Review: Mondo's slow and steady output remains as consistent and attentive as ever as they continue to delve deep into Italy's seemingly endless library vaults. For this particularly cosmic collection they've explored documentary music that's been utilised by programs on topics as diverse as sea fauna to poaching. As you'd imagine, each cut comes with broad visual and imaginative appeal. From the dream-weaving guitar-shimmering of "Anxur" to the soft ebb and flow of "Maga Circe", close your eyes and start making your own documentaries. Stunning.
Review: Out 2 are the product of a New York-based partnership between Jeremy Campbell and R. Zanzibar, who are just the kind of cult operators that Emotional Response so dearly love. With one foot in classic Talking Heads inspired funk variations and the other in the catch-all stylistic melee of the modern age, this is highly developed party music for well-read rug cutters to bust out shapes to. Just check the gorgeous synth violin styles on "Fire" or the heavy dub beatdown of "Rubber Hour" - these cats know what they're doing. All new-no-minimal-wave lovers take note!
Review: Denmark's Agnes Obel is no ordinary folk singer-songwriter. Her music always carries something beautifully strange along with it, and this latest album, which has the strangely fitting name of Citizen Of Glass, might well be her most daring work to date. What is particularly special about this album is its production process; Obel has told the press that this extended piece of music consists of layers upon layers of different tracks, blended together to create something new, fresh and compelling. But, that's not all. The duets that you can hear throughout it aren't even human. She's brought to the foray a new technique that involves recording her own voice as a male cyborg, essentially creating the idea that she's singing along to a non-human version of herself. If you're thinking it's all hype, you're wrong; this album is a magnificently executed piece of melancholic pop music that pushes the boundaries of what has become a largely predictable genre as a whole. It's different, captivating and recommended...
Quarteto Em City - "Aleluia" (with Tamba Trio) (3:30)
Lena Platonos - "Bloody Shadows From A Distance" (3:05)
Ray Davies - "I Go To Sleep" (2:44)
Alfred Schnittke - "Piano Quintet, V" (3:21)
Agnes Obel - "Stretch Your Eyes" (Ambient acappella) (6:01)
The Bulgarian State Radio & Television Female Choir - "Pilentze Pee (Pilentze Sings)" (2:22)
Agnes Obel - "Glemmer D" (2:03)
Agnes Obel - "Bee Dance" (2:34)
Sibylle Baier - "The End" (2:29)
Michelle Gurevich - "Party Girl" (4:28)
CAN - "Oscura Primavera" (3:19)
David Lang - "I Lie" (5:08)
Nina Simone - "Images" (live In New York 1964) (2:50)
Agnes Obel - "Poem About Death" (3:05)
Review: The latest missive in the evocative and open-minded Late Night Tales series comes from Agnes Obel, a Danish singer/songwriter whose fragile, pastoral songs seemingly join the dots between traditional folk music, neo-classical and early music. Fittingly, Obel's selections, while more diverse than many may have expected - see the soulful reggae throb of Nora Dean, the creepy jazz of Yello's "Great Mission" and the whispered synth-pop shuffle of Lena Platanos - are every bit as atmospheric and ethereal as her own work. It helps that she's included several of her own compositions, alongside inspired cuts that touch on Berlin School ambient, hazy easy listening, neo-classical, psychedelia, lo-fi art rock and, of course, folk.
Review: Having spent much of the last decade fiddling around with Teutonic techno and quite clinical ambient sounds, Alex Paterson and Thomas Fehlmann have decided to go back to their roots with an album created in the same collaborative way as early classics Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld and U.F.Orb. For those raised on these early 90s gems, this is an enticing proposition (particularly since old mucker Youth features prominently throughout). There are far more vocal cuts than you might expect, but also plenty of sample-heavy workouts that effortlessly join the dots between dub, hip-hop and ambient. When all involved truly hit the mark - as on "Other Blue Worlds", a kind of sequel to "Blue Room" featuring Jah Wobble - No Sounds Out of Bounds really flies.
Review: Last year, someone set up an online petition calling for Warp to re-release The Other People Place's brilliant Lifestyles Of The Laptop Cafe album on wax. Happily, Warp has responded to the strength of feeling from electronica fans - most of whom bristled at the high online prices for second hand copies - and re-pressed it. Drexciya man James Stinson's 2001 solo set remains a timeless electronic classic; a perfectly pitched and immaculately produced fusion of downtempo electro rhythms, spacey electronics and twinkling synthesizer melodies. In fact, you'll struggle to find a better electro album full stop, making this reissue an essential purchase for anyone not lucky enough to own an original copy.
Review: Out 2 is a project from Jeremy Campbell and R. Zanzibar, who have previously worked together on albums for L.I.E.S. and Lectric Sands under different aliases. They sound right at home on Emotional Response, channeling the influence of 1980s New York dancefloor hybridization into six original tracks and their counterpart dub versions. It's an impeccable tribute to the forefathers of new / no / minimal wave with the right kind of funk rubbed in the groove and ample space in the mix for all the live dubbing the style demands. "Moving" is a surefire death disco party starter, "Dancing" hovers in a beyond the grave island boogie reverie and "Some Air's Red There" heads out into exotically enhanced territory without losing that NYC grit. It's a marvelous record, with the dub versions adding new dimensions to the music rather than simply repeating the same tricks sans vocals.