Saturday, August 16, 2008

µ-ziq - Lunatic Harness (1997)

1997: what a year for music! You had Radiohead’s barrier-blowing ‘OK Computer’, The Chemical Brothers’ rave defining ‘Dig Your Own Hole’, Spiritualized’s escapist’s dream ‘Ladies & Gentlemen, We Are Floating In Space’… the list goes on and on. Of course, amongst the lime-light hoggers, there were small masterpieces going un-noticed; albums like ‘Lunatic Harness’. µ-Ziq (pronounced “mu-ziq”) is the alias of Mike Paridinas, a Londoner and creator of some of the most original pieces of electronica I’ve heard in quite a while. In a way, it’s not entirely original, but it shoves different electronic sub-genres together into a bizarre, but deeply fascinating package which can be eerie, calm, frightening or beautiful or sometimes all four at once. The lush melodies that spring up recall the work of his friend and occasional collaborator Aphex Twin, while the beats are complex, fast and strangely natural-sounding. Together, they create pieces which conflict weirdly, making it sound half dangerous and half content. It varies seemlessly from the almost video-gamey opener ‘Brace Yourself Jason’ to the twisted and self-explanatory ‘Approaching Menace’. The highlight for me is definitely ‘Hasty Boom Alert’ which brings to mind a wonderfully other-worldly landscapes seen from the window of a speeding aircraft. (


Danger Mouse - The Grey Album (2004)

The first album from DJ Dangermouse. Originally recorded for his friends until they encouraged him to release it.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Mouse on Mars - Ideology (2001)

While their peers in the field of electronic music continued to either overshoot experimentally (resulting in radical, unlistenable work) or make the same records over and over again, German duo Mouse on Mars pumped out radical, intriguing work by the bucketful. Idiology, the duo's seventh full LP in as many years, is a more immediate album than its predecessor (Niun Niggung), not quite as reliant on the hyperprogramming and content to simply chug along with crunchy beats and the usual roster of push-the-envelope effects. The opener (and single), "Actionist Respoke," sets the agenda immediately, with a red-line vocal sample shimmying its way through a crunchy breakbeat production. It's probably the most traditional track on the album though, as the pair throws away the Mouse on Mars rule book for much of the rest of Idiology. "Subsequence" works its way around a dabbling piano line soon taken up by clarinet and strings as well, with all manner of effects/samples chirping away in the background. Tracks three and four comprise ten minutes of practically beatless, chaotic bliss, introduced by a fetchingly overenunciated vocal from drummer Dodo Nkishi. The next, "Catching Butterflies With Hands," lurches along like an obviously dysfunctional toy from some Disney cartoon, struggling to perform its duties and, in an odd way no one could've expected, succeeding. Hidden within Idiology are at least half-a-dozen mini-masterpieces of neo-electronic composition, and as many tracks of flat-out electro-funk. Most significant of all when considering Mouse on Mars is that, in the notoriously coattails-riding electronic scene, no one's been able to duplicate what Mouse on Mars does so often, so consistently, and so well. (


Monday, August 11, 2008

Plaid - Spokes (2003)

This ten-track disc is an immediate pleaser, especially for those who like sounds that can be coy, conceptual and at the same time funky and salacious - like the bobbing happy-go-lucky flavor of "Get What You Gave". Some sort of calypso-driven disco meets jazz-hot meets the wild kingdom. "Buns" sounds at first to be something ala Trio's "Da, Da, Da" but soon blends arctic visions derivative of the tectonic era of John Foxx and Gary Numan. Plaid has basically reshaped the 80s on Spokes and its update should last longer than its potential 15 minutes. (


Slag Boom Van Loon - Slag Boom Van Loon (1998)

Combining the bed-sit beats of Mu-Ziq and the musical disobedience of Speedy J, for intelligent dance music observers this side project of the two experimentalists must read on paper much like a historical Beatles and Rolling Stones crossover. Hey, if equally mythological team-ups can happen in comic books, why not here? Even when you can point out each musician's superpowers on each track (accurately or not), Slag Boom Van Loon have gone and constructed an hour's worth of meticulously absurd electronic fizz. "Light of India" builds up a wall of sitars and Aziz-like transglobal percussion while other pieces like "Broccoli" sound like a Bjork instrumental forced to subsist on underground fungi for a month. Effortless and interesting, this is a collaboration that shows just how screwed in the head dance musicians can be when they get around to it. (Allmusic Guide)


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Andy Votel - All Ten Fingers (2002)

With fingers in design, production, label management, DJing and a whole bunch of other pies, Twisted Nerve honcho Votel has to have every single one at his wanton disposal. With such a busy lifestyle, it's no surprise that it's taken him so long to muster up his first full-length album. The result is as a 15-track album that borrows as much from his label's love of lo-fi acts as it does from their love of electronic noise-smiths like Mum and Dad or Sirconical. All in all, though, it's a dark album where water drips down the studio walls as moody, sullen beats interrupt themselves occasionally with churns of garage-rock guitars. Votel lets his fingers do the talking. (XLR8R)


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Selda - Selda (1976, reissue 2006)

The music you are about to hear defies categorisation. But for all intents and multi-purposes, this record is a folk album. Embodying all the aesthetic watermarks of a private press country LP, Selda's debut long player from 1976 has masqueraded as lamb dressed as mutton, throwing many a discerning wolf from the gourmet scent. Behold! Space age, Anatolian, electronic, progressive-protest, psych-folk-funk-rock from the Middle East. All of the above ingredients are presented immaculately with up-most authenticity and conviction to create a delectable hybrid concoction which has never been replicated or equalled in the 3 mutant decades since its recording. (Andy Votel)


VA - Vertigo Mixed (2005)

1. Morning For One/Introduction/Modus Operandi (5:29) - Linda Hoyle, Gracious, Nirvana
2. Battle Of The Locusts/The Kettle/One Way Glass (4:58) - Aphrodite's Child, Colosseum, Manfred Mann
3. (Oh No Not) The Beast Day/Three Sisters/Willie The Pimp (5:21) - Marsha Hunt's 22, Affinity, Juicy Lucy
4. Think Of Life/Toe Grabber/Leave Me Woman - Gravy Train, Freedom, Flied Egg
5. I'm Afraid Big Moon/Vulture Blood/Walking In Your Shadow (5:28) - Frumpy, Warhorse, Uriah Heep
Train/Piccadilly Circles/Shes Mine - Juicy Lucy, Bob Downes
6. It's Getting Better/Air Mattress/Hectors House (4:30) - Atlantis, Janne Schaffer, Ian Carr
7. Government Man/Living At The End Of Time/I Am You (4:28) - Patto, Affinity, Atlantis
8. Time Machine/An Dro Nevez/In A Token Of Dispair (6:14) - Beggars Opera, Alan Stivell, Dr. Z
9. Lets Get On The Road Again/Di It/For Madmen Only/Memory Lane/In Part (5:01) - Atlantis, Aphrodite's Child, May Blitz, Baker Gurvitz Army
10. Lights In My Mind/All Along The Watchtower (4:25) - Cressida, Affinity
Galliarde/Snakes And Ladders (5:14) - Trace, May Blitz
11. Roots (4:33) - Nucleus
12. Let Them Come When They Will (3:40) - Cressida


VA - Cross Continential Record Raid Trip (2007)

01. AE Bizottsag - Baad Schandau*
02. Paul Kass - Roadrunner*
03. Billy Bond - Tontos*
05. Marta Kubisova - Tak Dej Se K Ruman A Projdem Suet*
06. Daniel Schell & Dick Annegarn - Granvelle*
07. Rodway Leyland Duo - Caravan*
08. Charlie & Esdor - Da Klagar Mina Grannar*
09. Sam Spence - Water World (selection by Boney Votel)
10. Jerry Williams - Crazy 'Bout You Baby (selection by Ben Hatton)
11. Pierre Cavalli - Un Soir Chez Norris (selection by David Holmes)
12. Indoor Life - Archaeology (selection by Jazzman Gerald)
13. Carmen Andaloro - Sulla Neve Con Te (selection by Bob Stanley)
14. Amral's Trinidad Cavaliers Steel Drum Orchestra - The World Is A Ghetto (selection by Chris McBride)
15. The Stylers - For You (selection by Cherrystones)
16. Chwys - Gwr Bonheddig (selection by Gruff Rhys)
17. Onyx -Air (selection by Doug Shipton)
18. Nashville Teens - Wydicombe Fair (selection by Chris "The Judge" Arthur)

* Selections by Andy Votel and Dom Thomas


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Finders Keepers Torrent

Here's a great torrent of everything (or almost everything) released on Andy Votel's Finders Keepers record label through 2006. Within the next couple of weeks I should be able to upload some of my favorite albums from this torrent for those that don't want to dl all 3.5 gigs of this.

List of the albums included:

Gruff Rhys - Yr Atal Genhedlaeth
Wool - Wool
VA - Welsh Rare Beat
VA - Welsh Rare Beat 2
Voice of the Seven Woods - Self Titled
VA - Songs From Dracula's Dulcimer
VA - Cross Continental Record Raid Trip*
VA - Holy Harbour
Lubos Fiser - Valerie and Her Week of Wonders
VA - Vertigo Mixed
The Valerie Project - Self Titled
VA - Styles of the Unexpected*
VA - Songs of Insolence*
VA - Songs in the Key of Death*
Stanley Myers - Sitting Target OST
Sarolta Zalatnay - Self Titled
Selda - Self Titled
VA - Psychedelic Phinland
VA - Prog is Not a Four Letter Word*
Spacemen 3 - Playing With Fire
Spacemen 3 - The Perfect Prescription
Susan Christie - Paint a Lady
Diane Cluck - Ova Nil / Oh Vanille
VA - Now We Are Ten
Chris Harwood - Nice to Meer Miss Christine
VA - Music to Watch Girls Cry*
The Yamasuki Singers - Le Monde Fabuleux Des Yamasuki
William Loose, Stu Phillips and Marion elling - Finders Keepers Lover Weepers
Jean-Claude Vannier - L'enfant Assassin de Mouches
Don Cooper - Howlin' at the Moon
Bruno Spoerri - Gluckskgel
Mustafa Ozkent - Genclik Ile Elele
Geysir - Hijomsveitin
Galwad Y Mynydd - Self Titled
VA - Folk is Not a Four Letter Word*
VA - Finders Keepers*
Daisies OST
VA - Entertaining the Unobvious^
VA - Cherrystones Rock 2^
Creme Soda - Tricky Zingers
Serge Gainsbourgh - Cannabis
VA - David Holmes Cherrystones Hidden
Gruf Rhys - Candylion
New Colony Six - Breakthrough
Bonnie Dobson - Self Titled
VA - Bearded Ladies
VA - All Ten Fingers*
VA - A Kind of Awe and Reverence and Wonder LP

* - Mixed by Andy Votel
^ - Mixed by Cherrystones


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Pitchfork Music Fest Animal Collective Interview

Avey, Panda, and Geologist talking about their recording process, new album and an upcoming "visual album" DVD at the Pitchfork Music Fest.

Part 1:

Part 2:

VA - One Nation Under a Grave (2007)

Twisted Nerve legend Andy Votel presents a 'mutant mix tape' featuring raving cannibals, UFOs in distress and perverted tribal rituals. All in a days work, of course, for our reporter Cindy Suzuki...

Andy Votel is something of a legend in the world of depraved psychedelic records: his labels Twisted Nerve and Finders Keepers specialise in collecting the most freaky and obscure gems known to humanity, then warping them together into “mutant mix tapes.”

Were he around in the 1950s he would almost certainly have been labelled a communist. But as it is, he's around now - and his albums sound like eccentric LSD parties, or perhaps out-takes from the Eurovision Song Contest, featuring the black sheeps that were too weird for the world.

"do not attempt to consume this album without some kind of friendly guardian being in the room..."

This record is the third in a current series that includes ‘Music To watch Girls Cry’ and ‘Songs In the key Of Death’. It clicks all the right boxes for a classic Votel compilation: all the artists on it are a) phenomenal musicians and b) probably very high. The mix is interspersed with such classic B-Movie samples as “I can make the secrets mine… and I can use Dracula to help me!”

Alas, there was no tracklisting available as this article went to web, but the music, we are assured, comes from Spain, Turkey, Sweden, Poland, France and South America, which accounts fro the frequently indecipherable languages. Not that any of that stuff matters – this is music for witchdoctors, and the sense of ‘the other’ is what makes it all so voodoo.

So one minute we have a kinky French lady doing a striptease cover of The Who’s ‘My generation’, then the next we’re listening to a an American high school student discussing how beautiful the stars are while a hyperactive blues riff zooms behind her. A Romanian choir croons ‘Sound Of Silence’, while a perverted sitar twangs away in the distance. It’s like the greatest Russ Meyer movie never made, with a soundtrack performed by tropical cannibals being secretly controlled by Serge Gainsbourg.

Just one word of warning: do not attempt to consume this album without some kind of friendly guardian being in the room to keep your head together, should you suddenly display signs of irrationality, incoherence, or madness. (


Friday, August 1, 2008

James Pants - Welcome (2008)

Mr. Pants is a purveyor par excellence of that unmistakable “fresh beat”: 80’s Soul, Electro Boogie, Early Rap, New Wave, & Post-Punk Disco, all of which can be found on Welcome where James plays drums, keys, guitar and sings. (Stones Throw)