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Reviews: Leftfield / Experimental


Review: Supersilent 9

Though the packaging—turquoise, this time—eschews personnel details per usual, it's widely known that the ninth album from Supersilent was completed without their drummer Jarle Vespestad. This absence has stirred the remaining trio of Helge Sten (a.k.a. Deathprod), Arve Henriksen, and Stale Storlokken to discard their expected instruments (including trumpet and electronics) in favor of Hammond organs. Read more » 

Review: Syntaks Ylajali

While Copenhagen-based bandleader Jakob Skott has been quietly producing music as Syntaks for the better part of a decade, Ylajali represents an important new step for the project—not only is it the first Syntaks full-length on Ghostly, it's also the band's first album as a duo, as one-time guest vocalist Anna Cecilia has officially joined the group. Her addition is certainly welcome, adding some human warmth to the fuzzy drone of Skott's Boards-of-Canada-meets-Cocteau-Twins soundscapes. Read more » 

Review: Felix You Are the One I Pick

Label: kranky

Unfortunately, the opening song from this British chamber-pop duo spoils the entire album. On “Death to Everyone But Us,” gently woven piano and guitar melodies blow thick espresso fumes into the air before Lucinda Chua mews the off-putting song title. While one might expect an ironic, punk counterpoint to follow, the rest of the album is basically placid, coffeehouse muzak. There are the funny moments—Chua repeatedly tells the listener she would never let YOU ride her on “I Wish I Was a Pony”—but overall, the muttering-poet routine quickly grows monotonous. Read more » 

Review: port-royal dying in time

Label: n5md

Though the album's starkly snowy cover might have something to do with it, Genoa's port-royal does evoke a crystalline, wintery quality on its third full-length. High-frequency washes, plaintive delayed guitars, and tinkling synths abound amidst rhythm structures that evoke Squarepusher and Aphex Twin. Read more » 

Review: Lymbyc Systym Shutter Release

Label: Mush

Opening with a flurry of toms and sparse, echoing guitars, Lymbyc Systym's second album, Shutter Release, is another instrumental electronic pop effort from brothers Jared and Michael Bell. The album's increased sonic depth (care of Explosions in the Sky producer John Congleton) helps open up their Mice Parade-esque hypnotic electro-pop with an increased sonic palette and spacious mixes while showcasing the duo's musical growth with its ethereal songwriting and hushed melodies. Read more » 

Review: Solo Andata Solo Andata

Label: 12k

It’s tough to top this album’s closing horrorshow. For the 10 minutes of “Woods Flesh Bone,” the Australian ambient duo known as Solo Andata recorded a stroll through a forest where ominous guitar drones and queasy, gurgling liquid noises cut through the wilderness. The rest of the album is bathed in otherwise placid dronescapes crafted from acoustic and homemade instruments. Read more » 

Review: Jogger This Great Pressure

Label: Magical Properties

Technically, this is Jogger's first full-length, but there's enough music here to fill five albums. The duo (Amir Yaghmai on violin/guitar/vocals and Jonathan Larroquette on laptop/controllers/vocals) packs each of its 10 tracks here with sounds drawing on everything from ambient to folk to rock, utilizing a manic cut-and-paste-and-layer-and-distort-and-process aesthetic that's, well, crowded. Read more » 

Review: Fuckpony Let the Love Flow

Building off the success of his recent Fabric47 mix, Fuckpony (a.k.a. Jay Haze) drops Let the Love Flow, a house album built from the ground up by his own playing—there are no samples here. From the drums to the horns, Haze builds a record as much about sounds and performance as it is about memorable tracks. The music is at its best on "I Know It Happened" and "Fall Into Me," as guest vocalists Chela Simone and Laila Tov deliver memorable performances that give focus to Haze’s often minimal arrangements. Read more » 

Review: Jim O'Rourke The Visitor

Label: Drag City

For the first recorded peep out of Jim O’Rourke in years, we’re treated to The Visitor, an ornate, 38-minute mini-orchestral piece played entirely by O’Rourke himself. A former member of Gastr del Sol and Sonic Youth, O’Rourke has assumed a number of musical guises in the past, and this time out he crafts a pastoral instrumental glide through his own musical past. Beginning with fingerpicked guitar, it gradually incorporates banjo, piano, pedal-steel guitar, and clarinet in gently shapeshifting, increasingly somber motions. Read more » 

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