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Posts Tagged ‘m=minimal

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Steve Gunn “Time Off” (Paradise Of Bachelors)
Yet another defining masterpiece courtesy of the peerless North Carolina record label Paradise Of Bachelors. Previously, in April, the label issued Hiss Golden Messenger’s sublime “Haw” LP, while this summer heralds the release of yet another milestone in Steve Gunn’s incredible “Time Off”. New York-based Gunn is also behind the acclaimed Gunn-Truscinski Duo (Three Lobed Recordings) where Gunn – on guitar – is joined by legendary drummer and percussionist John Truscinski (X.0.4, GHQ). Over the years, Gunn has also added his guitar talents to Kurt Vile’s band The Violators. “Time Off” features the trio of Gunn (guitars, vocals), John Truscinski (drums, percussion) and Justin Tripp (bass). Gunn’s guitar playing draws from the songbooks of Fahey, Basho, Bull, Harper and Chapman, while his vocals are reminiscent of early Wilco and Califone’s Tim Rutili. “Time Off” sees Gunn create some of the most vital music of recent times.

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R.E.M. “Reckoning” (I.R.S.)
As part of our Calexico contributions – where each member has been choosing their most prized album – R.E.M.’s 1984 classic second LP “Reckoning” was chosen by Calexico frontman Joey Burns. Follow-up to “Murmer”, “Reckoning” would embody the live sound of the band – who had toured extensively the year previously – and is characterized by Michael Stipe’s darker subject matter in his lyrics. As Joey Burns himself said, “They captured a mood and energy that was compelling. Peter Buck’s drone guitar style resonated with my style as well as the foggy vocals of Michael Stipe. There was a mystique and depth with the layers of their instrumentation and vocals that I appreciated.”

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Postiljonen ‘Skyer’ (Best Fit Recordings)
Stockholm-based trio Postiljonen (Daniel Sjörs, Joel Nyström Holm, and Mia Bøe) released their stunning debut “Skyer” (translates to “Clouds”) this year to widespread critical acclaim. The band showcase a wonderful pop sensibility throughout the album’s ten tracks, creating gorgeous gleaming pop songs in the process. The album can be listened in full here. 

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Pure Bathing Culture ‘Moon Tides’ (Memphis Industries)
Portland Oregon-based duo Pure Bathing Culture comprises of Daniel Hindman and Sarah Versprille who had previously played with Andy Cabic’s folk band Vetiver. The duo have thus far released their debut self-titled EP on Father/Daughter Records, and have also exclusively covered “Dreams” for a special Fleetwood Mac edition of Mojo magazine. The band have recorded with songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Richard Swift at his National Freedom studio. “Moon Tides” will be released on 19th August on Memphis Industries.

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DJ Koze “Amygdala” (Pampa)
When the end-of-year lists are being compiled, the wonderful “Amygdala” LP by DJ Koze is sure to find its way to the top of many’s favourite album for 2013. DJ Koze is German producer Stefan Kozella, and “Amygdala” is Koze’s first new solo material for almost a decade. Featuring a number of special guest vocalists (Caribou and Daphni’s Dan Snaith, Matthew Dear and Apparat’s Sascha Ring) the real star is Kozella whose genre-defying soundscapes and incredible lyrics make “Amygdala” the compelling gem that it truly is. As album opener “Track ID Anyone?” says: “We need to eat and we need to sleep and we need music.” The album can be streamed in full here.

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Forrests “Wilder” (Blast First Petite)
Dublin-based electronic duo Forrests’ incredible “Wilder” EP is amongst the finest electronic material out there, recalling Hebden’s Four Tet, Bristol’s Fuck Buttons and fellow-Dublin electronic duo White Collar Boy. Released on the Blast First Petite label on July 8th of this month, the EP consists of a stunning array of hypnotic beats, irresistible grooves and an impressively wide range of sonic textures. Forrests are as adept with the creation of gorgeously subtle, ambient shape-shifting sounds (the two-minute “Symmetries” and closer “Latitude” recalling Ulrich Schnauss’s “Far Away Trains” LP) as well as more hypnotic and immediate tracks such as the dreamy, rhythmic “Tarifa”. The EP can be streamed here.

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After Dark 2 (Italians Do It Better)
Johnny Jewel’s “After Dark” series of compilations features the impressive Italians Do It Better label and is – as always – a wonderful showcase of the artists on the label. Featuring Glass Candy, Desire, Chromatics, Symmetry and Mike Simonetti, the tracks are slick, timeless and (unquestionably) über-cool. Personal favorites on the label are “Night Drive” and “Kill For Love” by Chromatics and “Themes For An Imaginary Film” by Desire.
The “After Dark 2” set can be heard in full here.

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borngräber & strüver “Clouds” (m=minimal)
Berlin duo borngräber & strüver have established themselves as one of the most compelling and impressive of electronic/ambient artists working today. “Clouds” comprises tracks written over a period of over a decade (2000 to 2012) and features chamber music compositions merging with an array of influences such as minimal, classic, baroque and pop. Also essential are borngräber & strüver’s “urlaub” and “In G” albums, now being issued by Berlin label m=minimal in one set.

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Greg Haines “Where We Were” (Denovali)
This May marked Berlin-based Greg Haines’s most innovative album yet. “Where We Were” signals a departure in Haines’s previous works, markedly in his use of tape-worn synthesizers (and subsequent omission of strings). Much like friend and composer Frahm’s recent recordings (“Juno” EP on Erased Tapes) Haines seeks to create blissful and rhythmically driven pieces. The album is an ode to the handmade where the world of analogue sounds replaces digital technologies. Gripping, enriching and meticulous in execution and delivery.

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Fuck Buttons “Slow Focus” (ATP)
Benjamin Power and Andrew Hung make their hugely anticipated return since 2009’s Andrew Weatherall produced “Tarot Sport”. “Slow Focus”, the Bristol-based band’s third studio album, is self-produced and it’s seven tracks feature an unforgettable array of sonic textures and an endless amount of hidden realms. Not only the band’s best album, but one of the finest albums this year has produced.

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Ten Mile Stereo

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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