Sunday, June 30, 2019

Cosmic Replicant - The Nature Of Life

Altar Records: 2013

This is about where I feel Cosmic Replicant truly came into his own as an artist, which is funny considering it, too, lacks much of style that initially drew me to Pavel's project. Who knew when I started digging deeper into his discography there'd be so much more to discover? He almost reminds me of another Altar Records alum, AstroPilot, in how diverse his various albums have been. Of course, in this early portion of his career, Mr. Shirshin is still playing by the usual psy-chill rules, but even here there are hints of the paths he'd later take.

For instance, the bleepy ambience that had me swooning over Mission Infinity pops up in the track Technological Era. Yeah, it's an appropriate title, definitely of a colder, harsher nature compared to the rest of an album quite fixated on the wonders of organic life. Where else am I gonna' get my acid fix though? Still, those expecting the sophomore effort from Cosmic Replicant to be more of the same as Future Memories had to be caught off guard by that sonic detour. Perhaps, but probably not so much as with Microscopic Structure, which dabbles in that trendy dub techno genre the lads at Ultimae Records were all on about. Hey, a one-off cut's not such a bad thing on an album clearly stretching beyond the norms of one's current scene, but a full record of it wouldn't fit well with the Altar manifesto. Just as well, then, he hooked up with Pureuphoria Records to scratch that particular itch on Landscapes Motion. Uh, nothing here suggests the pure prog-psy outing of his self-released Soul Of The Universe album though. Guess Altar wasn't having any of that from Cosmic Replicant one way or the other.

And now I feel bad because I feel like I've already run out of things to say about The Nature Of Life. What else can I say? As mentioned, it's Future Memories, but better. It has the bookened ambient pieces, the opener Somewhere Beyond more on a dub-drone tip, the closer Rebirth Of Nature opting for the Solar Fields happy feel-good bliss-times vibes. In between those you have the usual assortment of psy-chill (Living Particles, Molecular Compound) chill psy (Song Of The Forests, Morning Horizon), and whatever Sunnarium is. It almost sounds like it wants to be IDM, but just can't quite shake free of the psy shackles. Gosh, makes me wonder whether Pavel started exploring that domain in his more recent releases. Guess I'll find out soon enough!

Oh yeah, as with Distant System, I went and purchased the near-entirety of the Cosmic Replicant digital discography as found on Bandcamp. He's remained quite active since his last album on Altar Records, four items released since 2015. I suppose I could listen to them now and confirm any new developments in his songcraft, but I prefer savouring the anticipation. There aren't many artists left that make it worth my while to wait a little longer, y'know.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Harold Budd, Daniel Lentz, Ruben Garcia - Music For 3 Pianos

All Saints: 1992/2018

Whoa, I wrapped up that last batch of 'L' albums with a Harold Budd release, and now I'm wrapping up the 'M's with another of his. Does this mean the start of a trend, where each batch of letters will feature an item from that Budd Box bundle? Ah, no. Just a total coincidence. Besides, even if Budd's lone 'N' album was in this collection (too recent a release to qualify for the Budd Box), Nighthawks wouldn't even be at the end of the upcoming batch, three more CDs coming after that particular position in my alphabetical queue. Eh? Which albums might those be? Oh, something old, something new, something now now.

With a tidy amount of word count now burnt, I can reasonably do a tidy little review of this tidy little album from Harold Budd, Music For 3 Pianos. Well, not sure I can call this an LP-album, barely over twenty minutes in length. What's remarkable is this isn't the shortest 'album' in this box set, the earlier The Serpent (In Quicksilver) not even reaching that 'lofty' length.

While ol' Harold had no problem playing the piano on his own, he wasn't averse to adding fellow musicians into the mix. The obvious pairing was with Brian Eno, which immensely helped his profile among the niche market he already existed in. Along the way he paired with the Cocteau Twins in The Moon And The Melodies, but it wasn't until Music For 3 Pianos that Mr. Budd would truly unleash the collaborative floodgates forever after. Joining him on this venture was Daniel Lentz and Ruben Garcia. Lentz was a composer of some note through the '70s and '80s, though save his album Missa Umbrarum, quite opulent compared to the minimalist lane Budd usually traversed in. Garcia seems to have been a relative unknown compared to the others, this album his first Discoggian entry. He released a few more items after this, mostly obscure self-released ambient affairs, though did pair up with Budd on a few more albums before his passing half a decade ago. We got the instruments set up, the players involved introduced. Time to hear us some three pianist action, yo'! (stop sniggering, you)

And it's... surprisingly bare. Like, I should have expected it from a Harold Budd joint, but for some reason, I figured three players would involve more dynamic interplay, maybe on a jazz tip. Instead, it seems like more a 'call-and-response' thing going on, one player offering sparse tones while another adds their interaction, all the while allowing enough space between that you couldn't interpret this as anything other than Harold Budd doing Harold Budd th'angs. And I'm admittedly no expert on the intricacies of piano interplay, but isn't there supposed to be a third member here? I honestly can't tell.

Music For 3 Pianos is certainly pleasant in its presentation, but I can't deny being a little let down by what I was expecting, even for a Harold Budd album.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Specta Ciera + The Circular Ruins - Mnemosyne

dataObscura: 2016

Welp, the happy-funtime house music was a nice detour, but we must return to the regularly scheduled ambient dronescapes I clearly over-indulged in last year. Like, I thought I spread things out a bit from the Databloems and the dataObscuras, what with a Motech dive and sporadic other items along the way (Stacey Pullen! Pet Shop Boys! Sixtoo?). Not enough, turns out, with many more of these sorts of albums to come before I reach the end of the current backlog. Ah well, at least there isn't a huge pile of Cryo Chamber in here too, as in backlogs of before. Nay, that's for the next round of backlog reviews! Mwa ha-ha-ha!

At least this time, I'm not going in so blind. I've already touched upon The Circular Ruins; aka: Nunc Stans; aka: Anthony Kerby; aka: the dude that runs this dataObscura house. Specta Ciera is new though ...or is he? Apparently I have covered him as well, though under his real name of Devin Underwood. If that doesn't quite ring a bell, might I 'send' you to 'the past' Carpe Sonum Records in my archives? Eh? Eh...? Wow, tough crowd. I'm really dealing with the data-obscure with these artists, aren't I?

Anyhow, Specta Ciera has generally been Mr. Underwood's primary alias, and after releasing around half-dozen albums on his own, started feeling the collaborative itch with guys like Benjamin Dauer and The Circular Ruins. Seems an Arbee has become Devin's latest music beau, including releases on dataObscura and Carpe Sonum Records together. Damn, if they manage something out on one of Lee Norris' labels, they'll be, like, a pleasant ambient drone power couple! This scene could use more juicy gossip like that (and none of the 'label manager meltdowns' ...okay, maybe a little of that too, for the LOLs).

Mnemosyne opens with Preparations For Sleep. Ah, dang'it. Whenever I sit back to take in an album such as this, I often have great difficulty staying awake for the duration. That's not a bad thing, really, calm music easing you into a state of mental soothing doing its job at all. Letting me know that I likely won't have much of a chance against Mnemosyne though, that's just trolling me now.

All joking aside, the Specta Ruins (Circular Ciera?) pairing does make for an interesting contrast. Granted, I haven't listened to a tonne from these two, but enough to get a general idea of their styles, Kerby often exploring the minimalist spaces among field recordings and subtle drones, Underwood a little more musical in his layering of synth tones and pad timbre. There are some downright dreamy passages throughout Mnemosyne, where one can lose themselves in the distant melodies emanating from underneath burbling electronics and fuzzy drone. It takes a bit to really grab you, mind, but by album's end, I'm feelin' as chilled out as- oh geez! Why does final track Quandary have such a comparatively ominous tone to it? Harsh my mellow, man.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Various - Hed Kandi The Mix: Summer 2004

Hed Kandi: 2004

As I continue my curiosity-sating plunge into Hed Kandi's prime years (cheap used CDs help), one issue I've had with them is their unmixed nature. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for having full tracks for my own music collection, but when you're dealing with double-disc compilations of very similar music throughout, it grows monotonous hearing all those obligatory DJ-friendly intros and outros over and over and over. And honestly, this is only an issue on collections like Disco Heaven or Beach House, where the selections are about as homogeneous as this genre can get. It all works well enough in mix sets, but the stop-start nature of unmixed tracks calls for variety, capitalizing on the freedom of breathing space between tunes. The more I listened to Hed Kandi compilations, the more I wondered why they didn't offer them in the form of DJ mixes.

Well lo', they did! ...after a time. There were occasional single-disc 'samplers' released, but by 2003, the demand was high enough that Hed Kandi officially dove into the overstuffed multi-CD DJ mix market. Only they kept things in-house, curator Mark Doyle doing the business, no major spotlight on some superstar mercenary jock stealing the shine from the real heroes of a DJ mix: the artists that make the tunes!

The Mix: Summer 2004 was one of the label's earliest forays into the DJ mix medium, and let me tell you, all those nitpicks about Hed Kandi I highlighted above, instantly solved here! Sure, there's no technical wizardry out of these sets, but who'd ever buy something from this label expecting that? You're first and foremost buying from Hed Kandi because the catchy cover art lured you in. Then, maybe distant second, the music selection intrigued you further. So long as there aren't any horrid transitions or tonal clashes, you're gonna' have a good time.

The two main mixes of this 3CD set remains consistent with Hed Kandi's breaded butter, CD1 featuring the garage and disco house, and CD2 getting in on those clubby anthems and *shudder* trendy 'electro' schlock. Yeah, Ferry Corsten's Rock Your Body Rock is here, and sounding way out of place even in track list consisting of Junior Jack's Stupidisco, Armand Van Helden's “I cans Daft Punk too!” Hear My Name, and Cicada's “Stadium Remix” of Deepest Blue's Is It A Sin. Can you tell I prefer CD1?

Of course, CD3 gives me the most endorphin tingles, an almost obligatory 'classics' collection of tunes. Well, 'back in the day' compared to the year 2004 – the upfront tunes of this release are now older than some of the classics were then! And while some may roll their eyes at seeing tracks like Ce Ce Peniston's Finally, Robin S.' Show Me Love, and Aftershock's Slave To The Vibe trotted out again, I bet you haven't heard them arranged in this order! Oh, you have. Well, I just have a soft spot for oldies from Morales, Humphries, and Knuckles, so there.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Utada Hikaru - Ultra Blue

Eastworld: 2006

(a Patreon Request from Philoi)

Now that I've gotten the boggles out of my mind regarding the juggernaut of a commercial success that is Utada Hikaru's music career, I can do a deeper dive into one of her albums. Eh, I left out her attempts at breaking through in America? For sure there was an attempt, almost immediately after the release of Deep Blue in fact. How could her brand not want to replicate that fame on this side of the Pacific? Surely folks in the U.S. of A. would look past her ethnic origins and appreciate the music- BWAHAAHAHA!!! Oh man, I couldn't even finish it! They certainly did all they could trying though, what with Island Def Jam getting Timbaland at the producer's console. I suppose Exodus debuting at 160 on the Billboard was okay for a mostly unknown foreign talent but yeah, small wonder she returned to Japan after this. For a 'foreign produced' record though, album did gangbusters in her native land. Obviously it did.

Ultra Blue is the Japanese album Hikaru released in the wake of her American expenditure, and boy are the English influences ever still present, a track list almost entirely in that language. In fact, of the twelve songs, only three use kanji. Another three do that funny Japanese thing where they capitalize the whole title (BLUE, COLORS, WINGS), as though they're so hype for the song, they just gotta' shout it at the top of their lungs. But yeah, the rest are all conventional English titles: Be My Last, One Night Magic, Keep Tryin', This Is Love, Making Love. Oh, and this CD is 'thicc', yo', one of the fattest jewel cases I've ever held. Nothing but the most luxurious booklet paper for Utada Hikaru!

There's also more English in the songs themselves, though mostly in the choruses, Hikaru often flipping between languages even mid-line. I remain dumb-founded that folks, of any ethnicity, can pull that off (work with some carrying conversations fluently flipping from English to Punjabi). Judging by the titles though, most of the lyrics deal with the usual love topics R&B and pop settle on, and as my Japanese remains pathetically weak, I've no clue how deep or profound Hikaru's words are. She's certainly emotive enough to carry a tune though.

And yet, Ultra Blue was apparently one of her weakest selling albums, with a slightly more electronic tinge to the music not quite vibing with her massive audience. Which is weird to me because this all sounds like the same super-slick polished pop cribbing contemporary influences I've heard from mainstream markets for decades. A little Latin in One Night Magic, a little trip-hop in 海路, a little... UK urban in COLORS? Okay, maybe not as indebted to American R&B as her earlier output, but not so blatantly Japanese as I expect of most j-pop either. Was it simply not enough of either? Well, if there's anything I wouldn't call Ultra Blue, it's vanilla. Now rose, there's a flavour that's apt.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Anatolya - Mirror Messages

Unknown Tone Records: 2016

Oh, why couldn't have this been my first Unknown Tone Records album to review? Then I could have killed off the obligatory word salad of background info here instead of Twincities' CD. At least there, I had some additional artist information to dig deeper on if I so chose. This Anatolya though, he's a giant ol' Discoggian blank, Mirror Messages his lone entry, save a single track contributed to the Unknown Tone compilation Vol. IV. At least the liner notes tells me the artist behind Anatolya is Brian Phillips, and hails from the Florida region. Not much else beyond that though. The Bandcamp page does send me to a link of his other artistic endeavours, including paintings, video, and sculpturing. It all looks bleak and macabre and very dark ambient, which makes me wonder how he wound up on Unknown Tone in the first place? Are there other morose music makers on the label I'm not aware of? That album titled Stay Out Long Enough And The Night Becomes Your Home from Lost Trail seems rather dark and gothic.

Anatolya though, I've almost nothing to work with, beyond the music itself. And I'll be honest, when I heard the opening harsh drone of Before You Were Born, I thought I was in for one of those experiences. Where the playing of a full LP is more an endurance test of sensory overload than letting oneself be lost in the vibe the artist has crafted. It's certainly effective in setting a discordant tone, the sort of sound you'd expect from the opening credits of a mind-breaking art-house film. Did I really want to hear such a thing on this nice summer day though? Heck, even in the bleakest of winter?

Fortunately, things turn to the moodier side of dark drone after, with creepy sounds and disembodied voices floating about a murky timbre. And gosh, The Nomad Flute actually feels a tad welcoming, in a warbly melancholy sort of way. Elsewhere, John Fire Lame Deer shows Mr. Phillips has a lighter side to his muse, even if its chipper piano melody remains buried in sludgy synth. Punctum finds him getting his experimental side on (such stretched oscillations), while In The Window and Lotophagi do the crackly minimalist ambient thing that jives with much of what I've heard from Unknown Tone's catalogue – there had to be a connection somewhere! It was almost enough to lull me into a sense of calm that I almost forgot just how confrontational the opening track was, but closer Eukurai reminds me that Mirror Messages had its fingers in the dark ambient side of things for most of its runtime.

So an interesting little album from Anatolya... Anatolya... Why does that name seem so familiar? Let me check something. *click-clack clickity-clack-clack ...BASS!* Oh, Anatolia, as in the Anatolia Peninsula. Y'know, watching a bunch of King & Generals videos will get certain locations stuck in your head something fierce. Lot of history in that region, believe you me.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Twincities - Memoirs: To Dust

Unknown Tone Records: 2015

Is this really the first Unknown Tone Records album I'm reviewing? I feel like I've touched upon them at some point before. Maybe a name-drop from an associated producer? I guess I technically covered the Lee Norris and Porya Hatami collaboration Every Day Feels Like A New Drug, though that was via a digital version offered by Mr. Norris, not the original CD as released by Unknown Tone. I can only assume that's how I came across this label the first place, after which I must have visited their Bandcamp, spotted a CD bundle deal, ordered a bunch of stuff, and ended up with a pile of albums I barely have any recollection of getting. Having reviewed most of my old collection, methinks this blog has turned into nothing more than a glorified record of how I'm getting all my new stuff. It's grown increasingly difficult keeping track of it all, what with too many options now available to indulge my weakest impulse. Why can't I be internet addicted to something more traditional, like gambling or porn?

Twincities is Fletcher McDermott, an individual that doesn't have much Discoggian presence beyond his work for this project. I assume he's done work elsewhere, just because he seems like the sort of chap who'd have plied his trade with a variety of indie or abstract musicians around the Long Island region. Or this project is just something he does in his spare time, his day job some mundane thing that's prevented him from expanding further into the domain of 'fifty releases in one decade' ambient producers. Wouldn't surprise me, given the state of living conditions in the New York City region. Music don't pay the bills like it used to there. In fact, did it ever? Maybe in the grimy '70s.

Mr. McDermott describes his music as 'noisy ambiance', though there's nothing terribly racket-inducing about his stuff. Nay, he makes very calm, minimalist droning material, with static and glitch treatments giving his sparse arrangements a lived-in feeling. It's not too dissimilar to Porya Hatami, come to think of it, which makes sense they'd both appear on the same label. And sparked my interest enough to spring for a few albums off them in the process. It's all coming back to me, guys!

Also, as the album's title implies, a hazy sense of faded memories permeates the mood, whether of wandering urban locals or sitting at home with some long forgotten classical music tugging at the back of your mind. He does have a few musicians contribute for those moments (Ysanne Spevack on cello, Tanya Lam on viola), but they serve the mood of the pieces rather than take lead in any way. Well, maybe at the end of A Stuck Bird, their soothing tones coming after the most abrasive stretch of static-drone Memoirs: To Dust subjects you to. Also, damn but does that steel-pedal guitar drone in A Flown Bird ever stretch to the furthest reaches of the horizon. Fly on, my son.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Harold Budd - Luxa

All Saints: 1996/2018

So I got myself a box of Budd. I was stunned to discover such a thing existed, and kinda' relieved too. There's just so much Budd to sample out there now, different flavours for different moods, such that one can get lost figuring out where to begin. And yeah, I've sampled a little Budd in the past, toked on the obvious flavours as cultivated by Brian Eno. There's so much more in Budd's bowl than The Pearl and Ambient 2 (The Plateaux Of Mirror) though. Sure, I'll find myself in familiar territory of calm, soothing haze of pleasant piano tones no matter which album I dab on, but surely there's a bluffer's guide of his various musical crops. Indeed there is, the Budd Box, with six albums from his first fifteen years of releases. Yeah, that's but a third of Budd's total output in that time-frame, but as I said, I'm after a bluffer's guide, not a compendium.

By alphabetical decree, the first album I'm reviewing in the Budd Box is Luxa, which also happens to be the last album in the Budd Box. Or rather, the most recent, released in the near-times of 1996. Considering this box-set was initially released in 2013, it seems funny that the Budd Box only went that far into his discography. No interest in any of his post-Millennium material? Though considering there isn't a detailed Wiki entry for Luxa, it's fair to say even his more well-known works retain but a niche audience to this day.

I do wish there was a Wiki for Luxa though, in that this is an odd-ball album, and I'd love to have more background info on it. Harold himself calls it a “decorative thing”, in that it's him exploring different facets of his various musical backgrounds, in that artsy sort of way you'd expect of a student of the minimalist avant-garde.

Thus we get four segments in Luxa, the first of which is titled Butterflies With Tits - I think that's the title of the cover-art too. The longest segment, it features pieces titled after various artists in various fields (Agnes Martin, Serge Polakoff, Paul McCarthy, Anish Kapoor... you may have heard of some of them), and touches on the various keyboard tones Mr. Budd had since incorporated into his repertoire. It ain't just 'soft pedal' pianos, yo'! There's moody pads, flowing synths, and even some light jazzy percussion too.

Following that is the ultra-short Inexact Shadows segment, three short piano pieces that you'd probably think was one, single, two-fifteen minute composition. Smoke Trees, on the other hand, gets into the pure ambient side of Budd's muse, long drawn-out pieces noodling about in a calm, abstract manner, a little light percussion joining the pads and organ tones every so often. The final segment, Laughing Innuendos, features a weird contrast between its two pieces, Marion Brown doing the modern classical piano thing, and Steven Brown doing a ...piercing organ thing? Gosh, that tone almost sounds 16-bit. Oddly familiar, that.

Monday, June 17, 2019

SiJ - The Lost World

Reverse Alignment: 2015

See? See!? I knew there was SiJ in this endless backlog bundle (I've been at since March and I'm only in the 'L's, OMG!). It wasn't some flight of fanciful delusion that I somehow skipped out on the specific artist I raided Reverse Alignment for. Okay, no one doubted my proclamation of innocence in that Ajna review, because few would even care. I cared though, if for no other reason than to confirm my own fraying memories. I had to have scoured for SiJ, because I recall doing so. It couldn't be a figment of my imagination, could it? Like, one of those realistically mundane dreams you're so certain happened it becomes a permanent memory? The cruellest of such dreams I've had are the ones I've unearthed a trove of unreleased Calvin & Hobbes comics. Yes, it's been a recurrent one.

Thing about SiJ is one can be a tad flummoxed over where to start on his discography. Dude's nearly up to fifty releases this past decade, and while I'm sure a good deal of it is just drone experiments, there's bound to be plenty more that's not. Like, did you know he did a cover of Terra? As in, the theme music for Final Fantasy VI Terra? I sure didn't until I did a little poking around his Bandcamp page, and lo', there it was, his interpretation of one of the most lush compositions ever cranked out of the old SNES. Who'd have ever thought a guy appearing on Cryo Chamber would have a Nobuo Uematsu cover in his catalogue. Actually, come to think of it, that 'World Of Ruin' music would work quite nicely in a dark ambient context too.

Speaking of worlds, here is The Lost World. And yes, this is a specific tribute to the Conan Doyle novel, wherein a plateau within the Amazon jungle holds prehistoric creatures. Not to be confused with The Land That Time Forgot, the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel released almost concurrently about an Antarctica realm that holds prehistoric creatures. It was a popular sci-fi idea in the early 20th Century, usually featuring someone getting eaten by a Pleisiosaur, running from cavemen, and a volcano erupting. Heck, even Mickey Mouse had an adventure like that, which was weird considering the cavemen were actual pre-humans in a world of anthropomorphic animals. I've gotten way off track.

What caught me most off guard about SiJ's The Lost World is his inclusion of actual tribal rhythms in the titular cut, Night Near The Shores Of Gladys Lake, and A Fright Sight I Shall Never Forget. It's the most rhythm I've ever heard out of a SiJ album, and makes for welcome thematic variety with the other atmospheric drone pieces he crafts here (always with that distinct fuzzy melancholy). Then it all ends on a total whiplash of an under-produced tropical ditty called At The Falls. Well, under-produced compared to the deep atmospherics of what came before - almost comes off 16-bit in contrast. Say...

Saturday, June 15, 2019

B°TONG - The Long Journey

Reverse Alignment: 2017

This is probably the first album I should have gotten from Chris Sigdell. I'd certainly wouldn't have burnt through as much word count on figuring out how to pronounce this project's name. In fact, the EMC jury's still out on that, though until I've confirmation on something specific, I've settled on “b'TONG”. Doesn't mean I won't keep alternating cases though! I giggle it could be either B°TONG or b°tong, for all intents based on the phases of the moon.

While I touched on the particulars of Mr. Sigdell's career, and the various labels he's taken B°TONG to, I didn't dive too deep into his discography. It's certainly an intriguing assortment of titles among his twenty-something releases: Microsleep, Hostile Environments, The Soul Eater, The Great Desintegrator, Prostration Before Infinity, Ascending In The Light Of an Alien Sun, I See Dead People Walking Around Like Regular People. What interests me the most about all these albums is his impeccable ability to sell you on the setting, whatever that theme may be. Yeah, I know, that should be par for the course where dark ambient is concerned, above all else atmospheric mood music as it soundtracks the macabre and perverse. You'd be surprised how often artists only pay lip-service to their concepts though, thinking pure abstraction is enough to coax imagery out of your imagination. And who knows, maybe the extended b°tong catalogue falls into this pattern as well – I've really only taken in a couple of his albums, hardly enough to gauge a full body of work. Still, if what I have heard is anything to go by, then I definitely gotta' hear what the deal is with that elf and 'haarp'.

What struck me most about The Long Journey is how it flew in the face of what I was expecting. You look at the cover, read the liner notes, and it all seems straight-forward enough. Giant black hole at the centre of our galaxy, spitting out intense energy at regular intervals, except for that one time when a really big burst was expunged from the galactic core. So, some deep space drone, with intermittent chaotic radio static, right? Except, a cacophony of noise hits you right out the gate of opener AX J1745.6-2900 (Sgr. A*)! Geez'it, I'm used to more lead-in than that. Even more confounding is all the racket is by way of earthly field recordings, like stepping out into a busy street. The track does lull you into a serene sense of drone for the remaining dozen minutes though, almost making you forget it smacked you across the face so harshly out the gate. And then he does it again with second track 2004 MN4 (impact risk- 1-300)!

The two remaining tracks are shorter and more conventional of this sort of dark drone, though even Hybris-MM threw me for a loop by again opening within the confines of our planetary realm. Rainfall and forlorn piano playing, eventually giving way to weirdo krautrock electronics. Rather old-school, that.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Distant System - Lost Sequence / Pupillary Response

self release: 2009/2010

Everyone's got that hotly anticipated item that seems perpetually postponed. The world of fantasy literature has George R.R. Martin's latest entry in his Game Of Thrones saga. The world of music has Dr. Dre's Detox. The world of music guides has Ishkur's Guide To Electronic Music V3.0. The world of video games has [checks notes]... Star Citizen now. Huh, does that mean folks have finally given up hope on Half-Life 3? Guess it can't be anticipated if it was never officially started in the first place.

Anyhow, while the above undoubtedly have had tonnes of folks hanging on every drip-fed update for years now, the bane of my anticipation remains hopeless obscure. Indeed, if stats are anything to go by, it's not even a blip on the spaced-out psy-chill scene, as micro-niche of a scene as they get. Small wonder that Tyler Smith has kept a second Distant System LP in cryostasis for so long if the interest simply isn't there compared to his Androcell project. Dammit though, Spiral Empire remains one of the most captivating examples of this extremely specific sound tickling my limbic system that I've being craving another hit ever since. Others can have their additional songs of fire and ice, I wants my Spiral Empire 2: Revenge Of The Spiral!

While there's been small murmurs and rumblings Mr. Smith may finally dust the project off (again), I figured the best way to keep tabs on developments was to spring for the full Distant System discography on Bandcamp. Yes, I even re-bought Spiral Empire, the only time I'll likely re-buy a CD I already have in a digital format. Meanwhile, that allowed me to finally nab the two compilation-only tracks I'd missed out on way back when, Lost Sequence and Pupillary Response.

Speaking of Lost Sequence, holy cow, what's up with its scrobbling data? The track's outpaced everything else in the Distant System discography by a factor of five, and even has a whole two bars beside it on Spotify. Was the compilation it appeared on, Vampire Sunrise, really that popular? Hm, with a name like that, I wouldn't be surprised. Still, I suspect a shared link on some influencer's blog helped it along.

Anyhow, the track feeds me exactly what I crave in my Distant System fix (directly into my veins!). The epic synth pads painting the cosmic grand, the steady chugging prog-psy rhythm that makes me feel like I'm cruising on an interstellar craft, the touches of sci-fi bleeps and glitch as though I'm receiving sparse transmissions from the depths of the galactic core, all that good stuff. Pupillary Response, initially released on the far-less known Vital Signs compilation (which Tyler himself pieced together) is a more chill affair, almost meeting in the space where Distant System ends and Androcell starts. Not a whole lot happens that I haven't heard in this project before, save a chord change midway that melts my head, heart, and spleen. Sometimes the simplest tricks are the best.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Curve - Cuckoo

Anxious Records/3 Loop Music: 1993/2017

(a Patreon Request from Omskbird)

Could Curve have been bigger than they were? Sure, anything's possible, even music careers for no-talent hacks like [redacted]. Should Curve have been bigger than they were though? Possibly. For sure they had their fame, carved out a respectable niche in the alt-rock scene of the early '90s. Trouble was, a lot of rock bands were carving out respectable niches in the alt-rock scene of the early '90s, a veritable golden era for the scene as much as it was for hip-hop or rave music. It took more than some regular ol' talent to stand out from the pack, and sometimes even having a unique look and sound might not be enough, that confounding 'luck o' the fates' having as much to do with one's success as any other factor. There's only so much attention to go around, and when the crowd is crowded indeed, some acts get lost in the shuffle, returned to with greater appreciation later down the road after the dust has settled and the wheat's been separated from the chafe. No more cliches, I promise.

In sounding like such an over-amplified soup of feedback-drenched goth rock, Doppleganger certainly had an identity of its own, but was a bit much to take in as a whole. In their sophomore effort, Dean Garcia and Toni Halliday show more variety in their songcraft, even opening up with an all-out noisy cock-rocker. It certainly got the attention of Trent Reznor, providing a rub on the single. From there, Cuckoo hits the same wall-of-sound highs their previous album did, but I do hear more space between the drums, guitar feedback, and Ms. Haliday's voice. In fact, a few tracks in the middle seem to reduce the backing instruments substantially compared to the rest of the album, almost as though the gain on the mixing console was suddenly taken down to a seven from an eleven. Unreadable Communication in particular almost sounds like it's shooting for trip-hop dubbiness, save a mid-song guitar freak-out. Was this intentional? I'd like to assume so, but it kinda' sounds like a mistake too.

Speaking of 'quiet', how about that Left Of Mother, Curve going acoustic! Okay, there's still plenty of layered pedal effects as the song carries on, but man, simple guitar strumming at the start is a handy reminder that this band can go mellow too. Overall though, I'm still astounded they were seldom tapped for movie soundtrack tie-ins. So many of these songs would play great over rolling credits of many a '90s action-thriller.

As for the bonus material in this expanded re-issue, it has the usual assortment of b-sides and rarities included. The remixes naturally grab my attention though, what with the aforementioned Reznor rub on Missing Link, and The Drum Club having a go with Half The Time. Plus, an outfit known as The Future Sound Of London do a rote acid-house thingy on the obscure song Rising. They probably won't amount to anything off of that.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Stokes - Local Crowd

Databloem: 2018

It's not so bad that I missed out on Saul Stokes, is it? If his Discoggian data's to be believed, he did the bulk of his music production at a time I couldn't have known of him. There might have been the odd chance I'd have run into his work on Portland based ambient label Hypnos Recordings, some of that print's releases drifting a few hundred kilometres north to the Canadian border. Sadly, I wasn't so in the ambient know as I would have liked to think I was at the turn of the century, still sticking with the few acts and names I was most comfortable and familiar with. It wouldn't be until the advent of a little record database website that I realized just how massive this scene actually was. And lord would it take even longer for my finances to reach such a level I could even indulge in this expanded universe in any meaningful way. (never mind the digital-only Kahvi Collective releases, because block-headed stubbornness)

It was around the peak of his productivity that he released an album on the fledgling Databloem, mostly a collection of live recordings with a few original tracks sprinkled in. Fast forward fifteen years later, and Mr. Stokes has returned to the veteran Databloem, which also happened to be his first new album in seven years, and ten since his last on an actual label. To say he's slowed down some in this past decade is an understatement, but this has always been a fickle scene. Some producers can crank out the jams forever without missing a mark, while others have their initial flash of inspiration, then let things slide down as other interests take hold. Seems familiar, somehow...

As for the music we can expect from Saul, he was a bit all over the place way back in the day, drifting from ambient experiments to soft, fuzzy downtempo techno. His Fields album, released the same year as his first Databloem record (Radiate), might have even fit with the early Ultimae Records catalogue, which maybe explains why Vincent Villuis has provided an Ultimae Mixdown™ for Local Crowd. No, wait, he's been doing that for most of Databloem's new releases now. So, hey, if you've been jonesing for more that label's lush sonic headspace, check out this label's recent offerings!

I must say though, Local Crowd is an odd album to be given the Ultimae Mixdown™, in that it's such a simple little collection of tunes. Best I can describe is 'electro dream pop', just without the harsher 'electro' element, and the overt shoegazey elements of dream pop toned down. I still get the same day-glo feels from this, just not so overbearing about it. I sadly don't have much to specifically say either, as the vibe and tunes are all generally the same throughout the album, making highlights difficult to point out. Local Crowd is a pure 'reflective feels' record, which I guess is enough.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Sghor - Le Grand Mystère

Snowy Tension Pole: 2009

I think I have a problem. A music buying problem. True, one can look at my living room, see all the wall-mounted shelves holding some fifteen-hundred CDs, and say with a roll of the eyes, “Well, d'uh!” That's not what I mean though. Like, compared to some collectors, my library is paltry, a fraction of one's true potential of blowing every single penny on product (sheds, my friends, sheds). Maybe if I was less discriminate in my purchases practices, I could reach that lofty achievement(?), but nay, I remain somewhat selective, generally knowing what kind of music I'm getting and where I'm getting it from. As this blog's a hefty testament, I have a pretty firm handle on the whens and wheres of every CD I've gathered.

And now I'm holding within my grasp a CD that I've no idea where it came from. It's definitely dark ambient, but not from any of the dark ambient labels I generally buy from, and there's no general dark ambient shop I grab random albums from. Did this come included in that Databloem 'mystery box' I indulged in? That can't be right, this sound well outside the usual wheel-house that label/store operates within. The Ultimae shop, maybe? Like, this certainly looks like the sort of cover art I'd blind-buy from them, and they certainly branch out into genres that don't typically track with their primary output. Still, a dark ambient album from 2009?

Wherever I got Le Grand Mystère, here's what I (meaning Lord Discogs) know about it. The artist behind it is Sghor, who goes by Kryzsztof Mrozek in the black metal band Cold Empty Universe. He's released some half-dozen albums under this alias, first debuted with Depressive Black Ambient, with stray items released on his Bandcamp to this day. Le Grand Mystère in particular kicked off the short-lived label Snowy Tension Pole, which also featured releases from b°tong, about the only tie I can figure I have to this particular album. Lord Discogs does recommend Gustaf Hildebrand's Starscape and raison d'être's Enthralled By The Wind Of Lonelieness with it though, so that's something. I'll take whatever I can in figuring out how Le Grand Mystère popped up in my stacks o' CDs.

Anyhow, the album. There's ten tracks, all numerically titled KKK. They range from four to over ten minutes in length, and generally sound the same throughout. Sghor essentially uses discordant layered drones that ebb and flow like waves, building to a loud peak, then fading out before another emerges, each track consistent in maintaining this structure. Mostly I hear orchestral strings and operatic voices within the timbre, with the latter more prominent in tracks like KKK8 and KKK9. Or was that KKK6 and KKK2? Pretty sure there's a layered bell tone in KKK3. Honestly though, this is another album that just feels like one long track with relatively static scenery. This descent into Hell is still creepy, but who knew the Devil wasn't much for spicing up his domain's decor.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Various - Kulør 001

Kulør: 2018

I've argued 'real' trance never went away, just rebranded itself as something else and kept to small secluded corners of techno's domain. Lately, it seems those who wanted to make trance but couldn't admit to making trance because of the Dutch's handling of the tag have slowly re-emerged from the recesses of club culture, prominent critically-approved DJs rinsing out the odd throwback tune here and there. It's gotten to the point where a label can make honest-to-God vintage trance music and have music journalist sorts sing its praises for accomplishing all the things it peaked out on by the year 1995. Ah, the dependable Twenty-Year retro cycle never fails.

I know, I know. Why be cynical when I should be celebrating a release like Kulør 001? Surely I've been waiting for a release such as this since the turn of the century. I guess, kinda'? It's not like I've run out of old school trance music to unearth. Truth be told, aside from a few labels that could do no wrong, a great deal of it was rightly left in the '90s, a sound that had creatively done almost all that it might. Then again, dub techno perseveres to this day, and ain't much variation in that genre's sound over the decades. Ambient too, if we're being honest. Okay, so classic trance could have maintained something for itself if enough willing, inventive producers indulged in it. The clubbing climate just wasn't there for it though, and when eurotrance stole the name for itself, that was about all she wrote for the hypnotic spacey offshoot of EBM and techno.

But as mentioned, retro's undeniable pull can reach back to any ol' sound and make it fresh and hot again, which is what I'm sure this upstart new label out of Denmark is counting on. Hey, I liked the Danes' take on trance, always finding a sweet middle ground between German class and Dutch cheese. And that's what I get out of Kulør's launching compilation, Kulør 001. Ooh, triple-digits compilation numbering. Mighty ambitious aspirations there, just like In Trance In Trust. I wonder what that label's been up to...

Just in case you were wondering (worried?) this would be a complete retro love-in, the beats throughout this compilation are as tough as modern techno can get. Nay, it's all about those melodies, such light uplifting ditties that'll have you reminiscing early '90s Paul van Dyk. And gosh, there's some high BPMs here too, a proper reminder of when trance music was made to fuel your speedy E' benders, rather than hop in one spot under a ketamine daze. Mind, some of these wouldn't be much more than filler on an old Rave Mission collection, but they trigger the nostalgia endorphins just the same. If such tunes remain too cheesy for you though, there's some proper faceless techno bosh on Kulør 001 as well. Guess classic trance still needs a little more time before a full return is embraced.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Samora - Kaleidos

Databloem: 2018

Sometimes it's never the actual album I'm reviewing that sparks the most discussion. Indeed, what more can be said for the eleven-zillionth ambient record that is released annually? I'll buy such music more for my personal interest and enjoyment, but that doesn't provide me with much material to wax the bull with. It's almost a relief when I pop over to the artist's Discoggian data and discover a rich history I've overlooked, wherein I can burn ample word count touching on prior releases and the funny label names said producer has released on. (so many funny label names... just, so many...). I was not offered such a bounty of talking-point riches with Samora, but he did dredge up some unfortunate recollections.

Samora is Enrico Marani, a synth chap who's worked with various experimental, avant-garde outfits out of Italy, Le Forbici di Manitù being the most consistent of the bunch to this day. Being part of a band for over a decade didn't leave his own muse fallow, spending time dabbling in his own original compositions. He eventually made a debut album as Samora called The Unspeakable, a collection of minimalist ambient with recited poetry from cellist Christine Hanson, released on Psychonavigation Records. Yes, that Psychonavigation Records. Hey, at least it was in 2012, before all the shit hit the fan with that label. A follow-up album came out on Psycho-N's Italian sub-label Tranquillo Records (Lontano), and when those went tits-up, a third album The Gift came out on the rebranded label Where Ambient Lives – that one also seems to have gone into limbo, though unlike the others, its Bandcamp remains up. Might be mindful of buying anything from it though. Anyhow, it seems poor Enrico finally had enough of that label's sketchy practices, and took his Samora project to the steadier Databloem for his fourth album Kaleidos. Methinks t'was a wise decision.

If your eyes didn't glaze over much in that block o' words above, you may have noticed the genre namedrop you're in for with Samora. Right, even being on Databloem is a good hint, but even the small sampling of the label's output I've indulged has shown some nice, surprising variety. This is minimalist ambient as you likely imagine it though. Stretched-out droning pads, sprinkles of piano and bell tones, fits of burbling electronics and static fluff, self-titled compositions averaging in the double-digit minute lengths with little care of destination, only the journey. In the opening track alone, I felt I was shifting into differing tonal lanes every few minutes, though Keleidos 1 is possibly one of the 'busiest' among these six pieces.

I say “possibly”, because this honestly isn't an album that sticks with me. It's ambient as pure sonic wallpaper, which is fine since that's Mr. Marani's intent. Can't knock a body of music that succeeds in the artist's vision. Just wish I could give it a stronger recommendation for others beyond the genre's faithful. So it goes in this scene.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

ACE TRACKS: May 2019

This post is coming to you from the tiny mountainous town of Jasper, Alberta, nestled within the northern arm of the mighty Canadian Rockies. And is this tiny mountainous town ever a tourist trap, believe you me, but with splendorous scenery such as this, how could it not? Like, sure, no one gave Jasper much care half a century ago, when it was little more than a way point for train routes through the mountains, but when The Greatest Generation and their offspring were scoping Canada out for vacation and retirement options, they realized this untamed region was quite nice for hiking, skiing, camping, and seeing various wildlife in their natural habitats. Thus, tourist trap of a town was born.

Now, I've actually passed through Jasper a number of times when I was a wee lad, when my family would drive from one corner of Canadian hinterlands to visit other family in another corner of Canadian hinterlands (the flatter kind), but I barely have any recollection of it, almost always passed out from the super-long road trip by the time we came to Jasper (my folks were hardcore about making it across three provinces in a single 24-hour shot). Figured if I'm going to do a road trip for a vacation of my own, why not visit some places of my youth? I'm not sure why we feel so compelled to do that as we age. It's very strange. Maybe I should have brought some Raffi with me to listen to if I truly wanted to recapture that experience. Ain't none of that on this month's ACE TRACKS playlist though.

Full track list here.

Brasil & The Gallowbrothers Band - In The Rain, In The Noise
Waki - Hurry Up And Relax
Wanderwelle - Gathering Of The Ancient Spirits

Percentage Of Hip-Hop: 3%
Percentage Of Rock: 0 %
Most “WTF?” Track: Oh, obviously the one with DJ Shadow's name attached.

Why yes, I did listen to this while on the road! Well, for the portions of British Columbian highway that I could still get Spotify signal. Was surprised it held out as far into some regions as it did. Can't say this was a terrible good playlist for a road trip though, genres wildly jumping all over the place as they did. Good thing I brought a CD wallet with me too! Ah, the ol' standbys...

Things I've Talked About

...txt 10 Records 16 Bit Lolita's 1963 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2 Play Records 2 Unlimited 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 20xx Update 2562 3 Loop Music 302 Acid 36 3FORCE 3six Recordings 4AD 6 x 6 Records 75 Ark 7L & Esoteric 808 State A Perfect Circle A Positive Life A-Wave a.r.t.less A&M Records A&R Records Abandoned Communities Abasi Above and Beyond abstract Ace Trace Ace Tracks Playlists Ace Ventura acid acid house acid jazz acid techno acoustic Acroplane Recordings Adam Freeland Adham Shaikh ADNY Adrian Younge adult contemporary Advanced UFO Phantom Aegri Somnia Aes Dana Afrika Bambaataa Afro-house Afterhours Agoria Aidan Casserly Aira Mitsuki Ajana Records Ajna AK1200 Akshan album Aldrin Alex Smoke Alex Theory Alice In Chains Alien Community Alien Project Alio Die All Saints Alphabet Zoo Alphaxone Altar Records Alter Ego alternative rock Alucidnation Ambelion Ambidextrous ambient ambient dub ambient techno Ambient World Ambientium Ametsub Amon Tobin Amplexus Anabolic Frolic Anatolya Andrea Parker Andrew Heath Androcell Anduin Andy C anecdotes Aniplex Anjunabeats Annibale Records Anodize Another Fine Day Antendex anthem house Anthony Paul Kerby Anthony Rother Anti-Social Network Aphasia Records Aphex Twin Apócrýphos Apollo Apple Records April Records Aqua Aquarellist Aquascape Aquasky Aquila Arcade Architects Of Existence arena rock Arista Armada Armin van Buuren Arpatle Arts & Crafts ASC Ashtech Asia Asian Dub Foundation Astral Projection Astral Waves Astralwerks AstroPilot Asura Asylum Records ATCO Records Atlantic Atlantis atmospheric jungle Atomic Hooligan Atrium Carceri Attic Attoya Audion AuroraX Autechre Autistici Autumn Of Communion Avantgarde Aveparthe Avicii Axiom Axs Axtone Records Aythar B.G. The Prince Of Rap B°TONG B12 Babygrande Balance Balanced Records Balearic ballad Banco de Gaia Bandulu Battle Axe Records battle-rap Bauri Beastie Boys Beat Buzz Records Beatbox Machinery Beats & Pieces bebop Beck Bedouin Soundclash Bedrock Records Beechwood Music Benny Benassi Bent Benz Street US Berlin-School Beto Narme Beyond bhangra Bicep big beat Big Boi Big L Big Life Bill Hamel Bill Laswell BIlly Idol BineMusic BioMetal Biophon Records Biosphere Bipolar Music BKS Black Hole Recordings black rebel motorcycle club Black Swan Sounds Blanco Y Negro Blasterjaxx Blend Blood Music Blow Up Blue Amazon Blue Öyster Cult blues Bluescreen Bluetech BMG Boards Of Canada Bob Dylan Bob Marley Bobina Bogdan Raczynzki Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Boney M Bong Load Records Bonzai Boogie Down Productions Booka Shade Botchit & Scarper Bows Boxed Boys Noize Boysnoize Records BPitch Control braindance Brandt Brauer Frick Brasil & The Gallowbrothers Band breakbeats breakcore breaks Brian Eno Brian Wilson Brick Records Britpop Brodinski broken beat Brooklyn Music Ltd Bryan Adams BT Bubble Buffalo Springfield Bulk Recordings Burial Burned CDs Bursak Records Bush Busta Rhymes C.I.A. Calibre calypso Canibus Canned Resistor Capitol Records Capsula Captured Digital Carbon Based Lifeforms Carl B Carl Craig Carol C Caroline Records Carpe Sonum Records Castroe Cat Sun CD-Maximum Ceephax Acid Crew Celestial Dragon Records Cell Celtic Cevin Fisher Cheb i Sabbah Cheeky Records chemical breaks Chihei Hatakeyama chill out chill-out chiptune Chris Duckenfield Chris Fortier Chris Korda Chris Sheppard Chris Witoski Christmas Christopher Lawrence Chromeo Chronos Chrysalis Ciaran Byrne cinematic soundscapes Circular Cirrus Cities Last Broadcast City Of Angels CJ Stone Claptone classic house classic rock classical Claude Young Clear Label Records Cleopatra Cloud 9 Club Cutz Club Tools Cocoon Recordings Cold Spring Coldcut Coldplay coldwave Colette collagist Columbia Com.Pact Records comedy Compilation Comrie Smith Connect.Ohm conscious Control Music Convextion Cooking Vinyl Cor Fijneman Corderoy Cosmic Gate Cosmic Replicant Cosmo Cocktail Cosmos Studios Cottonbelly Council Of Nine Counter Records country country rock Covert Operations Recordings Craig Padilla Crazy Horse Cream Creamfields Crockett's Theme Crosby Stills And Nash Crosstown Rebels crunk Cryo Chamber Cryobiosis Cryogenic Weekend Crystal Moon Cube Guys Culture Beat Curb Records Current Curve cut'n'paste Cyan Music Cyber Productions CyberOctave Cyclic Law Cygna Cyril Secq Czarface D-Bridge D-Fuse D-Topia Entertainment Dacru Records Daddy G Daft Punk Dag Rosenqvist Damian Lazarus Damon Albarn Dan The Automator Dance 2 Trance Dance Pool dancehall Daniel Heatcliff Daniel Lentz Daniel Pemberton Daniel Wanrooy Danny Howells Danny Tenaglia Dao Da Noize dark ambient dark psy darkcore darkside darkstep darkwave Darla Records Darren McClure Darren Nye DAT Records Databloem dataObscura David Alvarado David Bickley David Bridie David Guetta David Morley DDR De-tuned Dead Coast Dead Melodies Deadmau5 Death Grips Death Row Records Decimal Dedicated Deejay Goldfinger Deep Dish Deep Forest deep house Deeply Rooted House Deepwater Black Deetron Def Jam Recordings Del Tha Funkee Homosapien Delerium Delsin Deltron 3030 Depeche Mode Der Dritte Raum Derek Carr Detroit Devin Underwood Deysn Masiello DFA DGC diametric. Dido Dieselboy Different DigiCube Dillinja dirty house Dirty South Dirty Vegas disco Disco Gecko disco house Disco Pinata Records disco punk Discover (label) Disky Disques Dreyfus Distant System Distinct'ive Breaks Disturbance Divination DJ 3000 DJ Brian DJ Craze DJ Dan DJ Dean DJ Gonzalo DJ Heather DJ John Kelley DJ Merlin DJ Mix DJ Moe Sticky DJ Observer DJ Premier DJ Q-Bert DJ Shadow DJ Soul Slinger DJ-Kicks Djen Ajakan Shean DJMag DMC DMC Records Doc Scott Dogon Dogwhistle Dooflex Dopplereffekt Dossier Dousk downtempo dowtempo Dr. Atmo Dr. Dre Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show Dr. Octagon Dragon Quest dream house dream pop DreamWorks Records Drexciya drill 'n' bass Dronarivm drone Dronny Darko drum 'n' bass DrumNBassArena drunken review dub Dub Pistols dub techno Dub Trees Dubfire dubstep DuMonde Dune Dusted Dynatron E-Mantra E-Z Rollers Eardream Music Earth Earth Nation Earthling Eastcoast Eastcost EastWest Eastworld Eat Static EBM Echodub Ed Rush & Optical Editions EG EDM World Weekly News Ektoplazm electro Electro House Electro Sun electro-funk electro-pop electroclash Electronic Dance Essentials Electronic Music Guide Electrovoya Elektra Elektrolux em:t EMC update EMI Emiliana Torrini Eminem Emmerichk Emperor Norton Empire enCAPSULAte Engine Recordings Enigma Enmarta EP Epic epic trance EQ Recordings Erased Tapes Records Eric Borgo Erik Vee Erol Alkan Escape Esoteric Reactive ethereal Etnica Etnoscope Euphoria euro dance eurotrance Eurythmics Eve Records Everlast Ewan Pearson Exitab experimental Eye Q Records Ezdanitoff F Communications Fabric Fade Records Faithless Falcon Reekon Fallen fanfic Fantastisizer Fantasy Enhancing Fatboy Slim Fax +49-69/450464 Fear Factory Fedde Le Grand Fehrplay Feist Fektive Records Felix da Housecat Fennesz Ferry Corsten FFRR field recordings Filter filters Final Fantasy Firescope Five AM Fjäder Flashover Recordings Floating Points Flowers For Bodysnatchers Flowjob Fluke Flying Lotus folk Fontana footwork Force Intel Fountain Music Four Tet FPU Frank Bretschneider Frankie Bones Frankie Knuckles Frans de Waard Fred Everything freestyle French house Front Line Assembly Fugees full-on Fun Factory funk future garage Future Sound Of London futurepop g-funk gabber Gabriel Le Mar Gaither Music Group Galaktlan Galati Gang Starr gangsta garage Gareth Davis Gary Martin Gas Gasoline Alley Records Gee Street Geffen Records Gel-Sol Genesis Geometry Combat Gerald Donald Get Physical Music ghetto Ghostface Killah Ghostly International glam Gliese 581C glitch Global Communication Global Underground Globular goa trance God Body Disconnect Gorillaz gospel Gost goth Grammy Awards Gravediggaz Green Day Grey Area Greytone Gridlock grime Groove Armada Groove Corporation Grooverider grunge Guru Gustaf Hidlebrand Gusto Records GZA H2O Records Haddaway Halgrath happy hardcore hard house hard rock hard techno hard trance hardcore Hardfloor hardstyle Harlequins Enigma Harmless Harmonic 33 Harold Budd Harthouse Harthouse Mannheim Hawtin Hearts Of Space Hed Kandi Hefty Records Helen Marnie Hell Hercules And Love Affair Hernán Cattáneo Hexstatic Hi-Bias Records Hic Sunt Leones Hide And Sequence Hiero Emperium Hieroglyphics High Contrast High Note Records Higher Ground Higher Intelligence Agency Hilyard hip-hop hip-house hipno Home Normal Honest Jon's Records Hooj Choons Hope Records horrorcore Hospital Records Hot Chip Hotflush Recordings house Howie B Huey Lewis & The News Human Blue Hybrid Hybrid Leisureland Hymen Records Hyperdub Hypertrophy hypnotic records I Awake I-Cube i! Records I.F.O.R. I.R.S. Records Iboga Records Ice Cube Ice H2o Records ICE MC IDM Igorrr illbient Imperial Dancefloor Imploded View In Charge In Trance We Trust Incoming Incubus Indica Records indie rock Industrial Infected Mushroom Infinite Guitar influence records Infonet Ink Midget Inner Ocean Records Insane Clown Posse Inspectah Deck Instinct Ambient Instra-Mental Inter-Modo Interchill Records Internal International Deejays Gigolo Interscope Records Intimate Productions Intuition Recordings ISBA Music Entertainment Ishkur Ishq Island Records Islands Of Light Italians Do It Better italo disco italo house Item Caligo J-pop Jack Moss Jackpot Jacob Newman Jafu Jake Stephenson Jam and Spoon Jam El Mar James Blake James Horner James Murray James Zabiela Jamie Jones Jamie Myerson Jamie Principle Jamiroquai Javelin Ltd. Jay Haze Jay Tripwire Jaydee jazz jazz dance jazzdance jazzstep Jean-Michel Jarre Jefferson Airplane Jerry Goldsmith Jesper Dahlbäck Jimmy Van M Jiri.Ceiver Jive Jive Electro Jliat Jlin Joel Mull Joey Beltram John '00' Fleming John Acquaviva John Beltran John Digweed John Graham John Kelly John O'Callaghan John Oswald John Shima Johnny Cash Johnny Jewel Jonny L Jori Hulkkonen Joris Voorn Jørn Stenzel Josh Christie Josh Wink Journeys By DJ™ LLC Joyful Noise Recordings Juan Atkins juke Jump Cut jump up Jumpin' & Pumpin' jungle Junior Boy's Own Junkie XL Juno Reactor Jurassic 5 Kaico Kay Wilder KDJ Ken Ishii Kenji Kawai Kenny Glasgow Keoki Keosz Kerri Chandler Kevin Braheny Kevin Yost Kevorkian Records Khooman Khruangbin Ki/oon Kid Koala Kiko Kinetic Records King Cannibal King Midas Sound King Tubby Kitaro Klang Elektronik Klaus Schulze Klik Records KMFDM Koch Records Koichi Sugiyama Kolhoosi 13 Komakino Kompakt Kon Kan Kool Keith Kozo Kraftwelt Kraftwerk Krafty Kuts krautrock Kriistal Ann Krill.Minima Kris O'Neil Kriztal KRS-One Kruder and Dorfmeister Krusseldorf Kubinski KuckKuck Kulor Kurupt Kwook L.B. Dub Corp L.S.G. L'usine Lab 4 Ladytron LaFace Records Lafleche Lamb Lange Large Records Lars Leonhard Laserlight Digital LateNightTales Latin Laurent Garnier LCD Soundsystem Le Moors Leama and Moor Lee 'Scratch' Perry Lee Burridge Lee Norris Leftfield Legacy Legiac Legowelt Leon Bolier Les Disques Du Crépuscule LFO Linear Labs Lingua Lustra liquid funk Liquid Sound Design Liquid Stranger Liquid Zen Live live album LL Cool J Loco Dice Lodsb London acid crew London Classics London Elektricity London Records 90 Ltd London-Sire Records Loop Guru Loreena McKennitt Lorenzo Masotto Lorenzo Montanà Lost Language Lotek Records Loud Records Louderbach Loverboy Luaka Bop Luciano Luke Slater Lustmord M_nus M.A.N.D.Y. M.I.K.E. Madonna Magda Magik Muzik Mahiane Mali Mammoth Records Mantacoup Marc Simz Marcel Dettmann Marco Carola Marco V Marcus Intalex Mark Farina Mark Norman Mark Pritchard Markus Schulz Marshmello Martin Cooper Martin Nonstatic Märtini Brös Marvin Gaye Maschine Massive Attack Masta Killa Matthew Dear Max Graham maximal Maxx MCA Records McProg Meanwhile Meat Loaf Meditronica Memex Menno de Jong Mercury Mesmobeat metal Metamatics Method Man Metroplex Metropolis MF Doom Miami Bass Miami Beach Force Miami Dub Machine Michael Brook Michael Jackson Michael Mantra Michael Mayer Mick Chillage micro-house microfunk Microscopics MIG Miguel Migs Mike Saint-Jules Mike Shiver Miktek Mille Plateaux Millennium Records Mind Distortion System Mind Over MIDI mini-CDs minimal minimal tech-house Ministry Of Sound miscellaneous Misja Helsloot Miss Kittin Miss Moneypenny's Mistical Mixmag Mo Wax Mo-Do MO-DU Moby Model 500 modern classical Modeselektor Moist Music Moodymann Moonshine Morgan Morphology Moss Garden Motech Motorbass Moving Shadow Mujaji Murk Murmur Mushy Records Music link Music Man Records musique concrete Mutant Sound System Mute MUX Muzik Magazine My Best Friend Mystery Tape Laboratory Mystica Tribe Mystified N-Trance Nacht Plank Nadia Ali Nas Nashville Natural Midi Nature Sounds Naughty By Nature Nebula Neil Young Neon Droid Neotantra Neotropic nerdcore Nervous Records Nettwerk Neurobiotic Records New Age New Beat New Jack Swing new wave Nic Fanciulli Nick Höppner Night Time Stories Nightwind Records Nimanty Nine Inch Nails Ninja Tune Nirvana nizmusic No Mask Effect Nobuo Uematsu noise Nomad Nonesuch Nonplus Records Nookie Nordic Trax Norman Feller North South Northumbria Not Now Music Nothing Records Nova NovaMute NRG Ntone nu-italo nu-jazz nu-skool Nuclear Blast Entertainment Nulll Nunc Stans Nurse With Wound NXP Oasis Octagen Offshoot Offshoot Records Ol' Dirty Bastard Olan Mill Old Europa Cafe old school rave Ole Højer Hansen Olga Musik Olien Oliver Lieb Olsen OM Records Omni Trio Omnimotion Omnisonus One Little Indian Oophoi Oosh Open Open Canvas Opium Opus III orchestral Original TranceCritic review Origo Sound Orkidea Orla Wren Ornament Ostgut Ton Ott Ottsonic Music Ouragan Out Of The Box OutKast Outpost Records Overdream P-Ben Paleowolf Pan Sonic Pantera Pantha Du Prince Paolo Mojo Parlaphone Patreon Paul Moelands Paul Oakenfold Paul van Dyk Pendulum Perfect Stranger Perfecto Perturbator Pet Shop Boys Petar Dundov Pete Namlook Pete Tong Peter Andersson Peter Benisch Peter Broderick Peter Gabriel Peter Tosh Phantogram Phonothek Photek Phutureprimitive Phynn PIAS Recordings Pinch Pink Floyd Pitch Black PJ Harvey Plaid Planet Dog Planet Earth Recordings Planet Mu Planetary Assault Systems Planetary Consciousness Plastic City Plastikman Platinum Platipus Pleq Plump DJs Plunderphonic Plus 8 Records PM Dawn Poker Flat Recordings Pole Folder politics Polydor Polytel pop Popular Records Porya Hatami post-dubstep power electronics Prince Prince Paul Prins Thomas Priority Records Profondita prog prog psy prog-psy Progression progressive breaks progressive house progressive rock progressive trance Prolifica Proper Records Prototype Recordings protoU Pryda psy chill psy dub Psy Spy Records psy trance psy-chill psychedelia Psychick Warriors Ov Gaia Psychomanteum Psychonavigation Psychonavigation Records Psycoholic Psykosonik Psysolation Public Enemy punk punk rock Pureuphoria Records Purl Purple Soil Push PWL International Quadrophonia Quality Quango Quantum Quinlan Road R & S Records R'n'B R&B Rabbit In The Moon Radio Slave Radioactive Radioactive Man Radiohead Rae Raekwon ragga Rainbow Vector raison d'etre Ralph Lawson RAM Records Randal Collier-Ford Random Review Rank 1 rant Rapoon RareNoise Records Ras Command Rascalz Raster-Noton Ratatat Raum Records RCA React Red Jerry Refracted reggae remixes Renaissance Renaissance Man Rephlex Reprise Records Republic Records Resist Music Restless Records RetroSynther Reverse Alignment Rhino Records Rhys Fulber Ricardo Villalobos Richard Durand Riley Reinhold Ringo Sheena Rising High Records RnB Roadrunner Records Robert Hood Robert Miles Robert Oleysyck Roc Raida rock rock opera rockabilly rocktronica Roger Sanchez ROIR Rollo Rough Trade Rub-N-Tug Ruben Garcia Rumour Records Running Back Ruthless Records RZA S.E.T.I. Sabled Sun SadGirl Sakanaction Salt Tank Salted Music Salvation Music Samim Samora sampling Sanctuary Records Sander van Doorn Sandoz SantAAgostino Sarah McLachlan Sash Sasha Saul Stokes Scandinavian Records Scann-Tec sci-fi Scooter Scott Grooves Scott Hardkiss Scott Stubbs Scuba Seán Quinn Seaworthy Segue Sense Sentimony Records Sequential Seraphim Rytm Setrise Seven Davis Jr. Sghor sgnl_fltr Shackleton Shaded Explorations Shaded Explorer Shadow Records Sharam Shawn Francis shoegaze Si Matthews SideOneDummy Records Sidereal Signature Records SiJ Silent Season Silent Universe Silentes Silentes Minimal Editions Silicone Soul silly gimmicks Silver Age Simian Mobile Disco Simon Berry Simon Heath Simon Posford Simon Scott Simple Records Sinden Sine Silex single Single Gun Theory Sire Records Company Six Degrees Sixeleven Records Sixtoo ska Skare Skin To Skin Skua Atlantic Slaapwel Records Slam Sleep Research Facility Slinky Music Sly and Robbie Smalltown Supersound SME Visual Works Inc. SMTG Limited Snap Sneijder Snoop Dogg Snowy Tension Pole soft rock Soiree Records International Solar Fields Solaris Recordings Solarstone Solieb Soliquid Solstice Music Europe Soma Quality Recordings Songbird Sony Music Entertainment SOS soul Soul Temple Entertainment soul:r Souls Of Mischief Sound Of Ceres Soundgarden Sounds From The Ground soundtrack southern rap southern rock space ambient Space Dimension Controller space disco Space Manoeuvres space synth Spacetime Continuum Spaghetti Recordings Spank Rock Special D Specta Ciera speed garage Speedy J SPG Music Spicelab Spielerei Spiritech spoken word Spotify Suggestions Spotted Peccary SPX Digital Squarepusher Squaresoft Stacey Pullen Stanton Warriors Star Trek Stardust Statrax Stay Up Forever Stephanie B Stephen Kroos Steve Angello Steve Brand Steve Lawler Steve Miller Band Steve Porter Steven Rutter Stijn van Cauter Stone Temple Pilots Stonebridge Stormloop Stray Gators Street Fighter Stuart McLean Studio K7 Stylophonic Sub Focus Subharmonic Sublime Sublime Porte Netlabel Subotika Substance Suduaya Sun Station Sunbeam Sunday Best Recordings Supercar Superstition surf rock Sven Väth Swayzak Sweet Trip swing Switch Swollen Members Sylk 130 Symmetry Sync24 Synergy Synkro synth pop synth-pop synthwave System 7 Tactic Records Take Me To The Hospital Tall Paul Tammy Wynette Tangerine Dream Tau Ceti Taylor Tayo tech house tech-house tech-step tech-trance Technical Itch techno technobass Technoboy Tectonic Telefon Tel Aviv Terminal Antwerp Terra Ferma Terry Lee Brown Jr Textere Oris The Angling Loser The B-52's The Beach Boys The Beatles The Black Dog The Brian Jonestown Massacre The Bug The Chemical Brothers The Circular Ruins The Clash The Council The Cranberries The Crystal Method The Digital Blonde The Dust Brothers The Field The Gentle People The Glimmers The Green Kingdom The Grey Area The Hacker The Herbaliser The Human League The Irresistible Force The KLF The Misted Muppet The Movement The Music Cartel The Null Corporation The Oak Ridge Boys The Offspring The Orb The Police The Prodigy The Sabres Of Paradise The Shamen The Sharp Boys The Sonic Voyagers The Squires The Tea Party The Tragically Hip The Velvet Underground The Wailers The White Stripes The Winterhouse themes Thievery Corporation Third Contact Third World Tholen Thrive Records Tiefschwarz Tiësto Tiga Tiger & Woods Time Life Music Time Warp Timecode Timestalker Tipper Tobias Tocadisco Todd Terje Tom Middleton Tomita Tommy Boy Ton T.B. Tone Depth Tony Anderson Sound Orchestra Too Pure Tool tools Topaz Tosca Toto Touch Tourette Records Toxik Synther Traffic Entertainment Group trance Trancelucent Tranquillo Records Trans'Pact Transcend Transformers Transient Records trap Trax Records Trend Trentemøller Tresor tribal Tricky Triloka Records trip-hop Trishula Records Tristan Troum Troy Pierce TRS Records Tsuba Records Tsubasa Records Tuff Gong Tunnel Records Turbo Recordings turntablism TUU TVT Records Twisted Records Type O Negative U-God U-Recken U2 U4IC DJs Überzone Ugasanie UK acid house UK Garage UK Hard House Ultimae Ultimae Records Ultra Records Umbra Underworld Union Jack United Dairies United DJs Of America Universal Motown Universal Music Universal Records Universal Republic Records Unknown Tone Records UOVI Upstream Records Urban Icon Records Utada Hikaru V2 Vagrant Records Valiska Valley Of The Sun Vangelis Vap Vector Lovers Venetian Snares Venonza Records Vermont Vernon Versatile Records Verus Records Verve Records VGM Vice Records Victor Calderone Victor Entertainment Vince DiCola Vinyl Cafe Productions Virgin Virtual Vault Virus Recordings Visionquest Visions Vitalic vocal trance Vortex Wagram Music Waki Wanderwelle Warner Bros. Records Warp Records Warren G Water Music Dance Wave Recordings Wave Records Waveform Records Wax Trax Records Way Out West WEA Wednesday Campanella Weekend Players Weekly Mini-Review Werk Discs Werkstatt Recordings WestBam White Swan Records Wichita Will Saul William Orbit Willie Nelson world beat world music writing reflections Wrong Records Wu-Tang Clan Wurrm Wyatt Keusch Xerxes The Dark XL Recordings XTT Recordings Yamaoko Yello Yes Ylid Youth Youtube YoYo Records Yul Records Zenith ZerO One Zoharum Zomby Zoo Entertainment ZTT Zyron ZYX Music µ-Ziq