For many, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon conjures up foggy memories of dingy college dorm rooms, black lights and the unmistakable fragrance of bong water soaking into the carpet-memories best left dormant or revisited with the requisite sense of humor. But that's exactly what producer Victor "Ticklah" Axelrod has done in this dub take on the 1973 ambient rock masterpiece, brilliantly incorporating toaster Rankin' Joe's hammy chatter into a version of "Time," Frankie Paul's soulful delivery of "Us and Them," and Dr. Read more »
For their debut on Christian Smith's imprint, this Leeds-based team takes on an old-school syncopated groove. Styled as an organic percussive tool, this EP displays ethereal synth work and an overused vocal chant. The quotient reveals deep hues, although one should also expect a relentless pounding. Read more »
Experimental acts are sneaking out of the bedroom and into clubs. Groups like The Postal Service (Jimmy Tamborello of Dntel's side-project on Seattle's Sub Pop imprint) are rockin' the world of formerly electronic-shy indie-pop fans. Chicago's Pulse Programming continues in this vein, and their gorgeous "Blooms Eventually" is like a love song for electronica sweethearts. Unlike Dntel's computer-processed shoegazer-emo, Tulsa conveys a vibe suitable for seduction-smooth like a nattily tuxedoed soul singer, as opposed to Peaches's overt "come on, fuck me" attitude. Read more »
Even though it's the heavyhitters-Mos Def, Blackmoon, Jurassic 5-that are gonna sell this badboy compilation, it's the deeper underground that smashes up the place. On "Classical Hit," Phil da Agony and Planet Asia, both in top form, deliver heavy verbal bombast over a thoroughly catchy beat, as the female hookstress croons, "getting passionate with some ol' classical shit." Ras Kass, another Cali vet, blazes a straight-up lyrical slugfest along a gritty, gothic piano loop on "Verbal Murder"-minimal underground militancy like the good ol' days. Read more »
Electronic music stealth-bomber Carl Finlow (an underappreciated man of many aliases and genres), here unleashes yet more quality classics of the distinctly electro variety. With a weighty discography behind him, both home listeners and dancefloor revelers can indulge themselves in his ever-building and patiently layered string-saturated world. Finlow conbines encouraging visions of light on "Non Functional" with gritty gobs of gorgeous intensity on "Magnified"-to create a solid hour of classic music, without relying on cashing-in guest MCs or cooing she-elves. Read more »
Easily the most lighthearted release of Jan Jelinek's illustrious career, La Nouvelle Pauvret? finds the German producer breathing life into dub-techno's emaciated frame. Here, the Berliner lifts his scalpel away from soulful black forms, choosing instead to carve up a chunk of white rock history. Narcotic melodies take precedence throughout, mixed high above Jelinek's typically click-ridden ambience. Read more »
Drum & bass has found its funk. And it's about time-Philly-based duo GFS have crashed through the (now-fading) stereotype of dark, serious and self-involved tech-step by bringing back a much-needed sense of playfulness. Liquid funk drips from the basslines, nicely balancing the crisp snares and throbbing kick drums and it's all topped off with some spacey sound effects and acidic synth lines. By enlisting the help of a few friends-dubbed the GFS "Allstars" and playing bass, Fender Rhodes, sax, violin and guitar-GFS have created an impossibly funky, tripped-out and enjoyable debut album. Read more »
Dougan and his 122-piece orchestra choir are best listened to on the run. If your life lacks grandiose chase scenes, a jog around the block will do, so long as you're maintaining heightened endorphin levels. Maybe it's because his most famous track, "Clubbed To Death," has been soundtracked to death, most notably on "The Matrix," but Dougan's downtempo epics do seem most suited for those cinematic "special moments": the thwarted rescue, the nail-biting climax, the triumphant return of the hero. Read more »
Don't overlook this collaboration between Swedish producer Andreas Saag (Swell Session) and vocalist Jonatan Bäckelie (Ernesto's) amid the flood of piss-poor white labels that will rain down on Miami's Winter Music Conference. "Let Me Decide" enters with two minutes of staccato beats before dousing you in clever, distorted Rhodes chords and Bäckelie's aching appeals. Add this to the growing list of broken beat-cum-house vocal tracks that stick like birch sap to your ears. Read more »
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