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Review: Ellen Alien Berlinette 2003

Label: Bpitch Control

Ellen Allien's second proper full length (after 2001's Stadtkind and last year's Weiss Mix CD) is one of the triumphs of the year. Battered beats spray skittle grease over a fatty backdrop of analog bass and smeared, oily chords, while Allien pushes her own voice, run through a thousand plug-ins, front-and-center in the mix, whispering, confessing, cajoling, comforting. The result is a dancefloor masterpiece (think: Two Lone Swordsmen) that offers intimate pop pleasures rivaling Barbara Morgenstern's Nichts Muss. Read more » 

Review: Electronicat 21st Century Toy

Label: Disko B

Over the years, legions have done their best to fuse guitars with electronics, with few success stories. So, perhaps there's some irony involved when a Frenchman-a demographic long jeered for its vain attempts at rock 'n' roll-has shown it can be done. And with panache. In fact, Fred Bigot makes it look so easy, you'll wonder why it hasn't been done before. Melding the swagger of Gary Glitter with the synth drone of Suicide and the motorik pulse of minimal techno and Faust, 21st Century Toy is pure man-machine soul. Minus the soul. Read more » 

Review: Dangernmouse & Gemini Ghetto Pop Life

Label: Lex

Avoiding predictable radio friendly club pop(pin'), bicoastal producer Danger Mouse and Borough of Kings' MC Jemini the Gifted One celebrate hip-hop through rap. Dynamics and cadence aren't dictated by any one loop or the glorification of loot, but are rather an interchange of beats hittin' and Jemini spittin'. Read more » 

Review: Curse Ov Dialect Lost In the Real Sky

Label: Mush

Lost In The Real Sky puts Australia on the hip-hop map with a polyglot bang. Taking fellow Oz group the Avalanches' playful sampladelic spirit to much stranger places, Curse Ov Dialect's five core MCs/producers often cram more ideas into one track than many artists muster in their entire careers. Lost contains a dizzying range of musical styles, as well as multiple layers of ill subliminals; imagine the Bomb Squad's intricately crafted chaos informed by Nonesuch's Explorer Series and surrealism. Read more » 

Review: Broadcast Ha Ha Sound

Label: Warp

If Broadcast have been unfairly compared to their better-known friends Stereolab, neither group would deny their commonalties: a love of Krautrock, Sound Library music, '60s psych and the presence of chanteuses well-versed in literature and mod elegance. But where Stereolab go populist, Broadcast get personal. Where Stereolab go pop, Broadcast turns dusky. To be fair, the two are quite different. On Ha Ha Sound, you'll still hear the influence of Nancy Sinatra, '60s film music, United States of America and Joe Meek. But now their songwriting has caught up with their obscure knowledge. Read more » 

Review: Cabaret Voltaire Methodology '74/'78: Attic Tapes

Label: Mute-The Grey Area

Over three CDs and 53 tracks, Methodology unveils Cabaret Voltaire's earliest experiments with electronics. Through radical manipulations of voices and instruments, Sheffield, England's Chris Watson, Richard H. Kirk and Stephen Mallinder restlessly developed the phonemes of a sonic vocabulary that would coalesce into the viral language heard on their bleak, industrial-electrofunk classics Red Mecca and 2 X 45. Read more » 

Review: Cibelle S/t

Label: Six Degrees

Brazilian chanteuse Cibelle first came to prominence as the principal vocalist on Suba's seminal Sao Paulo Confessions LP. In the last two years, she's been busy with Brazilian producer Apollo 9 and a host of live musicians, working out her own musical agenda. The resultant LP is as accomplished and alluring as you'd expect from a lady who has immersed herself in every kind of music from classical and jazz, Afro-Brazilian and electronic. Consciously detailed and elegantly refined, this is a captivating set of songs that seduce with their subtlety and mark out a serious new talent. Read more » 

Review: Baby Mammoth Octo Muck

Label: Ecco Chamber

On previous Baby Mammoth albums, you could expect to listen to a whole album and perhaps doze off in a chilled-out stupor. Not so with Octo Muck-the duo of Mark Blissenden and Steve Coby are taking their sound in new directions. Here you find eight-minute house tracks interspersed between the dubby downtempo of their previous work. In general, there's a much faster, dance-oriented feel to the album, though the duo haven't lost their trademark acid jazz feel. Like former labelmates Fila Brazillia, the results vary-when it's not filler, it's very good. Read more » 

Review: The Blue Series Continuum The Goodandevil Sessions

Label: Thirsty Ear

The delightfully eclectic Thirsty Ear team brings us another round of jazz-inflected electronic grooves, this time via the Blue Series Continuum, an ever-changing group of musicians (aided by a producer and turntablist) capable of locking into a groove and riding it out with verve and flair. On The GoodandEvil SessionsRob Geary, BSC serve up stuttered beats, trickling piano lines (from top ivory tickler Matthew Shipp) and discordant brass, all of which intertwine into head-nodding and toe-tapping goodness. Read more » 

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