grime

Modeselektor - Happy Birthday!

Modeselektor - Happy Birthday!

What a surprise, another great album from Berlin. Apparently these guys are one of Thom York's favourite. He sings a track with them on this one.

Hyper Hyper is a shout out to the great electro artists of the past (and you can hear the influence in there). It even sounds like ... oh damn, what's it called? That classic dance track I can't remember right now but I always get confused with 3 Drives.

There are lots of other interesting collaborations going on here. Maximo Park and Apparat make an appearance, as do Puppetmastaz, Berlin's famous animal puppet faced hip-hop group. I'm not sure who Siriusmo is, but the track they help out on, D├ęboutonner, is definitely a standout piece.

Burial - Untrue

Burial - Untrue

I overlooked the release of this album a couple of months ago (I was at sea at the time) and I've been feeling like I missed out on something special. Never mind though, relief comes in the form of Burial overdose. Back in June when I was completely blown away by his eponymous debut LP I had no idea that his second album was so near, nor that it would be met with such widespread acclaim; it's even taken the prize for album of 2007 on metacritics list!

There's plenty of stuff out there on the ol' inteweb saying the same thing, it sounds like South London in the dark; it sounds like a post-rave come-down; it sounds like the remnants of the dance culture that we've almost lost. But there's something else that nobody seems to have picked up on, Archangel is ambient pop gold. Those cut to shed vocals just couldn't get any more appetizing.

One gripe. Why isn't this stuff being nominated for the Mercury Prize? I mean, I fail to see the difference between what's happening here and what Roni Size was doing in the 90s. Maybe there's a slight conflict of interest going on these days?

Al-Haca - Family Business

Al-Haca - Family Business

Another Berlin outfit - though I think the vocalists are from all over the place. Fell in love with their sound after hearing their Fight Club mix on a trip to Berlin.

The vocalists are great. RQM features again on this album (as he does on the last Tolcha masterpiece) which I couldn't be happier about - he pulls out such interesting lyrics.

I believe this is a digital only release (it's on emusic) - making a point of sticking it to the record labels. I also read somewhere that they're planning to do several small releases of the work they're doing at the moment instead of a single long album.

I actually tried to see these cats several times when I was in Berlin one weekend but my efforts were continually thwarted. Who the hell holds a party at 7 in the morning?

Tolcha - Gestalt

Tolcha - Gestalt

Really loving this at the moment. Very dark - being grime that makes perfect sense. A lot of it is quite ambient, though the album builds as a whole to several massive peaks - complemented by exquisite vocal work. RQM, who also features on the new Al-Haca work, seems to be the main contributor though several different vocalists make an appearance. The turning point for me is after the line "I'm a rapper but one of the broke ones" in Tomchak.

It's worth stopping a moment to take in the lyrics. In typical Berlin style it feels quite grass-level socially political, if you catch my drift. It gets serious in Blckrcrd when there's talk of killing billionaires.

Reminds me a lot of Burial. That's a good thing. Wonderfully cohesive work.

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!

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