I've been listening to more music than ever this month. A lot of it has come in the form of free music, like the Resident Advisor podcasts and CDs that accompany my DJ Mag subscription. With so much free music available these days I'm beginning to wonder if I'll see a downturn in the amount of CDs I buy? I'm not complaining though. Choice is a great thing, even it forces me to make decisions quicker on what's worth listening to.
So this month I've had to leave a few albums from my list of reviews:
- Justus Kohncke - Safe And Sound
- Carl Craig - Sessions
- Funk D'Void - Sci-Fi Hi-Fi Volume 4
- Junior Boys - Body Language Six
- The Glimmers - The Glimmers Are Gee Gee Fazzi
For what it's worth I would highly recommend each of these, especially the Funk D'Void compilation - a top quality mix.
The Breeders - Mountain Battles
Fourth album in about twenty years. It's most like Pod if a comparison with their previous output helps, and I'm inclined to say it's better too. It's a short album (36 minutes) of 13 lo-fi, melodic songs mostly shuffling along in a pleasant pace. And even when things pick up slightly on tracks like German Studies, Walk It Off and It's The Love the overall ambience remains pleasingly lo-fi.
Highlights for me are the beautiful Regalame Esta Noche (which reminds me a little of the various Pixies tracks which Black Francis sang in Spanish) and Night Of Joy for their simple beauty. And I absolutely love it when the cool-as-hell guitar riff comes in at 16secs on No Way.
15 listens | 9/10
Pretty Titty - Various
Volume 1 in a new series entitled We Make It Good, mixed by Pretty Titty. It's mixes Hindi film soundtracks and cool drum loops with some up-and-coming club stuff from the likes of Sinden and Fake Blood.
Clocking in at just under 42 minutes (a good length for an album or mix tape) the melodic and catchy head-nodding tunes are never anything but an eventful listen. Every track is essential from the amazing Sinden mix of Fever by La Luna to the Boy 8-bit update to Burial's Archangel to Cut Dem Off by Ricky Blaze. The highlight though has to be the Fake Blood Remix of Mad Again by South Rakkas... what a absolute stonker of a track.
With so much free music available on the net it's very easy to download mixes willy-nilly and not give them enough effort to appreciate but this one is a must-have download. Go and get it quickly in case they decide take it down.
30 listens | 10/10
Todd Terje - RA Podcast
Another free download but this one's definitely worth checking out. Norwegian Todd Terje mixes old classics from the likes of Sly & Robbie and The Temptations with current club tracks like Je T'aime (Simian Mobile Disco Mix) by Armand Van Helden. It sounds like a potential disaster but it works. And the closing track, the Cousin Cole mix of Bruce Springsteen's I'm On Fire is a touch of class.
7 listens | 7/10
The Black Dog - Radio Scarecrow
Arguably the best album from the seminal techno trio from Sheffield (in the UK). Radio Scarecrow isn't a concept album, but opening track Transmission Start gently eases you into proceedings with Train By The Autobahn (parts 1 and 2) following seamlessly and setting the scene for the rest of the album. It's an uplifting mix of ambient sounds, rich in texture and deep in emotion with just enough melody to satisfy (but not ingratiate).
Highlights include Set To Receive, closest in style to their previous work, EPV Echoes, where a top quality sound system would come in handy to appreciate their experimentation with electronic voice phenomena and Witches OV which combines a voice from the radio with a beautiful melody.
A wonderful ambient techno album.
16 listens | 10/10
James Ruskin - The Dash
An unexpected purchase and a pleasant surprise. Techno stalwart James Ruskin has made an album that can be listened to in the club as well at home in the office... just my cup of tea!
As a whole it's a fairly intense sound made up of insistent beats and subtle melodies (it's what I reckon Boards of Canada would sound like if they started to make music for the dancefloor). And while not overly formulaic I would say that a few tracks like Surfaced and Lahaine manage to establish a melody and beats combo early on and stick to it with little deviation.
Interestingly I thought a few tracks, like Under 3 and Outlined could easily have been lifted from recent albums by Let's Go Outside and Samim their sound being so similar. Exceptions and highlights include The Black Dog inspired Glasshoppers and Izzygan, with it's soaring blend of hard beats and manipulated vocal edits. Overall though a very strong effort. I like it.
9 listens | 8/10
The Count & Sinden - RA Podcast
Another amazing free mix in this month's list! And it proves to be the perfect companion piece for the Pretty Titty mix as it includes a couple of crossover tracks / artists in the form of Fake Blood and Sinden. It's a party mix with an upbeat mix of head-nodding tracks covering a wide range of genres from hip-hop, electro, grime, funk, dancehall and house.
6 listens | 8/10
Still loving Batbox from the French electro goddess Miss Kittin. See last month's round-up for the review. Also, still clocking up a few listens of the Mlle Caro and Franck Garcia album Pain Disappears. Review here.