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Reviews: Leftfield / Experimental


Review: Vladislav Delay Tummaa

Label: Leaf

Tummaa diametrically opposes Finnish producer/percussionist Sasu Ripatti’s work as Luomo. Whereas that project imagines minimal, vocal-centric house as a lubricious glide through sleek clubs and luxurious boudoirs, Ripatti’s new Vladislav Delay album revives his instincts as an improvising Scandinavian jazz musician. Spurning the dancefloor and the horizontal bop, Tummaa translates Delay’s usual impressionistic, knotted strain of abstract techno into introverted jazz tropes. Read more » 

Review: Jónsi & Alex Riceboy Sleeps

Label: XL

Though they’ve opted to release their debut album under their own names, the Riceboy Sleeps moniker is a longstanding one, under which Jon Por Birgisson and collaborative/romantic partner Alex Somers have staged exhibitions and published an eponymous book. The latter has collected processed drawings and found photographs (silhouettes of birds, prints of trees, images of children balancing on stilts), back-grounded by decayed paper stocks in desaturated sepias and blues. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists An Anthology of Chinese Experimental Music

Label: Sub Rosa

Exhaustive in its scope, this four-disc collection of music from 1992-1998 might be one of the most amazing compilations of recent years, featuring more than four hours of music by 48 artists. The depth of the Chinese underground music scene is vast and widely varied, and until recently, quite inaccessible to westerners; by releasing this compilation, the Sub Rosa label has done the world a great service. Featuring pioneers like Dickson Dee and Dajuin Yao alongside more contemporary acts like Stingrays and Li Jianhong, the sonic eclecticism of the scene is on full display. Read more » 

Review: Mungolian Jetset We Gave it All Away...Now We Are Taking it Back

Mungolian Jetset is everything you love about dance music. Disco? They’ve got it. Techno? They’ve got it. Pop? Read more » 

Review: David Daniell and Douglas McCombs Sycamore

For their first recorded collaboration, the Chicago-based pair of David Daniell, a guitarist with an impressive avant/free-rock pedigree—he’s worked with Loren Connors and Thurston Moore among others—and Douglas McCombs, best known as the bass player for Tortoise (here, he plays electric and pedal steel guitar), have put together a record of contemplative, fusion-inflected textures, sculpted from hours of improvisation into a shimmering, psychedelic set. Read more » 

Review: Lokai Transition

The buzzing, ticking terrain plotted by the Austrian experimental duo of Florian Kmet and Stefan Németh has assumed a more fleshed-out shape with Transition, their second LP following 2005’s 7 Million. In the four-year interim, they’ve made their warm, minimal aesthetic feel slightly more threatening. Subtle rhythmic touches—shaker, snare, bells—blow an ominous gust behind tracks alternately desolate (“Bruit”) and oddly unsettling (what sounds like a creaky wood galleon on “Roads”). Read more » 

Review: Mika Vainio Black Telephone of Matter

Label: Touch

If we are to believe Lucia Dlugoszewski's maxim that the "first concern of all music... is to shatter the indifference of hearing," then Finnish sound-sculptor Vainio's fourth solo album can be considered as exemplary. Throughout his latest effort, Vainio shocks and surprises, juxtaposing near-silences with gauzy walls of noise, almost ultrasonic frequencies with disorienting phase attacks. Read more » 

Review: Luigi Archetti/Bo Wiget Low Tide Digitals III

On their third installment for the Low Tide Digitals saga, Luigi Archetti and Bo Wiget make their rounds again through the heart of the industrial plant, passing by assembly lines of ungreased machinery and scorched steam engines while draping a sheet of fine-tuned, acoustic instrumentation over its foundation. Throughout its 14 movements, fried electronics on the brink of combustion fume and spark in a nebula of distortion and feedback while a wave of creaking cello and snarling bass creeps in during its quieter moments. Read more » 

Review: Lucid Dream Recovered Data 95

Label: Phthalo

Long before John Tejada earned his stripes in early '00s microhouse, his sound differed little from the hordes of Clinton-era bedroom hermits who crafted techno for the smoking chair instead of the dancefloor. Recovered is a previously unreleased album from 1995, and Tejada's influences are laid bare. “Grip” and “Tezetto” resemble b-sides from Autechre’s IDM fountainhead, Amber. Read more » 

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