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Review: Pure Noonbugs

Label: Mego

Don't let the name fool you. While a pseudonym like Pure may conjure images of cloudy ambient etherea or shoegazer guitar pop, the reality is rather different. Pure has a clear affinity for dark, ominous drones of the abrasively spine-tingling variety, comprised of fields of teeming, static-filled electronics. This is Pure's second full-length release; the first, Low, was a compelling album of slow-moving, minimal drones released on the Dutch imprint Staalplaat. Read more » 

Review: Noel Zancanella A Fantasy for Electromagnetic Tape

Label: Sonom

Noel Zancanella's Fantasy culls from vinyl samples and vintage instrumentation to create a classy and polite album in the vein of Shadow and RJD2. Not to say that rudeness necessarily makes for more flava, but Fantasy's courteous headnodders, while certainly pretty and pleasant, seem hesitant to make moves that might result in accidentally spilling on the couch. Read more » 

Review: Nobukaza Takemura 10th

Label: Thrill Jockey

Throughout his prolific career, Takemura has dexterously juggled the experimental and the accessible. The tension he's wrought between coolly calculated DSP chaos and melodious songcraft has usually resulted in rewarding, if bipolar albums like 1999's Scope and 2001's Hoshi No Koe. Heretofore, Takemura's childlike melodies flirted with cuteness without causing nausea. On 10th, however, he over-sugars his aural pastries. Blame his reliance on speech-synthe, a vocoder-like device that helps the disabled to speak to their caregivers. Read more » 

Review: Mike Shannon Slight of Hand

Label: Force Inc.

While most heads have been looking to Germany, England or America's West Coast for tech-house Holy Grails the last few years, Canada quietly bloomed into a superpower in its own right. Force Inc. documented one Canuck city's distinctive interpretation of the genre in 2002 with the outstanding Montreal Smoked Meat comp, on which the now Toronto-based Mike Shannon appeared. Read more » 

Review: MC Paul Barman Paullelujah!

Label: Coup d'Etat

Now that Eminem's PR epic has cast him in the role of cuddly lunch-truck defender of gays and women, it's time we nominate another smart-ass white boy to serve as the nation's aural id. My vote-MC Paul Barman. Sure, rapping about agitprop and Liz Hurley isn't nearly as titillating as trailer parks and baby-mama drama, but if we're going to see (mark my words) white rappers popping up like Wal-Marts in factory towns, we may as well treat ourselves to the absolute best. Read more » 

Review: Guitar Sunkissed

Label: Morr Music

You're right: Sunkissed, the debut album from Digital Jockey and a handful of collaborators (Ayako Akashiba, Regina Janssen, G?nther Janssen) sounds uncannily-some might say almost inexcusably-like My Bloody Valentine. But as it turns out, we need more of this blissed-out, shoegazing, stars-in-our-eyes dreampop; the ending of every one of Guitar's breathless, swirlybird pop gems leaves a desperate taste in your mouth, the comedown as bruising as the rush was heady. Read more » 

Review: Masami Akita & Russell Haswell Satanstornade

Label: Warp

Putting aside its catalog number of 666, this record is still the closest any living person has ever come to hell. But it's a far screech from noise and pays heed to neither the physical, improvised style of the '80s nor the late-'90s digital mash-up. Rather, Satanstornade is more a complete understanding of texture and sound than anything else. Read more » 

Review: Fragment Orchestra Fragment Orchestra

Label: Schema

Fragment Orchestra are Luca Pernici and Giulio Vetrone. As you may have guessed, they're Italians. Groovy Italians, in fact, as this lovely little collection of supine nuggets testifies. The duo (who also run the Maffia Sound System together) are known for their gently coruscating sound sculptures, and this LP is full of their trademark blissed-out beats. If you can dig weightless grooves that float around in warm washes of sound, softly plucked bass and wistful vibes-glissandos without sounding like the bottom of the ambient barrel is being scraped yet again, you'll die for this. Read more » 

Review: Dwayne Sodahberk Don't Want to Know You

Label: Tigerbeat6

This Swedish producer's debut album establishes him as one of Tigerbeat6's brightest stars. While he's supplied music for Absolut Vodka and Saab ads, Sodahberk sounds anything but commercial on Don't Want To Know You's 17 tracks. After unleashing some DSP heckler spray on the opening cut, Sodahberk shifts into a killer hip-hop groove that's as heavy as Dälek, as metallic as mid-period Autechre and as hypnotically tuneful as Wu-Tang Clan. Read more » 

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