Thursday, 15 September 2016

Kick Bong 'Destiny' Review




Artist: Kick Bong



Title: Destiny



Label: Cosmic Leaf



Released: 1st Sept










Parisian Franck Jousselin A.K.A. Kick Bong returns with a new collection of tracks stamped with his own unique style of electronica that touches the psychedelic, the ethnic, trip-hop and guitar influences apparent from the Cure.


The album starts with ‘Time In Suspense’ where an atmospheric intro leads into bird song followed by hang drum and flute eventually joined by organic sounding cymbal crashes and synth’s creating a chilled aura that envelops you by the end of the piece.


The album continues with slow paced trip-hop beats and mellow synths with intricate layers and melodic passages until ‘I Was Asleep’ which picks the pace up somewhat with some great sounding synth voices before a melodic piano breakdown is joined by Cure’esque guitar and the pace returns. All in all it’s a wonderful piece that’s grabbed my interest.


The album moves forward in a similar fashion to the previous tracks with perhaps some darker touches. While the title track begins with some French spoken word before easing into atmospheric synths, flute and guitar fingering. This leads into the closing track ‘Whirlwind’ which despite it’s title is still slow-paced to start, a dark 80’s sounding synth background leads into bleepy sequences and then the drums add a little pace and the gated synth sequences get a little more aggressive.


Overall the general feel of the album has a synthwave feel to it with lots of extra little touches and chilled breakdowns as previously mentioned there’s a couple of tracks that stand out where the pace lifts a little. Fans of his previous albums will appreciate the general sound but don’t expect any of the four by four accompanying beats that have featured on recent releases.


Reviewed by Woodzee.


Links



Monday, 12 September 2016

Drumspyder 'Mother Rune' Review




Artist:


Drumspyder




Title: 


Mother Rune




Released: 


8th September







Oakland based Scott Sterling A.K.A. Drumspyder returns with a fresh batch of eastern electronica. The “Mother Rune” is Hagall, a symbol from the Younger Futhark (a medieval Norse alphabet). Its elemental six-pointed shape (like the “Seed of Life” figure of sacred geometry) contains the seed of all the other rune forms. Literally meaning “hail”, it has the dual meaning of a crisis and new beginning- a perfectly formed snowflake that emerges from a whirling storm, a cold grain from the sky that melts into nourishing water.





The album commences with the title track a whirling dervish of snake charmer flutes accompanied by the live darbuka drumming, tamborines and frame drums associated with his previous releases. The next track 'Fire Ring Beat' is a trifle more relaxed, with the occasional wub and melodic vocals added to the palate you can easily conjure up a desert camp fire aside the bedouin tent.


The rest of the album as you can imagine follows a similar path with each track leaning slightly in different directions some passages sounding very traditional and organic while others employ the dub, the bass , the Celtic or the gypsy swing. I can't see fans of the Drumspyder back catalogue being disappointed with these further journeys into the ancient music of the East that this new album offers.


Reviewed by Woodzee


Links


https://drumspyder.bandcamp.com/album/the-mother-rune



Friday, 9 September 2016

Liquid Sound Design 'Society Of Inner Light' Compilation Review



Artist: Various



Title: Society Of Inner Light



Label: Liquid Sound Design



Released: 9th of September




Youth started the Society For Ancient Enchantment in 1999, with the intention of combining ritual, music performance, spoken word and DJ's to be able to dive deeper into the mystery and meditation of the music.


This created some legendary events and recordings and is directly connected to this Society of Inner Light album and future events. The inspiration behind this compilation goes back to the 1930's and "Dion Fortunes Order Of Inner Light ".


Some of her rituals in Bloomsbury were said to have ushered in the 1960's flower power era ... Our intention here is to facilitate that same intention and free the spirit of those times for our present and future tribal, dance floor, chill out gatherings and facilitate and create an esoteric counter culture that communicates to mind, body and spirit.


The album begins with Tripswitch 'Collider' which begins in a tribal dub fashion before adding his  distinctive progressive touches applying plenty of reverb in places and the balance of the two styles on the whole works rather well. This is followed by the Youth re-mix of Kuba's 'By The Foot Of Your Mountain' Where classic ska, dub, spoken word samples, horns and harmonica are chopped up with the original Indian vibe to great effect.


The next track takes a more chilled out eastern dub-step approach with the Youth re-mix of Elfic Circle's 'Om Beach'. The chilled out atmosphere continues with Mixmaster Morris and his Ambient Sunrise Mix of his alter ego Irresistible Force featuring Nick Turner (of Hawkwind fame) and Youth's 'Duende' a stunningly gorgeous piece of ambience further enhanced with Nick's accompaniment on the sax.


Then we enter the dub wise riddim's with Brother Culture vs Youth in Dub 'Urban Rebel Dub' a stereotypical speaker shaker featuring the dubbed out lyrical meanderings of Brother Culture. This is followed by the Outer Space Chug Dub of the Dub Trees featuring Jah Wobble 'King Of The Fairies' and it's an aptly titled track where the tribal drums chug along with plenty of dubbed out fx with the odd vocal snippets sounding quiet different from the original piece. The album closes with the Youth re-mix of Mycal 'I Wonder What Happened In The Future' which picks up the pace somewhat and utilises those classic ska sounds again along with the catchy vocal chant.


Overall I really like this album I'd go as far to say it's probably my favourite of the L.S.D. releases over the last couple of years. It may not contain a great number of tracks but everyone's a winner for me.


Reviewed by Woodzee.


Links


https://liquidsounddesign.bandcamp.com/


https://www.facebook.com/LiquidSoundDesign?fref=ts






Sunday, 4 September 2016

Banco De Gaia '9th of Hearts' Review






Artist: Banco De Gaia




Title: 9th of Hearts




Label: Disco Gecko




Released: 7th October









This release is Toby Marks A.K.A. Banco De Gaia's ninth studio album and features special guest artists, from Pink Floyd’s Dick Parry, Zero 7’s Sophie Barker, The The’s James Eller and No-Man’s Tim Bowness. The 9th of Nine Hearts is a celebration of the spark in all of us: the concept of love itself. Fusing ambient, psychedelia, art rock and acid house, each track evolves naturally into the next, with love the starting point to them all.


The album starts with 'Nine Hearts' which begins rather quietly with ambient strings and shuffling fx into somewhat of a crescendo before a gentle piano is introduced and is soon followed by the vocals of Tim Bowness which adds a slight rock opera feel to the piece and is inspired by the love in friendship. This is followed by the recent free download 'Burn The Witch' which fuses rock drumming with ambient dub and documentary spoken word.


'Warp and Weft' is a Floyd'esque slice of ambient electronica which features an ethereal vocal that adds to the calm beauty of the piece. This is followed by 'Le Foucauld' where tribal drums lead you to into an eastern bazaar and has somewhat of a celtic folk vibe to the mix to get your feet a tapping. The world fusion continues with 'No Hablo Italiano' a fusion of tribal drumming, sweet guitar licks, synths and vocal snippets which presents an overall Mediterranean feel.


The next track 'Is-Is Loves Ankh-An-Atum' sounds somewhat like footsteps through a misty port despite the obvious reference to the Egyptian deities. However, the reference soon becomes apparent with the Arabic vocals and flutes that transcends through the piece and leads us onto to more Floyd'esque sounding synths. Following on with 'And So We Dream Of Futures Lost' which begins with spoken word that leads into a deep orchestral piece of ambience with gentle piano, indistinct voices and other field recordings from nature before angelic voices are employed to complete the piece.


The album then takes a shift in direction with '91' where applause leads us into a retro sounding piece of acid house which lifts samples from early Banco cassette releases and features vocals co-written and performed by Sophie Barker. The mood then swings back to ambience with 'The Princess And The Sky Goat' which utilises birdsong amongst an eerie drone before the plodding kick drum, melodic tones (with a retro ambient dub feel reminiscent of the Orb's 'Blue Room') and Dick Parry's sax is introduced.


Following on with 'Midnight Sun' another ambient piece with ethereal vocals that brings you nicely to the closing track 'This Heart' where the piano takes centre stage over lapping waves, seagulls and indistinct chatter.


To summarise this album should appeal to fans of Toby's work in some respects it's focus is more on the ambient than the global and is very introspective. However, the quality remains and going on the live band performance at Whirl-Y-Fayre is still warmly welcomed after all these years.


Reviewed by Woodzee


Pre-order of vinyl and cd @ http://banco.co.uk/shop/



Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Audioglider 'Ocular Overkill' Review




Artist: Audioglider




Title: Ocular Overkill




Label: Section Records




Released: 27th June







This release a pre-cursor to the forthcoming album 'Subaquamarine' takes a slightly different direction from Audioglider's d├ębut on Section Records his 'Summer Rainstorm E.P.' (which in all fairness was a while ago now) but still manages to maintain the Balearic tinged sun kissed elements to his productions.


The original track is a lovely piece of melodic electronica with a slight retro feel to it, that lifts the spirits and is just perfect music for the beach. First up on re-mix duties is the labels head honcho Nick Brennan fresh of the back of the recent Tripswitch album 'Vagabond'. The lush intro adds some distinctive sounds you would associate with some of his earlier chill out releases. However, the piece transcends into a progressive house number you could easily mistake for an original. This is followed by Boston's progressive Chillwave due We Are All Astronauts whose atmospheric take chills it right down expertly. Certainly one I'd recommend for those hammock moments in the sunshine.


Reviewed by Woodzee


Links







Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Pitch Black 'Invisible Chatter'






Artist: Pitch Black




Title: Invisible Chatter




Label: Dubmission Records




Released: 8th July








Pitch Black return after a hiatus with their respective projects playing an intimate gig at Oslo in London on the 7th of July with DJ support from Radioactive Man dub set.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1585744825083438/

This is shortly followed by an appearance on the Tree House stage at Noisily Festival

http://www.noisilyfestival.com/.


This single a pre-cursor to their forthcoming new album features the vocals of Alison Evelyn and explores dual themes of invisible data and the earth raging against our use of the planet. There's a touch of an aboriginal feel that reverbs off the distinctive electro-dub flavours and to for me the vocal has somewhat of an early 90's feel to it (perhaps more of the latter subject matter) all in all it's not a bad track but hasn't really gripped me instantly like some of their previous material. Re-mixes of the single are provided by Canadian psy-dub producer Kaminanda who keeps the pace of the original and applies subtle touches rather than making major changes. While Digital Playground a new electronica act on the Kiwi music scene who begin in a dubby fashion before taking the piece off into a drum & bass direction.


Although I've got really into the recent releases of their solo projects I'm not totally sold on this. However, that said maybe fond memories are clouding my judgement it could well be a grower and I'm going to keep an open mind about the new album.



Reviewed by Woodzee

Links

http://www.audioculture.co.nz/people/pitch-black

http://dubmissionrecords.blogspot.co.uk/

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Afterlife 'Ten Thousand Things' Review






Artist: Afterlife



Title: Ten Thousand Things



Label: Subatomic UK



Released: 1st July






The album commences with the title track which begins very much akin to a melodic music box and after a minute or so into the track a melancholic piece of piano is introduced. The result of this combination is a beautiful and intricate piece of ambient music that provides a perfect soundtrack for relaxation. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the track I was a little surprised it was the title track as I expected something perhaps a trifle more upbeat and vocal to be the sales pitch of the album. Following on is 'Tonto' a stereo-typical dubby lounge affair with lovely splashes of jazzy piano keys that you might expect on a Normal-ites (a side project with Chris Coco) release. The guitar is introduced in 'Monkey Butter' which maintains the tried and tested Balearic chill of the Cafe Del Mar compilations.

There's a slight bit of Latin percussion added to 'La Torre' amongst the indistinct monologue and guitar strings and a touch of 303 towards the tail end. This next track puts the brakes on with more of a jazzy lounge feel, trip-hop style beat and ethnic vocal on 'Tuvan'. At this point the album changes with the introduction of singers the first 'Sunburn' with Joel Edwards which is a bit wishy-washy for my taste and has somewhat of a Wham feel about it. This is followed by 'Res Freq' a slowed down slice of cosmic Balearica with summery guitar licks and lovely mellow piano keys.

Next up is the second vocal track of the album 'Love Alters' with Coppe which is an improvement I can't quite place who it reminds me of vocally but it's a mid to late 90's trip-hop act and there's a touch of Sueno Latino in the background. The album swings back to the instrumental appearing to dive back in time with a jazzy 70's feel on 'The Piano at the End of the Universe' before the closing track 'People' a beat-less track with deep reverbing piano and indistinct monologue that to me really conjures up the feel of sunbathing on the beach with your eyes closed and life going on around you. Where as in reality Steve composed this to reflect the joy and dismay he feels that people's actions bring to the world.

Overall I really liked this album it's a well thought out and created piece of ambience that still retains the Ibiza stamp in many of the tracks. In places it's perhaps a little more introspective in comparison to the 'Speck of Gold' release (considered by many as a Balearic classic) initially I felt it missed vocalists such as Cathy Battistessa and Danni Minogue. However, when the vocalists were introduced even though I quite liked the Coppe track they felt a little dis-jointed to the rest of the album.

Reviewed by Woodzee

Links