Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hanging out & hung up on the line

oystered 20: (jan./feb. ’07 – pt.1)

Total running time: 2:03:20.
a1. luciano somewhere near his heart (no model no tool 2x12”/cadenza)
solovyev al-brah (stadtmusik 2xCD/onitor)
hug tiny stars (heroes CD/kompakt)
explosions in the sky catastrophe and the cure (four tet mix) (all of a sudden i miss everyone 2xCD/temporary residence)
starving weirdos harry smith (harry smith one-sided LP/root strata)
mira calix protean (eyes set against the sun CD/warp)
zelienople the ghost of someone nice (enemy chorus CD/time-lag)
jefre cantu-ledesma aberration of starlight (the garden of forking paths CD/spekk)
portable bubble world (speak out 12”/süd electronic)
reuber steppengraskrieger: i. geist ii. steppe iii. zuhaus’ (südpol CD/staubgold)
onur özer orion (red cabaret 12”/vakant)
mark templeton pattern for a pillow (standing on a hummingbird CD/anticipate)
gustavo lamas ilusos (stadtmusik 2xCD/onitor)
I can’t decide whether to write more or less for each of these blog entries. I remember as a kid, buying a record, taking it home, putting it on, sitting on my bed looking at the front and back cover, and the insert, always hoping for lyrics but most of the time just getting the usual rock star photos. So I guess I’ll do whatever I have time for. And since this music’s hard to find—or for that matter even grasp sometimes upon first listen—I might as well say as much as I can about particular artists or track or why it’s here or what I especially like about them.
Starting out on a real weird note—Luciano, known mostly for his elegant, minimal techno, (mostly) vinyl only imprint, Cadenza, confounds with this extended dream-mare, Floydian/Orb-like “Somewhere Near His Heart.” Solovyev, the boss of underrated Kompakt-like techno label, Onitor, picks up the pace considerably with this first of two tracks culled from his double-disc collection of thematic 12”s, Statdmusik, where each release focused on artists from a particular international city. The other cut from this rather outstanding compilation, the last track in this post, "Ilusos," from Gustavo Lamas is absolutely gorgeous—a perfect balance of melancholy and bliss.
Swedish producer John Dahlbäck, going under the name Hug for Kompakt apparently has over 100 releases to his name. Truthfully I think he’d be better with a little self-editing. I really liked a few tracks, “Tiny Stars” being my favorite, but Heroes was just okay to me. Although I don’t own any Explosions in the Sky material, the limited bonus disc from All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone is truly special—comprised of remixes in the same running order as the original album with contributions from Jesu, Adem (Fridge), Eluvium, Four Tet and Mountains. All of them are pretty great and it was really hard to choose from the set, but I kept coming back to the Four Tet mix for the strong, recurring guitar line.
Starving Weirdos are new to me, and “Harry Smith” probably isn’t the best representation—look for more of the Weirdos on upcoming posts. For now though, at best this track’s second half reminds me of something from Main’s Motion Pool-era, so that’s never a bad thing. Breaking things up nicely, South African native Chantal Passamonte a.k.a. Mira Calix’s “Protean” is the perfect palette cleanser from what came before.
Smack dab in the middle of this mix and hailing from the Windy City, Zelienople—again, I’m having a hard time describing what these guys sound like—Shayne Carter from New Zealand’s kiwi-pop group Straitjacket Fits fronting Virginia’s hillbilly-theatre-of-eternal-music outfit, Pelt, anyone? Anyway, “The Ghost of Someone Nice” seems like it’s going to dissolve into the ether at any minute but slowly and surely catches an elliptical groove, however opiated, and is another fine example of a truly great group deserving a lot more attention. Root Strata label owner and ex-space-post-rock group Tarentel / current Alps member Jefre Cantu-Ledesma has been perfecting his droning skills for a while. “Aberration of Starlight” is a nice, early example from his Spekk (Japan) CD The Garden of Forking Paths.
Süd Electronic owner, and another South African native, Alan Abrahams a.k.a. Portable a.k.a. Bodycode has releases on Perlon, Background, Spectral Sound and ~Scape to name but a few, but returns to his own label for “Bubble Up” from the Speak Out 12” that preceded his Powers of Ten full-length. A strange direction for him—incorporating more machine-like/future-human vocals—resulting in less effective rhythms and melodies in my opinion. Not enough good things can be said about the next artist, Reuber. His style is a perfectly honed take on Kosmische musik of the ‘70s, combining electronic and acoustic/organic elements very naturally for a real vintage sound every time. Always far out and highly recommended!
Onur Özer is Turkey’s answer to Villalobos and “Orion” is just that—a tight minimal groove with occasional disco stabs. I could have chosen any one of the ten tracks on Mark Templeton’s Standing on a Hummingbird full-length but ended up with “Pattern for a Pillow” for it’s subtlety and implied melodies along with that digital crackle imbuing a nostalgic warmth not unlike old vinyl.


ben said...

Great post.

Love that explosions in the sky track - the end is really electronic and totally unexpected from them.

Love it.

...know your ways... said...

nice selection here, I especially like the fuzzier ambient tracks and Portable, Onur Ozer.