3 Ene 2012, 18:02
Take YMO and Sakamotoesque progressive keyboard riffs mix it with beats and video game inspired melodies and you get "Glass Swords". The album from start to finish runs like a fun ride through a variety of soundscapes without letting up much. Nearly perfect with the exception of one track "Globes". The rest of the album will evoke memories of Shinobi for PS2, Sonic The Hedgehog,YMO, Seinfeld, and Astal to name a few games that probably inspired this sound. People argue about what to classify this as like dub step et al. While this may employ some elements from that genre, it certainly doesn't follow the model that well and is a reason it stands out. Best tracks include "Flashback" (I swear it is shinobi and I love it.), "Surph" (most poppy song on the album that invites you to just ride out...),"Hover Traps" (easily one of the most fun songs I've heard in years and reminds me of Plaid. Seinfeld sample is also funny), "Ultra Thizz" (sounds like a theme song for a hero and continues the overall feel good vibe of this album), "Death Mountain" (employs some of my favorite synth bass lines used by M83 and Crystal Castles)."Cry Flames" reminds me of Jimi Hendrix if he were reincarnated and made into a robot. The jamming out on this track is insane), "After Light" (by far the most beautiful track on the album. It begins quiet and beautiful then erupts into a desperate beat driven track. It's almost tragic and orchestral sounding.),and then "Crystal Echo" ends the album nicely and sounds like Gunstar Heroes. Yes, I know too many video game references, but if you listen to this album you'll hear it. You can't resist the urge to smile and enjoy this album. Will definitely be in rotation for years to come. A fine piece of work and worthy of being in the Warp catalog.
2.SMM:Context- Various Artists
SMM series is a long running ambient series from Ghostly International. It had been years since a proper SMM compilation had come along. The last one was part of a double disc with Idol Tryouts back in 2005. This compilation showcases some of the best ambient artists around at this time and some stalwarts (Goldmund ,Manual, Rafael Anton Irisarri,Kyle Bobby Dunn, and Peter Broderick.) as well. I discovered some great artists through this compilation like Leyland Kirby with his track "Polaroid" which delicately makes one feel reflective which maybe explains the title of the track. Looking at a picture remembering times past and longing for them. Svarte Greiner's track "Halves" is a nice haunting beauty that certainly owes a lot to Tim Hecker but is enjoyable. Christina Vantzou's "11 generations of My Father" is easily the stand out track on the album. If you don't feel anything when you hear it then I question whether you can feel anything at all. It's powerful, sad,mysterious, and beautiful. Her LP is also worth checking out. Jacaszek's "Elegia" brightens the mood up on the comp with light piano sounds. Still the mysterious tone persists. Aidan Baker's "Substantiated" was interesting to hear since I've only heard his work with Tim Hecker. It's as atmospheric but less sonic sans Hecker. Like the other artists on the comp it makes me want to check out his LPs past and future to come. A very rewarding compilation for times to reflect and ponder...
3.Death In Vegas- Trans Love Energies
There's too much to write about this album. It was a long wait and worth it to me. It's basically a catalog of all their past sounds and incarnations. The kraut rock, space rock, shoegaze, acid and electronic elements are all in place. Listen to "Blackhole", "Lightening Bolt", "Come Ride With Me", "COUM", and "Your Loft My Acid". All really good tracks. For those in the mood for nostalgia fix, this is the album for you. It at times sounds like something released in 1995. This is a good thing.
4. Belong- Common Era
The album blasts off with the opener track "Come See". Sweeping walls of sound and a really kraut rock sounding bass guitar riff/drum beat. Dark and sonic album with an addition of vocals that was missing from their first album. This is not like the ambient noise album they put out nearly 5 years ago, but a lot of the atmospheric elements are still in place. This is certainly more accessible than their past album "October Language" which I highly recommend as well. That's not to say it is any lesser of an album. Actually, the beats, synths, walls of noise and vocals work really well through out the album. "A Walk" and "Different Heart" are very cold and loud. These tracks can't be on repeat enough. "Different Heart" really induces the feeling of floating as the vocals become overtaken by the guitars. It spirals into a beautiful sonic sound by the end of the track. This is the perfect album for walks at night and driving with the windows down on a cold day. Really enjoying it during this colder season. "Perfect Life" is the brightest track with some really nicely sampled beats but still has that ominously cold feel to it like the rest of the album."Make Me Return" reminds me a lot of a shoegazey Joy Division without Ian Curtis. "Common Era" is a track that sounds buried under a sea of sound and in your headphones you'll feel buried and not want to come up for air. So basically, if you like shoegaze and darker sounding synthesizer music then you'll like this. It was the surprise release of 2011 for me.
5. Warm Ghost- Narrows
After some excellent Eps (See "Claws Overhead"), they finally put out their debut LP "Narrows" I saw them live for the release and must say it was one of the best shows I've ever seen. "I Will Return", "Once One","Inside and Out", and "Splay of Road" are the stand out tracks. The whole album is a lush and atmospheric composition. The synth lines in it are quite Vangelis, John Foxx, and Talk Talk inspired. Vocally, quite Depeche Mode inspired.
6.The Field- Looping State of Mind
7.Purple Bloom-Purple Bloom EP
9.Com Truise- Galactic Melt
10.D. Gookin-Spiral Style
12.M83- Hurry Up, We're Dreaming!
13.Bibio- Mind Bokeh
17.Mogwai-Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will
18.Pale Sketcher-Seventh Heaven EP
19.Christina Vantzou-No. 1
See other journal for all albums I liked in 2011