Archive for December, 2008

M83 – Saturday = Youth

Posted in Review on December 30, 2008 by joeki2000

We’re on the brink of new year and I have already discovered an album that elusively evaded my year list of 2008. Though not the masterpiece that M83 is capable of making, this clearly deserves notice. So I’ll make up for not adding it to the list by writing a little review about the new album splendidly titled “Saturday=Youth”.

For the record, M83 is actually French musician Anthony Gonzales.  His debut (Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts, 2003) left me impressed. This mainly electronic take at shoegazer was impressive. Walls of sound where created but instead of using electronics as a an aid, it became the main source. I expected M83 to release a masterpiece in the years to come but so far that hasn’t happened. M83 dugg back a decade too far and ended up in the 80’ies instead of the 90’ies…

Saturday=Youth opens up with a piano  and synths making a beautiful melody but when Gonzales vocals join on You Appearing it becomes a little awkward. Falsetto is clearly not his style which makes for a weak spot in an otherwise  touching and attention grabbing opening track.
Next up is Kim & Jessie , one of the singles. This is a dissapointing track on the album.  It’s one thing to give your music an 80’ies feel by using synths from that era, but this is just over the top. The vocals have improved but that’s the only good thing I can say about it.
Fortunately this track is followed up by Skin of the Night.  The synths haven’t left the 80’ies yet but I can clearly hear some Slowdive influences in this one. The female vocals are not the tracks most charming factor (Gonzales though is on queu). But the melody is quite attractive.
Graveyard Girl confirms a return to the 90’ies.  But its not a highlight song. In the vein of My Bloody Valentine and the likes. But not really that memorable.
And now it strikes me.
M83’s sound is nothing like on the eponymous debut. Where are the walls of guitar/synth noise? This is really bitter sweet and mellow. The debut had those aspects too but at least wrapped them in walls of processed guitar sound. So far the album is seriously lacking in that department. What’s more, Gonzales has clearly opted not to do that sort of thing on this album. I’ll let him proceed and decide to check out the rest  despite my disappointment.
And the second single Couleurs gets my hopes up. This really resembles the debut album. Noisy and melancholic and almost purely electronic again. (reminded me of Slowdive’s Missing You, one of the best songs made in the 90ies). This track holds the album together.
That being said , let’s not speak about the next track Up , by far the worst track M83 has ever made. Rubbish.
We own the Sky
washes away most of the bad taste left by the previous track. Classic M83 beats with vocals that really resemble Bloc Party. In fact if I close my eyes, it could be the same guy. Anyway it works and thats the most important thing at this point. Because highlights have been scarce.
Highway of Endless Dreams has potential. But it never really bursts open. This could have been an epic track but in the end is just not hard enough. It’s got the melody, the build-up  but fails to the deliver because the noise remains restrained by a useless vocal contribution in the last part of the song. This could have been the “Noise” of “Saturday=Youth”
Too Late is again a pretty song. But where is the loudness? Too mellow. Dark Moves of Love follows this pattern but at least attempts to become a bit more noisy in the second half, something I applauded. The vocal arrangement here is also a bit more fitting.
Midnight Souls Still Remain closes of the album on a high. Fortunately I’m a big ambient fan so 10 minute + repetitive tracks sit rather well with me. But I can imagine that an average M83 fan might not be able to sit through the closing track.

And I think in the end the same can be said for the entire album. It is a beauty yes, but with their debut M83 had raised certain expectations. I too had hoped they would bring thé electronic shoegazer revival album. They didn’t.  They chose melody and bitter sweetness (wrapped in an overtly 80’ies package)  over layers & noise. And I’m afraid many fans of the first hour won’t buy that either. On the other hand :  I can see them gain a few more listeners with this more accessible album. A surprising effort, a good effort. But I think M83 can do a lot more…


Grit – Expanse

Posted in Review on December 28, 2008 by joeki2000

South London isn’t just famous for its dubstep scene anymore.
A late December release sees Grit bring a new dub/techno record to the table. Grit contributed 2 tracks to excellent  compilations earlier on the year (VA – Depth Perceptions Vol. I / VA – Cismarine ).  With this full length comprised out of 7 tracks, Grit may have established himself as the biggest name in dub techno right now.

The release gets off to a rather slow start.  Both Endless Waves and Mind Mapping are more ambient than techno. This is as minimal as it gets. But they do work as mood setters and the melodies explored are quite soothing.
Track 3, beautifully titled Marianas Trench, kicks off the techno side of things.  Mid tempo beats (with deep sub bass) are placed over ambient soundscapes producing a dreamy & hypnotizing atmosphere. Grit has clearly mastered this to perfection. Adding and removing ambient layers prevents the song from becoming overly repetetive (although that is a trademark of the genre…).
Expanse basicly follows the same pattern but the mood is darker. This is the sound Grit showcased on the previously mentioned compilation albums.
The Furthest Outpost sees a return to a more ambient style of music. But this is actually my favorite piece. Without any beats it manages to be the most moody and heavy track on the album. Almost like a lightbulb glowing at supernova proportions. This track had me completely in trance.
Neon Auro brings back the beats. It’s the slowest track on the release but the jazzy synths make for some nice variation (Decoside comes to mind listening to this track) . There’s a lovely drop in the middle of the track as well.
The View From Triëste provides me with the second highlight. This is dub techno at its best. Very moody with minimal elements. Perfect choice of synths, samples & beats and it makes you want to hit the replay button.

Grit has set a standard with this album for me. In a genre that is pretty minimal, it is hard to bring variation and innovation. But Expanse is atleast an attempt at that. And there is still enough content on here to please any person  just looking for a good old moody piece of minimal music.

Grit – Myspace

Avalanchers Xmas Album 2008

Posted in General News on December 25, 2008 by joeki2000

We at the Avalanchers Massive have contributed our little piece to this thing called Xmas.
And we only know one way to do so : By making music.
All music is contributed by members of the Avalanchers Board. Some tunes are more serious than others but it’s surely worth the listen if you are into metal/ambient or just plain craziness.
Here is the tracklist :

01: Beta Claud – My Favorite Things  (ambient)
02: Quartersized – Amen to Xmas (dubby electronics)
03: Concrete/field – Reindeer Blood Sprayed Across The Pristine… (ambient)
04: Iroha – Let There Be Light (metal/shoegaze)
05: SHJK – Annual Turkey Massacre Celebrations (weirdness…)
06: Savier – The Mass of Christ (Silent Night) (industrial)
07:  Zoe Bones – Zombie & Alien (Remix) (weirdness…)
08: Oliver Piccolruaz – Hobo Santa (dubby electronics)
09: Mor Ve Otesi – Parti (Flatliners Killa Mix) (drum&bass)
10: Shirk – Merry Christmas (ambient/downtempo)
11: Crud – Mistletoe & Wine (noise)
12: 2Frail – Christmas is Over (If You Want It) (metal?)

So you get a very varied (and free!) package of music and this will surely become a collectors item in the years to come.  I’m sorry to say I didn’t contribute (I had a drone song ready but was too late.)
Thanks to all my brothers & sisters for contributing to this piece of art (although some contributions are more serious than other ^^ )  Here is the DOWNLOAD LINK for this supper free album. (eip file, 60mb)

Personal favorites include ambient opener My Favorite Things by Betacloud. Iroha (best band to arise in 2008) also  contribute a short but lovely piece in Let there Be Light. Quartersizeds beats are also quite enjoyable and parts of Hobo Santa are quite good too. Piece the resistance is Savier’s industrial piece.
So those are a few reasons to show your support and download this. Enjoy.

Dälek – Gutter Tactics

Posted in Review on December 23, 2008 by joeki2000

I know it’s still officially 2008, but the first bomb of 2009 has already hit. That’s right, I received the new Dälek album promo.  And it is just brutal. A little review.

Dälek are genre crossing outfit. They combine a solid hiphop foundation with industrial beats, noise and even metal. 2007’s Abandoned Language saw Dälek at its most accessible yet. It was a masterpiece in many ways but certainly not their darkest work albeit gloomy at times. I for one am glad Dälek switched styles again (as they clearly do for each full length). No sir, Dälek doesn’t rest on a successful formula.

Brutal is indeed the word for Gutter Tactics.
The intro is a ruthless tirade ripping on the U.S. of A. The phrase “America’s chickens are coming home to roost” will give you a good idea of what the intro is about.
The second track (No Question) sees Dälek innovating.  The first thing we hear is a familiar guitar ripping but then noise kicks in and Dälek is MC’ing on what is probably their fastest paced track yet. Vocals and melody deep in the mix, noise up front, vicious rhythms. Dälek has just become danceable. Love it.

The next 2 cuts (Armed With Krylon / Who Medgar Evers Was…) are noisy monsters. Again vocals & beats deep in the mix surrounded by walls of noise. This is Dälek at its darkest and being so without relying on the bass  too much (like on  Absence, 2004).  Don’t get me wrong though, the bass will still kick you in the nuts but I found myself more lost in the noise rather than pummeled by the beats.

The next track (Street Diction) leans more towards Abandoned Language.  More melodic elements are added and there’s mid paced MC’ing. Yet there are also certain elements from Absence noticeable on this cut,  like the hypnotic effect caused by the repetitiveness and also the samples/synths used.
The next two cuts (A Collection of Miserable thoughts laced with with / Los Macheteros/Spear Of  A Nation) are more “experimental”. Minimal beats & melody take the forefront with the vocals way back in the mix again. Especially the former  is very spaced out & jazzy. The latter is ruthlessly industrial. Reminded me of Godflesh or Techno Animal. Both of which I’m a big fan.

The next track (We Lost Sight) is another one of my highlights. It’s a pretty accessible track compared to the rest of the album because  it’s both deafening and quite  harmonic. Combined with the synths and whispered vocals it has a rather meditational effect.
Title track Gutter Tactics sort of keeps the middle ground on the album. It’s got a bit of all the present and past elements. The MC’ing is again top notch here. Some nice turntabelism as well.  This is a track that probably everyone will enjoy but on the other hand doesn’t really stand out.

Dälek has saved the best for last on this record. 2012 (The Pillage) is the most melodic track on here and will certainly please any fan of Abandoned Language or Deadverse Massive. The final track sees Dälek take on shoegazer to its most successful extent.  Walls of guitar and melancholy and vicious hiphop beats. Beautiful.

Dälek has been innovative on all of their releases. Not one sounds the same and honestly they haven’t made a disappointing album after 1998’s Negro, Necro, Necros. Ever since then each and everything they have done is right up there. Gutter Tactics is no exception. If you are introduced to Dälek through this album, you might not be sold immediately. I think this will take some time to grow on the average fan.  But anyone who has followed Dälek for the past 5 years will be blown away by this album. Another successful style change without  giving up anything what Dälek was before.  This is underground music for the masses…
I can not wait to see/hear this in a live setting. I think I might not survive.
Däleks Myspace

PS: Dälek will be in Belgium @ the Sonic City Music Fest in De Kreun in Kortrijk. More details about this later.

20-12 Dubstep session

Posted in General News on December 21, 2008 by joeki2000

I recorded a dubstep session on Friday/Saturday 19/20th of December.
A set just under an hour software mixed & recorded.  I had already uploaded the first half to Electrobel but it got blocked because of copyright issues so I’m looking for alternatives (there are plenty but it should be straightforward…). Probably available  from the blog sooner or later…

.Part I
Kid Cudi – Day ‘n’ Night [The Widdler rmx]     Link
Susheela Raman – Love lies [Hit By A Rock rmx] Link
Burial – U Hurt Me Link
Mike Lennon – Brass Eye [Reso rmx]  Link
Martyn – Suburbia Link
Plastician – Walk in the Carpark (no link available)
Innerlign & Tyrant – 1754 Link
Darkstar – Lilyliver Link
Darkstar – Need You Link

Part II

Babylon System – Hyphy feat. Candy Vox (no link available)
Babylon System – Our Moment (no link available)
Babylon System & Noah D – Take That Link
Rusco – Jahova Link
Sukh Knight – Born Invincible Link
Rusco – Cockney Thug Link
Stenchman – Distress Signal Link
Vista – Exit Wound Link
Wolf man – The Kraken [Outro] Link

I devided it in to 2 halves mainly because of the file size but also because of the style change. The first half of the session is pretty moody, whilst the second half is dancefloor madness.
Links to youtube are from the individual tracks, not mixed. Be aware youTube quality is shit.
Get this stuff legally through digital download or vinyl purchase  :p .