remote_ thoughts | contemporary electronic

Taylor Deupree – Shoals – 12k

Posted in Reviews: Electronic, Reviews: Organic by remotethoughts on June 28, 2010

Taylor Deupree - Shoals

Artist: Taylor Deupree

Title: Shoals

Label: 12k

Cat No.: 12K1060

Format: CD

I remember saying in my review of Taylor’s Northern album that his key solo works don’t come along very often – well, to be fair there have actually been a fair few Deupree releases over the past few years, collaborative or otherwise. That doesn’t change the fact that a new full length on his own 12k imprint is a really special event and worthy of close attention.

Shoals gestation period has allowed it to take on a fascinating form of its own and the differences between Northern and this are tangible. Whereas Northern was part of his more accessible (if that’s the right word) period of organically-based, less overtly electronic releases Shoals takes a considerably less immediately melodic approach to the compositions.

I have to say that for me this is, along with Stil, my favourite full length album by Deupree. Sometimes you just know when something is right and here he’s combined the almost static drone feel of Stil with the layers and perfectly captured imperfections of Northern’s more earthy sound.

The four pieces that make up Shoals should be considered one journey in my opinion. They each work together to create a captivating flow which holds the attention for the duration and with an immense palette of samples, instruments and recordings it’s never anything less than enchanting

There’s still a natural sense of melody here, don’t get me wrong, but it’s blended with a background feel that seems to find a tone or texture and hold it, allowing the overlaid sounds to provide most of the movement and structure. The title track is a beautiful example of that as it remains focused for 12 minutes while providing a sparkling array of incidental tones and feelings to shine through the mix – bells, electronic drips and drops, subtle guitar strums and field recordings. This style really does form the basis for the whole album apart from the second track which has a sound that harks back much more to Northern with its light and hypnotic acoustic guitar refrain and plenty of found sounds.

It’s all about the tension between the real and the unreal as the forces of electronic processing collide with warm, human sounding textures, undeniably pretty moments and yet an undertone of barely disguised experimentalism. That’s why it’s such a surprisingly dynamic album to listen to – although you’d no doubt call it electronic minimalism in some ways, it’s actually full to brimming with exciting flavours of sound that can be enjoyed over and over with each additional listen adding new layers of understanding.

Created and produced with an incredible ear for detail, Taylor Deupree’s Shoals is a real feast for the ears and another indispensable addition to your music collection without a shadow of a doubt. Quite superb.

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Son Of Rose – All In – Blanket Fields

Posted in Reviews: Electronic by remotethoughts on October 6, 2009

Son Of Rose - All In - Blanket Fields CD

Artist: Son Of Rose

Title: All In

Label: Blanket Fields

Cat No.: BF001

Format: CD – Edition of 700 hand numbered copies

I’m really happy to have snagged a copy of this first release from Kamran Sadeghi’s own Blanket Fields imprint. As Son Of Rose you may well have come across him on Yann Novak’s Dragon’s Eye label so you instantly know what sort of pedigree you’re looking at here. And this self-released CD is an absolute belter I must say.

I’ve been enjoying it for some time and really, you’re in for a treat here. I’m guessing that for a lot of you the intro track alone will be enough to instantly grab you and draw you very happily inside – it certainly was for me. It features a luscious chord sound that has a wave motion with lots of movement within the ostensibly static feel. But then it adds in a background sound and texture that complement the main chord so perfectly that it all clicks into place. And then some! From there it’s a journey through immaculate design and mood with a variety of feelings and tones making themselves known. There’s a skillful touch at work here and you can hear it in the crisp structure of the processed sounds that all combine to make some seriously beautiful pieces.

From straight-up gorgeous ambience and even a nod or two to proper electronica (and, in fact on one track I believe there’s a distinctly Detroit-styled flavour to the chords) right through to abstract, yet still coherent and sublime drones that either rumble in a bass-heavy fashion or envelop you in drapes of warm sound. Add in some almost electro-acoustic elements and you have an album that’s incredibly well rounded and manages to sit between various different sub-genres of the modern electronic sound.

I adore this album I have to say and I guess it’s not going to take a genius to work out that I’m recommending it to you in the highest possible way. A seriously good album.

Fourm / Steinbruchel – Knot 3 – White_Line Editions

Posted in Reviews: Electronic, Reviews: Minimalist by remotethoughts on August 23, 2007

Fourm / Steinbruchel - Knot 3 - White_Line Editions

Artist: Fourm / Steinbruchel

Title: Knot 3

Label: White Line Editions

Cat No.: WLED:001

Format: 3″ CDr – Edition of 100 copies

I’m an unabashed fan of BG Nichols’ work whether it’s under his Si_Comm or Level guises and now I’m extremely pleased to have experienced his new Fourm project.

Having discovered a recording of a Ralph Steinbruchel live set entitled ‘Box’ he set about getting permission from the artist to rework the pieces from the CD in his own inimitable style. He duly received a thumbs-up from Steinbruchel and this absolutely marvellous 3″ CDr is the end result.

Packaged in a plastic wallet with a set of 4 postcards featuring some rather nice minimalist artwork, the audio content is a re-imagining of the source material using electronic processing to add layers of depth and sparse beauty to the original. Rather than completely deconstructing the work, Nichols approaches the reinterpretations with respect and cunning to provide a compelling series of pieces.

Strictly minimalist, the work is a series of beautifully cultivated layers and rhythmic elements that sits somewhere between his micro-fine high frequency work as Si_Comm and the more lush melancholy ambient sound of his Level project. The effect is strangely soothing, yet has enough edge and background layering to reward thorough listening. That said, however, there’s a real ambient overtone, particularly to the first track, ‘Knot 3′ and this gentle way of easing the listener into the CD pays dividends.

By the time you reach ‘Knot 2′ you’re greeted by an altogether more rhythmic and angular piece of work that, once again, manages to retain a calm and hypnotic feeling whilst dislocating you with off-kilter drops and stutters. The underlying drone is a thing of great beauty and accentuates the overtly a-tonal sound that plays across in tandem with the rhythms.

The final track, ‘Knot 1′, is yet another superb example of depth in drone. A pulsating and, no doubt speaker shaking, bass rumbling bottom end collides with a menacing series of foreground tones that, at times, seem to be trying to communicate with you. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there’s a hint of manipulated vocal in there somewhere. Sci-fi minimalism with attitude and the sort of oceanic depth that fans of Richard Chartier or NVO will be extremely pleased to hear.

In essence this is a project of some substance and I’ll certainly be looking forward to the next instalment in the series. Once again Nichols delivers a wonderfully thought provoking and engaging piece of work.

Monostation – Alchemy 6: Phosphor – Limit Switch – 3" CD

Posted in Reviews: Electronic, Reviews: Organic by remotethoughts on October 15, 2006

Monostation - Alchemy 6: Phosphor - Limit Switch

Artist: Monostation

Title: Alchemy 6: Phosphor

Label: Limit Switch

Cat No.: LIMIT80MMCD:06

Format: 3″ CDr – Edition of 100 copies

I thought it was about time that I reviewed a Monostation station release as this is, in fact, their seventh release of 2006 and forms the sixth part of their ongoing ‘Alchemy’ series and the first release since their superb ‘Greyscale EP’ for London’s Smallfish imprint.

This London-based duo has been experimenting in the realms of processed sound for some time and the Alchemy series is a natural exploration of the resulting tracks. Thus far the music has been predominantly based around the sounds of processed guitars, but with this release they’ve used a variety of tones to generate the incredible swathes of sound that make up this CD.

Phosphor itself is a slowly evolving and very beautiful track that ebbs and flows with an enchanting resonance that fills your mind quite beautifully.There’s an exquisite noisiness to the background drone that drags you in whilst the flowing overlaid chord has a movement and delicacy all its own. If you heard this on Kranky, you’d be blown away… let’s just put it that way.

The second track, ‘Firebird’, is generated using piano sounds and has a less obviously drone-based style, instead choosing to use a hypnotic chord motif that repeats and evolves throughout. Dripping in reverb it puts me in mind of Seefeel way back in the day and you can almost tangibly hear the dub bassline that could sit underneath (good idea for a remix?). When the searing synth strings make their way into the mix it instantly becomes a majestic piece of music that gives a nod to the Cocteau Twins but keeps it more minimal than they did and allows the sheer simplicity of the music to drift over you like a wave.

Monostation seem to be ploughing their own furrow at the moment and I, for one, am glad that they’re still single-mindedly delivering such beautiful and evocative music. Long may it continue.

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