Archive for the ‘experimental’ Category

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Radiohead – The King Of Limbs [2011]

February 20, 2011

Post #52.  LP8, though hardly L.  My only disappointment with this album is its length. I want more!!  I’m such a Radiohead glutton that one of the reasons Hail to the Thief is my favorite Radiohead album is its length.  How can you beat 56 and a half minutes of Radiohead?  At 37 and a half minutes across only eight tracks, The King of Limbs is Radiohead‘s shortest album.

Perhaps keeping the album brief is an evil Radiohead trick to get me to listen over and over so I spend more time absorbing the details in each piece.  Well it’s working as I’m on my 25th listen and each track gets better every time through.  Whether this was intentional or not, TKOL needs multiple listens.

TKOL explores elements of psychedelic minimalism, with subtle themes entering and exiting, stream of consciousness lyrics, and droning undertones, which keep the songs from making major transitions as many other Radiohead songs do and give them an inward focus.  Unlike most other psychedelic rock, the droning elements to these songs are interweaving strings and horns orchestrated by Radiohead‘s lead guitarist, Jonny Greenwood.  In some senses the band is lost in this album.  There aren’t any crazy Max/MSP solos and you have to try really hard to hear contributions from Ed O’Brien, the traditional rhythm guitar glue that holds a Radiohead song together.  The band member that stands out most to me is actually Phil Selway, as he takes the wheel for beat-driven tracks 1-5 and 8 and gives the rest of the band room to play and extend the range of their instruments.  The vast sonic landscape explored on this album is also largely facilitated by the work of producer Nigel Godrich who cleverly separates and blends each instrument.  His touch is especially evident on Bloom and Feral.

Here’s the music video for Lotus Flower and a full youtube stream of the album below.

source: deadairspace

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E101: Beginning Electro for the Classical Musician

December 10, 2010

See this page:  https://professorkeanbean.wordpress.com/e101-beginning-electro-for-the-classical-musician/

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Brian Eno – Small Craft on a Milk Sea [2010]

October 31, 2010

Post # 50. Brian Eno‘s Small Craft on a Milk Sea, released 11/2/2010.   I am featuring this album not because I find it all that amazing, but because it has powerfully affected me.  Therefore, use caution.  These songs have no intended story and your emotions will likely become the focal point as you experience the album.  When already feeling a bit down I gave this album my first listen and it made for a very melancholy evening.  Eno explains it all:

”The work in this collection is a result of an occasional collaboration between myself, Leo Abrahams and Jon Hopkins. The two of them are gifted young player/composers whose work, like mine, is intimately connected to the possibilities and freedoms of electronic music. Over the last few years we’ve worked together several times, enjoying exploring the huge new sonic territories now available to musicians. Mostly the pieces on this album resulted not from ‘composition’ in the classical sense, but from improvisation. The improvisations are not attempts to end up with a song, but rather with a landscape, a feeling of a place and perhaps the suggestion of an event. In a sense they deliberately lack ‘personality’: there is no singer, no narrator, no guide as to what you ought to be feeling. If these pieces had been used in films, the film would complete the picture. As they stand, they are the mirror-image of silent movies – sound-only movies.” —Brian Eno


source: dataless

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Echospace – Liumin [2010]

October 24, 2010

Post #49. Liumin by Echospace.  Exotic field recordings + minimal house = Liumin.  This album begins with the track, In Echospace, an amazing sculpture of sound.  At first you hear a few voices, static, and other ambient elements that build into the sample.  You expect it to continue as most ambient tracks do, adding bit by bit but staying in simple and gentle territory, until it gets transformed into something more interesting.  Around 1 minute in these elements are crafted into gorgeous waves that become more rhythmic as the track continues.  At about 2 minutes in you notice that the waves have depth as a subtle pulsating bass enters.  At 4 you think you hear an off-beat kick-drum, but by about 5:30 you realize that you must have imagined things were getting more exciting as the track gets brought down a notch.  But as the waves of static wash seamlessly into Summer Haze, that old familiar kick-drum lands on the house 4 and the party starts.  Perfect interplay between exhausting beats and textured swells carry us to the last track, Warm, a peaceful ambient rest after over an hour of dancing.

Stream the whole album here.  The OBMX track (youtube video below) is not on this album but is an Echospace masterpiece from 2008.  For more info on Liumin‘s creation, read this review.

ALSO! Preview next week’s post, Brian EnoSmall Craft on a Milk Sea, by streaming at NPR till Nov 2.

flows seamlessly into:

source: batalsdr

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Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma [2010]

April 29, 2010

Post #35.  Cosmogramma by Flying Lotus.  I don’t expect everyone to like FlyLo.  His beats are complicated, choppy, and craaazy.  This album, which comes out next Tuesday, might even be the most difficult of his 3 LPs to get into right off the bat.  I didn’t even like the album much until I got to track 10, Do the Astral Plane, which is simply phenomenal.  After a couple of listens I really began to appreciate the way the album unfolds and I can anticipate where beats get chopped up and drop off.

Stream the entire album now on FlyLo’s Myspace (the songs in the player up through Galaxy in Janaki).  Believe it or not, Do the Astral Plane is my favorite on the album despite the Thom Yorke collab … And the World Laughs with You.

source: dataless

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Infinite Body – Carve Out the Face of My God

April 12, 2010

Post #33.  Infinite BodyCarve Out the Face of My God.  I can’t claim to know the exact way you should interpret this album, but I can share with you how I have interpreted it and how it affects me emotionally.  First, read the song titles.

1. Dive

2. A Fool Persists

3. What They Wanted to be Was Useless

4. Out to Where I Am

5. On Our Own to Fall Off

6. Beside me in the Dawn

7. Sunshine

8. Lived on it’s Knees (for Matt)

9. He Runs without Feet and Holds without Hands

10. Drive Dreams Away

11. Carve Out the Face of My God

I do not know if Kyle Parker, creator of Infinite Body, is a Christian or even if he believes in a Higher Power.  His song titles, however, are strongly evocative of Christian Theology and belief in a God who is all-powerful, all-present, and personal.  Some songs seem to be conveying grand ideas while others are reminiscent of church music with organs and strings.  This is, perhaps, Parker’s attempt to sculpt his understanding of God with music, and it may just be Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel of electronic music. (Another element that may be a stretch in interpretation is that each song seems incomplete and trails off or fades away, and if this were man’s attempt to describe an Infinite Being it would be appropriate to acknowledge his inability to do so completely).

Even without a Theological interpretation the music is powerful and can be enjoyed by anyone who is willing to slow down and let the music pass over and through them.  There are no obvious melodies, hooks, or drum beats, but this is well worth your time.  I hope you enjoy it.

and a live version of Sunshine

source: pfork

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Radiohead Singles!

March 23, 2010

Post #31.  You knew it was coming.  I’m actually impressed with myself that I went 30 weeks without making a Radiohead post.  Well, there are three reasons to do it now: 1. Radiohead and various band members have been writing and releasing singles recently, 2. Radiohead are currently recording!, and 3. I get to see Atoms for Peace (Yorke’s solo group) perform in Chicago on April 10 and I wanted an excuse to brag about it.  (And, yeah, I took that photo at Bonnaroo.)

RadioheadHarry Patch (In Memory Of).  Gorgeous classical arrangement featuring Yorke’s isolated voice.  This was written for Harry Patch, the last surviving British soldier of WWI, and released after his death last year.  Yorke’s vocals are left untouched to portray Patch’s state.

RadioheadThese Are My Twisted Words.  This song is as good as any of the tracks on In Rainbows and makes me excited for what they might be recording now.  I love the trailing guitars and light kickdrum thump.

Thom YorkeHearing Damage.  Song from Twighlight series New Moon Soundtrack.  Way to expose those vampire-loving teenagers to good music, Thom!

Thom Yorke feat. Jonny GreenwoodFeeling Pulled Apart by Horses. This track is a pretty neat experiment in musical deconstruction.  Instruments enter and exit as they please to contribute to the creepy groove.   A less impressive track, The Hollow Earth, was included on the flip side of this release.

Thom YorkeAll for the Best.  This is a lovely cover of a Mark Mulcahy song featuring Thom’s brother, Andy Yorke, on harmony vocals.  This is from the tribute album Ciao My Shining Star.

Jonny GreenwoodDoghouse.  This is an abstract classical piece that Greenwood was commissioned to write for the BBC Orchestra.  It is similar to his earlier composition Popcorn Superhet Receiver, which was used for the soundtrack to There Will Be Blood.  You can stream it here, but only for two more days.  An interview with Greenwood starts about 26 minutes in and the actual piece starts around the 31 minute mark.

Phil SelwayThe Ties that Bind Us and The Witching Hour.  Two finger-picked acoustic songs. (The Ties that Bind Us is the better of the two.)  From Seven Worlds Collide album The Sun Came Out.

Ed O’Brien (with Liam Finn) – Bodhisattva Blues.  A basic rock song with some pretty neat guitar work.  You can stream it here. From Seven Worlds Collide album The Sun Came Out.

Thom YorkeThe Present Tense.  Beautiful unreleased song.

source: dead air space and pfork

(all but Greenwood’s and O’Brien’s work is on this youtube playlist)