Archive for November, 2009

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Moderat – Moderat [2009]

November 23, 2009

Album post #14.  Modeselektor (Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary) + Apparat (Sasha Ring) = Moderat.

I know I say this all the time, but you really need good headphones or speakers to appreciate this album.  Laptop speakers and standard earbuds are unable to convey the breadth of sound Moderat has created.  Apparat‘s atmospheric touch brings Modeselektor‘s tripping beats and swelling bass lines out of the klub and into my VW (note my clever German references).  By combining their complementary skills these artists have been able to create something that is more exciting and artistic than previous works they have done on their own. (Their individual works are worth exploring as well.)

I have included some clear highlights below.  Pay careful attention to the musical turns at 1:22 of Rusty Nails, where the bottom drops, 1:17 of No. 22, when the driving dubstep beat finally enters, and 2:00 and 4:00 of Out of Sight, when the autobahn-rock pulse is given extra volume (sorry I don’t have a better way to describe that sound).  The more I listen I naturally anticipate moments like these and the more fulfilling they become.  You will completely miss these elements without the right speakers or enough volume.   Enjoy the complete album on this youtube playlist.

source: dataless

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Memory Tapes – Seek Magic [2009]

November 16, 2009

memory-tapes-seek-magic

Album post #13.  “I wanna give you my love, I wanna call you names / but at the sound of my voice, you turn away.”  Intimate and obvious lyrics like this one from Track 3, Green Knight, of  Seek Magic might not work but for the way they are sung and the effects applied to the vocals.  Throughout this debut album by Memory Tapes, Dayve Hawk’s voice is kept at a distance, and in many ways it is upstaged by the music.  But putting the words in the background actually gives them more meaning.  In stretching his ears to hear the far away vocals, the listener is drawn in and becomes part of the music as a tidal wave of dance beats, warm chords, and honey-sweet key and guitar riffs rush in (see 5:30 of Stop Talking).  A short phrase may call up a memory that is quickly washed over by a new musical layer; thoughts ramble and soon each song becomes intensely personal.

Every track on this album has two or three unexpected layers that provoke another listen.  This layering is done with great care and patience through some very smooth transitions.  The various layers are used to express contrasting emotions and allow the listener to eperience them simultaneously.  Drum machine-induced euphoria can coexist with sad wistful memories evoked by mellow guitar tones and echoey vocals.  Instead of being unforgettable these songs are haunting, which is perhaps Hawk’s intention (by naming his band Memory…), for that is the way most memories work.

All but Track 4, Pink Stones, can be listened to on this youtube playlist.  (I recommend going to the Memory Tapes myspace to listen to Pink Stones; it makes me feel like I’m exploring an ancient submerged Chinese city).  Also, Memory Tapes posted FREE DOWNLOADS!! of the single, Bicycle, here, and CD2 of Seek Magic, Treeship, here (source: Memory Tapes blog).

source: pfork

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The Flaming Lips – Embryonic [2009]

November 9, 2009

EMBRYONIC TRAY

Album post #12.  I, like many others, lost faith in The Flaming Lips.  I wondered whether their creative momentum had been built up through their first 9 albums for the sole purpose of spending it all in the crafting of their most magnificent 10th album, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, of 2002.  Despite its sweet title, 2006’s At War with the Mystics was a sour rehash with bland repetitous lyrics and flagrantly loud production.  I had spit out the Lips and expected nothing tasteful to come from them again.

I was horribly wrong.  Wayne Coyne and his pals released their 12th album, Embryonic, on October 13, 2009 and it is marvelous.  At 18 songs and 70 minutes, I am still digesting, but appreciating it more and more.  Though I see the title relating to a rebirth for the Lips, it also parallels a return to the more psychedelic rock sound of their fetal stage compared to the radio-friendly singles of The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi.

It’s really hard to pick favorites on this album.  It’s worth setting aside some time to listen to the whole thing on this youtube playlist.

source: dataless/willod

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Fuck Buttons – Tarot Sport [2009]

November 2, 2009

fuck-buttons-tarot-sport

Album post #11.  Tarot Sport by Fuck Buttons.  If you ever need music to listen to while working, driving someplace new, or single-handedly saving the universe you now have it.  This two-piece British group uses elements of electronic minimalism, post rock, and noise rock to form something frightening and uplifting.  Simple cyclic themes, drawn out riffs and phrases, distorted screams, and driving rythms gain momentum throughout the album and become more energetic the more you listen.

This youtube playlist has 6 of the 7 tracks (missing Track 5 – Phantom Limb).  The intro track, Surf Solar, and my favorite track, Olympians, are included below.  If you enjoy this, be sure to check out their debut from last year, Street Horrrsing.  It has a bit more of a raw sound, but magnificent as well. (There’s even some phasing for Kal.)

source: adunn/dataless