Thursday, August 16, 2007

Some late-summer music selections

El-P - I'll Sleep When You're Dead

While mainstream hip-hop is slowly agonizing in its own vanity (50 Cent vs Kanye West? WTF?), the underground is happily taking it into new extremes. El-P beats are so hallucinating that, at first listen, it's impossible to discern all elements, taking quite a few auditions to understand everything. If you want something as kaleidoscopic as it's humanly possible, look no further. (8/10)

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Prodigy - Return Of The Mac

Not to be confused with dance group The Prodigy, this Mobb Deep MC is another good example on how the underground is saving hip-hop. Vintage soul and jazz samples and luxuriant orchestrations in a possible take between the smooth daisy-age of the early days and the harder sounds of gangsta-rap. (7,5/10)

Myspace page

Wiley - Playtime is Over

Grime's most veteran producer releases what is supposed to be his last effort before leaving the spotlight, as usual full of crazy rhythms and furious rhymes. He will be missed. (7/10)

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A-Trak - Dirty South Dance (mixtape)

Kanye West favourite DJ (he was the man behind the plates during the "Touch The Sky" tour), releases his own mixtape where, from Justin Timberlake to Klaxons, Giorgio Moroder to The Clipse, Gwen Stefani dueting with LCD Soundsystem or hip-hop marrying with new-rave, everything is sliced, cut, mixed and juxtaposed to form the ultimate block-party soundtrack for this summer (8/10)

Myspace page

Simian Mobile Disco - Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release

James Ford, aka new-rave guru and super producer of the latest albums by Klaxons and Arctic Monkeys, finally releases his first record as Simian Mobile Disco, together with James Shaw. Aimed specifically to the dancefloor, it largely succeeds in achieving its main goal, with a very physical sound that uses all the maximalism / new-rave tricks without a hint of shame, creating muscular electronic hooks of potentially-dangerous impact (7,5/10).

Myspace page

Efdemin - Efdemin

Minimal techno and house from Berlin, full of spare dreamy sounds, blurry progressions and fuzzy melodic shadows, ending up with something so subtle and vaporous to the point of blending perfectly with the air around. Hypnotic. (7/10)

Myspace page

Makossa + Megablast - Kunuaka

Reminding us why Vienna was so cool during the late 1990's, Makossa + Megablast update the trademark Kruder & Dorfmeister narcotic sound to the new millennium, incorporating an african flavour that maximizes its ferocious dancefloor groove. (7/10)

Myspace page

Margaret Berger - Pretty Scary Silver Fairy

Apparently, "Pop Idol" is not as trashy as I thought it would be, at least not its Norway version. The legend goes that Margaret Berger didn't win anything, but she is now the last one to laugh. Her second album is pure and perfect synth-pop with immaculate melodies, crystalline and adventurous production (The Knife meets Britney Spears anyone?) and an indolent charisma. A star is born? (7,5/10)

Myspace page

Owusu & Hannibal - Living With Owusu & Hannibal

Three years ago, things like this were everywhere, with Spacek, Some Water And Sun, Dwight Trible, Sa-Ra... The momentum may now have gone somewhere else, but there are still people out there searching for a new paradigm to the future of soul music. And right now, no one seems to be closer to that goal than this Copenhagen project. (7/10)

Myspace page

Black Moth Super Rainbow - Dandelion Gum

This is what should have happened after Air released their "10.000 Hz Legend" album, if they hadn't become afraid of further exploring those psychedelic influences and were also brave enough to actually turn that fucking vocoder into an instrument of its own. "Dandelion Gum" is actually a good title for mutant folk-pop that seems made by someone slightly paranoid (in a good way, of course). (7/10)

Myspace page

Dan Deacon - Spiderman Of The Rings

Speaking of disturbed minds, this one is a strong candidate to the title of "most hallucinating record of the year". From Wooody Wooodpecker laugh samples to the weirdest sound experiments available, this album full of avant-garde songs has an extra-bonus in the form of an unexpected sense of fun and humour, not taking itself too seriously. (7/10)

Myspace page

Ghost - In Stormy Nights

An enigmatic album by a japanese project that sounds not far from a fusion between folk, drone-metal, free-jazz and prog, this is as challenging as it seems. Definitely not easy-listenning but somehow intriguing, hitting all the right pleasure centers to keep us focused. (7,5/10)


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