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Review: Diego Instant Reality

Label: Kanzleram

Twenty-two-year-old Diego Hostettler can build his tracks like his Kanzleramt protégé, Switzerland's hard techno/house superstar Alexander Kowalski. But it's lack of stylistic maturity makes Instant Reality only marginally more than an afterthought compared to Kowalski. It's the surgical cleanliness of Diego's source material-they're the same synth notes, the same arpeggios, the same breakneck techno rhythms. But Instant Reality lacks the scratchy, rough-around-the-edges quality that makes Kowalski's pounding Progress LP sound truly battle-tested. Why the comparison? Read more » 

Review: Taylor Deupree and Kenneth Kirschner Post_Piano

Label: Sub Rosa

A newcomer to recorded music, Kenneth Kirschner's actually been working with experimental piano and electronics as long as college friend and collaborator Taylor Deupree (that is, for over a decade), and this is a captivating debut. Post_Piano functions on three levels: the first is a singular, rather noisy sample of a piano note, provided here in .aiff and MP3 formats; the second is a series of full-tonal-range compositions Kirschner composed from that sample (also in MP3); and third is Taylor Deupree's digital experimentation with those compositions (actual CD tracks). Read more » 

Review: Corker/Conboy In Light Of That Learnt Later

Label: Vertical Form

Adrien Corker and Paul Conboy, often recording as Soul Circuit, have recorded numerous film and video soundtracks, so perhaps it's not surprising that their full-length debut for Vertical Form is rich with cinematic overtones. Long passages of acoustic guitar or vibraphone spool out as carefully as film from a reel, chiming pedal tones hang orange dusk on the horizon, slow crackles and halftones hide forgotten histories behind their incidental nature. A departure for Vertical Form, Light carries echoes of Tortoise, Morricone and even Talk Talk, but it's hardly just another remake. Read more » 

Review: Clue To Kalo Come Here When You Sleepwalk

Label: Mush

Many songs suggest or inspire movement-only a select few have movements. The songs on the Mush Records debut of Australian Mark Mitchell-who works as Clue To Kalo-breathe, blink, shift and shudder in a gauzy weave of dewy casiotone melodies and laptop morphs. Sleepwalk is a charming digital diary of sunny, soft-focus cascades over loose knots of drum patterns, sometimes aggressive yearning, sometimes timid, never fey. A momentary departure from Mush's ambitious hip-hop abstractica, Clue To Kalo would actually seem more suited to Morr Music or Plug Research, akin to Múm, Ms. Read more » 

Review: Bridge and Tunnel The Great Outdoors

Label: Surrender

Surrender is a new label from the UK's Visible Noise stable, home to punk-metal outfit Lost Prophets. This-Bridge and Tunnel's third album-will be Surrender's first release. The duo responsible for the first two B & T long-players-singer Nathan Bennett and German producer Mark Bihler-has now expanded to include Kevin Williams (guitar) and Nico Lippolis (drums). And, if you can imagine Spiritualized led by Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie-with, unfortunately, less original ideas than either of these bands-you can probably live without The Great Outdoors. Read more » 

Review: Dennis Brown The Promised Land 1977-1979

Label: Blood & Fire

Like nearly all Dennis Brown albums, The Promised Land has a mix of great tunes and filler tracks: in general this is an above-average to very good collection. For roots reggae fans, the backing tracks are uniformly stellar Studio One creations, featuring the best of the best: Sly, Robbie, Horsemouth, Chinna, Sticky, Flabba and more. This collection combines Joseph's Coat of Many Colours and various singles from Brown's own DEB label in the late '70s. As usual, Blood & Fire's reissue packaging is excellent, loaded with great liner notes, an interview with Brown and more. Read more » 

Review: Bad Company UK Shot Down on Safari

Label: System

I interviewed Bad Company for XLR8R a few years ago, and they are nice guys. They've been making some of the meanest sounding shit I've ever heard for years now, but they still manage to sneak in some funky little polyrhythms and the odd soulful track here and there for flavor. Ripping basslines and chopped up amens are in evidence as always, but hey, Bad Company is nothing if not consistent. Just check out the included bonus Best Of The Bad mixed-CD if you don't believe me. Read more » 

Review: Tony Allen Homecooking

Label: Narada

The drummer who helped Fela Kuti launch a musical revolution from Nigeria in the '60s and '70s returns with yet another powerful piece of evidence that Afrobeat is here to stay. Since striking out on his own, Allen has brought his distinctive drumming style to whatever genre he investigates. On Homecooking, the soul production might lack some of the raw fire of his '70s recordings, but here, Allen's signature bubbling snare patterns are introduced to hip-hop, with British/Nigerian MC Ty transposing the revolution into a contemporary context. Funky and uplifting. Read more » 

Review: Alejandra & Aeron Bousha Blue Blazes

Label: Orthlorng Musork

From their earliest Lucky Kitchen releases, Alejandra Salinas and Aeron Bergman's take on computer music has been extraordinarily personal. Their subtle combination of processing and recordings culled from everyday life is far removed from the stereotype of factory-stamped interchangeability in electronic music. Their latest release is constructed around recordings of Aeron's grandmother, Bousha, who sings and plays a very out-of-tune piano on several of the album's songs. Read more » 

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