Thursday, August 6, 2015

What's New?: 8.6.2015

Another grab bag!

kandodo — k2o (2013) Spotify

kandodo is the one-man drone project of one Simon Price.  Though far more psychedelic and lo-fi than most drone outfits, Price's idea of drone seems a bit more theatrical than your standard fare and his subtitling of 'swim into the sun' "a film for the ear" makes total sense.  'kandy rock mountain' overcomes an unnecessary blaring intro to be the album's rightful centerpiece.  This vinyl pressing came with a limited run bonus 7" of two extra songs that only enhance the experience.  And I do mean, "experience" man.  Because, yeah, heady stuff.  Key tracks: 'kandy rock mountain' and 'grace and'

Jessamine — self-titled (1995) YouTube  Spotify

Hard to see in the above scan, but it's there.   Decidedly gnarly noise rock with softy guy/girl vocals.  It really goes for the pretty/noisy dynamic, but's way too lo-fi to be shoegazey.  You just know that the songs are going to explode into shambling distortion and feedback at some point.  Totally "90's bro" in that respect.  Also, a bit predictable (but haha at me, as the album's highlight is a nine minute near drone that eschews all that called 'One Trick Pony' — you got me, guys).  Fancy original clear vinyl pressing on the great kranky label, it unfortunately excludes some tracks that were on the CD due to length issues.  Key tracks: 'One Trick Pony' and the closer 'Lisboa' which sounds like a lo-fi Stereolab, if you can believe that.

Fontanelle — self-titled (2000) Spotify

Would you believe that some of the same noisenicks from Jessamine would go on to form the polished jazz fusion group Fontanelle?  Funky drumming and mostly keyboards riffing on themes.  All the tunes here —hell, all of Fontanelle's tunes not on Vitamin F— are basically vamps.  This one has guitars on it, too.  So, it sticks out a little because of that.  Otherwise, these early Fontanelle albums are basically interchangeable.  The liberal use of wah wah on the closer 'Counterweight' proves they were Miles disciples from the get go.  Key tracks: the funky funky 'Reflex vs. Parallax' and the floaty '29th and Going'

Fontanelle — Style Drift (2002) Spotify

Probably the band's most polished effort as the guitars are all gone and it's all keyboards and drums.  There's still a much looser feel to the band than where they would go in a decade's time.  And while the ten minute title track does it's darndest to be the album's big centerpiece, it's actually the shorter pieces like the eerie 'James Going' and 'Red Light, Green Light' that steal the show, just based on tunefulness.  Key tracks: 'Just Go Crazy', 'James Going' and 'Red Light, Green Light'

Fontanelle — F (2001)

Not to be confused with their later opus, Vitamin F (2012), this 2001 album again has no horns.  Lots of squelchy, bleepy, bloopy electronic keyboardy sounds though.  Still some guitars in the mix, as well, and getting kind mathy on 'Floor Tile.'  Opener 'Fulcrum' is a fun, multi-movement thingy, while 'Charm and Strange' ventures back into wah wah land.  Key tracks: 'Fulcrum' and the genuinely resonating 'Slow January'

Various artists — Hotflush Presents. . . Space and Time (mid-2000's) Spotify

Hotflush in the pre-Mount Kimbie days was as hot a dubstep label as they got in London.  WUBWUBWUBWUB and how do you do from Jazzsteppa, right off the bat?  Boxcutter's 'Philly' is more of a funky house take on the style and it totally owns.  I think I dig the more boundary pushing stuff like Scuba's totally 80's-sounding 'Inmost' and Boxcutter's reflective, Burial-ish 'Infraviolet' more than your average 'choon, but conventional stuff like Slaughter Mob's 'No Big Deal' still goes down just as smooth.  Love the introspective tone that about half of the tunes here take on.  Great stuff.  Key tracks: Vaccine's dreamy 'Wishful Thinking VIP', 'Inmost', 'Infraviolet' and 'Philly'

Pink Floyd — The Wall (1979) YouTube  Spotify

Blasphemer that I am, I can't give this one a fiver.  It's too up its own butt, but you knew that already.  As an autobiographic piece of work about Roger Waters' youth, it can be quite affecting.  Instead of going for sidelong epics the way they did the previous two albums, this album is a more song-oriented affair, but this becomes a problem on disc two, with too many forgettable tunes being placed behind the narrative.  It's only on familiar ground like the deep, spacey 'Comfortably Numb' that things get realigned and substance matches execution.  Is it good?  Yeah, but not without its obvious flaws.  Not sure what else to say about this that hasn't already been said.  David Gilmour's delayed out guitar is fun when he utilizes the effect, recalling John Martyn's spaced out explorations.  Key tracks: 'Another Brick in the Wall' trilogy, 'Comfortably Numb/The Show Must Go On' and 'Hey You'

Peter Gabriel — So (1986) YouTube

'Sledgehammer'!  'In Your Eyes'!  'Big Time'!   Holy hell, this album is loaded with hits.  Big hits, at that.  It's got that nostalgic (for me) production value that I remember from my childhood radio listening: big, gated drums, layers of synth and gratuitous bass sounds — totally 80's, man.  And hey, lookah there, Kate's on it!  I love the melodrama, the cheesiness.  But, is it really cheesy?  I mean, it's dated, but there is a sense of Peter delivering most of it with a sly wink, as if he knows some of it is a bit over the top.  And side two of the album dives right back into the artsiness of Peter's earlier works, so he knew exactly what he was doing.  And when 'In Your Eyes' closes out the entire thing, it feels entirely sincere.  Probably my favorite Peter Gabriel album.  Key tracks: any of the singles


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