Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New Blog!!!!!

so in lieu of restarting this blog, I created a new one to get a fresh start. Its not gonna be all album dl's but so far thats all ive got. Expect press releases, videos, singles/ep dl's articles etc. check it:

Third-Hand Choonz and Such

Monday, December 22, 2008

Updates Coming

Sorry about the lack of posts lately. I'll be getting my shit together in the next week or two and updates should be somewhat regular again. Please email me or leave a comment if any of my links are dead, I'm sure some of them are.

Until I get on top of things again check out my friends blogs:

The Business of Words

Ironic Contrarian

Monday, November 10, 2008

Dert Floyd - Westside of the Moon (2008)

Dert is one of the freshest producers in LA and he works his magic yet again with a free beat tape release featuring 34 exclusive tracks showcasing samples from the Pink Floyd discography titled Dert Floyd - Westside of the Moon. (Evade the Noise)


Friday, October 24, 2008

Four Tet - Rounds (2003) [Domino Records]

Free jazz drummer Milford Graves has a nice trick that he performs at his shows: He brings someone in the audience up on stage and asks them to feel for his heart rate. It starts out steady, but as the person holds both wrists, it slows, and Graves begins to diverge his bloodstream on either side of his body, finally achieving an internal polyrhythmic pulse between the two points. Then he jumps behind his kit and clatters away in ecstasy.

Four Tet's lone member, Kieran Hebden, is fascinated with the impossible rhythms that the free-form jazz greats could bang out as they pleased. Whether or not he's taking a page out of Milford Graves' book is debatable, but he opens "Hands" with a cardiac sample fibrillating into a multi-limbed percussive rattle of densely edited and seemingly random drum hit samples that just starts to stroke Barry Altschul's beard before locking down into a hip-hop groove. He fades the cymbals' sizzles into the pseudo-Clyde Stubblefield sticks of "She Moves She", a cycling song evenly spaced with wheeling rimshots, scattered gongs, and funky string plucks that veer around the car horns that bleat past.

"My Angel Rocks Back and Forth" gently blows iron-lung sighs through ride cymbals and dirty, run-out grooves while an austere piano twinkles, hinting at the sort of gentle sounds Hebden will soon weave around English folk legend Vashti Bunyan. Verging on the lugubrious is the nine-minute "Unspoken" (whose piano riff is lifted from, of all sources, Tori Amos' "Winter"), but Hebden's touch keeps it from morass. Here, he controls his ingredients-- fictitious soundbytes of early Gato Barbieri sax, a plaintive finger or two from McCoy Tyner, broken chimes, backwards feedback, and a DJ Shadow kickdrum-- keeping them at a contemplative simmer, rather than allowing them to come to a full boil.

"Chia" is a tabla-bubbling conduit to the mod bass and shimmying sitar of "As Serious as Your Life", namechecking the crucial free-jazz text by Val Wilmer, yet standing much closer to Miles Davis' On the Corner, with those odd-metered handclaps and that stuttering punch of a Jack DeJohnette hi-hat. With metallophone ripples at a wake, "And They All Look Broken Hearted" is an abstract and solemn affair, recalling the oddly melodic cadence of a player like Bobby Hutcherson, and with spliced drum solos swirling around some affected harpsichord and vibraphones like club smoke, Hebden captures the cool sadness of old Blue Note posters. It sounds like a shoo-in for the album's closing track, but it instead leads up to "Slow Jam", which has that long goodbye of the best melancholy closers, a circle game of echoing footsteps, fitful static, gleeful kazoos, lulling guitar repetitions, and shadows surely sinking in, revolving all disparate sounds to resolution.

Freely moving in and out of cycles, able to coalesce or evanesce in a heartbeat, straight up and down, or else banging about like a toddler on the pot shelf, Rounds funnels every element through the drum, which always remains at the forefront of the mix. But what gives this record its internal order, and allows it to stand out against previous laptop explorations of immense record collections, is the other genres Hebden dabbles in and draws upon to flesh out the beat. Though hardly obvious the first time through, there's the supple, propulsive fun of funk, as well as the pastoral placidity of folk, both moving over the cut-up rhythms like cumulous clouds, allowing hot light through at some junctures, but cooling things out with a darker umbrage in others. Rounds may not be "as serious as your life," as one track proclaims, but it does feel that pulse. (Pitchfork Media)


Monday, October 20, 2008

Tobacco - Fucked Up Friends (2008) [Anticon]

On his first solo album, Tobacco explores a darker, starker, and altogether more badass dimension of his complex vision. With his group, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Tobacco distinguishes himself as a master of jagged beats, glowing melodies, and pronounced tension. This time, he works alone, in rural Pennsylvania, away from conventions and interference.

As always, Tobacco recorded Fucked Up Friends using analog synths and tape machines, which gives his work a timeless distance from digital pop music at large. His tracks evoke sonar, mellotrons, and deteriorating cassette tapes; his windshield-rattling beats thump hard against their technological limitations; his hooks emerge from thick ponds of distortion, which heightens their hypnotic power. Fucked Up Friends is equally cosmopolitan and self-contained, the soundtrack for an imaginary underwater cop show, a welcome stranger anywhere in time and space. (PR)


Lone - Lemurian (2008) [Dealmaker]

lone (Matt Cutler) has something that I think is very healthy for an artist to have in this age of myspace music and the vast array of underground labels, and that's a strong identity - I could spot a Lone track by hearing one or two bars, he has a personality in his music that is vivid.

I reckon that Lemurian could provoke synaesthetic reactions in those who don't already have the condition, that is, its character seems to extend beyond the sonic domain into some other sensual domain.

I think that if Lemurian was a colour, it'd be aquamarine. If it had a smell, it'd be seaweed on the breeze. If it had a taste, it'd be saltwater. If it had a texture, it'd be scratchy coral. 'Sea Spray' is about as fitting a title as you could get for a Lemurian track.

As well as filling your ears with faded loungey chords, bursts of weathered VHS strings and Hawaiian musical postcards, Lemurian is caked with the thickest punchiest soulfully - shuffled hip hop beats that would satisfy anyone who simply has to nod their head to enjoy themselves.

This is also daydream music, you can't listen to it without going off somewhere. Personally, I slip into the daydream of being sucked into the 80s arcade game 'Outrun' and tearing around a looped pixellated parallel to Miami or some other palm-tree-avenued sea front, with Lemurian pumping out of the car stereo of course. (Bibio of Mush Records)


(sorry for using a foreign download link, it may look sketchy but the link at the bottom is legit)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Jaga Jazzist - A Livingroom Hush (2001) [Ninja Tune]

If you need any further proof that Europe (and particularly Norway) is the place where all the interesting stuff is happening, look no further than this record. A Livingroom Hush is the debut from Norwegian collective Jaga Jazzist, now given a wider release by Ninja Tune.

The album's already picked up critical praise (even from the NME!) with one memorable quote describing it as 'Charlie Mingus with Aphex Twin up his arse'. Though this is an interesting (if unsavoury) notion, the album is far from the kind of confrontational experience it suggests. Jaga Jazzist bolt together elements of electronica, formal jazz writing and the wide open spaces of dub and post rock into a lush, listenable stew that's very much their own.

Unlike some of their contemporaries, there aren't any specific references to jazz tradition; you won't find any Alice Coltrane samples here. In fact they're as likely to remind you of Soft Machine or John Barry as much as Herbie Hancock. This pluralist approach is laid out on the opening "Animal Chin" as flute and vibes patterns swirl over lurching breakbeats and churning bass, and the luscious glide of "Going Down", where luminous horns carve out aching melodic lines.

Often the cool beauty of the brass arrangements is reminiscent of Gil Evans or Oliver Nelson, and the short, sweet solos of Lars Horntveth, Jorgen Munkeby and Mathias Eick offer the same mix of introspection and inquisitiveness that you might find on a late 60s Blue Note date.

Nothing stays still for very long; "Airborne" kicks off as spacey jazz ballad peppered with digital crackle n' pop before morphing into a slinky Hancockian bass clarinet riff, joined by intricate countermelodies from strings and horns as the tenor takes over. All in under 6 minutes. Elsewhere you get space age bachelor pad music ("Lithuania"), breakbeat cheesetronica mashup ("Midget") or queasy abstract ambience ("Cinematic").

Jaga Jazzist's grasp of dynamics and structure(whether achieved in real time or through digital cut-up) puts them apart from the usual jazztronica suspects. It's the mix of 21st century texture, intelligent jazz writing and improvisational concision that makes this one of the most enjoyable records of this (or any other) year. (BBC)


Jaga Jazzist - The Stix (2003) [Ninja Tune]

Although they’ve been a relative unknown on this side of the Atlantic, Norway’s Jaga Jazzist have spent the past ten years honing their deft blend of jazzy, melodic post-rock and thumping electronic programming. At times their music can conjure up the oft-maligned term “fusion," but Jaga’s alloy is stripped of all limp elements and replaced with an almost prog-inspired knack for quirky time signatures and quick shifts. The Stix, their second full-length, represents a further refinement of the efforts that first came to light on their debut A Livingroom Hush (reissued domestically by Ninja Tune). The melodies this time out are dizzier with more complex arrangements and effortlessly integrated electronics to boot. Whereas their debut at times felt like too much of a forced electro-acoustic pastiche, The Stix revels in smooth seams and graceful transitions.

The first few tracks on The Stix quickly cycle through all the things at which Jaga Jazzist excel. “Kitty Wú” opens things with a fine mix of heady, ascendant melodies that pass through horns and synths alike against a trade-off between rhythmic electronics and wily drumming. “Day” emphasizes pulsing beats, loping melodies and sky-high shoegazing synths, segueing nicely into the skittering drums, urgent harmonies, and over-the-top horn bleats of “Another Day”. “Suomi Finland” slows down and spaces things out a bit. This track relies less on sonic overload and temporal dexterity than its predecessors, initially allowing for keyboards to compete with vibes for the dominant melody, pausing for a brief interlude of guitars and flutes.

The remainder of the record finds the band spinning variations on their central themes. “Aerial Bright Dark Round” is more pensive and brooding than anything else here, with a neat contrast of grainy electronics and forlorn brass that eventually gives way to swelling synths. “Toxic Dart” again finds sputtering electronics squaring up against sax lines, thus setting the table for the full-band climax with electronic and acoustic drums clattering away against simple guitar refrains, while “I Could Have Killed Him in the Sauna” works the climactic interplay of the band to great, swirling effect.

The album becomes problematic at points when it seems as though the band’s main desire is overload – that is, piling layer upon layer of effect and instrumentation in an effort to make the listener swoon or perhaps demonstrate their own virtuosity. At times it’s blindingly effective, and at others it almost feels like overkill, as if the band could have easily worked with a few of ideas and explored those to more fulfilling conclusions. It almost feels as though, when listening to the album as a whole, that such a rush of shifting melodies and time signatures makes it distinctly difficult to retain anything. Admittedly, subtlety might not necessarily be Jaga Jazzist’s method of choice, but there still is something to be said for more understated approaches and textures.

In the end, though, any complaints leveled against The Stix are relatively minor. This is still exhilarating music that’s expertly composed and played. One would hope that in the future Jaga Jazzist will slow down and explore some of the neglected corners in the basement of their composition, or rely less on busy arrangements to convey a full effect. Whatever the case may be, while presenting no astounding leaps forward in terms of concept or composition, The Stix still survives as a great and meritous listen. Having achieved success in their homeland in both the critical and commercial aspects (this album debuted at No. 3 on the Norwegian pop charts), it would be nice to see Jaga Jazzist experience similar accolades in this country as well. (Dusted)


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Medeski Martin and Wood - End of the World Party (Just in Case) (2004) [Blue Note Records]

This new Medeski Martin and Wood release is heady stuff, certainly on par with the recordings that made the group something of an underground jazz legend in the early- to mid-nineties— Shack-man and Friday Afternoon in the Universe. But while End of the World Party (Just in Case) reminds you of those albums, and even more so the trio's Blue Note debut of 1998, Combustication , where they explored the possibilities of groove cum ambient sound, the compositions, the performances and the recording on the new disc are more pointed and purposeful in every way.

This production job by MMW and Dust Brother John King provides the most clarity and depth of any project the group has done. Billy Martin's kick drum echoes off your walls from the start in "Anonymous Skulls" and the mobile throb of Chris Wood's bass(es) underscores the rhythmic aspect of the music in an emphatic way the more atmospheric approach of The Dropper and Uninvisible did not allow. If you have any doubt he's one of the strongest bassists in contemporary jazz, listen to "Curtis," where Wood is the backbone of this band's sound.

If you've seen Medeski, Martin and Wood over the last few months, some of these tunes, such as "Shine It," may sound familiar. Party is the end result of group improvisations on stage and in the group's Brooklyn studios from which melodic motifs and polyrhythmic beats were sculpted into a dozen comparatively short tracks in the four to five minute range. The cumulative effect of listening to this album in its entirety is much the same as seeing the band live: the development of momentum is imperceptible, until you find yourself in the midst of the sharp funk of something like "Ice" and realize how much ground you and the threesome have covered in terms of textures and beats.

It's hard to say how much King contributed to the construction of the album as a whole—he's credited with "a little of this, a little of that"—but it's safe to say he kept the emphasis on rhythm. Some of the production touches, such as those on the title song, border on cute, but they end up being ephemeral blemishes that give way to more substantial themes such as John Medeski's use of electronic keyboards on "Reflector." As the billowing electric piano and acoustic bass waft through lightly exotic percussion on "Midnight Poppies/Exotic Birds," it also becomes clear how effectively MMW use space in a music that is otherwise as dense as any jazz on the planet.

Those who found their most recent recordings a bit too esoteric will rejoice in the syncopation that abounds throughout End of the World Party (Just in Case). And, again, anyone who's seen Medeski, Martin and Wood live in the past year will marvel at the mood and flow of this studio creation that certainly contains, apart from the physical presence of the band and an audience, all the best qualities of this trio on stage.(AllAboutJazz)


Can - Tago Mago (1971) [United Artists]

Tago Mago is the second studio album by the German experimental rock band Can, and was originally released as a double LP in 1971 by United Artists. It was the band's first studio album to feature Kenji "Damo" Suzuki after their previous vocalist, Malcolm Mooney, quit the band in 1970 due to a nervous breakdown. The album was remastered and released as a SACD in September 2004, and included commentary from former Melody Maker journalist David Stubbs and Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream.

Tago Mago has been described as Can's most extreme record in terms of sound and structure.[1] The album has received much critical acclaim since its release and has been cited as an influence by various artists. There have been attempts by several artists to play cover versions of songs from Tago Mago. Remix versions of several tracks by various artists are included on the album Sacrilege. (Wikipedia.org)