Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Andrew Heath 'The Silent Cartographer' Review

Artist: Andrew Heath

Title: The Silent Cartographer

Label: Disco Gecko

Released: 300 cd's available to pre-order on bandcamp release around the 18th of August. Available on general download in October.

The 2nd non-Banco release from Disco Gecko showcases Andrew's journey into beatless ambient terrains comprising synth, piano and field recordings. I find I have to be in the mood for these type of compositions, usually quiet reflective times in my own company. Now although this isn't Andrew's first album. I've not come across his work before. Having a look at his web-site 'Aqueous Arts' I found it minimal and to the point and I liked the cut of his jib with this passage 'I remember as a small boy, watching a film about an artist who had made a sculptural piece of work that involved hanging large pieces of metal and wood inside an old barn. When one piece was moved it made contact with another until ever so gradually, the whole building was filled with random motion and sounds. I was fascinated by the serendipitous nature of this creation'. So I find myself trusting in Toby's judgement and hoping that I'm transported into a content and relaxed state, somewhat akin to floating in water on a hot, sunny day.

I began with 'In Search of Eden' and although the sound of the materials differs from the instruments. I could easily draw a comparision to the statement of the passage above. Andrew utilises sparse piano and synth layered over birdsong maintaining a minimal beauty and managed to keep my interest without the need of multiple complex loops diverting from the main theme of the piece.

The next track 'Kleine Blume Irgendwo (a homage to Joachim)' an epic 18 minute piece, which refers to Hans Joachim Roedelius (an experimental synth player at the forefront of the 70's Krautrock scene). In some ways it's similar to the first track but with a far more elongated synth passage and stereotypical field recordings such as waves lapping on the beach, door creaks etc that's not to say it's a bad piece, in fact it's great and I enjoyed it all the more for those inclusions.

The album continues with tracks of variable lengths and although keeping to the same format they all have little traits and personalities of their own I particularly liked the overall sounds of 'Shoreline (found object)' for example and the eeire and less stereotypical field recordings of the title track against the melodic piano and krautrock like synths.

I would recommend this to fans of Krautrock artists such as Klaus Schulze and the ambient compositions of Keith Keniff (Helios/Goldmund) or simply those looking to relax.

Review by Woodzee


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Desert Dwellers 'The Gathering Remixes' Review

Artist: Desert Dwellers

Title: The Gathering Remixes

Label: Desert Trax

Released: 14th July 2014

Once again the Desert Dwellers have selected some smoking hot producers to do their magic on some classic DD tracks, the original tracks were compositions co-produced with Shamen's Dream as part of a series of yoga DVD's. Now although, this e.p. has fewer tracks than some of the releases earlier in the year, quality rather than quantity is probably what your after anyway.

Up first is Living Light weaving her magic on 'Kumbh Mela'. Now, I've been listening to L.L. a fair bit recently and I'm definitely partial to her distinctive sound of reggae keys, bamboo flutes and summery uplifting chill with a dubby psychedelic underbelly. This re-mix is no exception to the rule and what a way to start the e.p.

Next up is Quade's re-mix of 'Ras Mandala', now I only remember Quade for the excellent low bass frequency re-mix of 'Tala Odyssey' which I personally hammered alongside Drumspyder's more tribal edged re-work. Maybe it's a grower but this didn't grab me instantly. It's a slow plodding number which blends eastern horns, darbukas and vocals with the industry standard wub, wub, computer game like sequences and sweeping synths that seem to build to no drop.

Finishing off the e.p. is Soulacybin with an alternative take of 'Kumbh Mela'. Now although the original is easily recognisable he's really gone to town on the fx producing a psy-dub version with more loops than a cotton mill. I'd hazard a guess that they are probably more prominent with headphones for a full panning experience.

Review by Woodzee

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Mislead Convoy 'Tickling The Dragon's Tail' Review

Artist: Mislead Convoy

Title: Tickling The Dragon's Tail

Label: Dubmission Records

Released: 14th July 2014

It's been a fair while since Pitch Black burst on to the worldwide scene, While other acts such as Fat Freddies Drop and Salmonella Dub who put New Zealand on the map when it comes to reggae, they were more digital. Paddy Free's solo project focused on indidgious Māori music, while Mike Hodgson under the Mislead Convoy moniker has retained elements of the Pitch Black vibe delving even deeper into the relationship between dub and electronica.

The album opens up with an elongated ambient intro on 'It's In Here' which contains a sample of the album's name. When the beat did kick in I found myself transported into a world of slo-mo spacey dub whose atmosphere I was happy to float in for some time. Next up is 'Critical Mass' a twelve minute piece of two parts the first a bass heavy dub that takes you to the very edge of sonic compression while the latter has a more chilled atmosphere with more piano keys.

This flavour continues throughout the album and although in many ways the tracks bear similarities, they also have their own characteristics for example 'Ring Wraith' contains a lovely incomprehensible sample while 'No Ganja Required' a collaboration with Vlastur Dub combines hauntingly spacey synths with some fantastic digital drum patterns.

Well if all this isn't enough the vibe continues with a 55 minute bonus track 'Long Into The Embers'. My advice to fans of Pitch Black … join the convoy and get ready to be mislead through the realms of space-themed synths and digi-dub I doubt you will regret it.

Review by Woodzee


Monday, 30 June 2014

Friends Electric 'Friends Electric E.P.' Review

Artist: Friends Electric

Title: Friends Electric E.P.

Label: Triskele Music

Released: 21st June 2014

My only knowledge of Friends Electric prior to this release was their re-mix of Pitch Black's 'Free Fall' a good while back, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The chaps behind Friends Electric is Bill Robin (Rebel HiFi, Dub War, Warp Technique) and his old pal Sam Rice-Edwards. So taking this into consideration my first thoughts were I might be pleased with what this E.P. had to offer and my second a 10 track E.P.? Surely, this is an L.P.?

The first track 'Longwave' starts with dusty record crackles, radio tuning fx and a lovely acoustic guitar hook. This is soon accompanied by lush synths and an ethereal operatic female voice which when all combined forms a solid chill out track. Next up is 'Freeze Frame' which again utilises those dusty record crackles to form a nest for some lovely loops and a funky bassline which glides along like a penguin on ice. I'm already starting to be sold with this release.

'Pondlife' begins with an ambient intro followed by sparse drumming which slowly becomes more consistent while a variety of twisted fx and pitch bends are implemented to stunning effect along with a sprinkling of robotic female samples and little jazz like keys. Although, all three tracks so far are quite different this is proving to be down-tempo at it's finest. 'F%ck The Whole Thing Up' is a dubby piece of electronica with a little more drive than the previous tracks add some well sourced samples and some interesting diversions on the breakdown it's perhaps my favourite so far.

'Ode To Allen' is a jamboree bag of dubbed out cosmic afro-funk followed by a couple of Pitch Black re-mixes including the one I mentioned before. 'Try To Breathe' is a spacey melodic dub followed by a more hard hitting & squelchy 'Sonica Dub' which leads nicely into the final track a re-mix of I.S.W.T. 'Temperamental Vibrations' and to be honest I'm not familiar with the original but going by this I suspect they've dubbed out a lush and jazzy piece of trip-hop.

Review by Woodzee

Sunday, 22 June 2014

The Chill Out Sessions

This year I have been alternating with Ian of the Liquid Lounge hosting the Chill Out Sessions on Boxfrequency fm While Ian utilises his air time solely for his own D.J. sets, I've been featuring guests alongside playing old favourites and new releases. 

This months show airs on Sunday the 29th at 19:00 until 23:00 G.M.T. and will feature the following guests ...

Lauge & Baba Gnohm

These Danish chill out producers cite influences from artists such as Pink Floyd, Jean-Michel Jarre and Solar Fields as well as documentaries such as Planet Earth and the nature of Scandanavia.

These influences have inspired and formed a lush combination of Artic ambience and Pink Floyd'esque guitar with subtle hints of psy-chill and dub here and there.

Growing up in Poland Richard immersed himself in the local Punk/Ska scene. Re-locating to Toronto his musical tastes were broadened by the sounds he heard living in a multi-cultural city. 

As well as producing Dub Reggae, World 
Music and Psy-Dub under his Dubtrak Moniker he also releases other music under other names covering genres such as Folktronica, Shoegaze and Glitch and hosts a series of Yoga themed mixes.

Previous broadcasts are available on Mixcloud and Soundcloud. 

Broadcast 1 - Woodzee with Special Guest DJ Maggie

Broadcast 2 - Ian Of-The Liquid-Lounge

Broadcast 3 - Woodzee with Special Guests M&M's and Machine 475 

Broadcast 4 - Liquid Lounge

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Kaya Project 'Firedance E.P.' Review

Artist: Kaya Project

Title: Firedance E.P.

Label: Interchill

Release Date: 27th of May

Taken from Kaya Projects latest album of the same name 'Firedance' is actually one of the more up-tempo tracks. However, I'm more than happy to feature it on here as it's a track with tribal chants that is full of eastern promise and the re-mixers take the track into different directions.

Strangely enough the e.p. doesn't begin with the title track but a re-mix of 'One Hundred Lights' by Grouch. The track begins with sparse deep twitchy bass notes alongside the vocal and slowly becomes more dominant flickering between Sitar chords and reggae all in all it's a quality re-mix.

Now we reach a re-mix of the title track from Chaos By Design, who to be honest I've not come across before. There's nothing to worry about though as he/she/they take the track into a combination of ambience and utilise the percussion with bass music creating a unique feel of Jungle with the brakes on.

Next it's Kaminanda's take on the title track (this guy seems to be churning out the re-mixes of late) once again there's a combination of ambience and percussion but there's a little more space between than Chaos By Design's chock full of little loops and fx perfectly balanced through out the track. It's a wonderful piece which only re-affirms this is a solid release.

Last but not least is Seb's own re-mix of 'Through The Flames' under his psy-breakz Digitalis moniker. This track is perfect for getting the rump shaking and enticing people on to the dance floor with it's glitchy bass line that's seems to gel perfectly with the sounds of the original track.

Review by Woodzee


Thursday, 29 May 2014

Desert Dwellers - Nomadic Ecstatic 'The Wandering Sadhu Re-Mixes' Vol 2

Desert Dwellers

Nomadic Ecstatic:
The Wandering Re-mixes Vol 2

Black Swan Sounds

27th May 2014

Only a month ago with the release of Nomadic Ecstatic Vol 1 I mentioned that some listeners may construe this release as more of the same re-worked. Re-mix releases can at times never reach the heights of an original you really like and with the song or track firmly ingrained in your mind the bar is set high. This applies more so where there is a length of time between the original and the re-mix for me. In some cases I hear a re-mix first and that becomes the bar to beat as such. As a firm fan of the Desert Dwellers releases I feel myself anticipating a let down with re-mix releases. However, I consistently find myself pleasantly surprised with the overall output and always pluck a few gems out and 'Nomadic Ecstatic 2' proved to be no exception.

From the moment I pressed go and began to listen to Beatfarmer's (a producer I've only recently started to explore) take of 'Kumbh Mela' the dubby string chords of the sitar and tribal murmurs lead into similarly dubby bass notes and sparse tribal percussion, which collectively form an Eastern dub reggae vibe and I began to suspect I'd like this release.

Next up is Suduaya's re-mix of the title track 'A Wandering Sadhu' I've heard a couple of intriguing ambient tracks by Suduaya but on further exploration hit psy-trance and retreated. Obviously some producers have more than one string to their bow and going by this Suduaya is one of those producers. The vocals sit nicely on melodic synth chords which have the feel of a trance breakdown. However, as the bass kicks in we travel into an interesting loop which switches into a lush melodic section and then an ambient drone before circling back to where we started. Highly recommended.

This is followed by Itom Lab's (who yet again I've only really scratched the surface with their output) re-mix of 'The Embrace of Samadhi'. Fusing a marching (but not driving bassline) with a acidic breaks feel evenly balanced with ambient tones and vocals, throw in some Gregorian monk chants and a touch of bamboo flute and this is a pleasant and reasonably refreshing take on the original.

Now I find myself back to the title track and this time the duties fall on Eastern Sun. Who I came across at the same time as the Desert Dwellers on (funnily enough) a re-mix album of the Laya Projects. The intro lays melodic strings over teasing dnb style drum flicks but as the track drops a reggae stance is revealed this continues for a couple of minutes before the low frequency bass is injected and rejoined by the melodic strings and vocal. Overall a suitable alternative and useful tool if you're looking to employ the track in a different set.

Last but not least is a re-work of 'Shiva Naturaj' by someone I'm more familiar with, world music multi-instrumentalist Jeff Stott. I really like what Jeff has done here although he's employed some low frequency bass, along with some beautiful melodic bell tones. He's released it and drawn it back in all the right places. Subtley, allowing the vocal to carry you into a mantra like daydream. I like this version so much, that it could prove to be my favourite version of them all.

To summarise if you're a fan of the Desert Dwellers I advise you not to dismiss these re-mixes and similarly if you're new to their music or you've randomly come across this review. If Eastern spiritual music fused with electronic Western sounds appeals why not press play? If it's not to your taste you can always press stop.

Review by Woodzee.