Monday, 27 January 2014

Weekly Spin: 27/01



There are moments in an expanding place such as this, where we - the writers; the dedicated fools - have to take a step back and marvel (as much as we scratch our head) at the sheer volume of new material and new ideas that come flooding into the conscious of the humble music enthusiasts we are a part of. While there are of course those solitary tunes that deserve their own right of place here on MRD, there is but too vast and too speedy an output to cover all this new material. In what is but the newest feature on MRD in 2014, Weekly Spin is a dedicated look-back upon the week's freshest, hottest and most intriguing listens of the past seven days. Seven days, seven tracks. And of course, like all lists, there has to be the one that trumps all; in which case, the title of STAR SPIN is awarded to the week's most exciting single offering, and one we believe you should most definitely check out. So without further ado, for last week, this week and beyond, here's our recap of the seven day spin for the week ending 26th January...

Tycho - Montana



Following on from last year's closing self-titled release from his upcoming forth album Awake, Scott Hansen's Tycho alias appears not just reinvigorated, but reborn fully into a sound with major intent. No longer is Hansen a producer caught fumbling the controls of downtempo electronica, but now he stands a leader of a deservedly bolder and more confident live set-up of guitars and percussion alike that chooses not to just simply lay idle, but compel its listener to one of Hansen's most confident and uplifting tracks to date.  

Montana finds the producer liberating his woozy electronics with sweeping guitar melodies, crisp percussion and an understandably arm-raising allure to God Is An Astronaut or Explosions In The Sky-like fulfilment. But the comparison is by no means baffling in its contrast; if anything, the mix of weightless, atmospheric synths and momentum-driven melodies give Tycho's spatial ambition to inspire yet admire, but one more reason to stay tuned to what the San Francisco-based adventurer fully has in store for us. Awake soars into our hands March 18th via Ghostly International.

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The Soft Moon - Feel



'I feel so empty inside/Why am I alive?' may be one of the biggest defeatist claims of them all, but for Luis Vasquez's The Soft Moon project, the enshrouding empathy/apathy internal conflict is one that's surprisingly expansive, as it is imploding on consideration. 2012's sophomore Zeros certainly prooved its flair of krautrock-inspired rhythms and post-punk attitude had found its calling, if not its greatest height of achievment yet. But while Vasquez is currently laying low, deep in Venice working on new material for inevitable album number three, the latest double A-sided 12" suggests Soft Moon's 80's fusion is becoming more ameobic in its identity, and thus deepeningly heart-struck.

Feel is everything its title, as well as its accompanying lyrics, suggests through whimpering sensual grasps of vocals. Yet the track's sinking, clean-as-a-landfill well of mirky guitars and slick bass lines, provides us with Soft Moon's most compact yet striking sound to date. And even with all the 80's throwbacks of sawing synths, and a continuing German affiliation with its percussion, Vasquez's simple-but-effective structure is as engrossing and moody as any classic punk advancement of three decades ago. Feel/Hunger is out now.
 
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Pyramid - Astral



The french (or perhaps in an electronic manner of speaking) are all about the sensation; the feeling of forgetting whether you're tussling about the claustrophobic air of a midnight club, or proudly going/breathing it alone in the comfort of your own home, in favour of a sound altogether euphoric or pulsating. Pyramid may not be the most exact and precise name-call of all online music search engines, but with The Phoenix EP less than 24 hours old upon its releas today, Astral serves as one of the EP's five-strong tracks that finds the Frenchman's catapulting electro and disco lead the listener on a past-futurist scurry of excitement.

Sure we've had our up's and down's as of late on what is a driving, sustained sound over the decades, but Pyramid it seems is no servant to what's come before - his crunching beats and bass meeting half-way with highway-flung synthesizers and melodic piano layers. So while there's that let-loose signaling to the listener, there's as much a soothing, earthly equivalence to counter the amassing energy. It's groovy, funky, electro-disco at its finest, but more than capable of appeasing the more narrative dance enthusiasts. The Phoenix EP is available now through Kitsuné.

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FaltyDL - King Brute



Drew Lustman has at last, and rightly so, found his place among the rising stars of urban electronica. And from out the Ninja Tune Class of 2013, FaltyDL has a new 12" to further push his fingers into the vast musical pies of sub-genre ideas present on his label debut, the respectable Hardcourage. King Brute is the second of two striking sequences of sonic shunts atop musical subtlety. And if anything, it's the biggest and most striking homage to Lustman's New York origin as a producer born from the influence of America's wider demographic of electronic ideals.

While accompanying other-side Danger is a coherent testimony to Chicago House and ambitious club forays, King Brute - accompanied by the work of Shanghai Den - sees FaltyDL share out his extractions in a crisp and texturally rich assortment of middle-America's 90's revolution - repositioning it in the spacious, grey-scaled plains of present-day, experimental electronica. The percussion - which skips, hops and spins in transmission through 4/4 grooves -  teeters on atmosphere's edge, while throughout never forgetting its analogous, step-by-step heritage. It may not be the most emotively lively or striving of Lustman's pieces, but its knob-twisting tension is enough to keep its listener questioning what'll happen next. Danger is out now via Ninja Tune.

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Death Vessel - Mercury Dime



Sub Pop are eyeing dominance in 2014 with a host of acts new and old to lead them through a year already stirring up interest in a musical context, as well as a geographic one. Mercury Dime, the first single to drop from Joel Thibodeau's Death Vessel outft is as bright, hopeful and whimsical as his (yep, that's a he you're hearing folks) band's sound has garnered acclaim for, as was the case on Vessel's previous release for Sub Pop, 2008's Nothing Is Precious Enough For Us.

Thibodeau's natural gift for enriching indie folk, soprano vocals and younger-than-expected allusiveness, comes as a fitting tie into Mercury Dime's clear, sunny, but cool balance of accoustic guitars, blissfully ethereal synths and vocal harmonies. And for a track intent on providing some good vibes on a late January spring transition, to hear the blocky, wooden timbres of percussion too across this shimmering mix, is a pleasing invite to the Rhode Island outfit's six-year-long return to output. Vessel's third album, Island Intervals is out February 25th - pre-order's granting you access to the album's Loser Edition, if the supposedly negative connotation doesn't put you off.

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Loops Haunt - Howl



Halloween may be a gruesomely nine months away, but that hasn't stopped Dundee-born, Scottish experimentalist and producer Scott Douglas Gordan from bringing his alias, Loops Haunt, to the forefront - the very name perhaps bringing a raising of the brow onto many an intrigued listener's face. In an age where other festive once-a-year material can be easily traced and experienced at any time of the year, as we soon find on the recently released Howl (equally as auspicious in its title), Gordan clearly hopes to change our de facto mood of likely start-of-year calm and aspiration, into something (un)desirably more vibrant for eye as well as the ear.

The track very much leaves a haunting, looming sensation on its listener; whiring, polynomial synths less rhythmic as they are hypnotic in their twisting, figurative hooks. And throughout, with semi-tribal drum pads tempting the mood to turn frightfully more darker, sci-fi screeches of accompanying electronics and boney instrumentation carving out an infectuous - if childishly haunted - groove, there's a lot to take out from a track that appears, as if with eager and malevolent cause, to stir things up and leave its listener a little more cautiously open-eyed. Forthoming LP Exits is scheduled for frights/release on April 7th through Black Acre Records.

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STAR SPIN

Metronomy - Love Letters 





If the early preview late last year of I'm Aquarius' causing a stir on where exactly the Joseph Mount-led quartet were heading, didn't already have heads boggled as much as they were bobbing fairly neatly, Mount has unearthed an equally-simple yet emotionally-stern sound to give Love Letters' March 10th release a greater agonizing distance. The self-titled track landed last week in something of an already flattering simplifying of synth and indie pop aesthetic.

So the overwhelming surprise greeting us on single Love Letters, stands evermore as a triumphant return for Metronomy in 2014. The track, a mere three minutes long, may not provide a shock that its lyrics are romantic, affectionate reflections to note down. But its key strength - and one that carries through like a swanky city gala on grainy decade-old film - lies in the choral uplift of vocals in Mount himself as well as through percussionist Anna Prior; the former setting basic foundations of said communiqué, but the latter outright bursts its seems - ringing out across the track's sea of jazz-infused keys, brass and nimble percussion. A case for intimate, interconnective joy between two people certainly, but enough heartfelt passion and production value to leave a lone wanderer such as myself blissfully grinning from cheek to cheek.
~Jordan Helm 

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