Sunday, January 25, 2009
The second of a trilogy dedicated to mankind's relationship with technology, "Fordlandia" is a delicate piece of modern classical music featuring aching lovely sounds. The fact that its composer comes from Iceland, makes the comparisons with this country's beautiful landscapes almost inevitable: there's a feeling of something grandiose, icy and ethereal that brings to mind those inspiring Icelandic images we've grown used to admire. The title track, with its almost 14 minutes of sublime intensity, sets the tone: it's built around a gorgeous and melancholic melody of strings slowly rising over a discreet layer of electronic sounds, ending up in a powerful tone of breathless proportions. It's like a soundtrack to a touching non-existing movie and it's amazing. The rest of the album applies those same techniques, with a collection of small symphonies of strings, choral elements and soft electronics that exhale various emotional depths. And even if it never quite reaches again the highs of those first 14 minutes, it still has a lot to tell, besides the many detailed concepts behind each song, expressed in its titles and liner notes. Mostly, there's also an hypnotic story of a simple yet majestic dream, put into sounds with an impressive restraint that makes its quiet moments breathe a peaceful serenity, while its peaks go even more up there. (7/10)
Jóhann Jóhannsson - Melodia (Guidelines for a Space Propulsion Device based on Heim´s Quantum Theory) (video)
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
The reception to this record (absurd amounts of expectation followed by hysterical reactions of love and appraisal everywhere since its leak) can very well be translated by "In The Flowers", the first song included in "Merriweather Post Pavilion": mysterious and hypnotic arpeggios build an atmosphere of obsessive anticipation to something huge that is about to happen, with Avey Tare incessantly singing words like "the dancer who gets wild to the deep revelling rhythm" or "if I could just leave my body for a night"; and then, when we can't hold the expectation any longer, everything finally erupts and multiplies into an immense catharsis of sounds and rhythms that really, for lack of better words, is fucking excellent. As a side note, I have to confess that, for a few moments and before hearing it, I almost wanted to not like this album, seeing such an enormous and almost annoying consensus over it, and also because I was kinda disappointed with their previous "Strawberry Jam". But hey, believe the hype, this record is really that and that good. The thing is, after that first song / cathartic explosion, they manage to maintain (or even surpass!) the feeling of euphoric blissfulness induced, using everything they can lay their hands on (and some more) to build larger than life songs that, more than causing goosebumps, actually manage to open your brain and aim directly to your whole body. Using a multitude of layers that include infinite sounds, voices, melodies, rhythms, samples, all recorded very loud but with crystal clear detail, this is the most sincere soundtrack to a party where 3 guys are having the time of their lives playing with sequencers, samplers, vocal harmonies and everything else they have nearby. So much so that, more than a dozen listens on, and I'm still discovering a whole new world of details in each of these incredibly amazing 11 songs. So yeah, guess I'm one more joining the club: this is radiant happiness at its best. (9/10)
UPDATE: here is the official video for "My Girls", which btw may very well become THE SONG of 2009.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Ten years emulating the eighties and the consequence could only be one: history following its natural course and the first signs of a nineties revival starting to show up. Zomby is a London producer usually associated with the dubstep movement, but with "Where Were U In '92?", he shifts his attention into actually answering that question in the title. So what happened in 1992? Acid and rave cultures were at its high and very close to eat itself into decline, while jungle was just around the corner to be the next big thing. And 15 years later, here's the natural follow-up to those exciting times, full of harcore breakbeats, pitched pianos and female vocals, dense jungle rhythms, sirens and rave riffs, making up an explosive cocktail that doesn't limit itself to be a piece of nostalgia. For every element that takes us back in time in this album, there's always a new perspective to support it, complete with an absurd amount of fresh energy that only wants to live the present at its fullest. (9/10)
Zomby - Fuck Mixing, Let's Dance (mp3 via Neonized)
Saturday, January 17, 2009
"For the price of a human heart it's really not that bad"
Our London boy Ben Garrett (a.k.a. frYars) is never able to disappoint us, and his latest track comes to once again prove this theory right. "Visitors" is a an electro delight with some irresistible dark twisted vibes and featuring the voice of Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode (apparently he was in a nearby studio when the song was being remastered, liked it a lot and insisted on participating). I've been following Ben's work since his second demo "The Ides" of late 2007 and nothing convinces me that this guy is not blessed with a special talent and an unique voice to match. Thankfully, things are really happenning for him now: his first album "Dark Young Hearts" is finally scheduled to go out in March this year and it will be one of the the first releases published through the revolutionary Bandstocks model, where you can basically own part of the records you like, investing as little as 10 pounds in it, which will get you a share of its revenues among other exclusive stuff. Not bad, huh? And judging from his work so far: Can't. Fucking. Wait. to get my hands on it.
Official site / Blog