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posted by Unctuous

The Blood of Heroes is a collaborative project consisting of Bill Laswell, Enduser, Justin Broadrick, KJ Sawka, and many more. Inspired by the original 80s film by the same title, “The Blood of Heroes” portrays a post-apocalyptic world stricken by war and chaos. Grimy guitars create desolate, harsh landscapes scarred by poverty and remnants of a once inhabitable place. This album is incredibly heavy, and rich in terms of both the sounds themselves, and the story behind it. A wide range of sounds are explored from more heavily processed, industrial, electronic drums and guitars, to very textured rhythms that have a layered quality that provides a rich, organic backing.

The album flows wonderfully in a perfectly cohesive style. Each track is bound to the other, picking up where the last left off to continue the story. Not only that, but the instrumentation is creates a grainy and harsh, but full and unique sound.

The songs all appear to explore a different place or event in this hurting world. The general mood is conflict, like there is always an overbearing problem yet to be fought through. In the end the journey will be brutal, but keep pressing onward, one foot in front of the other, and you just might stay alive.

Sorry for the delay, midterms and other school related stuff have been taking up time. ;)

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posted by admin

For Frosty Mornings and Summer Nights is a reissue of Type Records-signed Xela’s debut album, originally released on the now-defunct Neo Ouija label. This release comes with two bonus tracks (track 12 “A Glance” and track 13, “Danse Macabre”).

The first two or three tracks is the most upbeat this album gets. “Under the Glow of Streetlights”, seen in the video below, is the second track out of the album containing some great glitch effects set to a nice beat. However, as you progress throughout the record, it starts to get a bit more cold.

Track 04’s In Between Two Rooms exemplifies this: glitchy effects, but more calculated and distant. Cackles fizz in and out of existence while other IDM-esque effects pepper the background. Towards the end of the track, you can almost hear samples of rain drops being applied here but warped in such a way where it barely makes an impression. Subtle, but very worthwhile.

“Impulsive Behaviour” could be seen as a sort of a sequel to the previous “In Between Two Rooms”. While the beat work plays more of a role, the textures are characterized by yet more fizzles and then elaborated upon by winded software-based instrumentation, creating somewhat of a deep distance between the two. There are of course some ambient-esque sounds, however IDM is one of predominant structural foundations of which most of this record is based upon.

The middle of the album sees An Abandoned Robot, a bit of a departure from the previous mainly downtempo tracks in that it employs primarily bass as a driving force to move to song onward (as opposed to strictly glitch and other IDM effects seen in the first few tracks). A relatively high-pitched sound gradually emerges and fades as the bass continues to provide the backdrop to the track. Soon, it is content to let the high pitch (I use that term lightly) sound slide out of existence, ultimately driving the song to its conclusion.

“The Long Walk Home at Midnight” sees the return of glitch as the primary motivation to move itself onward and upward. This represents a change in the album in the sense that all of the beat work, effects, and structure all come together to do something a bit different. This song is very streamlined. Bass plays more of a role (uncharacteristically) compared to all songs before it. New effects emerge, but the distant, vocalless, downtempo-esque, and yet the certain melancholic feeling still remains rather comfortably.

Ultimately, this album has incredibly high replayability value. The two bonus tracks are very fitting to the rest of the record, making for a very well rounded and seasoned soundscape. Track 12’s “Danse Macabre” almost becomes a bit melodic toward its ending – inserting a large bit of fresh air to everything. The bottom line is that the album’s title is very appropriate for the kind of sounds that you’ll find (and enjoy) in here. Highly recommended.

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(P.S, sorry about no post yesterday).

posted by Unctuous

Bitcrush is the ambient/downtempo/post-rock project of former Gridlock member Mike Cadoo. Stepping away from his earlier work of darker, more experimental IDM, and industrial, Cadoo brings together solemn melodies, ambient backgrounds, and hollow sounding drums, “In Distance” is a beautiful, calm and reserved piece of music. Melodies tend to be light, and airy coupled with with reverbed, slightly distorted acoustic drums. Lovely piano parts also drift in and out, adding colorful textures over slightly busier drum arrangements that glitch and stutter.

“Colder” shares with us a simple, yet prominent melody that starts slowly, and calmly, until bursting into an almost dissaray of chaotic, whiney guitars and deep, piercing snares. The song has a very barren and empty feeling to it exactly as the album cover depicts; a forest in the dead of winter. Frost lines the ground and snow is dusted upon leafless tree branches. The skies are grey for miles with hardly a hint of sunlight, and all is still and peaceful.

The bleak ambience of the music compliments the more solid rhythms quite well. Great attention was paid to detail in terms of the arrangements of the waves of ambient synths that glide effortlessly to create a serene atmosphere that really touches the deepest emotions. This album is full of surprises and creative innovations that blur the lines of IDM and post-rock and results in a sound that is rich in emotions.

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posted by tara

Kelpe - Sea Inside Body

Sea Inside Body is a 2004 release from UK artist Kel McKeown, a.k.a Kelpe released on D.C Recordings. While it holds ties to IDM, glitch-hop, ambient and electronica, I would hesitate to classify the album definitively. Although a breakbeat or dub pattern is audible on most tracks, the utilisation of both synthetic and organic instruments definitely bring this album into its own genre of creative expression.

What essentially occurs is a psychedelic journey through sound, each track encompassing a distinctive journey as new melodies are continually introduced and percussion loops reinterpreted. While not recorded in surround, Kelpe tends to bend his mix such that the layers are continually fluctuating in location and amplitude. He makes a sense of movement tangible in similar ways to other glitch hop artists, particularly edIT and Tipper. Interesting to also note the interpretation which can come out  of glitch cutting vocals in tracks like “Age Sculpture”, an arguable parody of the modern British woman.

All in all this album represents three years in a row of my perfect summer jams. It’ll take you from the train to the park to school to work to the party round the block and back home again. From lighthearted to melancholy, consistently bordering on the surreal, this album does what I find electronic music should always endeavour to do – redefine the boundaries of sound. Considering the sheer strength of the technology which lies at the fingertips of contemporary producers, it is arguably a sheer waste of time to simply regurgitate what has already been done.

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“Emergence” is the resulting album of the work from Trifon brothers, Laurence and Brian. The album brings elements of post-rock, ambient, and glitch and combines them in a way that feels very natural. Subtle glitches and stutters work behind the fronted synths that make  while more noticeable ones add emphasis and intricacy on slower melodic lines. The wide variety of influences keeps the album fresh, and keeps its replay value high; honestly it’s like finding a little something new with every listen.

“Parks on Fire” shows a striking resemblance to BT’s “1.618.” The stutter and glitch techniques are executed superbly with the guitar’s melody which stirs and toils endlessly around hard drums and metallic effects; toying with time signatures with syncopated rhythms in 3/4. The track also has an ambient backing that breathes an extra depth into the track near the end that ties everything together.

As the album unfolds later on, more influences of trip-hop and post-rock are exhibited. Guitars with an abundance of reverb, backed by ambient chord progressions lead tracks above and beyond in terms of atmosphere. Even in “Terminal A” a Boxcutter-like dubstep feel is introduced while atonal, plucked notes on guitar and processed effects play along behind. This album is truly one of a kind, and the kind of music that can’t be found anywhere else.

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posted by Unctuous

“Focus & Flow” is the second release from the electronic music duo KiloWatts & Vanek consisting of James Watts on keyboards/digital instruments and Peter Van Ewijk on vocals and guitar. This album is constructed of mainly downtempo, glitched beats with acoustic guitar and vocals which also have been processed to add digital characteristics. Both guitar and vocal samples are often sculpted into entirely new parts going back and forth melodically responding and answering one another.

On the opening track “Morningstar” gives us a great introduction of what to expect for the duration of this album. Mysterious sounding chords open the album as vocals advance and gradually become more processed and glitched. Eventually the track blasts into a breakbeat pattern sending a chorus harmonized vocals flying into the air and creating a high-energy, yet beautiful quality. Personally I think this track would sound amazing without the beats, leaving only the guitar, vocals and synths.

Another great aspect of the album is the sheer intricacy of the arrangement of vocals, guitar, and digitally synthesized parts; everything is articulate and crystal clear. In some ways the techniques used to manipulate Ewijk’s vocals and the samples used remind me of BT‘s work, specifically albums such as “Emotional Technology” or “This Binary Universe.”  Ewijk’s vocals flow smoothly over rather glitchy rhythms, and the processed guitars fit wonderfully as a melodic sort of catalyst.

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posted by Unctuous

Matthew Dear is a minimal techno artist signed to Ghostly International Records (also home to artists such as Kiln, Twine, and Tycho). In “Leave Luck To Heaven” Dear lays down sharp, upbeat rhythms and tight synth hits that are winding and intricate, yet almost danceable. Relying mostly on the beats, and other sliced samples, melodies play a minimal role in this album. I really loved the use of underlying elements in this album. While the beats may stay somewhat stagnant, there is a good bit happening in the background; from chopped vocals samples, to brooding pads.

In a way it is difficult to describe the overall mood of this album. If I could describe this album visually I would associate it with a dark shade of grey, but with a noise filter to show how it is mostly void of emotion, but with little blips and glitches throughout that add flavor. “Dog Days” and “It’s Over Now” are prime examples of the combination of dreary vocals with a minimal dance and glitch feel. Dear’s own vocals actually make for a nice addition to the music; adding to the hard, concrete quality.

Owning up to Ghostly International Record’s forward-thinking reputation, “Leave Luck To Heaven” is a high quality, and different piece of minimal techno. Casually thumping through each track, the little additions add up to a big aural picture that delivers a satisfying listen.

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posted by Unctuous

“Color Strip” is the first full album from innovative IDM artist Jimmy Edgar, and his first with Warp Records. Not only being in the music business, Edgar also owns his own photography firm. His abstract creativity is prevalent not only visually, but aurally as heard in this album. “Color Strip” explores IDM and glitch like I’ve never quite heard before; taking trip forward in time to a futuristic electro night club in Detroit, however the synth samples add a retro-style vibe. Chopped vocals and synths adorn the minimalist rhythms, and Jimmy’s own vocals are featured on various tracks. Edgar’s new take on IDM incorporates groovy rhythms and cold, stabbing synth samples.

His music is not only fresh, but extremely catchy. The melodies are minimal; hardly evolving, if not static and only repeated. However this does not in any way take away from the musical appeal. It retains its appeal through the quality of mixing and samples used, and the overall arrangement of the tracks. As stated before this album is quite innovative and I highly recommend this album to all fans of IDM and glitch.

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posted by Unctuous

Underrated material here. Two years since Bryan Michael’s last full length release (entitled Principles of Suffocation in 2007), we get to hear a brand new record called A Dog Lost in the Woods. Fantastic tunes; recommended. Many of these songs almost have a metallic feel to it, especially notable in Solip; which is not to say that it’s a particularly cold record. Au contraire, this is very upbeat and rhythmic IDM, reminiscent of songs like Drink Malk by Ochre, the City Rain (who is also signed to Electronic Eel, by the way) remix of Obfusc’s Amateur Cartography, etc. Awesome album; $12 at the label’s website. Samples here.

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posted by admin.