XLR8R - logo

Reviews: Various Genres


Review: Matthew Herbert Big Band Goodbye Swingtime

Label: Accidental

According to Duke Ellington, it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing. Such a declamatory statement should cause no insomnia for Matthew Herbert or those involved in his latest project. From the deftly brushed snares and lissome brass section of the opening "Turning Pages," the rhythmic fluidity of Herbert's big band is both plain to the ear and plainly pertinent. Herbert's personal beliefs are almost as well-known as his idiosyncratic working practices. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists Broklyn Beats 7" Series

Label: Broklyn Beats

It seems NYC hasn't been content to stop at the noisy aggression of El-P's percussion, but instead appears to have befriended Alec Empire and Digital Hardcore based on this collection of dirty, rugged, industrial, chaotic beats. From droney hip-hop to tidbits of driven drum & bass buried beneath a million tons of sonic sludge to head-banging, sample-heavy gabber militancy, Broklyn Beats leaves no rhythm safe, as the likes of I-Sound, DJ /rupture and Rotator deliver enough sonic damage to bring the toughest rave-torn warrior down. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists Breakbeat Science Exercise.01 (Mixed by DJ Dara)

Label: Breakbeat Science

The overwhelming feeling of the first compilation from the Breakbeat Science imprint-which accompanies the store of the same name-is linearity. Whether the sensation of the individual tracks is melodic, pounding, ethereal or trancey, the overall effect is a smoothed-out, techno-influenced roll that would make this an excellent CD for a long drive back home from the rave. Dara mixes the entire thing seamlessly, and the track list features a lot of underrated American artists, including Kaos & Karl K, Datcyde, Abstract and Pieter K. Read more » 

Review: Toxic Girls! Nightmare for (13) Unlucky Boystars

Label: Tsunami Addiction

Is this just some self-indulgent riot grrl manifesto full of shallow, man-eating lyrics over shallower electropunk beats? Read more » 

Review: Ollo Sleeper

Label: Creative Vibes

I have one party trick: I'm good at picking up dialects. Not your obvious Cockneys or Alabama twangs-I'm also good at musical dialects. Or so I thought until I heard the Swedish band, Ollo, two DJ production partners named Alex and Lars. Sleeper is atmospheric, with a slight pop sensibility and a heady dose of jazz-a bit of moonless night with a touch of sun glinting off the snow. Read more » 

Review: 808 State Outpost Transmission

Label: Shadow

Where does techno go after it's been framed and hung in a gallery? As with their last release (1996's Don Solaris), Manchester's modern masters lay it on thick, this time with a fresh palette. There are a few familiar notes and devices, such as employing multiple guest vocalists like Simian, Elbow and Alabama 3, all of whom produce great results. But it's drastic shape-shifts and an increased intensity that mark 808's return. The tone of "Soulflex," for example, glides effortlessly between martyr and menace. Can a Vatican commission be far behind? Read more » 

Review: Daniel Carter + Reuben Radding Luminescence

Label: Aum Fidelity

Two stellar musicians present a soaring sonic convergence. Carter's countless associations include Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, Sonic Youth and William Parker, while Radding has worked with John Zorn and Wayne Horvitz, among others. This duet, however, is a rare and timeless pairing. When bassist Reuben Radding brought multi-instrumentalist Daniel Carter to Seattle shortly after 9/11, Carter brought only his alto saxophone, saying that it "helped create a kind of simplicity, focus, and relative quietude." How can a record be so primal and filled with emotion, and yet be so peaceful? Read more » 

Review: Jason Lescalleet Mattresslessness

Label: C

This first full-length from New Englander Jason Lescalleet is a stunning example of sonic shapeshifting. All but one track on this excellent disc is ostensibly an homage to a pair of artists. For example, the grainy, droning opener is dedicated to Portuguese guitarist Rafael Toral and sound artist John Hudak; the static-filled "Underscore" to lowercase adherents Taylor Deupree and Francisco Lopez; the abrasive, ear-cleansing "Straight No Chaser" to noiseniks Ron Lessard and Graham Lambkin, and so forth. Read more » 

Review: Accelera Deck Echo Economy

Label: Toast and Jam

This Accelera Deck re-release feels like a series of still-lifes of rusty scraps of crumpled metal, each portrait a slight variation on another, threaded together into animation. Its abruptness is a distinct departure from other Accelera Deck works in which sheets of delicate ambience unroll on top of tiny, skittering beats. "&loop2" is a garbage-can tumble, and "&loop3" features a controlled and measured clock ticking while a rumbling chaos churns at the edges of earshot. Read more » 

Follow us on...

Get the lowdown weekly newsletter

XLR8R Downloads Player