Kraftwerk "Trans-Europa Express" (digital remaster)


Although Autobahn was a left-field masterpiece, Trans-Europe Express is often cited as perhaps the archetypal (and most accessible) Kraftwerk album. Melodic themes are repeated often and occasionally interwoven over deliberate, chugging beats, sometimes with manipulated vocals; the effect is mechanical yet hypnotic.

The song "Trans-Europe Express" (featured here) is similar in concept to "Autobahn," as it mimics the swaying motion and insistent drive of a cross-continent train trip.

Overall, Trans-Europe Express offers the best blend of minimalism, mechanized rhythms, and crafted, catchy melodies in the group's catalog; henceforth, their music would take on more danceable qualities only hinted at here (although the title cut provided the basis for Afrika Bambaataa's enormously important dancefloor smash "Planet Rock").

The Mummers 'Tale To Tell'

The Mummers 'Tale To Tell'

The Mummers drift out of your speakers with a debut which is both exciting and new, but such is its joy that it happily convinces the past to skip along with it.

It is clear that this is not going to be an album to stick to the obvious. The track 'Wonderland' storms out of the blocks with a sound best described as early Goldfrapp taking a ride on a carousel with a Danny Elfman orchestra in tow. When the vocals drift in, they again add another layer to the piece, an enchanting almost naive little voice which adds to the fairy-tale-like ambience of the record itself.

The lead single, 'March of the Dawn', is the perfect opening statement for the band. The track is all at once triumphant, bombastic, fragile, eccentric, and really, truly, lovely. It's happy enough to suggest a summery track, but at the same time it also has a magical winter vibe, conjuring the images of colourful and hazy Christmases past.

The cover depicts the lead singer in the woods, and the record does achieve the sense of the magical outdoors from fairy tales and 60s folk music. The album is whimsical to an extent, but it never pushes too far in to any sense of unbelievability. In fact 'Tale To Tell' suggests that this is only the first step in to the forest of the Mummers, with no need to leave a trail of sweets behind.

Bonobo 'Black Sands'

Bonobo 'Black Sands'

Laid-back London groove maestro Simon Green (alias Bonobo) returns after a considerable absence (on the recording front, at least) with this fourth full-length helping of his masterfully mellow monkey magic.

Green's clearly been keeping his ear to the ground for a bit of rhythmic reinvigoration: the immediately striking "Kiara" reworks the hauntingly elegant string refrain that opens the album with submerged vocal splices and a halting, head-nodding left-field hip-hop beat.

Elsewhere, "We Could Forever" is a funky Afro-Latin workout riding an infectiously crisp guitar riff, and the scruffy, swing-inflected breakbeats that dominated Bonobo's earlier output crop up again on "Kong" (featured here) and "El Toro." But while the grooves here serve quite nicely (and keep things consistently varied), it's the lush layers of unmistakably live instrumentation laid on top -- most of it played by Green himself -- that make the album really soar.

For a style of electronica (chillout/downtempo) that's grown decidedly dusty over the past decade, 'Black Sands' is a welcome infusion of life and warmth.

Camille 'Le Sac des Filles'

Camille 'Le Sac des Filles'

you'll be aware of Camille through her work with Nouvelle Vague. This is her first solo album.

If you like sultry chanson, you'll love this...

Elektrons - Red Light Don't Stop

Elektrons - Red Light Don't Stop

Before I moved to the UK one of my most trusted music geek friends insisted that the Unabombers were the DJs that were kicking the crap out of everyone else. Somehow, after almost 4 years, I've still not managed to see them (they're based in Manchester and being a dirty Londoner I don't get out much).

This album is their first attempt at translating their famous party sound into original material. It's certainly got the party vibe happening. The opening track, Get Up, went straight into my record bag - anything that kicks off with a massive drum roll building up to the funky horns is bound to get the party started.

Some bits of it come across as sounding rather like Basement Jaxx - though it's definitely more disco. There are a few stand out tracks - the little sing-along number, Classic Cliche, being my pick of the moment.

Would love to go to a club night with this lot - I think this work is probably a good indication of how much fun would be had by all.

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