Thursday, August 28, 2008

Faust vs. Dalek: Derbe Respect, Alder

Year: 2004
Label: Staubgold
Genre: Dark Industrial Krautrap
TRT: 52:58

This is an extremely odd release. Two heavyweights of their respective forte join forces to create this mystery dish of an album. One part avant-garde krautrock, one part underground politically explicit rap, it's the sort of thing that makes you sit back and scratch your head. The strangest part about it though, is that it actually works. Not all the time, maybe not always for an entire track, but over-all this record will have you hooked, and you'll want to listen again in case you missed something.

If nothing else, there's little-to-nothing else out there like this, and that's worth at least a few listens.

01 Imagine What We Started
02 Hungry for Now
03 Remnants
04 Dead Lies
05 Erratic Thoughts
06 Bullets Need Violence
07 Collected Twighlight
08 T-electronique
09 Bonus Track

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Vashti Bunyan (5/5)

Year: 2005
Label: Fat Cat
Genre: Atmospheric Folk
TRT: 35:31

I'm not going to go in to the entire back story leading to the release of this album, you can look that up on your own. I'll just say that Mrs. Bunyan released an album in 1970 to mediocre success, and retired to the English country side to raise her family. Then after a fantastic chain of events she released this album in 2005 to much acclaim. Though keeping the same aesthetic as Just Another Diamond Day, she brings much more life experience to the table this time around. She has crafted a timeless classic full of warmth and soothing beauty with touches of nostalgia seasoned with sage.

01 Lately
02 Here Before
03 Wayward
04 Hidden
05 Against the Sky
06 Turning Back
07 If I Were
08 Same but Different
09 Brother
10 Feet of Clay
11 Wayward Hum

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Extol: Undeceived (5/5)

Year: 2000
Label: Solid State
Genre: Progressive Death Metal
TRT: 57:14

This band single handedly opened my eyes to the world of aggressive music. I heard their debut album first, but this is the one that absolutely blew my fifteen-year-old mind. A perfect amalgamation of brutality and beauty forged together into one nearly flawless work of art. A must hear.

01 Inferno
02 Undeceived
03 Time Stands Still
04 Ember
05 Meadows of Silence
06 Shelter
07 A Structure of Souls
08 Of Light and Shade
09 Where Sleep is Rest
10 Renewal
11 Abandoned
12 And I Watch

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Embodyment: The Narrow Scope of Things (4.5/5)

Year: 2000
Label: Solid State
Genre: Melodic Hardcore
TRT: 52:03

I read a review of this album a year after it came out when I was really getting in to heavier music, and I tried to track it down for awhile to no avail. Then I received it as a birthday present to much excitement. At the time, I really loved the "hardcore" tracks, and did not care for the "melodic" tracks. But looking back on it and listening to the album now, I really do like every aspect of the album. Everything is very well crafted and put together. Even though it's nearly split in half between the two distinct sounds, they pull off both with remarkable ease.

Now when I first heard this album, I was unaware that just a few years earlier they had released a brutal death metal album, and that this was a drastic change for them. Similarly, the next year they completely dropped the hardcore element and went to straight up alternative rock. I've never been too much a fan of either ends of their spectrum, but this disc still holds it's own in my library.

01 Winter Kiss
02 Pendulum
03 One Less Addiction
04 Greedy Hands
05 Confessions
06 Assembly Line Humans
07 Prelude
08 Killing the Me in Me
09 Critical Error
10 Ballad
11 One Less Addiction (Acoustic)
12 The Aftermath of Closure

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Aphex Twin: Selected Ambient Works Volume II (4.5/5)

Year: 1994
Label: Warp
Genre: Ambient Soundscapes
TRT: Disc I: 74:42 Disc II: 76:58

The first disc of this set was a very influential album for me. For weeks I listened to it every night as I drifted off to sleep, and had it on repeat so I woke up to it as well. Though it was perfect for this implementation, I saw little use for it otherwise. But eventually, it seeped int my head and settled in the cracks of my brain, and one morning when I woke up to Radiator and realized the genius behind it. While "ambient" music is exactly that, good ambient music is very intention and planned, with textures and layers and atmosphere designed to engage and entrance when paid attention to, but to slip to the background otherwise. As Brian Eno said in 1978, "Ambient Music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting".

Disc II never impacted me in the same way as disc I, mostly because i didn't aquire it at the same time, and haven't listened to it nearly as much. But it's still a quality album in it's own right.

Disc I
01 Cliffs
02 Radiator
03 Rhubarb
04 Grass
05 Mould
06 Curtains
07 Blur
08 Weathered Stone
09 Tree
10 Domino
11 White Blur

Disc II
01 Blue Calx
02 Parallel Stripes
03 Metal Grating
04 Windowsill
05 B+W Stripes
06 Siding Nails
07 Corrugated Tubing
08 Lichen
09 Leaves
10 Tassels
11 Rusty Metal
12 B+W Stripes II

download disc i
download disc ii

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