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Reviews: Leftfield / Experimental


Review: Fuck Buttons Tarot Sport

Label: ATP

Fuck Buttons' second album is an hour-long psychedelic workout that sounds like a singular complete thought—one hypnotic rhythm section and one batch of refried, melodic white noise from start to finish. While Andrew Weatherall's seamless editing and production help certainly played a role in the album's cohesive mix, Andrew Hung and Benjamin Power's deceivingly limited sound arsenal truly emboldens the band's sprawling noise epics. Read more » 

Review: OOIOO Arminico Hewa

OOIOO's superkinetic music is subject to the subtle changes and smart inconsistencies of a band with enough ideas to think three albums ahead, yet focused enough to remain totally committed to the present. Arminico Hewa follows in the densely percussive style of 2006's Taiga but initially sounds a little more cluttered—the earlier album's taiko-like floor-tom patterns move over in favor of rushing punk snares on AH. Read more » 

Review: White Rainbow New Clouds

Label: Kranky

Adam Forkner (a.k.a. White Rainbow) continues to astound on his second full-length for Kranky. The Portland resident's loop-based jams have always had a truly organic, 'free' feeling, but New Clouds emphasizes these tonal elements while simultaneously being the best-sounding record he has ever created. Read more » 

Review: To Kill a Petty Bourgeoisie Marlone

Label: kranky

Originally from Richmond, VA, and now based in Minneapolis, the duo of Jehna Wilhelm and Mark McGee makes no bones about its debt to Kranky's flagship band, the now-defunct Labradford. To Kill a Petty Bourgeoisie's scope is cinematic, but their second LP suggests grainy, industrial cinéma vérité instead of the doomy, spaghetti-western feel of an album like Labradford's Mi Media Naranja. Read more » 

Review: Squarepusher Solo Electric Bass 1

Label: Warp

Recorded at an ’07 show in Paris, Solo Electric Bass 1 finds jack-of-all-trades Tom Jenkinson, a.k.a. Squarepusher, playing nothing but a six-string bass. There are no jungle beats malformed in surgical perfection, no murderous rampages through DSP effects, and no guzzles from a pub glass (as far as I know). SEB is perhaps the soberest the ‘pusher man has ever been and his batting average is high. Read more » 

Review: Nurse With Wound The Surveillance Lounge

Label: Dirter

Steven Stapleton’s latest release as Nurse With Wound marries some of his long-floating tendencies: serenely eerie feedback loops, voices screaming and/or shuddering in various foreign languages, and barely-there piano tinkling. Where last year’s Huffin’ Rag Blues threatened to tip Stapleton’s hand with cringe-inducing moments of beatnik lounge collage, The Surveillance Lounge offers less in the way of surprise, but returns to the starkness and po-faced absurdity of his (cringe) canonical albums. Read more » 

Review: Múm Sing Along to Songs You Don't Know

For fans acquainted with Múm's earlier works, Sing Along to Songs You Don't Know might seem an anomaly—the album's opening tracks ditch the Icelandic band's previous glitch-and-lullabye IDM for plain, old-fashioned indie pop. With shades of St. Vincent on "Sing Along" and "Prophecies and Reversed Memories," the slow-motion soundtracks of Finally We Are No One and Yesterday Was Dramatic, Today Was OK seem far removed from the Múm on this record. Read more » 

Review: Tyondai Braxton Central Market

Label: Warp

One of four masterminds behind genre-bending powerhouse Battles, Tyondai Braxton has written and composed a modern take on classical arrangements on his sophomore solo album. Less focused on noise and loop pedals than its predecessor, Central Market instead relies on live instrumentation provided by Braxton and his conduction of the Wordless Music Orchestra. Read more » 

Review: Nudge As Good As Gone

Label: kranky

Dubby musical explorations don’t require a full payload of bass. Nudge isn’t strictly dub by any means, but the group’s slow-burning electro-acoustic tracks often have that billowy feel associated with shacks-turned-studios in Jamaica. On their fourth album, the band plays with ambient sound and space and abuses delay pedals to create textured, coldly mesmerizing music. Dark tones and unraveling narratives ground these often buoyant tracks. Read more » 

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