FRACTURED AIR

The universe is making music all the time

Posts Tagged ‘Domino

Ten Mile Stereo

leave a comment »

10_web


Holden “The Inheritors” (Border Community)
James Holden’s incredible follow-up to his debut LP “The Idiots Are Winning” has been some seven years in the making. Heralded by both Four Tet’s Kieran Hebdon and Caribou/Daphni’s Dan Snaith of late, the album comprises a set of genre-defying tracks and is destined to remain at “classic” status for a long, long time to come.

————


Jon Hopkins “Immunity” (Domino)
“Immunity” is the fourth solo album from Jon Hopkins and is destined to catapult the Eno collaborator to international recognition. The final epic title-track features King Creosote (who collaborated with Hopkins on the sublime “Diamond Mine”) and leaves the listener marvel at what Hopkins has created here.

————


Lee Noble “Ruiner” (Bathetic)
My first time coming across the wonderful Bathetic label – based in Asheville, NC – was through Angel Olsen’s classic LP “Half Way Home”. Lee Noble’s “Ruiner” is another classic belonging to the label, comprising unique ambient/pop songs recalling Radiohead, Grouper’s Liz Harris and richly evocative ambient textures as found on pioneering labels such as Chicago’s Kranky label.

————


Camera Obscura “Desire Lines” (4AD)
Glasgow’s beloved Camera Obscura released yet another classic indie-pop album this year – lead by the singularly beautiful voice of Tracyanne Campbell – ‘Desire Lines’ is the band’s eagerly awaited follow-up to gorgeous “My Maudlin Career” (also on 4AD). As always, Campbell’s songwriting is pitch-perfect, while the song arrangements are sumptuously layered echoing Spector’s wall of sound (pristine production by Tucker Martine). Features guests Paul Brainard (Richmond Fontaine) on pedal steel, Neko Case and Jim James on backing vocals.

————


Denseland “Like Likes Like” (m=minimal)
Berlin-based electronic label m=minimal have been quietly releasing an intriguing string of albums over the past year. “Like Likes Like” by Denseland (featuring Hanno Leichtmann, Hannes Strobl and David Moss) is a strangely compelling array of darkly textured, minimal compositions featuring the singular vocals of David Moss.

————


Califone “Stitches” (Dead Oceans)
Indie favourites Califone return with the hugely anticipated “Stitches” LP this Autumn on the Dead Oceans label. The title-track has so far been uploaded – a beautifully fragmented and fragile song – as always lead by Tim Rutili’s stunning voice and masterful lyrics. The album was written and recorded across Southern California, Arizona and Texas and is available on 3 September.

————


Hiss Golden Messenger “Haw” (Paradise of Bachelors)
‘Haw’ is one of the year’s finest albums and another milestone release in Hiss Golden Messenger’s stellar discography to date. As always, the songwriting by M.C. Taylor (encompassing songs of both struggle and pain as well as songs of joy and hope) is to the forefront while songs effortlessly fuse traditions of folk, blues, soul and gospel. Follow-up to the equally sublime “Poor Moon”, “Haw” is HGM’s fourth album.

————


Colin Stetson “New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light” (Constellation)
Part three in the “New History Warfare” series, gifted composer Colin Stetson is fast-becoming independent music’s crowning jewel. Long-known and admired for his astonishing array of collaborative work (Tom Waits, Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, TV on the Radio to name only a few), Stetson’s reputation as a solo composer has quickly earned himself the reputation for one of contemporary music’s true leading artists.

————


Laurie Spiegel “The Expanding Universe” (Unseen Worlds / Philo)
While we had the great honour of co-presenting Thrill Jockey’s Mountains for their concert in Cork, one of our highlights was listening to Koen Holtkamp talk so fondly about Spiegel’s seminal masterwork “The Expanding Universe”. It’s hard to imagine these recordings were made in 1980 as they sound as fresh and as innovative today. The lovingly expanded reissue from last year is a work of true beauty and confirms “The Expanding Universe” as one of the finest (and most influential) records ever made.

————


Julianna Barwick “Nepenthe” (Dead Oceans)
The wait is finally nearly over for Julianna Barwick’s follow-up to her much-celebrated “The Magic Place”, released in 2011 on Asthmatic Kitty. So far, “Pacing” (released as a limited edition 7″) and “One Half” have been made available, whetting the appetite for what will surely be one of the year’s most defining albums. Whereas Barwick’s “The Magic Place” was recorded in her Brooklyn bedroom studio, “Nepenthe” was recorded in Iceland with Alex Somers (Sigur Rós, Jónsi). “One Half” is arguably Barwick’s most beautiful work yet. LP available 20 August.

————

Chosen One: Dan Deacon

leave a comment »

‘America’, the new album from Baltimore’s Dan Deacon, is undeniably one of the best albums of 2012. The Baltimore one-man-orchestra has created his strongest body of work to date, surpassing his previous output.

Words: Mark Carry, Illustration: Craig Carry

‘America’ is a change in direction for Deacon. Where once relying so heavily on creating primarily synthetic music, ‘America’ finds Deacon using both acoustic and synthetic, in turn creating Deacon’s first rock record. In the words of Dan Deacon, the inspiration of ‘America’ comes from his “love of cross-country travel, seeing the landscapes of the United States, going from East to West and back again over the course of seasons”. The lyrics are inspired by his strong feelings towards his country: “The lyrics are inspired by my frustration, fear and anger towards the country and world I live in and am part of”. ‘America’ isn’t a political record. It’s in fact an album embedded in emotion and its expansive beauty is one to behold. The album  is split into two parts, that is more apparent when listening to ‘America’ on vinyl. Part A comprises of pop songs, where prog, punk, electronica, classical and pop effortlessly fuse together. Part B is a cinematic twenty-one minute piece entitled ‘USA’, broken into four parts. The result is an album of undeniable genius from a prolific artist at the height of his powers.

The instrumental ‘Guilford Avenue Bridge’ opens ‘America’ with its pulsing electronics and beats. A gorgeous layer of guitar slowly appears adding ambient touchstones. The piece acts as the album’s prologue, showcasing Deacon’s anger towards America. Next up is the electronic pop gem, ‘True Thrush’. This song is as good as The Flaming Lips circa ‘The Soft Bulletin’. Lush production and intricate arrangements and layers of backing harmonies creates an irresistible pop symphony of sound. Deacon sings, ‘Please sing me a song/Sing of days gone by/Before I went wrong’ on the song’s verse. An openness and fear can be felt throughout, ‘Hey there old soul/I’m lost and alone/No head to hold high/But my feet keep on going/Spread those wings wide.” The song closes with a delicate woodwind and brass sound. The third track ‘Lots’ is a punk rock opus. ‘Lots’ serves as ‘America”s anthem. The infectious quality and its sheer ferocity is akin to ‘Raw Power’ era The Stooges. Deacon roars with emotion, ‘Regret/No past/No sense/Brave days/Ahead/None rest/None yet/One choice to make/Get ready to go.’ ‘Prettyboy’ changes the dynamic and mood. ‘Prettyboy’ is an odyssey of dreams and heavenly bliss. Gorgeously orchestrated strings, woodwind and brass are woven beneath melodic piano and guiding drum beats. The ambient soundscape thus created is akin to Neu! such is the track’s euphoric depth. This is the perfect soundtrack to ‘Moon’ or ‘2001 A Space Odyssey’. Sublime soundtrack music. ‘Crash Jam’ is a charged psych pop jam in the vein of John Maus or Grandaddy. Deacon sings a love song beneath the swirling bass and electronics, ‘Melt down beside me/I melt beside you/Always I melt with you’. ‘Crash Jam’ is the perfect climax to Part A of ‘America’ with a psychedelic finale a la E.L.O at their best. Interestingly, the best of the album comes in Part B, flip over the vinyl!

‘America’ is divided into four parts: i Is A Monster, ii The Great American Desert, iii Rail and iv Manifest. The first part ‘Is A Monster’ is the centrepiece to ‘America’. The song has got it all. Film score strings and breathtaking woodwind, brass makes up the epic intro. The arrangement is divine. The piece reminds me of the main theme to ‘Man on Wire’ and transports me to Philippe Petit’s high wire walk between the Twin Towers of New York’s World Trade Centre. The music score is similar to the wonderful Michael Nyman score that created the perfect backdrop to Petit’s awe inspiring journey. Two minutes into ‘Is A Monster’, synths, electronics and drums explode over hypnotic pulses of synthetic rhythms. Deacon sings a mantra, ‘Nothing lives long/Only the earth and the mountains/Feel like I’m all flesh and no bone/I’m not the shapes that I’m shown’ adding darkness to the light of hope. ‘The dark part of dreams’ are explored on the following ‘The Great American Desert’ with heavy reverb and glorious pulses of sound, ‘I see hillsides/Burning in flames/Everything’s gray/Nothing remains of/Places I Loved.’ The outro consists of a plethora of percussion and woodwind (bassoon, clarinets) creating Steve Reichesque rhythmic pulses. This perfectly leads the way into ”Rail’, a beautiful piece of music that encapsulates Deacon’s journey across America from east to west, and back again over the seasons. The instrumentation of violin, viola, cellos, clarinet, bassoon, flute, french horn and trumpet distills a haven of classical music that is a feast for the senses. Think Sufjan Stevens combined with Nico Muhly and you’re halfway there. Drums arrive five minutes later,resulting in a joyous symphony to serve as a fitting finale. ‘Manifest’ is the final of the four pieces and closes the ‘USA’ piece and the album. ‘Manifest’ acts as the sister to ‘Is A Monster’ where the first piece is revisited. The euphoria flows out from the music. ‘The times are racing/Now I’m just glad I spent them with you’ is my favourite lyric from Deacon. The song ends in a crescendo of otherworldly noise amidst film score strings. It’s the climax to a very ambitious and rewarding album that fulfills Dan Deacon’s promise, and of more to come.

‘America’ is out now on Domino.

Written by admin

October 18, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Posted in CHOSEN ONE

Tagged with , ,

Chosen One: Dirty Projectors

leave a comment »

Words: Mark Carry, Illustration: Craig Carry

Dirty Projectors is the musical vision of David Longstreth whose band returns this year with their highly anticipated sixth studio album, ‘Swing Lo Magellan’. Like fellow Brooklyn residents, Grizzly Bear and Animal Collective, Longstreth and co. make utterly compelling experimental indie pop for the 21st Century. Multi-instrumentalist, arranger and songwriter, David Longstreth has come to be the 21st century David Byrne for new wave music songcraft.

Over the past decade, his rolling cast of musicians of Dirty Projectors have made utterly unique artistic creations. Longstreth and co. remaked Black Flag’s ‘Damaged’ album from memory on 2007’s ‘Rise Above, created a song cycle based on The Eagle’s Don Henley on 2005’s ‘The Getty Address’ and created an emblem of the live band on 2009’s masterpiece ‘Bitte Orca’. More recently, they have collaborated with Bjork on the ‘Mount Wittenburg Orca’ ep and worked with David Byrne on the charity ‘Dark Was The Night’ compilation produced by Red Hot Organization. Importantly, Dirty Projectors in 2012 find themselves as a solid five-piece unit with the partnership of Longstreth and Coffman as the bright spark. The vehicle for Longstreth’s songwriting is namely, Amber Coffman (vocals and guitar), Mike Johnson (drums), Nat Baldwin (bass) and Haley Dekle (vocals).

On the making of Dirty Projectors’ ‘Swing Lo Magellan’ the band spent twelve months in the seclusion of Delaware, County outside New York, where a separate headspace existed which provided another mindset for Longstreth. This solitude and calm of place is very evident throughout the album. On the band’s latest release, a directness and emotional clarity exists where Longstreth has moved away from abstraction and in turn, has written very personal songs. ‘Swing Lo Magellan’ is a sublime folk pop tour de force with a country feel. The album’s playfulness and directness strikes similarities to ‘John Wesley Harding’ era Bob Dylan. David Longstreth has said ‘Swing Lo Magellan’ is ‘more about the songs’ and what a set of awe-inspiring songs they are.

‘Impregnable Question’ is an achingly beautiful love song with delicate piano, bass and drums. ‘In happiness and in strife/You are my love and I want you in my life’ Longstreth sings over a gorgeous piano and backing harmony. The ballad belongs on either Beatles masterpiece ‘Sgt Pepper’ or ‘Revolver’ such is the song’s greatness. ‘Dance For You’ is pop music at its sensational best, reminiscent of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys’ ‘Pet Sounds’ golden creation. A soulful electric guitar is played over mesmerizing percussion and drums before an orchestra swirls beautifully in the bridge and chorus. ‘There is an answer/I haven’t found it/But I will keep dancing ’till I do’ Longstreth sings on the song’s chorus over a film score of strings is the album’s finest moment.

‘About To Die’ is an irresistible pop gem with futuristic electronic sounds and looped violins echoing Owen Pallett. The first single ‘Gun Has No Trigger’ is R&B influenced with pristine production with Longstreth’s glorious falsetto on the chorus. The title-track is ‘Harvest’ era Neil Young; a glorious folk pop gem with an immediacy and directness that hits you to the core. The last verse is sheer poetry, ‘I saw my frame in a pool of light/All drowned in doubt and shame/I knew that I had lost my sight’. ‘See What She Seeing’ is a beautiful song of longing with drum machines, electronic tweakings, strings and Coffman’s backing vocals providing the perfect musical backdrop, ‘Every time I think I’ve found her/Just what I’ve found is unclear’. Amber Coffman takes centre stage on ‘The Socialites’ which is a crystalized pop creation recalling the band’s previous collaborative work with Bjork.

The album closer ‘Irresponsible Tune’ is at the intersection of Grizzly Bear and The Beatles which could either be taken from ‘Yellow House’ or ‘Revolver’. The album’s final words ‘There’s a bird singing at my window, an irresponsible tune’ paints a landscape of beauty, simplicity and directness. ‘Swing Lo Magellan’ is just that.
‘Swing Lo Magellan’ is out now on Domino.

Written by admin

August 4, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Posted in CHOSEN ONE

Tagged with ,