Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Interchill's 'Waypoint' Compilation Review



Artist: Various


Title: Waypoint


Label: Interchill


Released: 19th November




On previous compilations whichever stance Interchill's head honcho Andrew Ross Collins took on a compilation, whether it's reggae and dub, chilled electronica or global bass you could be rest assured that Andrew's selection of hand picked artists which may or may not be familiar to you, would be a blend of the tried and tested with some new discoveries and the result would usually come up trumps.

There's a slightly different approach to this compilation all the artists have previously appeared on Interchill's releases (an Interchill's underground All-Stars if you like) and focuses on creating a sonic journey of contrast within the spectrum of chill out music rather than the similarities.

The journey begins with the Hibernation re-mix of 'Indifference' by New Zealand's psychedelic dance producer Grouch. Which entices you in with an atmosphere of lush synthetic eastern infused electronica transcending into the realms of psychedelic bass music and back. This is followed by Drift's 'Invisible Spirit' which is a contrast within it's self drifting (excuse the pun) between laid back, sun soaked acoustics of a Mediterranean vibe and darker electronic bass notes.

Although from his name Guru Shishya may appear like he's going to offer a Turkish number with 'Rich In Loss' appearances truly are deceiving as the piece is more orchestral chill with a gentle choir and a crescendo of drums and synths towards the end. Next up is Gaudi who manipulation of vintage hardware and modern techniques have firmly placed him as a latter day master of dub. There's no guest mc or theramin scratches in this piece it's a blend of traditional reggae dub with some ambient breakdown's and a touch of Indian percussion in the form of tablas.

The journey turns another corner with Seb Taylor re-mixing one of his previous releases under his Kaya Project moniker 'Dust Devil' under his glitchy ambient moniker Hibernation and spinning rather than turning expectations on their face with a stroke of genius and more than a touch of jazz. Variant Field a collaboration of Amani Friend of Desert Dwellers fame and Alex DeYoung offer a crisp and crunchy piece of chill with a spring in it's step and some nice melodic breakdowns as the title 'Dulcet Dalliance' suggests.

When I first heard the throwback dub of Another Fine Day's 'Walk Tall' as a teaser for this compilation I commented it was so laid back it was almost horizontal and this piece of jazzy piano lounge truly epitomises lazy Sundays. While Austero layer a blanket of Mediterranean beach chill over a surface of IDM beats and Latin vocal samples with 'Fuerza Brutal'.

The album then flows through a trio of contrasting Swedish artists initiated by ambient composer Fredrik Ohr who projects the compilation into the upper atmosphere with his piece 'In Orbit' combining melodic synths, crunchy bass and elongated panned passages. While my favourite dub-step artist Liquid Stranger (although now based in the United States a Swede by birth) continues in the slow deep and bass heavy vein of previous Interchill releases with 'Flipside'. This trio concludes with Sinepearl whose sound is inspired by nature and the forest parties of Sweden and takes a deep melodic trip with 'Cosmic Centre' resulting in a tribal like Tangerine Dream sound.

The journey winds down with a couple of UK based artists Spiral Systems 'Mondays' is a laid back melodic number injected with a sprinkling of Brazilian flavours and acoustic guitar. While Alucidnation gently drops you at your destination with a dreamy melodic piece of chill leaving you content with the memories of your excursion through 'Waypoint' and grateful for Andrew's wonderful selections.

Reviewed by Woodzee




Sunday, 16 November 2014

Secret Circuit Interview



1) Firstly thank you for taking the time out from your busy schedule to complete this interview. Could you tell us a little about yourself and how you started your musical career?

Hi there you all! I've been making music for a long time. I started out by being in noise bands and making home recordings in high school and art school. It was all about fun really but I was obsessed. Eventually, I joined a shoegaze band called Medicine and we got signed to Creation records, we toured around the US and Europe so that was my first exposure to making music seriously.

2) Could you run us through your studio set up and do you have any particular pieces of hardware or plug in's that you use again and again?

I would say that I have a fairly decent collection of analog synths and classic drum machines. As for the equipment I use the most, that would probably be the ARP 2600, the Pro One, the Juno 60, the Jupiter 6, the Korg MS20, the 808, 909, and 303. These would be mostly for the studio. I don't really feel comfortable dragging those things around anymore for live shows so I use samplers and newer synths and drum machines for that scenario.

3) You have a new album 'Cosmic Vibrations' released on Emotional Response due out on the 17th of November. What can listeners expect from the new material?

This collection was put together by Emotional Response as a companion to 'Tropical Psychedelics'. Where the concept once again was compiling from older recordings. I'm making music all of the time so there is so much music back there to go through. Even going back one year is daunting. I feel this new one works really well. It's a good listen and I might say its a tad darker in tone. At the same time it feels easy like you can listen to it multiple times and it won't drive you crazy. There's melody to grab but also mood and there's also some deep sections for diving.

4) You released a number of albums under your own steam before your debut release 'Tropical Psychedelics' on Emotional Response in 2012. Was this a compilation of your previous work?

Yes. We had talked about doing that record for a long time before it actually happened. It came together perfectly and Emotional Response has kept delivering other great music so it's a really nice label to be involved with.

5) This was followed a year later by 'Tactile Galactics' on the Beats In Space label. Does this material differ in any way, shape or form to the Emotional Response releases?

'Tactile Galactics' comes all from a same headspace mode. All the tracks were done in a fairly small block of time and I was really into this concept of the tracks being blended in different ways in a DJ setting so they are almost all the same tempo. I was working in a house music template but my own version of that. I was trying to infuse human touch in there yet still be a drum machine lined excursion. As if a psych prog band were jamming over some house rhythms. Actually that's kind of what it sounds like to me...

6) There's a growing number of vinyl enthusiasts straying away from the digital media. Between 2009 and 2012 you released a trio of mix compilations Cosmic Capers, Cosmic Vapours and Cosmic Papers on another retro format … cassette. What was the thought process behind that?

That's true, but at the same time I was a very early adapter of bandcamp. I remember when there were only like 100 bands on there so I was definitely on that early on. I found it perfect to put up all these experiments and older unreleased things and I love the immediacy of it. I might put a new record up there tonight! I think it did a lot for me at a certain time because people anywhere could access my music. It was great to do.

That said, I would also say that vinyl is my favorite medium. It looks, feels, and sounds the best of all. As far as the tapes, a few years back, my friend Cali Dewitt asked me to put out a tape on his label Teenage Teardrops. He told me that all the kids were listening to tapes again and I said let's do it. Turned out to be ahead of the curve there too. I was really modeling those off the Baldelli Cosmic tapes from Italy. Those things were doing my head in at the time and it was a perfect medium for that exploration, a non stop DJ mix through the cosmic filter.

7) You've done a fair few re-mixes in recent years. Do you have any particular favourites and are there anymore in the pipeline?

I'm not sure if it's my favorite but the Peter Tosh 'Legalize it' remix was a crazy one to do. I felt like I had to really add my own flavor to it without totally destroying the original. It's almost blasphemy to remix that track but I wasn't going to say no! I felt that I also had to get the studio really cloudy for that one. I was thinking to myself, "what if Lee Perry had an 808? What would that sound like?" and that was my way of diving in... The Museum Of Love remix I'm also very proud of, but in reality I really dig them all. I get really into remixing because of the collage element involved.

8) Do you take the Secret Ciruit show on the road? If so where can people catch a show?

I mostly play in LA but I do get out there. I just played some shows in Europe with Panda Bear and that felt really good to do. When I play live I really like to blend everything together in a kind of collage kind of like the cosmic cassettes. I look at it as if I'm remixing my stuff live on stage and blending them to make this sort of soup based music. Like adding a bit of parsley from one track and Onion from another. The rhythm would be the meat and potatoes. Sometimes I like to just stretch the drums out or take some kind of drum solo and I can equate that to dropping a bag of potatoes down a long flight of stairs. Add some synths and vocals and voila!!!



EDDIE RUSCHA

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Subaqueous 'Tides of Twilight' Review



Artist: Subaqueous


Title: Tides of Twilight


Label: Merkaba Music


Released: 11th November





This is the fourth album release from Seattle producer Issac Cotec a.k.a. Subaqueous, along with various e.p.'s and re-mixes and live performances with the likes of Bluetech and more recently Living Light.

This release is part of a wider multi-media experience through Epoch Legends working in tandem with associated images by Ryan Johnson and Dave Peixoto and a story penned by Elise Barrett.

The album opens up with 'Insistent Shades' featuring Kalpatura Tree it switches between psy-dub and world music creating a wonderful dream-like ambience. 'Depth of Field' leans more towards IDM but retains the soothing ambience and eastern instruments that provide the illusion of a band.

The title track which features George Sadak and Guda delves into the world of the Indian Raga's with tablas and bamboo flutes layered over an ethereal background. It sounds pleasant enough, although initially I was puzzled as to why this was selected as the title track. Well at least until the sax kicked in and transformed the piece into a laid back jazz fusion.

The album continues in a similar fashion and although it retains the eastern elements of previous releases there's a more gentle approach with touches of a wider musical influence entering the fold. 'Glimmers' featuring Michael Maricle for example has no catchy hook and the dirty low frequency bass is an infrequent background to the light airy chimes and classical piano. In contrast 'Stillness Dawns' featuring Desi has an almost shoegaze quality to it, a feeling enhanced admittedly by the vocal.

The album also contains a couple of bonus tracks. The first 'Ethereal Being' featuring Kelly Castel Scott and Soham which vocally reminds me somewhat of an old Smith & Mighty track but doesn't quite hit the spot. While Moon Frog re-works 'Glimmers', it's a soothing alternative with a classical feel, which provides suitable armchair music for a Sunday afternoon.

Reviewed by Woodzee

Links …




Sunday, 2 November 2014

Gus Till 'Ghosts of the Earth E.P.' Review


Artist: Gus Till


Title: Ghosts of the Earth E.P.


Label: Interchill


Released: 27th of October




The first single from Gus's recent album release features re-mixes by System 7 and their chill-out alter-ego Mirror System (no great surprise there considering Steve's guitar work on the album), Zen Lemonade (again no surprise as Zen Lemonade consist of Gus and his wife 'Supercozi') although Seb Taylor could of re-mixed any of the tracks under a variety of his projects it under his down-tempo Hiberanation monkier on this release.

First up is the System 7 re-mix of 'Angelfright' a bouncy techno number which has the System 7 stamp all over it with subtle synths and guitar that won't disappoint fans. Steve and Miquette then take a fresh approach on the same track as Mirror System diving in with lush elongated sequences before it drops an orchestral stab used by Planet Patrol on 'Planet Rock' and gets into some damn squelchy gating, add to this the utilisation of the tribalish vocals hook this really works for me … Love it!

Zen Lemonade take a fresh look at 'Recovery' the track begins somewhat like Kraftwerk's 'Kling-Klang' bubblin' away in a dub laboratory with the lush synths and eastern vocals nestled snuggly inbetween to create an atmosphere where the gritty and dirty works in tandam with harmonious beauty. The last track of the E.P. is Hiberation's take on the first track of the album 'We Advance Masked', where the guitar chords slowly entice you into a glitchy down-tempo affair with quite frankly a lot going on. Not to mention some wonderfully intricate drum patterns.

All in all this is a suitable accompaniment to the album which I imagine would appeal to fans of the re-mixers as much as the fans of Gus. Even if every track isn't to your taste you have to admire the skill and production behind this release.

For an interesting insight into the ideas and musicians behind the album here's a video with the man himself


Reviewed by Woodzee







Monday, 6 October 2014

Gus Till - Ghosts Of The Earth Review

Artist: Gus Till

Release: Ghosts Of The Earth


Label: Interchill Records


Released: 30th September 2014





Now although Gus Till may not be a household name he's certainly been lurking in the background alongside a fair few. From his humble beginnings in Melbourne's punk/new wave scene of the late 70's he was part of Michael Hutchences band 'Max Q' and jumped on the emerging dance scence of the late 80's as part of Third Eye. Re-locating to England in the 90's he was a studio engineer for Flying Rhino as well as working with Jamirioqui, Manu Dibango, Todd Terry, System 7, Adam Freeland, Bim Sherman and many more. These days Gus is based in Bali releasing solo material and is one half of Zen Lemonade alongside his significant other.

The concept of this album is that no matter how far technologically we evolve there are still cultures in the world who are deeply rooted in our past. Which lays a foundation for a combination of electronic and organic with a tribal edge and features Steve Hillage on guitar, Chika Asamoto on Sax and percussion by Rip Van Hippy . My first impressions of this album is it's very different to 'Between The Silence' the only other solo release I have, which leans far more to minimal tribal chill.

The album begins with 'We Advanced The Masked' with groovy guitars and slightly vocodered vocals, there's bursts of prog rock and tribal chants before Steve lets fly. It's a real hard one to pigeon hole and although there's plenty going on with all the little background loops and fx it never sounds too crowded. The next track 'Sunset' changes direction it's very reminiscent of the Miles Davis re-mix album 'Panthalessa' with a tribal edge, sterling stuff!

There's two things I can say about this album 1) the production is second to none and 2) the combination of electronic and organic music is highly unique 'So Long Emergency' for example is dreamy and soulful with a few Sphongle'esque twists and more than a touch of Hillage. While the title track sounds like Herbie Hancock's been dragged through the jungle and thrown into a dingy dark dancefloor. 

As with most albums there's a couple of intro fillers which in this case are superbly layered and cleverly thought out and a couple of down-tempo no's more akin to the album I mentioned previously. Now, although I can't say this album will be to everyone's taste I highly advise you give it a listen.

Review by Woodzee.



Sunday, 5 October 2014

Alpha Wave Movement Interview


1) Firstly thank you for taking the time out from your busy schedule to complete this interview. Could you tell us a little about yourself and how you started your musical career?

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to interview.

I began my early interests in music at the age of 12 when my family purchased a old Magnus electric organ the children learn on with the black major and minor chords on the side panel. I had no prior knowledge or understanding of how music was created but my curiosity began there with that cheap little organ. I later took up the trumpet in junior high school and later in High School discovered new age music which led to progressive rock, jazz and electronic music. I am for the most part a self trained/taught musician with only the scratch rudimentals of music schooling.

As a side note Id like to say that back in the day (i.e pre digitalia in the 1980s) you could buy records in the cutout bins of record stores for practically nothing. This was a goldmine for curious people like me who had a smidgeon of interest in the pop world but more enthusiasm for what was (un)vogue or what I considered alternative to the mainstream force-feeding available on the radio. I discovered Jean Michel Jarre, Kitaro, Synergy, Terje Rypdal all because the L.P.'s cover art was amazing and the list of equipment even more so.

In my early teens I managed to save enough money for a Moog Micromoog in High School and dove deep into analog synthesis. The 80's was an era of new and emerging technology i.e. Yamaha DX7 and so forth no one wanted the Moogs, so you could get these gems everywhere for next to nothing.

In the early 1990s I managed to acquire a few inexpensive synthesizers and an old Yamaha QX sequencer and this led me into the dominions and ethos of creativity on a solo level. I was through at the time playing in local bands where I mainly played bass and never felt the need to carbon copy someone else's music. My disinterest in ego and and drug culture led me on a shall we say creative path to tonal bliss!

2) In media articles you're often cited as drawing on the 70's progressive rock, space music and new age in your own pieces. Could you tell us how you set about simulating this sound in your approach and your studio set up?

Those influences are spot on but I used them as fodder for directing my creative energy towards my own music composing goals which I have to admit are all over the place. Re-creating is not something I consciously set out to do when composing, however every musician, painter etc has their influences which will inevitably permeate their music. 

As far as the studio set-up I do tend to lean towards a diversity in my sound palate and enjoy the old analog style or virtual analog hands on synthesizer but I mix more modern sample based synthesizer into the mix for timbal diversity and I like the digital clarity against the more muddier grittier sounds of analog modeling. My interest compositionally varies from very minimalistic to heavier composed dynamic music not unlike the influences mentioned.

3) How much has your studio set up changed since the mid-90's and are there any pieces of hardware or software that you still use today?

In the 1990s and early 2000's I tended to have more gear than I needed and it was all hardware maybe 5-7 synthesizers/workstations/modules which tend to get a bit cluttered in a small apartment. I like to live in a more sparse setting its easy to succumb to gear lust so over the years and with the rise of better sounding and space efficient technology i.e. laptops, software synthesizer I shed a lot of my access baggage. I really like to get as much as I can out of a piece of gear. I don't believe quantity of gear necessarily will equal quality of a music composition. Its how you approach that end result and whether you are doing this for yourself and not for some cookie cutter music label thats out to exploit the latest trendy music. I believe true art is made for the selfish purpose of the artist and relegated 100% to financial upward mobility this does not negate the artist being compensated for his or her works as I do NOT believe in free music ideology either.

4) Aside from the space music aspect which other artists have influenced your sound?

Well that is a very long list! Ill just say this theres a lot of great music under the layers of mainstream detritus to the point that one can be overwhelmed.
Over the last 20 years I can honestly say everything from Camel, Genesis, Ozric Tentacles, Lyle Mays, Mark Isham especially his Vapor Drawings album to Eno and Steve Roach's very early ambient works.

Nature is also a very strong aesthetic conduit to channeling new music for me. I am also keen to more electronic film composers of the 70s and 80s like Jerry Goldsmith, John Carpenter/Alan Howarth and Mark Snow. Theres also Wolfgang Voigt (aka. GAS) and some of the early 2000 IDM and dub techno music that I have a lot of respect for and inadvertently influences my music to some extent.

5) You've released three albums this year Horizons, Archaic Frontiers & Celestial Chronicles. Did you take a different approach in constructing or compiling these albums?

Horizons was recorded over a period of years and recently I put the pieces into a coherent album. The music on Horizons is much more thematic and almost cinematic in feel and would not quite have fit into feel of some other releases. I tend to like to try as best as I can to make my releases consistent throughout each separate release. Celestial is an extension of my continual interest in the science of space exploration and the mysteries of the cosmos a theme I regularly use as a mainspring for creating music. Archaic and Frontiers tend to be more serene/reflective with rhythmic and melodic statements not as dominant.

Archaic Frontiers and my previous two similar release Drifted Into Deeper Lands and Eolian Reflections are sort of genetic siblings of one another in that they are all drawn from my journeys visiting the arid and desert landscapes of the southwestern US. There something incredibly humbling and almost spiritual walking thru the mesas and canyons in Utah, Arizona and New Mexico where the land is quiet and detached from the noise and toxicity of the urban jungles. Its place for reflection and connection to the world I live in at least from a personal experience. These places I find to be a bastion of inspiration for my music.

6) You've released 22 albums as Alpha Wave Movement as well as others under Within Reason, Thought Guild & Open Canvas. What's the difference between the projects?

The Within Reason music tends to have a lot more environmental/field recordings mixed into the music and its not as grandiose(at times) as AWM. I sort of flex my creative muse when I record under different project names. I do this for the sole reason that I do not want to mislead my audience into purchasing an Alpha Wave cd and then being turned away when they hear ethnic chants and Indian sitars. I think shifting gears is very cathartic for me compositionally and allows for me to "stretch" my abilities into other avenues.

The Open Canvas project was always focused on accentuating the middle eastern rhythms and melodies into my music and therefore was never intended as being marketed if you will as Alpha Wave Movement. I draw from many areas of interests mainly because I am a tad of a voracious music listener/consumer as well and do feel the need to listen to music other than my own because of the diversity in creative musical minds out here it would be a shame not to!

7) You've also had a track featured in the television program 'True Blood' and another on 'Grand Theft Auto IV' they're both extremely popular. How did this come about?

Grand Theft Auto I believe coalesced via Rockstar Games whom I believed discovered my music via I-Tunes or Myspace(this was back in the pre-Facebook days) and picked-up music from my 90s Alpha Wave Movement debut Transcendence and recently the True Blood came about thru the work of the Waveform label owner Forrest whom released my ethnic electronic project Open Canvas many years ago.

To be honest I feel very humble to have my music used beyond the fundamental territories of radio, podcasts and downloads. Listening to my music in an alt setting such as a game or television is sometimes a strange ephemeral experience and something I feel very grateful for. At the end of the day I am still an independent musician regardless of the television gigs. Its a lot of work for many of us just to get the word out and having given a chance to be interviewed about what I enjoy is always welcomed! Thank you!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Captain Planet 'Esperanto Slang' Review



Artist: Captain Planet


Title: Esperanto Slang


Label: Bastard Jazz Recordings


Released: 7th October 2014



Charlie B Wilder a.k.a. Captain Planet sounds like he's straight out of a Marvel comic. Starting out as a hip-hop d.j. he soon found a love of World Music. Having acquired Lincoln Centre Public Library's entire world music collection, it appears that his super power is his ability to dig out rare samples and twist them into fresh grooves.

Personally, I liked his debut album Cookin' Gumbo and hammered the opening track 'Rad Ad Afinitium'. So I was keen to get stuck in and hear what sounds the Captain had rummaged from across the diaspora and if this latest release had some super-tunes to offer.

The intro 'Enter The Esperanto' is a lovely slice of funky beats, latin percussion, marimbas and funky horns that would slide easily into a rare-groove b-boy set. This is followed by 'Tugo de Bom' the first of two tracks featuring the vocals of Samira Winter and also includes Brazilian rockers Nevilton. It's a piece of Latin that has no major impact but a light hearted summery tune that's easy on the ear.

The next track featuring the vocals of Chico Mann enters the realms of deep house and it's a gem. Nothing particularly new in style but it's well constructed and bounces along with some wonderfully distorted key breaks, while Chico's Latin vocals nestle in nicely. This is followed by the reggae-pop of 'In The Gray' featuring some quite frankly superb vocals from Brit Lauren. Given the airplay I could see this being a hit.

The last two tracks are probably the ones that will appeal to the mainstream. However, if you're fans of Quantic, Nickodemus or Thievery Corporation I'd suggest digging deeper it's a great selection with some unexpected combinations like the sounds from the Arabian deserts seamlessly drifting into the brass horns of a Spaghetti western and the closing track 'Fall All The Way' has a soft alluring voice sat over keys and acoustics which is twisted into a light hearted yet infectious groove.

Reviewed by Woodzee