Sunday, February 9, 2014

Music, 2/9/2013

Bass Clef - acid tracts e.p.
Bass Clef calls this one an EP even though it's 56.5 minutes of music, and that's his right. I suppose it's  not substantial enough to be an album--defiantly simple, a bunch of tributes to Warp releases and Analords-era Aphex Twin. The titles are all puns on classic dance tracks ("Strings of Death," "Apathy Flash," "Lower State off Unconsciousness"), and the only physical release is on cassette. Not exactly DJ friendly. Highlight is track no. 4, "Set Adrift on Memory Abyss," a nice bit of sine wave funk, but you can't go wrong with anything on here.

Pearson Sound - Raindrops
An ambient track from a UK producer known for his tight drum programming--not exactly promising, huh? It works, though. Very short (the two versions together barely add up to 5 minutes), rhythmic, decidedly evocative. The title's a misnomer; the tracks, bass-heavy and throbbing, feel more submerged than soaked.

Nico - "Nibelungen"
A bonus track on Nico's second album, The Marble Index. That album's bracing dissonance and general weirdness were enough to seal its cult classic status; no Jackson Browne covers here. This track, though, an acappella, is as melodious as it is hypnotic. Highly recommended.

Various Artists - Killed by Deathrock vol. 1
Reviews of this comp have focused a bit too much on its respectable roots. Sure, it's post-punk, and yes, Martin Hannett is a clear influence. On the other hand, that opening track is absolutely a soundalike to The Cure. The music here is great, but it's  more like Bauhaus and Siouxsie & the Banshees than any more respectable 70s/80s stuff.
Which is half the fun, honestly. This stuff is cheesy as hell--check the transistor organ on "Liberty" or the synths on Screaming for Emily's "The Love", for instance. But it's hooky, it's even a bit punk in spots. For gloomy self-loathing, it's quite a thrill.

Theo Parrish - "Long Walk in Your Sun"
I don't know how Theo Parrish can apply such a formula, such an old formula, so many times, and have it sound perfect each time. A two-chord vamp, dusty drum samples, synth strings, an electric piano. There are probably a hundred tracks that sound exactly like this one. Every time I hear someone complain about how deep house is formulaic and stale, completely out of ideas, I nod my head. But when I hear something like this I just can't bring myself to turn it off. Something about the way the string rushes interact with the bass, or the way the beat plods on like the most determinedly enthusiastic session musician on  earth. It goes on for 11 minutes, and for 10 of those 11 minutes it feels like it's about to fade out. Each minute it's a miracle that it doesn't.

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