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Review: RF Interno

Label: Odd Shaped Case

The debut solo album from Berkeley, CA-based Ryan Francesconi works as a soundtrack for pensive, pondering times, that lets the mind drift from rigidity and schedules. A lofty, deeply atmospheric ambient musical work, Interno combines an assortment of electronic textures with classical and acoustic instrumentation such as the cello, violin, flute, clarinet, horns and guitar, and brandishes Balkan music as a major influence. It's a soothing, contemplative yet exploratory effort-especially surprising considering Francesconi's career as a computer programmer and application developer. Read more » 

Review: Penny The Clockforth Movement

Label: Plague Language

Penny fills an enormous void in hip-hop: sexy feminine lyricism that's as aggressive experimental as it is easily accessible. With a clean delivery like Ladybug from Digable Planets, she could just rely on the watery-smooth grain of her voice, yet she finesses the beat with all types of twisty intonations, changing paces with the quick flip of a word. Her style is steeped in Anticon weird abstraction-which, as always, teeters on falling flatly pretentious-but it's her matter-of-factness that suggests, like a DoseOne, she really might be that strange. Read more » 

Review: Ollo Sleeper

Label: Creative Vibes

I have one party trick: I'm good at picking up dialects. Not your obvious Cockneys or Alabama twangs-I'm also good at musical dialects. Or so I thought until I heard the Swedish band, Ollo, two DJ production partners named Alex and Lars. Sleeper is atmospheric, with a slight pop sensibility and a heady dose of jazz-a bit of moonless night with a touch of sun glinting off the snow. Read more » 

Review: Ogurusu Norihide Modern

Label: Carpark

Seemingly aware of the countless failed mergers between acoustic and electronic music, Norihide's response is a much-needed erosion of both sounds into their most elementary shapes. Perhaps he effortlessly combs a sparse, skeletal beat through a few equally faint and finely sketched notes from a piano. Or maybe his most spectral ambience flutters through soft and paced folk guitars. Constantly fading away, but always with an air of absolute certainty, the eight untitled works appearing on Modern blur the line between analog and digital so well that the two become, without doubt, one. Read more » 

Review: Manasseh Meets the Equalizer Step Like Pepper

Label: Select Cuts

Smoked-out, dusted, what have you-Nick Manasseh's latest project explores otherworldly dreamscapes punctured by thick, throbbing bass. Not that this is typical stoner music, of course. Manasseh has teamed up with longtime partner the Equalizer for yet another round of heady, tripped-out, yet surprisingly restrained dub infused with reggae and jazz. Read more » 

Review: Lory D Sounds Never Seen

Label: Rephlex

Assembled as a disjointed tracklist rather than a set, Lory D takes hard techno to its most sinister level with Sounds Never Seen-the name of his new album and his Italian label. From beginning to end, we hear typically plodding techno sounds programmed in very atypical ways. An experienced early-'90s producer, Lory creates an audio playground of old-skool drum machines and sci-fi influenced synths all on a slight electro tip, like Morroder tracks refunked by Juan Atkins. With its robot noises, laser sounds and echo effects, Sounds Never Seen is on top of its game. Read more » 

Review: Little Brother The Listening

Label: ABB

Maybe now North Kakalaka will cease being just another shout-out via Little Brother's laidback indie hip-hop in the Native Tongue groove. With a lyrical delivery nestled between Q-Tip and Common-nasally, mellow flows expounding on fake hoes and false rappers-and lilting production that grooves with soulful samples and funk-laden loops, The Listening relies on a proven formula that keeps it simple and funky. But packing in 18 tracks is unnecessary for proven formulas, leaving the album teetering too close to monotony and falling victim to what the title track despises-aural wallpaper. Read more » 

Review: Tommy Guerrero Soul Food Taqueria

Label: MoWax

More hammock-on-la-playa than downtown-on-the-bus, Soul Food Taqueria is a nice case of dubby, electric guitar-driven downtempo. Ex-pro skater Tommy Guerrero has his foot on the effects pedal and his fingers on sultry Latin inflections, arriving at dusty lo-fi soul that is seductively languid. The largely instrumental album features occasional guest vocals from Gresham Taylor and Lyrics Born. A bluesy intro and three atmospheric interludes render the ambience palpable. Read more » 

Review: Gotan Project La Revancha Del Tango

Label: XL-Beggars Group

The last tango in Ibiza? While the US has been sleeping, the rest of the world has been gobbling this exceptional futuristic tango up. The France-based Gotan Project mixes chilled-out beats with an ensemble of jazz musicians, featuring the accordion-like sounds of the bandoneon. The US release features a bonus CD of stellar remixes by Peter Kruder, Tom Middleton, Kushite and Pepe Braddock. An excellent choice to summon up that mysterious earthy European vibe at your next dinner party. Don't sleep on it, sleep with it. Read more » 

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