Friday, July 20, 2007

Music Videos # 53

Interpol - The Heinrich Maneuver

A minimalist slow-motion one-shot video for a song about Hollywood is surely an interesting concept by itself. The ending result exceeds any expectations. Here's the brilliant first video for the new Interpol album.

Interpol - Our Love To Admire

Ah Interpol, as you're finding out now, it's not easy to please everybody, especially when you're releasing your third record after two previously idolated cult albums and a lot of hype in the middle. Keep your trademark sound intact and you'll be accused of being monotonous and a one-trick-poney (check). Try to change and evolve, and critics will say that you're getting too pretentious or hiding your lack of inspiration (check). But wait a minute, isn't it ironic that you're being accused of two very anthagonic things, at the same time? Life is unfair, isn't it? But in the end, I bet you'll have the last laugh. In the meantime, here's your "difficult" third album... Yes, you've kept your style, but is it a bad thing when you've already defined the whole post-punk scene for this decade? And yes, there are some subtle changes, the sound is more polished and grandiose, there are new instruments, sometimes there's an upbeat and lighter feeling that is new to you, everything is more epic... and for sure that ain't a bad thing either. Of course it helps that some songs in here are among the best you've ever done ("Pionneer To The Falls", "The Heinrich Maneuver", "Mammoth", "Who Do You Think", "The Lighthouse"...), so don't listen to the cynics and just enjoy your new sales-success. It definitely is well-deserved. (7/10)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Thomas Fehlmann - Honigpumpe

Swiss-german producer Thomas Fehlmann, now residing in Berlin, has an enviable curriculum. Making music for more than 20 years, he's left his fingerprints in important electronic projects like The Orb, as well as releasing material by himself, usually more connected to the minimal techno universe. And that accumulated experience is completely palpable in "Honigpumpe", a record that could only come from someone with full-certainties and a savoir-faire earned after years of different experiments. So here we have 12 tracks that sound so diverse, with an immense palette of distinct atmospheres and colours, and yet an album that is so solid and unified. We have shoegazing sounds and drones, involving elements and a sober and contemplating atmosphere, but we also get more physical experiences, hypnotic beats, dub elements and other external influences, making this a perfect soundtrack for imaginary non-monotonous travels. But what really takes "Honigpumpe" apart is the extreme warmth that is emanated from start to end, full of luscious sounds, nostalgic echoes, evocative landscapes and a cristal-clear production, making this one of the most conforting records of recent months. And with that, here's a logic companion to the perfect landmark that is this year's "From Here We Go Sublime" by The Field. Great stuff. (8/10)

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Polaroids # 13

!!! live @ Coliseu dos Recreios, Lisbon (12-07-2007)

To fully understand this band, you definitely have to see them live. They're an unstoppable and electrifying groove machine, taking the stage by storm with an hallucinating performance and an unbelievable presence of vocalist Nic Offer, half frantic-aerobics-teacher, half affected-rock-star-poser, culminating with his unexpected descent into the audience for some crazy moments. So much energy and it was only 8:30 pm...

Fischerspooner live @ Coliseu dos Recreios, Lisbon (12-07-2007)

After a blah-performance from Air and consequently me getting already half-asleep, nothing would prepare my mind for what was to follow. I have to confess that I find Fischerspooner's music just OK and nothing really extraordinary, but their live show is a totally different story. A visually-ellaborated performance full of custom changes, ellegant coreographies and a retro-futuristic imaginary virtually stole the evening and, for over an hour, their regular electro-songs transformed themselves into generational anthems. Just wow!

(Pictures taken on the 12th of July 2007 in Coliseu dos Recreios, Lisbon)

Friday, July 13, 2007

Shackleton / Appleblim - Soundboy Punishments

Apart from a few exceptions, some of which tend to be considered album of the year by many people including myself, (hello Burial), dubstep music is still mostly released in vinyl-only maxi-singles and white labels, keeping the anonymous underground aura that is still attached to the scene. For the common public, this makes it harder to keep up with all the news, but from time to time comes a full-length album that does us the favor of updating everyone with some of the most interesting stuff circulating for the last few months on DJ's plates, underground clubs or pirate stations. We already had "The Roots Of Dubstep" and its take into, hum, dubstep roots, including most of its underground classic gems; the Dubstep Allstars series, released through Tempa, already in its 5th volume and constantly collecting some of the most recent scene's cuts. Now "Soundboy Punishments" comes to fulfil another hole, covering almost all the work put out by producers Shackleton and Appleblim, of Skull Disco. Not the most hyped dubstep producers, their work has nevertheless been one of the most solid and mesmerizing to date, always building geometric and mechanical doped beats and basslines and dressing them with minimal surreal elements like cavernous sounds, thunderous synthesizers, robotic percussions or, in Shackleton's case, some mid-East influences. It's also visible the influence that the german minimal technno scene has on this guys, with its hypnotic digressions and alternative takes into the common space and time vectors, culminating in an epic 18-minute track remixed by Ricardo Villalobos, as if two titanic worlds melted together and slowly danced to the end of the world. Enigmatic, futuristic and post-apocalyptic as ever, this is music that has the power to look at the darkest sides of our urban culture and with that, slowly involving our brain and touching our soul. (8/10)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

SBSR Day 3 (Home Videos # 7)

Interpol - Obstacle 1

Interpol ended up as the biggest surprise of the festival for me. Although being one of my favourite bands playing, I had always thought that their geometrically perfect songs were too dark and special to be totally efective at a big open-air festival like this. After the intensity felt during their performance, I have to say that I was obviously wrong. And what's even funnier is that they just had to be themselves for the magic to happen. Never underestimate the hypnotic powers of an Interpol song.

TV On The Radio - Let The Devil In

No one is making music like them nowadays and that also means that their trademark sound is probably too apocalyptic and loaded with small details to be fully appreciated at daylight by an open-air crowd. Their solution was to bring more physical elements to their songs, resulting in some very intense and involving moments. Still, I'm anxiously waiting to see these guys again in a more intimate venue.

The Gossip - Standing In The Way Of Control

Besides other attributes (the smallest of which certainly not being her powerful voice), Beth Ditto has a special aura and that was felt during The Gossip concert. Communicating a lot with the audience, it feels almost too easy to like her and ending up in complete connection, even when the music is really not that extraordinary. The result? Some more thousands of people falling into The Gossip cause.

(filmed on the 05-07-2007 at Parque Tejo, Lisbon)

Saturday, July 07, 2007

SBSR Day 2 (Home Videos # 6)

LCD Soundsystem - No Love Lost + New York I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down

James Murphy was the man of the festival, with his frenetic common-guy pose. If Arcade Fire speak to our emotions, LCD Soundsystem appeal is mainly physical, making it impossible to stand still. Punk, funk, disco, electro, house, everything was touched with infectious doses and highly effective results, building a state of euphoria that can only be translated with one word: "Yeah!".

(filmed on the 04-07-2007 at Parque Tejo, Lisbon)

Friday, July 06, 2007

SBSR Day 1 (Home Videos # 5)

Arcade Fire - Black Mirror + No Cars Go

Expectations were high and they definitely didn't disappoint. Their music is perfect to be played live and the intensity they put in their performances is totally contagious, making each song seem as a huge celebration and taking the whole crowd into a frenzy state of mass adulation.

Bloc Party - Waiting For The 7.18 + Banquet

Bloc Party were professional and efficient, though their second album is sounding more and more irregular to me, as if they're taking themselves too seriously, and I felt a bit of that at the concert as well.

Klaxons - Atlantis To Interzone

if you read this blog regularly, you'll already know that Klaxons are one of my favourite bands right now and their concert confirmed my suspicions. Even though suffering from sound problems that affected their performance, the enthusiasm they're feeling while doing what they're doing is palpable, as well as the sense of urgency that I love about them.

(filmed on the 03-07-2007 at Parque Tejo, Lisbon)