Simian Mobile Disco - Attack Decay Sustain Release

Simian Mobile Disco - Attack Decay Sustain Release

The UK's new kings of production. Everyone wants these guys to go to work remixing their tracks - and with good reason. They know how to sculpt a poptastic dance hit. Not like the cheesy hits we normally get bombarded with at this time of year.

Super high energy dance goodness. I believe the album was created on analogue synths, hence the Attack Decay Sustain Release.

I feel in love with these guys back when they were an indie rock band and I'm falling in love with them all over again. Just as well, no doubt we're going to be hearing this a lot over the next few months.

Frank Black - Black Letter Days

Frank Black - Black Letter Days

The general sound is much like it's predecessor, Dog In the Sand. Great pop songs. Simple little hooks that you just can't help but like.

1826 is a stand out upbeat number. One of the more rocky tracks on the album - fitted with a great oscillating drum/guitar riff time signature combo.

Alright. I need to get some Pixies. Believe it or not I've managed to go all these years without ever getting around to listening to them. It was sealed today when someone who's opinion I trust very much said that given a single choice for a desert island disc it would be the Pixies.

Hanne Hukkelberg - Rykestraße

Hanne Hukkelberg - Rykestraße

Another very pretty album. The production is noticeably slicker than her previous effort. They're actually very different sounding albums. Many of the elements are the same but the overall intent seems to be different. Little Things was like stumbling upon a child's music box. Rykestraße is more mature, the interesting sounds are still there but they take a back seat to the writing and fuller arrangements.

In North Wind instead of drums we get to enjoy the clatter of a typewriter (the ending is obvious). Seems that a lot of her stuff is made from found sounds. It's just dawned on me that a lot of my favourite pretty music these days is from Norway. What the hell do they put in the water over there?

She actually won a Spellemannsprisen award for this one (Norwegian music award where everyone in every category is downright amazing). Well deserved. A beautiful work indeed.

Burial - Burial

Burial - Burial

What the hell? Where has this been hiding? This is serious stuff - dark and dirty.

Such an original sound, it's hard to describe (as all truly original music must be). Dubstep; strange pulsing rhythms. Scattered rambling vocals sit atop the low rumble that serves as the bassline. The only real recognisable sounds are the electronic kick-drum, snare and hi-hat. Weird electronic noises are dusted throughout to make up the rest. Minimal creation at its best.

I imagine that this is what listening to Photek's Solaris felt like when it first came out in the UK. Distant Lights is an absolute killer, menacing as all hell - third listen now.

I was about to go to bed and now I've got another hour of listening to do - there's no way I can stop this album part way through.

Again again!

Accu - Lasso

Accu - Lasso

One of the dance highlights from Sonar 2007. Slicked up white suits, long flowing hair and keytars - they certainly have an ultra cool look... cool sound too.

The album itself is much smoother than I expected - when they played live the sound system was a bit quiet so I guess I figured the album itself would be more raucous. Great bit of work anyway. Silky electro beats with a jazzy edge.

Coupé is a stomping upbeat track, reminds me a bit of Leftfield. Cooper King has a really cool disco edge to it that then drops away into a funky 70s movie soundtrack vibe.

Great stuff.

Black Strobe - I'm A Man (EP)

Black Strobe - I'm A Man (EP)

Quite a Depeche Mode sound going on here. Rocky guitar riff, somewhat reminiscent of On The Road Again. Their own remix of the track is blessed with the kind of filthy electro bassline I really can't get enough of.

The Audion’s Donation remix is long (11 minutes) but good.

Not such a big fan of the remix of Shining Bright Star (sAd VErsiOn By [k37!]) on here. Downloaded another version (Phones Industrial) which is really cool though.

I really like this stuff - why isn't the album on EM yet? Damn nation.

Hanne Hukkelberg - Little Things

Hanne Hukkelberg - Little Things

Searching sets the tone of the album - soft clacks, tocks, scrapes and dings throughout. It's really dainty - very much the music box. She (Hanne) has lovely voice. A second falsetto line adorns the main vocal in many segments.

True Love is perfect - Simple off-kilter little melody/rhythm in the verse that unexpectedly slips into the plushest chorus. Boble is very French - another of my picks actually. Wonderful accordion work. Reminds me a bit of the Il Postino soundtrack (beautiful movie with a beautiful soundtrack by the way).

Similarities with Kiki Bohemia can be heard - I guess Hanne is the German version of Hannah. I wonder if she's from Berlin too (gotta love that city). Just checked Wiki - Born in Norway however the first track on her 2nd album, Rykestraße (which I've just purchased), is called Berlin.

Pretty Little Things.

Sonar Festival - In Brief

Sonar Festival - In Brief

Mica & The Cluster

The band themselves were very South London. Dirty grimy beats. Pretty cool. At the end Mica(?) did the cutest little ukulele ditty. Still stands as one of the highlights for me.

The Invisible

Another UK group. Really really tight performance. I'd like to hear their studio work. Reminded me of both Seal and P.J. Harvey. Possibly a bit safe. Worthy of investigation though.

James Holden

DJ set. Kind of how my mate described it - "the guy's sexually frustrated". Pretty fitting. I thought it was generally a good set, it would crescendo without ever quite getting to the punch-line.

Beastie Boys - Instrumental Set

Goddamn I'm glad I got to see the Beasties doing an old school instrumental set. They only played tracks off the first few albums. Lots of stuff off Check Your Head which suited me just fine - it's my favourite.

Haswell & Hecker

I was trying to get to Sunn O))) but I completely screwed it up. Anyway I'm glad I did. Possibly the pick of the festival for me. Intense beyond belief - my hearing is still suffering. A single laser sat in the middle of the stage pointing back into the crowd (as seen above). The music is constructed by feeding footage of disturbing scenes (the Madrid bombing for example) into computer software. The sounds created were so intense that a section of the roof came down - plaster everywhere. Loved it.

The Executives

I have a DJ set of theirs around here somewhere - I need to dig it out to give it another listen. Very funky, 80's electro beats.


Finland 80's electro power pop revived. These guys were fun. Great image, great tunes. Cheesy keytar goodness. I'm desperate to get more of this.

Richie Hawtin

I have friends who have been banging on at me to see this guy for years. Glad I finally did. Technically he's an absolute genius. The basically just used the turntables as simple sound generators and then created the songs out of layers of effects. Very cool. Still too downbeat for a good dance as far as I'm concerned.

Dizzy Rascal

He's slipped a notch in my books now. When I first heard his stuff I thought it sounded fresh and interesting. Watching him play was a bit disappointing - very much like any other Hip-Hop act. Should I be concerned that he too now performs with a plaster on his head?


French turntablist perfectionists. Hell of a display - very well organised. Amazing to watch 4 guys knocking out a song in perfect sync on 4 different turntables. Lovely.

All in all I had a really good time. There was certainly a huge variation of music to listen to - that is what I love after all.

Betty Davis - Betty Davis

Betty Davis - Betty Davis

Turns out the wife of Mile Davis was one talented lady. Her debut is a bonified funkfest. There's a great team behind it too, members of Santana, Sly and the Family Stone and The pointer Sisters to name a few.

Seems she knew a lot of people in the music biz (it's rumoured that an affair with Hendrix is the reason for her break up with Miles). Fit model to boot before that too.

Tom Waits - Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards

Tom Waits - Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards

3 CDs of Tom Waits... and it's all good! That's hardly surprising though - Tom Waits really knows what he's doing. I've been addicted to his work since first hearing Closing Time back in 1999 (bit slow on the uptake, I know).

In Road to Peace he gives a vague commentary on the situation in Israel & Palestine (I have a few things to say about that myself).

The album feels like an ambling road journey across The US. So many different styles are covered. I love the way it sounds like it's old - not an old recording, but for me it invokes images of olden shipping docks at night.

3 hours of heaven.

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