Friday, October 9, 2009

October 5th & 12th 2009 Releases

Miasmah CD
(MIACD 011)

'Simon Scott has a notable musical past: in the early 90's he was the drummer for the renowned shoegaze band Slowdive, whose acclaimed 'Souvlaki' album is still considered by many to be one of a handful of landmark releases from that scene. Upon leaving Slowdive he formed the experimental, and more electronic-based group Televise. He also set up his own label, Kesh Recordings, and has so far released titles by the likes of Hannu, Sebastian Roux, Aus and Mark Templeton. More recently Scott has been involved in several diverse projects, including his work as a member of Seavault (with Antony Ryan from Isan), and collaborations with Machinefabriek, Jasper TX and Emmanuele Errante, offering live guitar treatments, providing remix work and in turn being remixed himself. Regular appearances alongside Rafael Anton Irisarri as the live incarnation of The Sight Below (Ghostly International), have seen the duo enthralling audiences with their submerged post-Chain Reaction guitar/techno ambience. With 'Navigare', his debut solo release for Miasmah, there are shades of Scott's previous output and musical interests, but as a whole the album marks a bold new direction, taking his music into new uncharted territory.

What really devastates here is Scott's ability to merge ambient passages with such memorable melodic cycles, taking at times the simplest of ideas and building on them, generating murky hooks and submerged 'riffs' - melodies are initially buried beneath a haze of sound, and then over time are lifted to the forefront. Scott explores textures using a variety of instruments including sitar, violin, cello, and flute, merging them with excerpts of field recordings; it all sounds so effortless. The looping rhythms and slow guitars rise and grow, at times approaching something oppressive; select pieces such as 'Flood Inn' house an underlying weight, comparable to Justin K. Broderick's Jesu and Final projects. Perhaps the hazy drums, bass and guitar drift of 'The ACC' presents the most recognizable of stylistic qualities from Scott's back catalogue; a groove that recalls the 'Souvlaki' era sound in all its glory, reimagined in a new, darker and more expansive form.

Simon Scott's 'Navigare' marks a new chapter in the development of Erik Skodvin's impeccable imprint; a sound at once in keeping with the label's identity, but equally something of a shift in style and approach. Its harrowing beauty opens up the possibilities of new sonic landscapes created by Scott, in what seems to be a deeply personal instrumental journey. '

Curtain Call
Twin Seed CD/LP
(TWINS 001CD/001LP)

'The Swedish duo Midaircondo return with Curtain Call, the follow-up to their celebrated debut album 'Shopping For Images', which received overwhelming reactions from both critics and audiences worldwide. Curtain Call is an exceptional pop record - and make no mistake, this is a pop record; a heady mix of unexpected arrangements, acoustic and electronic sound sources, experimental music fused with the pair's undeniable pop sensibilities, makes for an album which draws the listener in instantly.

Reborn as a duo, Midaircondo's wonderful, original improvisation skills and innovative compositions have been developed into a new and more solemn sound. Classical instruments and delicate deliveries of poetic lyrics marry in Midaircondo's electronic world. Quirky field recordings from the band's travels around the world create backdrops of sounds that invite you to enter Midaircondo's unique musical sphere.

From the shimmering opening moments of its title track, Curtain Call has such a peculiar pull, familiar in the most unique of ways. It's hard to categorize these songs - equal measures of dark and light haunt the listener throughout. Delicate passages of recognizable instruments are suddenly thrown into unexpected territories, often revealing the duo at their most catchy. Within these songs are qualities seldom heard in much modern music; music which doesn't comfortably fit into one single category. Midaircondo's marrying of songs with evocative arrangements, plus their ability to gel the compositional and the improvisational, result in an album of incredibly forward thinking music - challenging but accessible to all.

A guest appearance from The Soundtrack Of Our Lives' frontman Ebbot Lundberg, sharing vocal duties on 'Silk, Silver And Stone' is something of a standout track; as lush in production as Blonde Redhead's Misery Is A Butterfly album, this is a dark, layered song cycle, its hazy descending vocal layers and strings combine with an arrangement reminiscent of Bjork's 'All Is Full Of Love', making for a beautifully uplifting and melancholic refrain. At times the electro allure of Bat For Lashes comes to mind; hook-laden throughout, Midaircondo's dark vision of electronic pop makes Curtain Call an album to return to time and time again.

Curtain Call is the first release on Midaircondo's own label Twin Seed Recordings. The album was produced by Midaircondo, mixed: Christoffer Berg, mastered: Andreas Tilliander, additional mixing: Paul Bothén and Johan Forsman.'

Wintermusik [Second Edition]
Sonicpieces CD

'Nils Frahm, born in 1982, had an early approach to music. During the younger years of his life he was taught piano by Nahum Brodski, and through this he began to immerse himself in the stylings of the classical pianists before him as well as the ECM-influenced modern composition. Nils is an accomplished pianist, composer and studio engineer – these qualities are entirely apparent on 'Wintermusik'.

The three instrumentals which make up 'Wintermusik' are piano led pieces, coloured with occasional celeste and reed organ parts. Perhaps the most stunning aspect of what appears on the surface to be an entirely pre-planned, composed and realized body of work, comes with the discovery that these pieces were in fact improvised. Frahm's fragile, haunting motifs rise and develop in ways reminiscent at times of the piano compositions of Rachel Grimes, in particular the stripped down Rachel's score for 'Music For Egon Schiele'. Wintermusik's equal measures of sorrowful refrains and uplifting passages, combined with an awesome production, make for an album that you'll want to return to again and again.

Peter Broderick requested Nils to record an album of solo piano recently – the result was 'The Bells', which was recently released on Kning disk, as part of a series of solo piano releases being curated by Broderick. These two friends share a common affinity in that they both possess an absolute mastery of melody, composition and performance, able to deliver with devastating effect.

For a musician this early in his career, Frahm displays an incredibly developed sense of control and restraint in his work. As the praise continues to grow for 'The Bells', we are please to be able to offer a very limited number of copies of its predecessor 'Wintermusik', an equally incredible album, and one which will likely be much sought after in years to come.'

Gusstaff CD
(GRAM 0904CD)

'Woody Alien is a storm, Woody Alien is the essence of noise and rock'n'roll, Woody Alien is a band, Woody Alien is a duo: Marcin Piekoszewski, who's rocking the bass and vocals and Daniel Szwed, who's constantly going wild with the drums. The band was established roughly 10 years ago and has released two albums: "Piss and Shit and a Diamond of Perception" on the Every Color label and "Pee and Poo in My Favorite Loo" for Gustaff Rec. Since the release of the last album, Woody Alien has played nearly a hundred shows across Poland and Europe, supporting such bands as Lightning Bolt, Today is the Day, or Jucifer. They have also been very busy creating new material, which is now forming their newest release, called "Microgod". "Microgod" presents some more melodious songs for us, but with an edge to it. The songs are dynamic, but still manage to encompass the dirty, noisy sound of the band. Crazy drum sections are accompanied by massive, droning bass, with the addition of suggestive lyrics. In simple words: Woody Alien is a full-sized noise band compressed to two and landing with a sizeable punch.'