Posts Tagged With: release

CST001: Sofa – New Era Building

 

 

Summed up by Constellation Records as ‘ground zero in the Constellation catalogue‘, the description for such a recording couldn’t be more apt. Our beginnings with this label is a dark mysterious force, one that feels very loose in its Slint-esque structures, though still manages to pack in its own branch of ferocity. With two tracks, it’s not much to really go on, but it does serve as a strong introduction to this short-lived band, and perhaps add more intrigue than to what their effort Grey offered (at the very least, it shows more to the band than what one release ever could do). Whilst interesting in its own right though, it’s perhaps in how loose it all is that we feel why this release doesn’t quite live up to the same level as Grey did, though for humble beginnings, it’s certainly an intriguing record, one that feels almost enigmatic in the label’s roster. Arguably, nothing particularly noteworthy but perhaps shouldn’t be dismissed.

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CST001: Sofa – Grey

Categories: Constellation Records Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lise G. – Alexandre St-Onge

Experimental artist Alexandre St-Onge presents his latest release on Oral Records titled ‘Lise G.’ The new release features St-Onge’s soundtrack for the art exhibition of the same name. On this release, St-Onge pushes out his trademark experimental style to great effect, offering another unusual, bizarre and oddly engrossing sound experience full of incredibly weird concepts and ideas. As with many of St-Onge’s releases, there’s a very inaccessible element running throughout the album, making it a difficult listen, but to those who find the world of St-Onge so engrossing will find ‘Lise G.’ to be another wonderful insight into a weird and unusual world that only St-Onge knows.

‘Lise G.’ comes across as quite radical in terms of its experimental notions. An electronic ambient notion runs throughout the album, setting the scene for an unsettling world. Much of the actual music feels incredibly sparse, with a main driving force being a bizarre vocal track that sounds perhaps like St-Onge choking himself, forcing his voice into weird and unusual shapes  that paints the picture of something that only St-Onge understands. It’s by no means an accessible release, coming across as too weird an exercise to exist and perhaps one of St-Onge’s most challenging releases to date, though its in St-Onge’s approach to the whole notion of production and creation where we find the oddly appealing element.

‘Lise G.’ is hardly a record that will astound and amaze people, though it will perhaps place listeners into a world of interpretation, where the sounds being conjured up place each and every listener into their own head-space, drawing the gap between the consumer and St-Onge himself. It’s perhaps arguable that this isn’t one of St-One’s most impressive releases in his extensive career, though it oddly enough seems to be one that really sticks around in the memory, constantly tempting those daring enough to give it another listen and see what new things they will discover.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆ 4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Lise G.

Alexandre St-Onge’s latest release ‘Lise G.’ is out now on Oral Records.

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Sketch For Winter II: Rue Corridor – Pan•American

Former Labradford musician Mark Nelson, working under the moniker of Pan•American, offers up a new EP release ‘Sketch For Winter II: Rue Corridor’. The new release continues a string of release from Geographic North, the Sketch For Winter series. Nelson’s latest release sees the musician straying away from the ambient/post-rock elements of his previous releases, in favor of techno and minimal dub formats. The new techniques expand upon Nelson’s previous releases, showing more sides to his musical talents. There’s some interesting elements to ‘Sketch For Winter II: Rue Corridor’, though there seems to be less warmth and comfort than on previous releases.

Nelson’s latest releases feels like a more radical step up from his previous albums, many of which explored ambient notions, with elements of gentle post-rock thrown into the mix. ‘Sketch For Winter II: Rue Corridor’ seems to abandon much of these subtleties. There’s some enjoyable elements to the music, most of which see the musician employing the same level of patience and care as explored on his previous releases. Much of the release offers up a cold ideal, which works well for the release, giving it good context. Although it’s interesting seeing Nelson explore different areas of music, it is perhaps a shame that there’s less of the warm techniques used on previous releases, which results in ‘Sketch For Winter II: Rue Corridor’ coming across as a more inaccessible and arguably less enjoyable release from the musician.

Even though the release doesn’t come across as Nelson’s best release under the Pan•American moniker, there is still many enjoyable elements. Those open to Nelson’s experimentation will find ‘Sketch For Winter II: Rue Corridor’ to actually be one of the musicians most interesting releases thus far, and one that showcases more talents and more ideas that we may not have been able to see before. Those expecting another ambient driven album, similar to some of Nelson’s releases on Kranky, will find ‘Sketch For Winter II: Rue Corridor’ to be a disappointing release, though those willing to accept new ideas and new methods will find much to enjoy on this new release.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★☆☆  3/5

Selected Songs:

  • The Terrace
  • Pascal

Pan•American’s latest release ‘Sketch For Winter II: Rue Corridor’ is out now and available on cassette through Geographic North.

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Claudio Cataldi Soundtracks – Claudio Cataldi

Musician and composer Claudio Cataldi offers up a new and interesting release with ‘Claudio Cataldi Soundtracks’, a release comprising of very short tracks composed for a number of short experimental films. The new release comes on mini-CDr, and features 13 short soundscapes, featuring Cataldi indulging nicely in experimental notions and ideas. ‘Claudio Cataldi Soundtracks’ feels much like an experimental release, though one with many accessible and enjoyable elements, mostly in how Cataldi conjures up different ideas and imagery though a number of different techniques. There’s many nice ideas being presented by Cataldi, which results in an interesting listening experience where different ideas and notions have only the briefest moments to make their intentions known.

‘Claudio Cataldi Soundtracks’ in some ways expands on some of the ideas and notions previously explored on some of Cataldi’s previous releases. Much of Cataldi’s musical formats we’ve heard on some of his previous releases work their way into the 13 short tracks on his latest release, though the album features its own concepts, broadening the talents of the composer. Each track offers up a little idea, presented through nicely built up instrumentals. The release is perhaps not the strongest material Cataldi has released in his career, though it comes across as one of his more enjoyable. ‘Claudio Cataldi Soundtracks’ sees the composer pushing out every ounce of talent in one form or another to build up an interesting, though incredibly short album experience. Some tracks being presented by Cataldi come across as much stronger than some of their counterparts, though each track seems to cement itself, pushing out some image that Cataldi is presenting.

Claudio Cataldi’s short experimental album at times suffers from its experimental notions, coming across as a release that is in some ways inaccessible, or simply not something each and every person can enjoy. This seems to be a release purely for fans of the musician, happy to hear the composer indulging his own wide range of styles in so many interesting ways. The release can easily be enjoyed out of context from the film counterparts, with each track showcasing musical styles and notions that are for the most part enjoyable. The album might perhaps fall into a very niche category, though there’s definitely something at heart here.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • The Last Waltz
  • Fjord
  • Viaducto pt.2
  • Bd. Theme

Claudio Cataldi’s upcoming album ‘Claudio Cataldi Soundtracks’ is set for release on 22nd March 2015.

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Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2 – Aphex Twin

Following on from the release of the extraordinary ‘Syro’, Richard D. James offers up another release under the Aphex Twin moniker, ‘Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2′. The new releases comprises some of James’ most experimental electronic tracks, all of which cover a wide range of styles and of very varying length. The new EP seems to come across as a little bonus for those who enjoyed the release of ‘Syro’ so much, though it’s offering seems to be in a much different vein to the comeback album of last year. There’s some enjoyable elements to the EP, though this doesn’t seem to be Richard D. James at his best.

‘Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2’ seems to follow different paths to its predecessor, and instead shows us a much different slant to Richard D. James and his approach to composition. Much of the album is dominated by short tracks lasting less than a minute, each showcasing an experimental style in terms of what can be achieved through the use of computers. There’s many enjoyable elements to the EP, though it’s successes don’t seem to be achieved though one cohesively structured musical experience. At times, ‘Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2′ seems to be quite a challenge to listen through, and one that doesn’t seem to offer as much enjoyment as some of James’ previous experimental notions. There is great amount of talent here, though not as glaringly obvious as some of James’ best work.

Those expecting a true follow up to last year’s ‘Syro’ might find ‘Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2’ to be a rather disappointing release. There’s some great tracks being presented by the talented artist, though it doesn’t seem to quite reach the same heights as one might be expecting. Those going into the EP with a mindset that allows for the sheer amount of experimentation being presented might find the EP to be a very enjoyable release. There’s some great ideas being presented here, and some little hints and snippets of great techniques, ones that could hopefully evolve into fully-formed tracks that will surely astound and amaze.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★☆☆ 3/5

Selected Songs:

  • diskhat ALL prepared1mixed 13
  • piano un1 arpej
  • disk prep calrec2 barn dance [slo]
  • hat5c 0001 rec-4

Aphex Twin’s latest release ‘Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt.2’ is out now.

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The Heart Of The Sky – Listening Mirror

By popular demand, Listening Mirror offer a re-release of the brilliant ‘The Heart Of The Sky’, updating the previously cassette-only release into ta handsome CD package, featuring the original track listing as well as three new remixes. The whole album flows through brilliantly, offering a wonderful ambient music experience. Across the four tracks, Listening Mirror feature wonderful instrumentation that offers the typical ambient experience, whilst also pulling out of the genre new ideas and techniques, giving the whole album effort a wonderful and unique layer.

‘The Heart Of The Sky’ contains many of the elements one would come to expect from the ambient genre. Ambient drones take hold of the music and guide it around at a glacier pace, giving everything a wonderfully soothing edge. It is an easy album to simply get lost in, to just lean back and soak in the music and everything it offers up. Listening Mirror also add in much more to the music, giving it more texture and elegance than simple ambient drones. Little motifs and moments come into the mix, giving everything a brilliant richness that really draws more out of the music itself, making it a accomplished album effort.

Where we find fault in ‘The Heart Of The Sky’ is in the inclusion of the three remixes at the end of the album. Although the remixes do no harm and don’t really affect the overall album in any drastic way, it does sport the question of what do they really offer to the album? The remixes in themselves don’t seem to deviate much from the original track mixes, making it feel like repeats of earlier songs. The tracks in themselves are certainly lovely ambient compositions that are enjoyable, though their placement on the album seems a little off considering of how little they offer.

Overall though, ‘The Heart Of The Sky’ comes across as a highly enjoyable album, that features many of the elements (and more) of what one would like from ambient music. ‘The Heart Of The Sky’ offers that little bit more though than traditional ambient albums, and it works very well for Listening Mirror, who showcase different ideas when it comes to the genre. The whole effort is one that is gorgeously minimal at the most parts, easily allowing one to just get lost in the waves of music that each track offers up. And although they may not add much, the three remix tracks are certainly at the very least, a nice little bonus for the whole album.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Midnight At Teques, Storm Approaching
  • The Words Just Won’t Come
  • Ah Pukuh Is Here
  • Mixtli Sleeps

Listening Mirror’s re-release of ‘The Heart Of The Sky’ is out now and can be purchased on CD and digital formats at: http://listening-mirror.bandcamp.com/album/the-heart-of-the-sky-expanded-and-remixed-cd-edition 

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Higher Than The Sun (Single) – Keane

In preparation for Keane’s upcoming compilation album ‘The Best of Keane’, the band offer up a new exclusive track in order to promote the new album. ‘High Than The Sun’ sees Keane in very fine form offering up a very pop-rock orientated track, featuring a rather gentle style that seems to move away from the bands incredibly pumped up electro-pop days. It’s a fine single-release that features lovely composition, a gorgeous vocal performance that is sure to please fans of Keane. It seems to be one of the bands’ best written and performed songs in years since their debut release, but it seems the promotion of the single is ill-placed. Although ‘Higher Than The Sun’ is an incredibly enjoyable track, it can’t really build up hype for it’s upcoming album if it is only a best of compilation. Singles are a good way of introducing a certain sound or even just a taster for an upcoming album, but if that upcoming album compiles old songs together that we’ve actually all heard, then what is the point? It seems pointless buying an entire album of songs we already own, just for one song we don’t. Plus promoting an album containing the best of a band with a song that nobody knows is their best seems to be a rather confusing, yet very used concept. ‘Higher Than The Sun’ is certainly a good song, and worth downloading once it is released, but it is sadly unable to build hype for an album that actually doesn’t seem to have much of a purpose.

Single Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Album Hype Rating:

  • ★★☆☆☆  2/5

‘Higher Than The Sun’ is the first single from Keane’s upcoming compilation album ‘The Best Of Keane’ set for release on 11th November 2013.

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Reflektor (Single) – Arcade Fire

The hype surrounding Arcade Fire’s fourth studio album ‘Reflektor’ seems to be a completely justified hype, considering the sheer quality and creativity present in the albums’ leading single. The first offering of the band’s upcoming album is its first single ‘Reflektor’, where we see Arcade Fire showcase the upcoming album’s style in phenomenal style. On the ‘Reflektor’ single, we see Arcade Fire adopting a more groovy dance orientated style. Everything still fits in brilliantly with the indie-rock style the band has perfected over the years, whilst also progressing it with new creative ideas to broaden their sound. The single features some notable guest appearances, from innovative saxophonist Colin Stetson, to the world-renowned David Bowie. Stetson’ saxophone seems to add some interesting layers to the song itself, thickening it up to enjoyable proportions. Bowie’s appearance on the song adds a brilliant slant to the song, giving it a phenomenal shape and character. The band themselves of course sound brilliant, with their presentation of the songs’ themes being almost flawless. It’s a dark song at times, that’s just a little bit worrying, or a little bit harrowing, but ultimately incredibly enjoyable. It is the perfect precursor to the band’s upcoming fourth album, and one that hypes it in fine style. Fans might find the tracks’ length something to deal with, as well as the almost radical change in style from their previous album releases being a little bit polarizing. However, at the core of the song is a band who has not just progressed, but progressed in an incredibly significant way, once again showing off why they’re one of the most important bands of their genre.

Single Rating:

  • ★★★★★ 5/5

Album Hype Rating:

  • ★★★★★ 5/5

‘Reflektor’ is the first single from Arcade Fire’s upcoming album ‘Reflektor’, set for release on October 28th 2013.

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Whoami EP – The Absolute End Of The World

The fourth EP release by Italian post-rock artist The Absolute End Of The World expands upon their sound already established on the previous EP releases. ‘Whoami’ offers what could be described as an enjoyable and fun post-rock experience, where many of the typical post-rock techniques are used to present some very enjoyable and interesting tracks. As typical as some of the techniques are, The Absolute End Of The World manage to present a great EP that isn’t a rehashing of anything that has preceded them, but rather another version of post-rock music. ‘Whoami’ might be a short listening experience, but it is one that demonstrates a lot of the capabilities of the band, and certainly leaves a hunger for more.

The Absolute End Of The World seem to follow down the path of many post-rock bands, using the now well-established techniques and ideas to present their own music. Unlike some other post-rock bands though, it doesn’t come across as a repeat of earlier music, but simply the artist’s own style of the clearly established genre. ‘Whoami’ features wonderful instrumentals that build up nicely, offering a brilliant musical experience. It’s interesting, and manages to keep the attention of the listener as it builds up and down varying dynamics of instrumentals. It’s highly enjoyable, and fans of the post-rock genre will certainly find a lot to enjoy from The Absolute End Of The World. It seems the only problems with ‘Whoami’ is that although it doesn’t simply repeat and copy earlier post-rock music, it sadly doesn’t do much to really push the boundaries of post-rock music. It seems a little like the artist is holding back ever so slightly, and not pushing himself to really present an incredible post-rock experience. This could be attributed to the fact that ‘Whoami’ is an EP release, and a somewhat short one at that. Perhaps The Absolute End Of The World are saving their best ideas and techniques for their debut album release, whenever that comes out.

Those who enjoy post-rock music will certainly find a fair amount to be enjoyed by The Absolute End Of The World, who not only manage to demonstrate a brilliant understanding of the genre, but also manage to display a lot of talent on their latest EP. In many ways, although ‘Whoami’ sounds at times a little held back, the whole EP manages to not really do anything that is wrong, making ‘Whoami’ a very strong EP release. It certainly manages to build up buzz for the artist, as does all their previous EPs, and certainly builds up anticipation for a full album release, providing The Absolute End Of The World plan on releasing one. For now though, The Absolute End Of The World can be proud of the fact they’re producing great sounding EPs.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • The Eternal Dilemma
  • C’è Sangue Dappertutto
  • The Eternal Dilemma – Part.2

The Absolute End Of The World’s fourth EP release ‘Whoami’ is out now and can be purchased at: http://theabsoluteendoftheworld.bandcamp.com/album/whoami

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