Friday, September 29, 2006

Woefully out of print Fridays

Each Friday I'm going to dig through my cd collection and talk about a cd that really should be available for purchase, but alas and alack is gone daddy gone.

This week is bLaCKlaNDs by bLaCKlaNDs

George Cicci was a hero of the Morgantown W. VA music scene having fronted the local punk band Dreagerman. However, it was his work as the ambient project bLaCKlaNDs that would catch my ears in the late 90s. The record shared much of the same sonic space as things being released on Skam, and to a large extent Warp.

His shows where something of legend with thick smoke encapsulating the stage and the music creeping through like the calls of the Sirens. (Though to listen to his music didn't force anybody into rocky places. Some were to have said to have drowned in the ambience created on stage however.)

There was a rumored 2nd album to be released as a follow up, but it was not meant to be. I thought George had all but faded into musical obscurity, however I am happy to report that his new project Evasdad is just as good as bLaCKlaNDs (though not nearly as dark, and much more sci-fi)

download Skies
download Celestine

Evasdad myspace page

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Oldboy 3disc Special edition

It's no small secret that I love Asian Cinema. One of my favorite films of the last few years had to be Park Chanwook's masterpiece Oldboy The 2003 revenge film was based on the Manga by Minegishi Nobuaki and Tsuchiya Garon. In a nut shell (from IMDB) After being kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in 5 days.

The movie is one of the most amazing character studies I have ever seen. Every action of every character is so exquisitely orchestrated to the very end that you are on the edge of your seat with anticipation for what the next moment will bring.

Several years ago there was an amazing limited edition of Oldboy on DVD. It was no less than 4 discs, included the soundtrack and was house in a handmade metal box. Unless you were in the know you had to buy this after the fact on ebay ay quite an inflated price.

Tartan Films who have been releasing some of the finest films Asia has to offer is going to release their own Oldboy Limited Edition on November 14th.

The package looks AMAZING:

Feature Film
Director’s Commentary
Director and Cinematographer’s Commentary
Director and Cast Commentary

5 Behind the Scenes Documentaries:
Making the Film – The Cast Remembers (11 mins.)
Production Design (13 mins.)
The Music Score (17 mins.)
CGI Documentary (8 mins.)
Flashback (23 mins.)
Cast & Crew interviews (41 mins.)
10 Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary (25 mins.)
Featurette: ‘Le Grand Prix at Cannes’ (9 mins.)

The Autobiography of Oldboy (212 mins.)
A video diary from each of the 69 shooting days.

Special collector’s edition card featuring an actual film cell from the theatrical 35mm print.
The first volume of the Old Boy graphic novel upon which the movie is based.

That's an amazing amount of stuff packed into that metal box. This will be the first in Tartan’s “Vengeance Trilogy Collector’s Series” (which included Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy , and Lady Vengeance )

I highly suggest hopping over to your favorite online retailer and pre-ordering a copy today.


Friday, September 15, 2006

Woefully out of print unheard of Friday

Each Friday I'm going to dig through my cd collection and talk about a cd that really should be available for purchase, but alas and alack is gone daddy gone.

This week though, I wanted to do something just a little different. I wanted to share with you an album that (IMO) has gone very unheard, and not talked about. Ironically, the album is titled Nothing and was put out in 1996 by System Error.

Bobby Bird had already gained quite a bit of a fan base with several releases under the Higher Intelligence Agency moniker (including an appearance on the seminal Warp Records compilation Artificial Intelligence II in 1994) and 1996 was to be a stellar year for releases. Not only was it the first of two collaborations with Biosphere's Geir Jenssen but a record created literally from nothing would fuel my musical imagination for years to come.

Something from nothing. But what was the nothing? According to these notes on the album "..the album is called 'nothing', because that's essentially what it was derived from. We wanted to reveal the hidden voice of sampling technology and play the samplers rather than the samples. Using no input signals at all, we just sampled nothing and looked really closely at it. We used every glitch and software fault and tried to listen to what the machines had to say."

What does nothing sound like? Not as cold and digital as one would think. There is a real human feeling to the compositions.(despite the tracks coming from such an unfeeling source) A warmth within the machine hums.

This was from a time when dance music really was intelligent, and not just the noodlings of a kid and his MacBook. Meticulously programmed beats intersperse with delicate melodies that reside within subtle textures. It's relaxing and challenging, and is best suited in a room lit only by a single computer monitor while reading something like E.M. Forester's The Machine Stops as the music could easily be a future artifact from that time period.

The album is thankfully still available on the web. I would suggest hopping over to Headphone and picking up a copy.

Fans of the early days of Warp will not be disappointed.

Look for an interview with Bobby Bird later this week.

For now have a great weekend.

download Enough Already

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Woefully out of print Friday Sunday

Each Friday I'm going to dig through my cd collection and talk about a cd that really should be available for purchase, but alas and alack is gone daddy gone.

This week is 2000's The Age of Terminal Irony By Ammo.

In 1999 I was introduced to the power electronics movement, and all of the output on the Ant Zen label. I adored the albums put out by the likes of Imminent Starvation, Synapscape and the like. (More-so I was impressed with the output of their sister label Hymen. )

Through Ant Zen and Hymen artists I discovered the much lamented Flatline Records label, and their 2 disc comp. I was really blown away by much of what was on there, but I especially loved the track No Safe Place by Ammo.

Who was this band? I put my internet ninja skills work, and tracked down info telling me that The Ammo EP was going to be released in early 2000. I was totally psyched!

When the day did arrive I was totally unprepared for the opening track Ghost Phalanx The 3 minute intro is very reminiscent of the ambience John Sellekaers created as Xingu HIll. That all changed at the 3:14 mark.

The tension of the track with it's pulsating high hats gave way to glitched out drum and bass that easily could have been the soundtrack to Asuka Langley's final stand in the End of Evangelion movie. It was brutal, and sounded like a battle between giant robots that decided the fate of all mankind. The song didn't so much end, but have the life drained from it.

The other stand out track (though there were no bad tracks) Reptiles in Paradise has a really infectious beat to it, despite having what i dubbed as a studio error sound to it. (The glitch reminds me very much of the Lassigue Bendthaus album Pop Artificielle, and it would probably appeal to fans.)

The included remixes were good, though I do believe the original tracks had much more power and urgency to them. Live the band was just phenomenal. The tracks were tighter, and lent themselves to really great live remixing on the fly. (I still can't believe I saw them in Pittsburgh!!)

Ammo put out a few other VERY out of print EPs after that, but faded into nonexistence. They will be missed.

download Ghost Phalanx
download Reptiles in Paradise

For more information on all of John Sellekaers's musical output head over to the Metarc page. (John's mastering company)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

We interrupt this Woefully out of print Friday to announce an amazing reissue!

Spend enough time with me and you will learn that I am a bit of a sucker for all things electronic. By sucker, I mean that if something is really good, I will probably fall for it, and it will become a huge part of my musical environment.

Case in point: Bola.

Darrell Fitton's Bola is one of the most underrated/unknown of all of the heavyweight IDM projects out there. I fell hook line and sinker when I heard 2001's Fyuti. It was a nice change from all of the digital terror I was listening to at the time. A guy who was making music with analogue gear that was both compelling, and challenging. (Not to mention easy on the ears)

I spent much of my time looking for everything and anything I could find on the guy. I tracked down a copy of his first full length Soup I found the great Mauver EP, and READ about the so called "Shapes" LP (which wasn't attributed directly to him, but the lucky 300 who got a copy knew it was) I spent my time and energy looking for it, seeming to miss it at every turn.

Then today I looked on a whim for Bola on ebay, and what do I come across, but this: An auction for the shapes EP re-mastered with bonus tracks! I did a little bit of digging around and found that not only was it going to be released september 26th, but that his new record was finished and slated to be released in a few months!

What a great day to find that something isn't quite as woefully out of print as I though it was just one scant day ago!

Run, don't walk over to the Skam shop and pre-order the Ep. Or, if you are like me, and can't wait purchase the MP3 album directly from Skam!


Look for a bonus WooP sometime this weekend as I load some Ammo into a gun and fire it at your ears!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Au Revoir Simone

Sometimes I amaze myself as far as the whole "missing something right under my nose thing" goes. For example- I don't listen to the music my friends have embedded on their myspace profiles.

It's not because I'm a jerk, or that I think my taste in music is soo much more refined (ok, it is partially both of those reasons, but I don't mean it in a disrespectful way). It's mostly because 9 times out of 10 I'm already listening to something, and that something will get all kinds of garbled with the myspace music... Tragedy unfolds.

However, tonight when I listened to a friend of mine's musical selection I discovered something quite spectacular!

Au Revoir Simone is an electronic band from Brooklyn made up of Heather D’Angelo [vocals, drum machines, keyboard], Erika Forster [vocals, keyboards], Annie Hart [vocals, keyboards].

What do these fine upstanding young ladies create? Some of the most amazing dreamy pop music I have heard in a long time. (Though this trio owes more debt to Stereolab, than say MBV) I know that gives a vague explanation to the band. (it's 2:30 in the am, and my brain is leaking out of my ear) Let me try again

Imagine if you will that the 3 eldest Libson sisters (of the Virgin Suicides) each got a synthesizer, and recorded poppy soundscapes using bits and pieces from their diaries as inspiration for their lyrics. The sweet sounds would be light and airy, (the kind of music you would want to hear while sitting under the stars on a cool October night) but with enough worldly understanding to keep even a jaded listeners ears perked.

If the Libson girls were around now, and didn't write this music they would all certainly do everything they could to listen to it. (as my readers should)

Their cd (with a hand silkscreened cover) is available online. I would suggest doing what I just did and buy it.

Download Through the Backyards

Au Revoir Simone on Myspace
Au Revoir Simone official page

[Thanks Rachel! Your taste in music has never ceased to amaze me!]

{EDITED 9:21 AM, now fortified with added coherence!]

Friday, September 01, 2006

Holy Crap! It's ben almost two weeks since I posted!

Ok, so it's been a while. Life got in the way. That is going to change. Starting next week there will be at least two posts a week.(Including the return of Woefully out of print Fridays.)

As time permits I'll post more. For now, have a great weekend. See ya next week!

-The Management