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Album Picks: Plaid, Conor Oberst, The Roots

Posted by Billy Gil, May 20, 2014 10:49am | Post a Comment

Plaid - Reachy Prints (LP, CD)

Beloved Warp Records duo Plaid return with their eighth album, a perfect apotheosis of the IDM sound they helped pioneer. Plaid excel at extrapolating emotional material out of whirling synthesizer landscapes, thanks to a reliance on simple melodies beneath the surface of tracks like the melodic “Hawkmoth” or synth-poppy “Matin Lunaire.” Songs like “Nafovanny” and “Wallet” seem to tell a story as the band layers extensively over singular lead synths, perhaps inspired by their recent soundtrack work (including the anime Tekkonkinkreet), whereas songs like “Slam” create mini-epics of house-inspired beat work. Though Plaid never rose to the level of fame of contemporaries like Squarepusher, their remarkably consistency should encase their legacy as IDM greats, as their work on Reachy Prints is nothing short of inspired.

 

Conor Oberst - Upside Down Mountain (LP, CD)

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Mahssa's Massive CD Round Up - Theo Parrish, Walls, Plaid, Lawrence, DJ Shadow & more

Posted by Oliver / Matt / Jordan, October 7, 2011 05:05pm | Post a Comment

Theo Parrish
Ugly Edits
Ugly Edits 



Hello world, they're here. Unavailable for like, ever, now in one package complete with a hand-painted cover. Theo Parrish is one of Detroit’s most wanted exports especially in the past few years, but not too long ago, like many future techno-rebels that came before him, he was just another hustling Detroit DJ trying to make waves in the shadow of the city’s rich techno history. His indelible mark on the underground were highly limited, hand-labeled bootleg edit records of some of his favorite classic funk and disco tunes. The series of edits appropriately titled Ugly Edits, became highly desired rarities on the DJ and collector’s circuit. Rarities no more... as everyone should and can now hear his versions of Jil Scott, Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes, Freddie Hubbard, and Sylvester edits just to name a few somewhere other than YouTube. Cool.
Lawrence
Lawrence
Timeless

Cocoon  


 
Sure the techno mix CD might seem to some as a maligned format. But as long dope jams like these keep coming, well, better this than most. The port city of Hamburg is not only Germany's gateway to the world, but home of DIAL label boss Peter M. Kersten aka Lawrence which he runs with Carsten Jost, quality brand for all value-conscious cultivation of high-quality melancholy Techno. In a fit of celebration and after seven albums under his producer aliases Lawrence and Sten, his vision of sound (especially as a DJ) is manifested in his new mix, TIMELESS. Crafted with a kind of instinct only a seasoned producer/DJ upholds, and in flawless role reversal from spectator to participant, a romanticism of clubbing and its relation to electronic dance music as a crucially timeless sensual component is vivid and alive. Milestones of minimalized deep house are found here, cuts by Chez Damier, Ron Trent, Isolee, Rob Hood, and Thomas Melchior/Baby Ford to name a few.

Stefan Goldmann & Finn Johannsen
Stefan Goldmann & Finn Johannsen
Macrospective
Macro



Welcome to the first Macro label compilation, where first hand you can reap the awesomely weird fascinations of all things left-of-techno-field, as groomed by these avant-gardeners. In this world it is normal for minimal techno patterns and rhythms be paired with atonal choir chanting, or being inspired to stich 146 sections from over a dozen classic recordings of Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps in order to create a "fully realized" version. Features cuts and remixes by Oni Ayhun, Elektro Guzzi, Oliver Ho, Villalobos, and Goldmann himself. Impressively at the forefront of everything stylistic, and perpetually cool, Macro has musical material and inspiration to be seriously reckoned with and celestially absorbed.

Plaid
                                                                                                        Plaid
                                                                                                   Scintilli
Warp
                                                                                                                                                                       
Warp Records is undoubtedly the worlds leading electronic brand of quality, and not so much quantity. And ill gladly wait 1-15 years for a new album by Seefeel, or in this case, Plaid. In this piece of sonic sci-finery, the main thing (out of all the cool things one can say about this album) is hearing how the ideas you hear in modern dubstep have their roots in and with these classic artists... old school Artifical Intelligence and UK post-techno. Its also interesting to hear how the modern dubstep sound has also influenced the old order. Generations melding. Speaking of the old order, there are also some cuts here that still runs hot with IDM in a true to from 90s Warp steez, reminiscent of not just Plaid/Black Dog's early days but also of Squarepusher and Aphex Twin. Generously melodic and even poppy at times, this is a wonderful Plaid album, with chamber instrumentations and Stereolab-isms to boot.

 

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Sweet Sweet Music

Posted by Mike Battaglia, April 16, 2007 12:43am | Post a Comment
    At Amoeba SF's electronica section, we've usually got at least four or five titles each month that we're extremely hyped on. Here's our current batch:



    First we've got Gui Boratto's Chromophobia on Kompakt. Boratto's Brazilian heritage gives him an edge when making his brand of tech-house, and that's an ear for rhythm. Straddling between minimal and electrohouse, Chromophobia avoids any LP pitfalls by working equally on a dancefloor as on headphones, it's got enough oomph to sound fantastic on a large sound system, but intricate enough that you notice small details while listening at home. I love his way with melody, particularly the swooping tones of "Terminal" and the bleep counterpoint in "Gate 7"; it gets quite emotional. The rhythms are key, though, and it's clear from the first track on that Boratto has a good grasp of syncopation and funk. Between the Hug and Field albums and now this, Kompakt are on a bit of a roll, again!



    Next up is We Are Together by Japanese producer Kuniyuki Takahashi, released on Mule Musiq. This is an album that is a unanimous vote amongst the electronica staff - everybody loves it (well, at least four of us). It's jazzy house music only in the loosest sense of the phrase, managing to perfectly walk the tightrope between noodly and stiff. The thing I like best about this album is its sense of space, the production on every track sounds so expansive and widescreen as to conjure up images of the music's physicality. In that sense it reminds me of the Burial album where there's a very conscious sense of three-dimensional space - it's a real "smokers delight". Check Kuni's MySpace page to hear more of this excellence.




    The Black Dog's earliest works are Modern Electronic Music 101; their innovations created a new genre of music (the odiously-named Intelligent Dance Music or IDM) and opened the doors for others to make funky, body-moving yet cerebral tracks. The music bleeps like techno but rocks sampled breaks that up the funk factor by a power of 100, and large, rolling basslines that were an unmistakable influence on early Jungle (and influenced by the UK Breakbeat Hardcore that preceded it).
    The Black Dog of 2007 is a solo act for the most part, but back in the early 90's it was a trio. Ken Downie was joined by Ed Handley and Andy Turner for what is considered TBD's best material. There was dissent, though, and Handley & Turner eventually broke off to form Plaid, one of my personal favorite electronic artists ever and a mainstay of Warp Records' roster.
    Book of Dogma
is the release that longtime TBD fans have been waiting for - it collects all of their essential early EP's, remastered no less, in one place. Most tracks have never appeared on CD, and many of these records are worth upwards of $200 on vinyl, peaking in the EBay heyday of the late 90's at $300-$400 APIECE, so you can see how momentous this occasion is. This collection is as essential as it gets, so buy it.



Finally, we have The Greatest Hits of G.A.M.M., with G.A.M.M. being the superb Swedish label dedicated to reinterpreting and mashing up Soul, Funk, Disco, Reggae, Brazilian, Hip Hop and last but not nearly least, Jazz. G.A.M.M. is loosely affiliated with Stockholm's Raw Fusion label, and includes many nujazz artists moonlighting under fake names including Spiritual South, Panoptikon, Freddie Cruger and Todd Terje (though I won't tell you what their aliases are!). The music is frequently incredible and usually surefire dancefloor material - kicking off with Red Astaire's smash hit "Follow Me", which takes an obscure D'Angelo vocal off a Method Man & Redman track and rocks a sick, jazzy vibe lick underneath it for maximum effect. Other standouts include Beatfanatic's funky reggae rework of Beyonce's "Crazy In Love" and Tangoterje's subtle samba edit of MJ's "Can't Help It" - probably the best tune on a compilation where deciding which one is best is a very difficult prospect. Undoubtedly due to unofficial status, this will come and go quickly so get on it!