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Francisco López, "Sonic Fields Vlieland", "Untitled #337"

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cover image Taken together, these two recent releases from the always prolific Francisco López perfectly encapsulate not only the breadth of his work, but also the extreme duality of his approach. Sonic Fields Vlieland is a three hour, six segment piece made exclusively by treating field recordings captured on the Dutch island of Vlieland while Untitled #337 is a full-on technology-based work that utilizes software creation and the limitations of digital recording methodologies.  Both works are very different in their sound and methods of composition, but both also showcase López’s exceptional artistry.

Last Updated on Sunday, 03 March 2019 19:29 Read more...
 

Simon Scott, "Soundings"

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cover imageThis is Simon Scott's formal debut for Touch and it is such a quintessential example of the label's aesthetic that it almost feels like a homecoming.  It is similar to a homecoming in another way as well, as Scott composed these pieces from field recordings taken during Slowdive's extensive touring over the last few years, diligently editing and shaping them in hotel rooms during his idle hours.  Upon returning, he teamed up with cellist Charlie Campagna and violinist Zachary Paul to transform his impressionistic audio diaries into a lushly beautiful and bittersweet ambient travelogue of sorts.  In some ways, this side of Scott's work is less distinctive than his more dub-inflected albums, but he has a remarkably great ear for striking the perfect balance between vibrant textures and blurred, dreamlike elegance.

Last Updated on Sunday, 10 March 2019 10:14 Read more...
 

Cosey Fanni Tutti, "Tutti"

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cover imageIt would be misleading to say that Cosey Fanni Tutti has been a singularly unprolific solo artist, as her oeuvre has never been constrained to simply music, but it is noteworthy that her last original solo album (Time to Tell) was released almost four decades ago.  That album was stellar, setting quite a high bar for future releases.  Also significant: Cosey's career has undergone a well-deserved renaissance in the last couple years, culminating in the release of her acclaimed memoir Art Sex Music.  As a result, Tutti has the somewhat unenviable curse of being an album preceded by months of anticipation and high expectations.  For better or worse, Cosey has nimbly sidestepped that situation to some degree, as Tutti is more of a soundtrack than a major new artistic statement…musically, anyway.  On a conceptual level, this album is loosely intended as a career-spanning self-portrait built from reworked archival recordings.  Cosey took that "reworking" part quite seriously though, so this album often feels like a warmly hallucinatory collection of instrumental Chris & Cosey remixes despite the submerged ghosts of more abrasive and transgressive days.

Last Updated on Monday, 04 March 2019 07:42 Read more...
 

Akira Rabelais, "CXVI"

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cover imageIt took me an embarrassingly long time to realize it, but Akira Rabelais has quietly been one of the most unique and intriguing figures in experimental music for the last couple of decades, blurring the lines between collage, modern composition, ambient music, and conceptual art with each release.  This latest album has apparently been a labor of love for years, drawing contributions from an eclectic array of collaborators including Harold Budd, Ben Frost, Kassel Jaeger, Stephan Mathieu, Geir Jenssen, and a pair of French photographers.  Admittedly, a bevy of talented participants is not always an infallible recipe for a great album, but it was this time, as CXVI resembles a temporally dislocated and hallucinatory mélange of This Mortal Coil, Erik Satie, and a 19th century Parisian opium den.

Last Updated on Monday, 04 March 2019 07:48 Read more...
 

Sleaford Mods, "Eton Alive"

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cover imageThis prolific Nottingham-based duo are back with their fifth formal full-length and the first to be released on their own Extreme Eating imprint.  Unsurprisingly, Eton Alive does not tamper much with the band’s signature backdrop of spare, simple grooves and Jason Williamson has no shortage of fresh topics that displease him.  That consistency is a huge part of Sleaford Mods' charm though (along with Andrew Fearn’s eternally deadpan, head-bobbing presence, of course): sometimes the grooves are quite good and sometimes they are not, but they exist primarily as a platform for Williamson to unleash his vitriolic, heavily accented, and sometimes blackly funny stream-of-consciousness critiques of everything that rankles his sensibilities.  Given the pair's continued hyper-constrained aesthetic and one-note approach to mood and melody, Eton Alive is a characteristically hit-or-miss affair, as everything depends the inspiration or impenetrability Williamson’s wordplay and how it fits with Fearn’s minimal, repetitive beats.  That is to be expected though.  During its strongest moments like "Top It Up," Eton Alive can be quite a bracing and invigorating reminder that Sleaford Mods are a singular bastion of integrity and spirited, free-floating hostility in a world that desperately needs both.

Last Updated on Monday, 18 February 2019 07:37 Read more...
 


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