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Andy Stott's Luxury Problems

Hello! Yes, after just shy of a year, Clothes HQ is back. Honestly it’s a bit humbling to see such a loyal readership since the inception of this blog in 2009. I don’t know how often I will write or when something will get posted (I’m thinking something on a weekly basis) but rest assured that I’m back yet again for another round of posts on some high quality and truly excellent music. You guys like seeing it, I like writing about it, so here it goes.

Also, if you are so inclined, feel free to “Like” Clothes HQ on Facebook. And by all means continue to drop me a line via Facebook, email, or leave a comment on my personal Last.fm page. I definitely welcome suggestions as well – if you know of something that you feel would be a good fit to read about on the blog, message me and I’ll see what I can do. Without great music to write about, this site wouldn’t exist.

I’ll get right to it. This, ladies and gentlemen, is Andy Stott’s latest output dubbed Luxury Problems released on Modern Love out of Manchester, UK. I’ve been following this individual for a few years now and every release ends up pleasantly surprising me in one form or another. Andy Stott has a history of creating richly detailed yet mostly minimal dub techno oriented music – and with every release, the already seemingly subterranean lows seem to go even lower, completely dominating whatever system you’re using to listen to this wonderful treat of an album.

Having a length record as well as a bevy of other EPs and a few remixes already out in the wild, Stott is no stranger to music production. This individual made his debut with Merciless in 2006. Attention to this producer has been growing steadily with every release, and I think he has gotten quite a bit of that especially when you take into account The Massacre as well as Fear of Heights EPs both produced in 2007. Last year I spent some time writing about We Stay Together, a release so disturbingly deep that it must have been concocted out of this world.

 

 

The track “Numb” – a nearly seven minute parade – opens the album. This by itself holds “Luxury Problems” up incredibly well and can be used quite well as a measure to determine the quality of the production of the rest of the record. A whispering, angelic voice pierces the morbid depths of the rest of work weaving gently throughout the rest of the song. It really is exquisite and even delicate at some points – all making for a very fleshed out and explored piece of work.

Luxury Problems remains incredibly enjoyable without being overbearing. Delicate without being fluffy. Deep without being obnoxious. I’m particularly interested in the vocals – from what I’ve read elsewhere, the female singing throughout the album here is a former piano teacher of Mr Stott’s. It is clear that they worked really well together and definitely is something that I’d like to see again in future works. Really, the vocals add a refreshing if not mysterious layer to the music.

One can quite easily get lost in this sort of album and that is a quality that I really strive to look for when I listen to music. You know something is good if you are able and comfortable to keep coming back to it months and years after its release and this is the calibre that I think Andy Stott has set out for. Every single track has something excellent and truly inspirational to offer its listener. Definitely not a “drive-by album” by any means and I would encourage readers to keep an eye out for this guy.

Enjoy this release and read more about it at the following links.
Last.fm

Discogs

Modern Love

Purchase this release from:

Boomkat

Amazon

Download.

It’s Artificial is the very recently released debut album from the US-based artist Andrew Bayer on the trance stronghold Anjunabeats label. Bayer’s background contains a lot of roots in trance and other electronic-oriented music. He has collaborated with fellow musicians Boom Jinx and BT (“The Emergency) in the past, producing formidable results. However, he is mostly known for his work in a duo trance act dubbed Signalrunners with partner-in-music Alan Nimmo. With Nimmo, he is responsible for some really fantastic sounds under the Signalrunners alias since its inception in 2003. The duo also released a nicely composed single called Unconditional in 2006 on Mondo Records.

However, as a solo artist, It’s Artificial is his debut album released not too long ago this year. And although the background of Bayer is deeply rooted in trance music, this album does not contain so much of those elements typically found in that genre. Instead, the record penetrates the glitch-hop realm of the music world heavily infused with elements found in idm and breakbeat-based work. The record would fit perfectly within Ninja Tune’s catalog or even Planet Mu, just to give you an idea of what you might expect within.

“Counting the Points”, as linked above, almost has a certain µ-Ziq-quality to it, especially heard within its beginning.

Armed with a seemingly hypnotic glitch-hop framework, the record effortlessly provides ample replayability value with extraordinary craftsmanship and a BT-like attention to detail. I think it’s rather impressive considering the album’s gorgeous versatility, although perhaps to some it may not immediately be apparent.

With his debut, Andrew Bayer has created a work so composed and intricate, that it may stand to rival heavyweight albums in the same genre. Spacious vocal-less breakbeats with glitch-hop? Yes please.

For more information, please check out the following resources:

Last.fm

Discogs

Anjunabeats blog

If you like the record, do yourself a favor and buy it at:

Beatport

Audiojelly

Amazon

Download.

Just thought I’d drop a line showcasing “Midnight City” off of M83’s forthcoming album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. Release date TBA.

The song is available to download here.

M83 is Anthony Gonzalez, a one man shoegaze-ish band hailing from France. His first few albums are top notch quality. His latest record entitled Saturdays = Youth from 2008 took a bit of a weird change in direction as far as sound goes.

It was a lot more open and honestly it felt a little diluted from previous M83 works, which typically incorporated many elements from the shoegaze and idm genres to make incredible textures and soundscapes. This song from his upcoming album gets me excited because it sounds like it is a return to his earlier, more robust works of art.

Also, take a look at his upcoming concert tour from the website listed below.

More to come…

Find more information at:

Last.fm

Discogs

Download this for free at:

ilovem83

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‘sup guys?

I’m really not sure how to start this one off. When I first heard Tryshasla, it came off immediately as one of the finest records that I had ever had the pleasure of listening to – a sentiment that still remains to this day.

Not necessarily straying too far from brother-album Tryshasla in terms of sound and structure, Secede (aka Lennard van der Last) managed quite successfully in creating a piece of work that compliments his ability to aurally paint wonderfully detailed soundscapes that explode with vibrancy in Silent Flower Observers.

Cliché or not, the man has an intriguing signature that I haven’t been quite able to find in other artists within the same musical vein. It doesn’t really take much time to ascertain and make sense of how the man puts his feelings and thoughts onto the record. He even sings in some of these tracks; quite low key and “private”-like.

Much like Tryshasla, Silent Flower Observers doesn’t really have any primary backbone as far as pure musical structure – the sounds heard within this album subscribe to spontaneity and not too much more. Wonderful pads accompany tasteful vocal sampling and warm beatwork, ultimately coming together to create a wholly unified and magical work of art.

In reality, a wide range of sounds can be heard upon entering the daydream world of Secede’s records. From the distant, threatlessness of thunderstorms opening to an audience at (in my mind) a magic show clapping in appreciation to a magician’s trick. The nature of this album means that it can contently and quietly enables its listener’s imagination to soar to stratospheric heights as a result of its expansive, lighthearted dreamworld.

The general consensus is that Secede’s breakthrough musical moment is with the release of Tryshasla (very much a defining and heavily influential album within the idm/electronic music world), however Silent Flower Observers seems to be a bit overlooked, maybe as a result of the fact that the man himself canceled it for reasons not currently known (even the Sending Orbs website offers just a vague one-liner sentence on this subject).

Unavailable physically, unfortunately.

P.S, I’m already seeing that this post could be written a bit better, but give me some time and I’m sure I’ll reconnect with my vocabulary sooner or later.

Check out the following links for more information:

Last.fm

Discogs

– Clothes HQ post on Secede’s Tryshasla

Download.

i slept in these clothes

Hi guys. Since January, I have consistently received a healthy amount of email regarding the status of Clothes HQ and whether or not I’ll be coming back to post once more (which is totally awesome). I’ve also been asked often whether or not I can “review” new material from budding artists and labels.

Well, it should be apparent by my Last.fm listening activity that I am alive and well. And although pageviews have gradually decreased since our hiatus at the end of January this year, I find that I am still getting a decent amount of them which seems to indicate that the Internet just isn’t finished with this little page on the corner of the web.

Something to note is that my music tastes have shifted a bit into more of a house direction. This may or may not affect how much I potentially post from that genre. I still listen to a lot of idm, dnb, trance, dubstep, and what not though. And if I do start up again (based on feedback that I will get via email/comments), I’m going to need help on this post.

Sooo. What do you think? I appreciate any and all input. Email me or post a comment below (not sure why people would rather email me over posting below btw :p).

posted by admin

orgasmic album.

Brand new 2010 release from IDM guru Wisp!

Reid Dunn, otherwise known as Wisp, is known for epic song structures and Kettel-like playful beats and interesting vocal samples. The man is signed to Richard D. James’ (Aphex Twin) Rephlex label, responsible for an enormous amount of high quality electronic music.

We Miss You could be seen as a continuation of Wisp’s 2009 record The Shimmering Hour: full of energetic rhythms set on a well laid out foundation of awesomeness. It’s crazy how similar this record is to its predecessor. That’s not, of course, to say that it’s a dull and uninspired effort, au contraire, this album represents the cream of the crop in recent IDM releases, complete with Wisp’s signature style of creating obscenely orgasmic beat work.

Seen in the above clip from Youtube, Morning Myth is the first track of fourteen. It starts out slowly with a somewhat warped vocal sample, and then moves to collect more sounds to add to its arsenal of Awesome™.  We Miss You is actually pretty healthy in duration, clocking in at just over an hour and fifteen minutes. Other highlights include To Draw Something Beautiful, We Are Like You, Bottoms up, Charlie Longfeet, Lords & Ladies, and Moss on Stone.

The whole album is very, very well done and very competent in its approach, making for yet another fine release from Rephlex. To be frank, I wasn’t expecting another record from him so soon from his last! And of course, if you like it, please buy it. It’s only £6.25 / ~$10 USD from the newly added online Rephlex webshop.

Can’t wait for a physical copy to come out.

For more information, check out:

Last.fm

Discogs

Buy this at:

Rephlex

Download.

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Let’s start with something care free, shall we?

Unknown Coordinates is the very recent 2009 album by Dom Mino’, and released on Schole (SCH-011), a label based in Japan. The man has one other record out entitled Time Lapse released a year earlier, though I have not listened to it yet.

Combining a few elements of electronic music with folk, Unknown Coordinates has somewhat of a unique position within various styles of music. The first track (appropriately titled “Liquid Architecture”) of the album is probably the most “electronic” of them all, mixing a host of IDM-like sounds with a winded backdrop that reminds me of some of Oil 10‘s music.

The album really starts to shine as it progresses. The second track is incredibly fluid. It begins with … children laughing. And then just when you think you know where the track is headed, it shifts into a direction that is uncharacteristic of electronic oriented music; ultimately, a bass guitar provides the song’s backing while jazz-styled drums provide some of its rhythm and direction. Almost like Supermodified-era Amon Tobin, really! Actually, the very beginning seconds of this song are eerily familiar with the some of the sounds of the self-titled album by Discuss (and like Dom Mino’, really are deserving of more attention in their respective musical circle).

It’s amazing how satisfying an experience this record is. As a whole, it has rather delicate underpinnings. Lightly peppered by high-note, fragile piano pieces and in some cases, weaved within samples that sound like they came from the classic ’81 film The Fox and the Hound. It’s quite complimentary and works well to forward the album to its rather contagiously gleeful ending. If this album doesn’t end up in your Heavy Rotation playlist, I am not sure what will.

Highly recommended.

Not much more information at:

Last.fm

Discogs

You can also buy the album here, however it’s kind of hard considering the label’s website is in Japanese.

Download.

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Compass is the brand new record by EBM mastermind Tom Shear, who records under the alias Assemblage 23. The album is being released on the lovely Metropolis – home to many industrial bands like Front Line Assembly, Mentallo & The Fixer, and on the lighter side, Covenant, Apoptygma Bezerk, and VNV Nation.

From this records, it’s quite obvious A23’s learned a lot musically since his previous full length Meta (which has great album art), released in 2007. Production wise, it feels rejuvenated. It’s mixed very well, which is a huge plus.

Lyrically, there is a bit of similarity to his last record in the sense that a lot of the lyrics are associated with introspection (evident with track titles like “Sorry,” “Ghosts,” Damaged,” “Old,” etc, on Meta, and then “How Can You Sleep,” and “Alone Again” on this). However, this album is more low-key in that aspect which in my opinion fits quite neatly with the pulsing synths and class beats that emerge in the background.

“Spark” is the first single, which contains some of the introspective lyrics that are present in much of Tom Shear’s discography as mentioned above. Its release brings us a nice remix by Combichrist.

I used to listen to lot of A23 back in the day. In fact, this is the artist that introduced me to “industrial dance” music, then I went on to discover the majority of the other artists on Metropolis, first working my way through the lighter side of the label a la VNV Nation and Covenant and working my way through Front Line Assembly and especially :wumpscut: (whose material gets released on his own label Beton Kopf Media; Metropolis just licenses his stuff for US distribution). This album is a nice refresher for those who haven’t listened to any of A23’s previous works, though I highly recommend that you lend your ears to the slightly darker Storm released in ’04 … that is, after you’ve listened to this.

It’s calculated. This record feels like it was created with a strong-willed determination, and not aimless like so many albums I’ve listened to from the genre. There’s effort, there’s focus, there’s something that I feel in this that tells me this record goes somewhere. The last half is especially good, and I really dig the remix of “Spark” by “Burikusu!!!,” which is a nice, slightly slower (bpm) rework of the original.

Fifteen fantastic tracks that clock in at 1hr 15 minutes. Truth be told, I could not be more impressed, and evidently, I am not the only one. Tom Shear on his website states that the 2CD deluxe edition of Compass, limited to a mere 1,000 copies, sold out pretty quickly upon arrival on his website. Unfortunately, I missed picking one up, but I’ll be placing an order for the regular edition ($14 USD) at A23’s webshop.

Highly recommended. P.S, if you needed any more proof that you should check out the rest of Tom Shear’s work (as if this post wasn’t enough), listen to this.

For more information, check out:

Last.fm

Discogs

MySpace

And obviously, if you enjoy what you hear, purchase it at:

– A23’s webshop

Download.

Movements was created by Sweden-based Magnus Birgersson and released this earlier this year on Ultimae Records. Solar Fields has seven albums out, including the soundtrack record to the videogame Mirror’s Edge.

The opener to the album, “Sol,” is a bassy, nearly eight minute standout that sports use of the sitar. Very, very faintly reminiscent of Ulrich Schnauss‘s music: created in a similar vein but uniquely exhilarating. Ulrich Schnauss also incorporates more frequent use of percussion.

Two of the album’s biggest highlights aside from “Sol” are “Discovering” and “The Stones Are Not too Busy,” incredibly moving and about as bassy as ambient music gets. The former clocks in at a healthy eleven minutes in length; a lovely multi-layered adventure into the wonderfully relaxing and carefree music from Solar Fields.

This record is warm and inviting, where nothing but a vibrant, happy-go-lucky atmosphere exists. I suggest looking into Ultimae Records as a whole; the label features artists like Aes Dana and Carbon Based Lifeforms, as well as HUVA Network, a collaboration between Solar Fields and Aes Dana. Highly recommended. Solar Fields really hit it out of the ballpark with this release.

For more information, check out:

Last.fm

Discogs

MySpace

If you like this record, buy it at:

Ultimae’s Webshop

Amazon

Download.

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Meet Solo Andata, an Australian-based duo who created a masterpiece of a self-titled record released on the label 12k last month. Taylor Deupree‘s 12k imprint label, based in New York, remains one of the best out there for modern experimental music.

Texturally alluring, Solo Andata has a glacially minimalistic and cold approach to music creation. In a way, it’s a bit like Stars of the Lid, but with more “metallic”-feeling elements, like standing alone in a chilly and dark room on cold concrete, or taking advantage of a heavy snowfall by making snow angels in the front yard.

Solo Andata’s self-titled record contains the sounds of the wind rippling through a harsh blizzard, the water from the dripping faucet resigning itself to being frozen to a later, warmer time, as tinted and distant vocals come and go while the slow and quiet act of aural asphyxiation takes place.

And just like Stars of the Lid, the duo applies the cello in sparse quantities, with a controlled reservation that I can appreciate pretty nicely. It is not often that I can declare something to be album of the year material, but I am going to nod my head to this release as being just that.

Initially I wanted to upload the first song out of the album (“Ablation”) to Youtube for listening, because it incorporated the cello and so much more in a relaxed atmosphere, but it surpassed the ten minute rule for uploaded material.

Highly recommended.

For more information, check out the following resources:

Last.fm

Discogs

MySpace

If you like what you hear, purchase it at:

12k Webshop

Download.

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