Monday, March 19, 2012

[ERATP 033 CD] Nils Frahm – Felt CD (Album) 2011

Nils Frahm – Felt
Label: Erased Tapes Records – ERATP033CD
Format: CD, Album
Country: Germany
Released: 07 Oct 2011
Genre: Classical, Electronic
Style: Neo-Classical

1         Keep     3:27    
2         Less     5:33    
3         Familiar     3:30    
4         Unter     2:37    
5         Old Thought     5:49    
6         Snippet     4:26    
7         Kind     3:23    
8         Pause     5:36    
9         More     8:56
There's a very literal reason for the title of Nils Frahm's new album, Felt. He wanted to play the piano during the dead of night, without disturbing his neighbours, so he layed thick felt in front of its strings to muffle the sound. Rather than being frustrated, he unexpectedly found himself enchanted by this dampened sound, and it opened up new compositional as well as playing possibilities for his inquisitive mind. The resulting work is varied in style but it all has a close, confessional, nocturnal quality that's beautifully wrought and expertly recorded: from the Reich-a-like layered arpeggios of 'Keep' and 'More', to the wistful, jazz-tinted Glassisms of 'Familiar', there are plenty of grand harmonic gestures, but these are nicely
interspersed with, and balanced by, eerie ambiences like 'Pause' and 'Less'. Really lovely music for the arriving Autumn days, and recommended for fans of Machinefabriek, Isan and other masters of subtly romantic electro-acoustic sonorities.

[HAFTW 010] Leyland Kirby – Eager To Tear Apart The Stars CD (Album) 2011

Leyland Kirby – Eager To Tear Apart The Stars
Label: History Always Favours The Winners – HAFTW010
Format: CD, Album
Country: Europe
Released: Sep 2011
Genre: Electronic
Style: Abstract, Ambient

Mastered At – Dubplates & Mastering
Artwork – Ivan Seal
Mastered By – Lupo*
Recorded By, Other [Constructed By] – Leyland Kirby

1 The Arrow Of Time 3:12
2 This Is The Story Of Paradise Lost 9:43
3 To Reject The World 1:28
4 No Longer Distance Than Death 7:53
5 They Are All Dead, There Are No Skip At All 10:25
6 My Dream Contained A Star 10:13
*CD version - in a beautiful digipak with original artwork by Ivan Seal.* James Leyland Kirby is a prolific artist with a remarkably long and varied career working inside, outside and beyond the electronic underground. From his roots as renowned audio prankster and sonic agitator V/VM to his critically acclaimed work as The Caretaker and, most recently, Leyland Kirby - he's always attracted the attention of an often bewildered audience, although his stature and position as serious auteur has somehow grown exponentially with every year that has gone by since his beginnings in rainy Edgeley back in the mid 90's. Following on from 2009's now-classic 'Sadly, The Future Is No Longer What It Was' and the inauguration of new series "Intrigue & Stuff" earlier this year, he now returns with a new album - and it's pretty clear that he's just in the form of his life. These tracks are arrestingly clear-headed and sombre, with the requisite amount of emotional un-ease and a beguilling sense of ambiguity thanks to those perception-altering layers of fuzz and filtered detritus on the lens keeping things firmly hyperreal. How you decipher the meanings of these moods and atmospheres is where the beauty and longevity of these tracks lie, as patience and repeated listens will reveal new views of the landscape as the seasons change. Imagine if Roedelius had grown up in Stockport in the midst of a rave-o-lution, couple that with a sardonic yet discerning post-everything attitude 10 years before everyone else, and then wonder what that experience may result in - and you just might be quite close to imagining the treats this album holds in store for you...

[TO:42V] Chris Watson – El Tren Fantasma - The Signal Man's Mix Vinyl 2011

Chris Watson – El Tren Fantasma - The Signal Man's Mix
Label: Touch – TO:42V
Format: Vinyl, 12", 45 RPM
Country: UK
Released: 09 Nov 2011
Genre: Non-Music
Style: Field Recording

A         El Divisadero - The Telegraph        
B         Veracruz - The Tunnel
Holy crap - Chris Watson on vinyl? Is it true? Well yeah, Touch are really treating us with this one, and veteran field recordist Watson has pulled out all the stops for this very special release. Whereas usually Watson's recordings are 'pure' representations of the subject matter, here we are presented with two 'mixes' of audio collected as he recorded for a BBC documentary. The difference in approach can be heard almost instantly as the train's engine forms rhythmic pulses beneath what sounds like manipulations of the train horn itself. This collision of drone and environmental sound is nothing new, but Watson does it with such skill that it's hard not to be totally taken aback by the sheer quality of the sounds. On the flipside, the harmonic elements are almost removed entirely to allow the crushing engine noise to take centre stage, bellowing and wheezing like the Wolf Eyes record you never heard. Sterling stuff as always from Watson then, and all the better for being on vinyl! Highly recommended.   

[TO:42] Chris Watson – El Tren Fantasma CD (Album) 2011

Chris Watson – El Tren Fantasma
Label: Touch – TO:42
Format: CD, Album
Country: UK
Released: 09 Nov 2011
Genre: Electronic, Non-Music
Style: Field Recording, Experimental

1         La Anunciante     4:00    
2         Los Mochis     6:29    
3         Sierra Tarahumara     5:24    
4         El Divisadero     5:34    
5         Crucero La Joya     4:58    
6         Chihuahua     4:34    
7         Aguascalientes     3:26    
8         Mexico D.F.     9:14    
9         El Tajin     10:16    
10         Veracruz     3:11
A stunning tapestry of field recordings from the master, Chris Watson, with his fourth album appearance on Touch, and his first since 2003's acclaimed Weather Report. Originally aired in a BBC Radio 4 broadcast last year, the sounds that constitute El Tren Fantasma (The Ghost Train) replicate the cross-country, coast to coast, Pacific to Atlantic FNM train route from Los Mochis to Veracruz. This line, a high watermark of Mexican engineering, no longer exists as a passenger route, but Watson beautifully recreates and evokes it using archive recordings. Watson spent a month on board the train with some of the last passengers to travel the route, when he was working as a sound recordist on the BBC TV series Great Railway Journeys. Watson fans will know what to expect: an aural adventure of great beauty, poignancy, humour and vivacity.