album opens with a groan. So the mood is set for the rest of this exhaustingly bleak record; a grey-skied documentation of modern hot-button issues such as the refugee crisis (“No-one knows / How many / On the boat / Violent skies / Won’t tell us / Where to go”), social media (“Instagram your foes”) and modern dating (“we swipe left and figure it out”). Often its lyrics are a little on the nose, but musically it’s subtle, atmospheric – macabre Massive Attack ominousness on (We’re) Dominoes, tetchy, barbed post-punk on Freakshow, and aching elegance and eeriness on Dopamine If I Do, while Trouble + Me seems to rework the burgeoning reverence of Radiohead’s Street Spirit. Of course, Ghostpoet is merely exploring the world around him, but unlike Radiohead’s OK Computer, incredibly insightful and prophetic 20 years on, its unambiguous, unbridled hopelessness is wearing.

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by Harriet Gibsone via Electronic music | The Guardian

Chase and Status: Tribe review – dubstep duo can't decide between chart and club


London duo Chase and Status have long been a paradox. They thrash out meat-and-two-veg drum’n’bass and brostep for North Face-wearing teens, and have written for the likes of Rihanna, but also have enough cachet on the dance music scene to attract a variety of cross-genre collaborations on this fourth album. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it feels like at least three projects haphazardly packaged as a single unit.

There’s lots of good stuff: the dancehall-flecked Big Man Skank and the contributions from grime heavyweight Kano, rising soul singer Tom Grennan and rap crew Section Boyz, to name but a few. And then there’s the clunky: Craig David’s by-the-numbers garage on Reload, and extremely bland features from the likes of Blossoms and Slaves, offering a poundstore Prodigy impression on Control. Plus, Emeli Sandé-featuring Love Me More, which, minus the breakbeats, is pure Radio 2.

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by Hannah J Davies via Electronic music | The Guardian

Matthew Bourne: Isotach review – piano at its most spartan and hypnotic

(The Leaf Label)

With his recent Radioland tribute to Kraftwerk and his Moogmemory projects, Yorkshire-based pianist Matthew Bourne has shown that he’s one of those rare jazz musicians who knows how to grapple with a synthesiser, rather than simply playing it like an organ or a piano. Weirdly, these solo piano pieces – completed over an 18-month period when Bourne had virtually stopped practising his instrument – sound as if he is interrogating an alien sound source on an upright grand. On tracks such as Isotach and Isopleth, simple phrases are stated and restated, as if Bourne is thrilled by the sound of a piano for the first time in years. The parallel fourths on Extinction nod towards Radiohead’s Everything in Its Right Place; the parallel fifths on Isothere recall one of Harold Budd’s ambient piano pieces; while Isotherm sounds like Bourne is lingering quizzically on a single Erik Satie riff. The results are spartan, hypnotic and beautiful, if gloriously unresolved.

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by John Lewis via Electronic music | The Guardian

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

What’s it like to pull off a DJ set at eight months pregnant? Anna Lunoe explains

Visibly pregnant women are seldom seen on stage, but the Sydney-turned-LA DJ says she never considered stopping

“I didn’t even imagine that I would keep DJing pregnant, cos I just didn’t think anybody wanted to see that,” says Anna Lunoe, down the phone from Los Angeles.

The Australian-born, US-based DJ has just stopped working for the year, but not before capping off a tour with a set at California’s Hard Summer festival, which saw her climbing the decks while eight months pregnant.

no words.. ❤️ @coachella @skrillex . @jbasjel

good news! ur gonna get 2 lunoe's for the price of 1 all summer long c u tomorrow coachella !

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by Stephanie Convery via Electronic music | The Guardian

Monday, August 14, 2017

Sunfall festival review – dance goes deep as Princess Nokia hits the heights

Brockwell Park, London
DJ masterclasses from Helena Hauff and Ben UFO ease the sting of entry queues, while rising hip-hop stars and techno parties create a 16-hour marathon

On paper, this audiophile event showcasing the dance and hip-hop underground is one of the smartest, most necessary dates in the festival calendar, but harsh reality intervenes. As at Boomtown the previous weekend, the British tolerance for queuing is pushed to its absolute limit by the three-hour wait to get in, followed by another serious queue for booze to soften the pain; many attendees have their day unacceptably truncated.

If it helps them feel better, they didn’t miss much early on. London producer Romare flirts with some intriguing polyrhythms, but his Latin percussion breaks have their rangy funk smoothed out by being too neatly looped; the very tame live sax and flute lines, devoid of passion or direction, worsen matters. Similarly directionless is Roy Ayers, who has some enchanted devotees, but whose interminable, fussily meandering vibraphone lines are a struggle for the rest.

Related: 'It's all about feeling': Chicago dance great Larry Heard takes house to the heavens

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by Ben Beaumont-Thomas via Electronic music | The Guardian

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Oneohtrix Point Never: Good Time OST review – stunning thriller soundtrack includes standout Iggy ballad


Following seven albums of shapeshifting electronics, Daniel Lopatin is tasked with scoring a Robert Pattinson crime drama, Good Time. Divorcing film scores from their visual cues can feel alienating and pointless, and on initial listens it’s hard to stop wondering what those cues might be. But by garbling snatches of film dialogue, Lopatin starts to create a sense of this being a separate psychological thriller, and dedicated headphone immersion proves thrilling. The film nods are everywhere – the futurist grandeur of Brad Fiedel’s Terminator soundtrack, heavy shades of John Carpenter and Alan Howarth’s malevolent, exacting synthscapes, and touches of Vangelis and Popol Vuh’s ambience; Romance Apocalypse recalls the amphetamine clatter of Jan Hammer’s Miami Vice theme. But the sheer density and erratic energy is all Lopatin’s own. It ends with one of Iggy Pop’s great late-period triumphs, a stunning ballad called The Pure and the Damned where Iggy, blending vibrato with catarrh, asks: “Death, make me brave.”

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by Ben Beaumont-Thomas via Electronic music | The Guardian

Ricardo Villalobos: 'Techno music melds the classes together'

The Chilean-born DJ and producer has endless stamina – and a 20-year career to prove it. As his music gets ever more nuanced, he tells of where his passion started, and where his growing family is taking it

It’s 7am when I walk into Fabric, and it smells terrible. The superclub has been open since 11pm, hosting an afterparty for the Lovebox festival where many of the patrons spent the day. With everyone’s antiperspirant a distant memory, the air is rich with a summery musk, a little like rotten peaches.

Until 11.30am, a period when most other Londoners are walking dogs, burping babies and pondering an elaborate fry-up, the dancefloor remains packed for what is one of the great techno pilgrimages: an early-morning set from Chilean-born DJ and producer Ricardo Villalobos. He has been on since 6am, and is now vogueing happily around the Fabric booth, long arms reaching this way and that as he pulls together a set of extraordinary, often contradictory grooves. Around the minimal techno he is known for, there are bits of flute, salsa rhythms, a commanding edit of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Relax, and a 10-minute stretch of ultra-slow dub.

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by Ben Beaumont-Thomas via Electronic music | The Guardian

Readers recommend playlist: songs about France and French things

Our reader has listened to your suggestions and picked tunes from Debbie Harry, Jean Ferrat and Black Box Recorder among others

Here is this week’s playlist – songs picked by a reader from hundreds of suggestions on last week’s callout. Thanks for taking part. Read more about how our weekly series works at the end of the piece.

It’s fair to say that the UK and France haven’t always been the best of neighbours. That said, I do think there’s a certain unique, mutual love and admiration – they send us their cheese and wine; in return we send M&S and decent music. France and French things in general have inspired some great songs. My selection is both something of a compare and contrast exercise and a little amuse-bouche to tickle those musical taste buds.

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by Pairubu via Electronic music | The Guardian

Monday, August 7, 2017

Dom Servini at Casper Bar in Montenegro on 23/08

The post Dom Servini at Casper Bar in Montenegro on 23/08 appeared first on Wah Wah 45s.

via Wah Wah 45s

Dom Servini at Casper Bar in Montenegro on 22/08

The post Dom Servini at Casper Bar in Montenegro on 22/08 appeared first on Wah Wah 45s.

via Wah Wah 45s

Friday, August 4, 2017

'It's all about feeling': Chicago dance great Larry Heard takes house to the heavens

A prog rock kid who created existential club tracks with two tape decks, the producer known as Mr Fingers is a true pioneer. He talks about loneliness, day jobs and why Instagram is killing the dancefloor

When you listen to a Larry Heard track, the first thing that hits you is the bassline: elastic, erotic, condemned to endlessly repeat itself. It may dart distractedly from place to place, climb upwards only to fall back to where it started, and always sound sad and fraught, but it presses doggedly on. It’s an existential crisis you can dance to.

The cosmic bassline on the 1986 smash Can You Feel It helped open acid house’s spiritual dimension; on 1987’s Bring Down the Walls, the bassline chafes against the kick drums to create claustrophobia amid a song of freedom. Last year, fellow Chicagoan Kanye West slowed down the bassline of Heard’s Mystery of Love for his track Fade, in thrall to its nagging power.

If someone turned up the bass and the people went ‘Yay!’, you knew people liked bass. It was supply and demand

Everyone's peering and leering, taking pictures and video. It’s awkward, the opposite of how clubs were

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by Ben Beaumont-Thomas via Electronic music | The Guardian

Björk announces new album: 'This is like my Tinder record'

Icelandic singer marks a change in mood from her breakup album Vulnicura, saying her new songs are about being in love

Björk has announced an as yet untitled new album, saying it is “about being in love”.

The Icelandic singer’s previous record, Vulnicura, was a dark and fraught album that reflected on the breakdown of her marriage to artist Matthew Barney. Conversely, the new LP is “my dating album,” she told Dazed magazine. “This is like my Tinder record.”

Related: How cruising, graveyards and swan songs inspired Arca’s new album

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by Ben Beaumont-Thomas via Electronic music | The Guardian

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Elza Soares: End of the World Remixes review – samba legend gets an electronic victory lap

(Mais Um Discos)

Despite being in her late 70s, the Brazilian samba legend Elza Soares had a banner 2016, putting out the triumphant and progressive album The Woman at the End of the World, and performing at the Rio Olympics opening ceremony, imperious in a purple wig. She gets a victory lap here, with a raft of remixers showing how easily she slips into modern Latin dance. A line is drawn with another Portuguese colony, Angola, and its kuduro style, with DJ Marfox getting hectic while Nidia Minaj pitches Soares down for a minimalist take on Pra Fuder. Omulu, meanwhile, brings her voice right to the front of the mix for the title track, in all its glottal vibrato and gloriously audible salivation. As with every remix album, there are some inconsequential versions, but the curators do a smart job of showing the breadth of Brazil’s electronic scene, from Ricardo Dias Gomes’s placid ambient to Marginal Men’s sinewy reggaeton shuffle.

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by Ben Beaumont-Thomas via Electronic music | The Guardian

Marc Almond webchat – post your questions now

Various artists: Re:works Piano review – tiring, tedious and boring


In 1917, Erik Satie coined the term “musique d’ameublement” – furniture music – in a radical stunt of deadpan performance art. “It’s new!” he wrote in his manuscript. “It isn’t tiring! It isn’t boring!” Satie’s rogue irony pre-empted muzak by several decades and set in motion (or anti-motion) the slow cogs of ambient music and experimental minimalism. Then there’s the dross. The most callous kind of crossover saps the integrity of both forms being crossed. Decca – once a stamp of prestige, now part of the Universal label group cashing in on the trend for insipid “neo-classical” – releases the next in its Re:Works series with this grim chillout collection of electronic remixes. Cheerless, senseless and overproduced, it smothers the remaining life out of Pachelbel’s Canon, weirdly straitjackets Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and trashes the maverick surrealist stasis of Satie’s Gymnopédies and Gnossiennes. It’s not new, it is tiring, it is very boring.

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by Kate Molleson via Electronic music | The Guardian

Brian Eno reissues review – back to the future with his most beautiful music | Alexis Petridis' album of the week

After leaving Roxy Music, Eno created solo albums – Here Come the Warm Jets, Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy), Before and After Science and Another Green World – presaging everything from post-punk to My Bloody Valentine

Glam rock made stars of some unlikely people. From Sparks’ Hitler-moustachioed Ron Mael to Slade guitarist Dave Hill, it was an era packed with people who, at any other point in rock history, might have struggled to get any further than a record company’s reception area.

Among their number was Brian Eno. It wasn’t that he didn’t look the part – a man who can carry off blue eyeshadow, a diamante choker and a black cockerel-feather collar in broad daylight is clearly possessed of a je ne sais quoi that’s handy in the world of entertainment. It was more that no one seemed able to say what he actually did, including Eno himself: in interviews he would describe himself as “a non-musician”, and his role in Roxy Music as vaguely involving “treating” the other band members’ instruments with a synthesiser and “talking about the ideas behind the music”.

Related: Brian Eno: ‘We’ve been in decline for 40 years – Trump is a chance to rethink'

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by Alexis Petridis via Electronic music | The Guardian