It's Album Time (CD)

Following a string of brilliant singles, the Norwegian disco dude releases a full album of jammers to drink wine coolers, dance and twirl your moustache to.

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Lost (CD)

Danish musician, producer, and DJ Anders Trentemoller’s knack for heart- wrenching melodic moments and trademark sound have gained fans across the globe, blurring the boundaries between cutting-edge, underground cred, and mass appreciation.

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Spaces (CD)
Exceptional tenth release from Berliner composer Nils Frahm. Combining the tactility of Reichian percussive minimalism with the dreamy early-digital arpeggiated chord structures of someone like Steve Roach, Spaces asserts its uniqueness even more by the sheer fact of its being a compilation of live recordings (check out footage of the guy on YouTube for a truly jaw-dropping experience). Lest the one-man-band circus novelty take hold, let's move on. Nils Frahm is primarily a pianist and composer, and the prominence of IRL acoustic piano butting up against a timeline of increasing electronic capability situates him in line with the doors opened by multi-tiered organs or having extra fingers like the pianist in GATTACA. This is stunningly beautiful and complex-but-immersive music, made even the more shocking when Frahm takes a break from his swirling string-theory symphonies to give us a lilting, emotional, three minute composition for solo piano, a la someone like Keith Jarrett at his coolest and most miserable. Unreal! Buy this! Read more
Psychic (CD)
Darkside is the latest project from Nicolaas Jaar, avant-massive of the chill-but-experimental sector of contemporary EDM, and Dave Harrington, who had initially joined Jaar as multi-instrumental live support during the touring for Space Is Only Noise, his 2011 debut. Along the way, Harrington and Jaar began writing music together, and this is the result, three years down the pipe since Jaar put out his one and only long player of original compositions (he's filled the time with remixes both single-ready and album length). Darkside is basically Jaar + guitar at its most reductive. Slow elegant rhythms dance like illuminated silk handkerchiefs in slow motion, twisting organically, even swinging, at an ancient cyclopean speed. The guitar is both atmospheric and leading, occasionally even getting blues-riffy over the chilly electronic atmospherics. The vocals, mostly abstract without the aid of a lyric sheet, are sometimes like tiny fearful operas, rich quivering falsetto hovering in the space the music leaves open, darting from cavern to cavern until they sneak up behind you becoming a vocoder deepened croon, a demon doing a Chris Isaak impression. There are definitely elements of Isaak's Lynch-ian blues as well as the stylized kitsch of a band like the Lounge Lizards, turning the nightmare tropical, sad entropic decadence. Smooth AND weird, which is an achievement. Read more
Saudade (CD)
Thievery Corporation return with an album of their signature acid-echo-tech-bossa-nova/MPB vibes, fleshed out with the conceptual maturity of a '70s Serge Gainsbourg record, and the results are miserable and beautiful. Saudade is essentially Portugese for blues, a musical longing and yearning, a wilting pull across a violin or a smokey vocal cord. So, it's miserable on purpose and probably beautiful on purpose too. Sounding almost like old Air records, Saudade is a slab of yearning tropical pathos which manages to emulate the classic mope-groove of some of the best bossa-nova, MPB, French avant-pop and occasional tropical Morricone-isms, all while keeping an eye on the world of sampling and electronic music for both inspiration and execution. Read more
Abandoned City (CD)
Haunting piano music from German musician Volker Bertelmann finds us in the echoing concrete pits of Philip Glass's cinematic scores (easy to imagine this record replacing Glass's music for Candyman) but with the muted driving pace of minimal techno, placing this record alongside Dawn of Midi's Dysnomia or a more subdued version of Nils Frahm's Spaces. Like DoM, Bertelmann plays a prepared piano in the Cage-ian tradition, stretching the limits of the ways a piano can sound. Like Frahm, he augments this altered-acoustic structure with subtle electronic effects. Compositionally, the record is caught somewhere between the two, with none of the arpeggiated soaring of Frahm but quite a bit more abstract that DoM's poly-lock-precision. Returning to Glass, this is tense, melancholy mood music, fitting of the anonymous abandoned city from which the album derives its name. Keep in mind that this is Hauschka's eleventh album. He's been doing this for a while and knows what he's doing. I imagine that with this increased U.S. exposure, we may hear Bertelmann's music populating film scores some time soon. Read more
Awake (CD)
Instrumental music from San Francisco-based designer and musician Scott Hansen centering around his dreamy, palm-muted guitar-lace. While Tycho has previously been Hansen's solo outfit, for Awake he worked with guitarist/bassist Zac Brown and drummer Rory O'Connor. Whiffs of Durutti Column filter down through a tropical cloud cover and hit the beach as something more akin to Vampire Weekend's guitar ideas, all wrapped in a filling stew of ambient synth swirls and whooshes, and usually anchored by some propulsive, simple, danceable-if-you're-interested drums of a variety more indie rock than club. Exceedingly pleasant music. Read more