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Old 10-28-2009, 07:35 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Continuing along the electronic tangent for a bit...

Overseer - Wreckage (2003)

genre: breakbeat, progressive house, hip-hop, trip-hop
1. Slayed
2. Stompbox
3. Supermoves
4. Velocity Shift
5. Horndog
6. Meteorology
7. Aquaplane
8. Doomsday
9. Basstrap
10. Sparks
11. Never

Rob Overseer, aka Overseer, is a Yorkshire-dwelling DJ/producer and is one of the more obscure names among his contemporaries in big beat music. Although he's contributed to the soundtracks of Animatrix, Snatch and Gran Turismo 3, this album (so far his only full-length effort) was a critical and commercial disaster upon release, being delayed as it was by six months due to a few problems with the management. As a result, the album was pretty much not promoted at all and just cast off by the powers that be as dated big beat. Needless to say, what with its being flagged up here and all, it's just one more example of the press being full of crap when it comes to musical criticism, the big flaw in their argument being that, while it certainly in here to be seen, Wreckage simply isn't just one, rusty, dated big beat package.

In actual fact, it's among the most eclectic electronic albums of the last ten years and, consequently, one that massively rewards repeated listenings. If there's a common ground beneath it all, it's the interesting use of hard-rocking riffs and solid, synthetic beats as on the fantastic opener, Slayed, one of many tracks to feature Zak Speakerfreak rapping about declaring 'war on stupidity' and 'the fakers, the piss-takers and the sucker money-makers'. Top follow it up, Stompbox makes use of the same vocalist but this time takes on a much more furious pace and featuring some terrific breaks from Rob Overseer himself, serving up another album highlight. Supermoves, which a few of may remember from the Snatch soundtrack, keeps the buzzing, hyperactive breakbeat tempo going, featuring the same kinds of breaks as Stompbox before and Velocity Shift after it, as the album serves up yet another tune that refuses to let you sit down. To put the lid on the faster section of the album, Horndog is another great tune which utilises the combination of big beats and guitar riffs wonderfully. It was also the spectacular flop of the single release from the album as well.

From there, we move on to the more obviously IDM, even a little trip-hoppy part of the tracklisting, starting with the down-tempo Meteorology, which not only features the soothing vocals of one Sandra Pehrsson but also a silky string arrangement to compliment the laid-back vibe about the whole thing. Another absolutely superb tune then, and one that doesn't sound a whole lot unlike something the Thievery Corporation would write. The same can be said of the following Aquaplane which is another definite highlight, being a maze of dubby bass, sound affects and reverbs, simple piano lines and labyrinthine vocal treatments. An absolute favourite this one.

After that mid-section down-tempo/dub foray, we get right back into familiar territory again with the metallic riff used in Doomsday preceding another catchy-as-hell synthetic rhythm and some superb rapping from MC Nick Life. Basstrap lacks the guitars but serves more or less the same purpose as the track before, being of the same kind of tempo though slightly more synth and bass-heavy (as the title may or may not suggest). Some more top-drawer rapping as well.

So far the slower, trip-hop-reminiscent moments on the album have all provided highlights, and that's exactly what can be said of Sparks, featuring the vocal talents of singer-songwriter Rachel Gray. Never sees the album end on a more sinister note, making use of live as well as synthesized strings and the gritty vocal of Jakk Frost and the honey-like sweetnes of Sandra Pehrsson's. It's a great track to just roll most of the elements of a fairly diverse album into one, seven minute-long track.

And therein lies the strength of Wreckage that a lot of the press failed to pick up at the time of release, or at least one of them, and that's the eclectic mixture of big beats, metallic riffs, hip-hop vocals, down-tempo and even ambient and dub in places over the length of eleven great tracks. There's also the sheer talent of one Rob Overseer in his ability to bring all those styles together in one, seamless package - one that can go from thought-provoking to sinister, to fun, to chilled-out, to stoned and so on. One of the finest albums of the decade without a doubt.

All in all;



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Old 10-28-2009, 03:29 PM   #12 (permalink)
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It was you who got me into the Overseer album and it is still on my MP3 player months after I got the link as it is perfect for that. I don't think the album wins a huge amount of points on originality and it reminds me of The Prodigy a hell of a lot but for big bouncy tunes with a smattering of guitars then it's stellar.

Zarko

Supermodified was my entry into the world of Amon Tobin and I still probably find it his most satisfying release. I think it's a great entry album to a slightly more harsher and abstract Electronic sound and it lead to me onto the likes of Otto Van Schirad and Venetian Snares.
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Old 10-28-2009, 09:38 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackhammer View Post
It was you who got me into the Overseer album and it is still on my MP3 player months after I got the link as it is perfect for that. I don't think the album wins a huge amount of points on originality and it reminds me of The Prodigy a hell of a lot but for big bouncy tunes with a smattering of guitars then it's stellar.

Zarko

Supermodified was my entry into the world of Amon Tobin and I still probably find it his most satisfying release. I think it's a great entry album to a slightly more harsher and abstract Electronic sound and it lead to me onto the likes of Otto Van Schirad and Venetian Snares.
Yeah, looking back on it its probably a bit harsher than I made out, for those who don't listen to that sort of electronic anyway. But as you say, its probably the most satisfying to sit through. Its probably not my favourite Tobin album, which is a testament to the album really. Similarly, it lead me to the likes of Stendeck, Truart and Macelleria Mobile di Mezzanotte.

Last edited by Zarko; 10-28-2009 at 09:46 PM.
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Old 10-29-2009, 07:07 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackhammer View Post
It was you who got me into the Overseer album and it is still on my MP3 player months after I got the link as it is perfect for that. I don't think the album wins a huge amount of points on originality and it reminds me of The Prodigy a hell of a lot but for big bouncy tunes with a smattering of guitars then it's stellar.
You're right it's not exactly very original (I can hear some Crystal Method in there as well), and its most obvious strength is in the faster mixes of guitar riffery and big beats, but I just love its incorporation of the diverse enough range of mood and influence to make it stand up as a truly great album. I wasn't so interested in the slower tracks at first, but they soon grow on you. Either way, it's a shame Overseer is still yet to release his followup, which should definitely be worth the time judging by this effort - he's in the middle of finding a label to release it, and apparently the search isn't going very well for it.

And Zarko, great Amon Tobin review. He's another one who, oddly enough, has passed me by all these years. I've got Supermodified now though, and I'll give it a good listen when I get back from uni a bit later.
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Old 11-09-2009, 11:48 PM   #15 (permalink)
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An increase in work hours and an increase in annoyingly hot weather (I was expecting 40 degree weather in February, not November) has sort of killed the thread. Either way, no time like the present to get it going again.

Terakaft – Akh Issudar (2008)


Terakaft was founded by two members of Tinariwen a few years back, carrying over the world-desert blues style that was present through Tinariwen’s near 30 year career. The bands basis is one of rebellion and politics, which has gained them a following through West Africa. The album cover does a fairly good job of expressing this; I doubt it was only me who saw the typical ‘desert rebel’, substituting a guitar for a gun. Terakaft consists of four members, Kedou ag Ossad, Liya Ag Ablil, Sanou Ag Ahmed all contributing on guitar and vocals, and Rhissa Ag Ogham on bass.

So what exactly is desert blues? Well, if we are looking at it from a Terakaft foundation, it pretty much sounds like standard blues; however the band often adds a psychedelic tinge. The minimalist aspect of the music is where the ‘desert’ description comes into play. Sparse and empty land is reflected in the often solo guitar moments (Often reverberating into nothingness), with subtle percussion occasionally. The vocals are in the West African Tamashek language, so there is a fair chance you have no idea what they are singing about, but it adds a distinct variation to a general blues band, and they aren’t too bad overall. The songs are covered in a shroud of respect, not harsh or aggressive, though this doesn’t prevent them from being explorative.


Tenere Wer Tat Zinchegh

How does the album work altogether? Considering it is the first Terakaft/Tinariwen album I have listened to, it is surprisingly accessible. It flows well, and some of the guitars are a treat against what becomes a harsh background of emptiness. It’s interesting that a ‘clean’ and minimal background can often have differing effects on the music at hand. Here, the guitar sound is affected adversely to what would be expected, becoming almost dirty at times.

As I mentioned, there is often a psychedelic element that enters the songs at times. There aren’t too many guitar effects, only the occasional wah-wah. There is a minimal amount of percussion, but when it’s used, it is normally to good stead. During Intidgagen, a fuzz-rattle presents itself occasionally, and the deep far off drumming in Soubhanallah is great, a rolling thunder through a quiet desert if you will.


Intidgagen

The album also adopts quite a variety of styles, whilst the groundwork doesn’t change (Being desert blues); it occasionally espouses a more American blues take, or even an Irish ballad. All the while, the band never loses their hypnotic approach. Even during some of the louder songs, the welcoming and warm feeling extended by the songs can lull the listener into a lazy haze. Though, that could just be the incredibly hot weather round these ways.

The description of the bands music was enough to suck me into their world, but when I stumbled into it, I had no idea what I was getting into. What I found was songs that exuded passion and warmth, and tracks that weren’t weighed down by any overly political basis or anger. The instrumental performances match up to the musician’s ardour, which always helps make a good album. Most importantly though, is that when you expect to hear something similar later in the album, the performers come up with something new to excite an astute listener. The guitar work never becomes predictable and the group is willing to try out different styles to see what works best.


Arghane Manine

I wasn’t expecting too much when I downloaded this album. However, it is fair to say that I was blown away by how entertaining I found it. Sometimes you just want an entertaining and simple album to listen to. Other times, something more experimental will only quench your thirst. With Akh Issudar, both facets are present in a great final product.

Entertaining, Worth a Download
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Old 11-10-2009, 06:35 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Never had you down as desert blues fan I love me some of the stuff, so I've definitely gotta track that album down, especially as I've been a Tinariwen fan for a good few years now. If it's that kinda stuff you're into, you should check out a band called Etran Finatawa if you haven't already, not to mention a Tinariwen album or two - both bands have a very similar kinda barrage of guitars sound about them. There's subtler stuff like Ali Farka Toure's work which is worth a go as well.

I should be pretty busy today, so I might get my next review up tomorrow, if not over the weekend.
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Old 11-10-2009, 08:31 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Never had you down as desert blues fan I love me some of the stuff, so I've definitely gotta track that album down, especially as I've been a Tinariwen fan for a good few years now. If it's that kinda stuff you're into, you should check out a band called Etran Finatawa if you haven't already, not to mention a Tinariwen album or two - both bands have a very similar kinda barrage of guitars sound about them. There's subtler stuff like Ali Farka Toure's work which is worth a go as well.

I should be pretty busy today, so I might get my next review up tomorrow, if not over the weekend.
Don't think I could really be described as a fan. Sure I like it when I find it, but more often than not I rarely look for it.

Good luck finding that sort of stuff in your local pre: 2000s though
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Old 11-15-2009, 06:51 AM   #18 (permalink)
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The Amorphous Androgynous - Alice In Ultraland (2005)

genre: neo-psychedelic, ambient, post-rock
1. The Emptiness Of Nothingness
2. The Witchfinder
3. The Witch Hunt
4. All Is Harvest
5. Prophet
6. Indian Swing
7. Seasons Turn
8. High and Dry
9. Yes My Brother (You've Gotta Turn Yourself Around)
10. In the Summertime Of Consciousness
11. Billy the Onion
12. Another Fairy Tale Ending
13. The World is Full Of Plankton
14. The Wicker Doll


So, in finally preparing my second full-on review for this thread, I knew it wouldn't be long before I got to not only another favourite album of the decade, but one of my favourite albums of all time from one of my favourite groups of all time (an album that would easily have made the higher reaches of my top 100 thread had I heard it about a year earlier).

Before breaking it all down into songs though, as ever, a good slice of back story's necessary. Basically, the Amorphous Androgynous here, as well as a few other names in the field of electronic music you may or may not have heard of before like the Future Sound Of London, Yage, Humanoid, Stakker and so on, are all the brainchilds of the Mancunian DJ duo; Garry Cobain and Brian Dougans. They'd first made a name for themselves at the centre of the acid house scene in the late 80s and early 90s, with two massive hits of club anthems to their name, before recording a handful of very well-received (and selling) such albums. Very good albums too, but it starts to get truly profound and interesting in the mid-90s with the release of their monolithic, Mezzanine-soundalike album (released four years before Mezzanine, incidentally) by the name of Lifeforms, which found the duo approaching a much more ambient, down-tempo and dark territory.

Cobain and Dougans did what every artist with the money of a few hit singles and albums and a faithful label and fanbase behind them should do - use that backing to take daring new steps into a new, unexplored world of music. Even the brilliant Lifeforms couldn't have prepared their audience for what was coming next though. In the earlier part of this very decade, the duo revived their Amorphous Androgynous moniker and released an even more ambitious double album, this one called the Isness and Otherness. To cut what's already a longer review than I had in mind a bit shorter, they went from this and this to this and this. While it was a hell of a stylistic curveball to throw, this one into a neo-psychedelia/progressive house sort of area, the resulting music was still very song-based, with each tune having its own individual identity, much like a lot of rock albums.

And then along came 2005's Alice In Ultraland; a show of the more ambient side of the Cobain/Dougans partnership, delivering an album that blends together seamlessly to form one of the masterpieces of the decade. It finds the pair using the Amorphous Androgynous moniker to deliver an ambient psychedelic kind of album that wouldn't really be expected of the Future Sound Of London, although there's not a lot of that side of the equation on show during the opener, the Emptiness Of Nothingness - a tune that still sets the tone for some of the album ahead with its danceable rhythm, richly-layered atmospherics and unconventional (and sparse) use of vocals.

The track just kind of melts into the Witchfinder and Witch Hunt; two tunes which meld together so perfectly they might as well be the same song. More importantly, this is where the Eastern influence on Alice In Ultraland's sound first becomes obvious, which is basically a whole lotta sitar and some terrific atmospherics which really do just take you away so to speak. It's also home to one of the heaviest use of vocals on the album.

It's followed by the chilled All Is Harvest; a gorgeous little chillout beat beneath a repetitive guitar figure and fittingly non-intrusive use of strings and heavy studio treatments. It's a calm, contemplative moment's peace before the barrage of synth, guitar motifs and a loose electronic beat that is Prophet, which itself builds up towards another sitar-laden show of Cobain and Dougans' love for psychedelic music. Indian Swing then is another laid-back instrumental piece, and another show of the album's strength in that it creates a kind of sound that's at once relaxing and eye-opening at the same time.

Seasons Turn is just a nice, 61 second package of labyrinthine, psychedelic eccentricity before the fantastic High and Dry. Featuring Cobain's lead vocal, it's easily the most accessible track on the album. A guitar-led song with a conventional verse-chorus-verse structure should be a standout, but all the credit goes to Dougans and Cobain as not only the composers but also producers for how it isn't, all for the fact that blends seamlessly the next track, Yes My Brother (You've Gotta Turn Yourself Around) - a delicious, acoustic guitar-led instrumental (well, the vocal is sparse enough to deem itself as another instrument anyway) with a few Eastern flavours added to it.

In the Summertime Of Consciousness, again lead by Cobain's nasal vocal, is pretty much Seasons Turn taken to about 6 minutes' length. It's another gorgeous lump of psychedelic weirdness, complete with an almost chaotic, skewiff rhythm, saxophone, flute, sitar and piano overdubs, among so many other mixing desk atmospherics which make another truly great tune. The following Billy the Onion does the very, very strange thing for an album such as this by adding a dash of country slide guitar and harmonica to the mix with a fuzzy, synthesized bass figure ascending and descending throughout the whole thing. Yet another real headfuck of a tune.

Another Fairy Tale Ending calms proceedings down significantly, giving off the air of a stunning work of chillout in the typically complex style that the album as a whole uses. The World Is Full Of Plankton carries that toprch onward, this time introducing a heavily-treated guitar to the mix before some typically eerie, not-so-accomplished-yet-strangely-beauitiful vocals kick in. Wicker Doll puts the lid on this clamer section of the tracklisting and the album as a whole as another tune with no beat, relying wholly on the synthesized atmospherics and the potency of the mixing desk to carry it out of your speakers with real panache.

Alright, so this review has been far longer than I first hoped it would be, so I'll keep the old conclusion short. To say 'get this album as if your life depends on it' would be a bit pompous of me, so let's try and make sense eh. Basically, even if you're no huge fan of psychedelic, post-rock or ambient music (like I'm not), this album is definitely worth a gamble. It's endlessly rewarding for all the twists and turns that not only the album as a unit but each track themselves takes (you'll sit there thinking you're listening to a folk-influenced chillout tune with a steady beat before it does an ambient breakdown, layered vocals kick in or something), but also for the fact that it's a masterpiece of studio production. It's a credit to the talent of the Dougans/Cobain partnership as producers that they can make such a complex and stylistically diverse album blend together as one glorious whole (as if being easily two of the most talented composers to emerge from the house scene).

If you're the type to read the last paragraphs of these things, I'll just say here that, despite the fact it's an oxymoron to say so, this album truly is a modern classic and an absolute masterpiece. If instead you've actually read all that, I applaud your patience!

Anyway, this album =

YouTube - Garry Cobain talks about Alice In Ultraland



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Old 11-15-2009, 09:15 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Genres That Defined My Decade


I thought this could be a cool little addition. Small reviews/suggestions revolved around a genre that in our opinions came to define all that was good about the decade so far. By no means are these to suggest that the genre in question is specific to the 2000’s or wasn’t done well in other decades.. For the most part they will be ‘specific genres’ (ie bull**** just made up to appease a bunch of taggers).

Dark Jazz

Dark jazz, a genre that’s foundations is difficult to tie down. Though it wasn’t technically jazz, film noir types occasionally did follow a jazz routine. Although in those day’s music for movies was rarely a focal point, it often extrapolated the atmosphere of the movie. Miles’ also had a key hand in making the genre what it is today. Laden and heavy, slow and crazed as ****, albums like Agharta, Bitches Brew et al, also carried this sense of atmosphere. The music was dark and mysterious, and for the most part, none-too-inviting. Then you have Peter Brotzmann types, who whilst didn’t make the genre, added the touch of aggressiveness and violence that much dark jazz is known for nowadays. It’s not all about atmosphere. It’s about forcing something down your throat with hostility or creeping behind you on a dark and foggy evening. However, for the most part, entire albums weren’t devoted to this sense of urgency or haunting nature. Miles had his lighter moments, Brotzmann sometimes drove his antagonism beyond just being dark, and as mentioned, film noir was always a backdrop to on-screen atmosphere.

Nowadays, dark jazz has evolved into its own niche, and a pretty popular one at that. It’s hardly cut and dry though, as there is still a fair about of variety rather than simply copying what has shown to be successful. Perhaps most importantly, however, is the fact that it no longer remains ‘pure’ in an egotistical jazz fan manner. In my opinion the combination of electronics has breathed new life into what many believe is stagnant genre groundwork. The best thing is, however, that at times it just isn’t ‘jazz’. It’s a somewhat fun kick in the teeth to jazz purists, but most importantly, it introduces a whole new world of music fans into a new world, and they can go from there. I don’t think I was the only person who found it difficult to ‘get’ jazz in my earlier years. It’s probably the least accessible music from the base genres in my opinion. So, without further ado, I present a few of my favourite dark jazz albums from this decade.

1) Bohren & Der Club Of Gore – Sunset Mission (2000)


When people mention Bohren, I often get one of two replies to the question, ‘What is your favourite album?’. It’s normally one of ‘Geisterfaust’ or ‘Black Earth’. There is little doubt that both are great albums, and I have seen them being promoted elsewhere on the site (Particularly Pete’s From Me To You thread), but neither, on a personal level, come close to Sunset Mission in my books. I mean, from a modern jazz albums perspective, there are few things better than hearing the first cymbal bang and throbbing bass that kicks in from the first second in Black City Skyline, the eigth track on the album. Along with the ever so slight vocals in the distance and the sublimely controlled saxophone work, it can send chills up your spine even when you know its coming. And I mean, for a dark jazz album, how ****ing perfect is the album title? Black Earth follows a similar vein, but Sunset Mission simply evokes darkness within, as the sun is setting, and being cast off into the unforgiving but living world, carrying a sense of expectation, but knowing hopelessness resides within. Not to mention the album cover, which revolves around the unknown and mysteries of the world we think we understand.

Of course, there is the music. The album simply spew’s atmosphere, and perhaps the most fitting modern day reference point to classic film noir. People can read this as they will – For some this will suggest that the slow and maniacal pace is simply too ‘boring’ and it doesn’t challenge the senses enough with an explosion of noise or energy. I, obviously, think that the pace is perfect in context. This album is about atmosphere. For some reason this can be presumed to be opposite of mentally stimulating for some. I will admit that a fair few people will probably find themselves nodding off to the album if listened to in the evening. From a personal perspective though, the depth used to create such a veiled sound is tremendous. The album doesn’t force you to search out its nooks and crannies. But to the observant listener, it can often be joyous to find a nick here or there or something new of interest. It’s about what lies beneath the surface that makes this album great rather than simply good.


Midnight Walker


2) The Kilimajaro Darkjazz Ensemble – The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble (2006)


This album has gained quite the following since on MusicBanter in more recent times, let alone the wider music community. The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble (aka The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation) is a group from the Netherlands who formed as a project to make music for existing silent films. In comparison to Bohren’s ‘grabbing air’ type music, which often feels as if you would fail if you tried to grab it with your bare hands, Kilimajaro is sludgy as all hell. This is shown from the albums opening track The Nothing Changes, in which the deep bass lines meld with the sounds of bubbles escaping deep mud slush. There is an obvious electronic tinge that wasn’t really present in Sunset Mission. Although the brass is a strength in its minimalism, it’s really the heavy use of beats as well as occasionally aggressive drumming and leading guitar lines that really kicks this album into a second gear. The overall electronic sound of the album makes it a much more vigorous affair than Sunset, and it is used to a great advantage. Sometimes ambient, sometimes aggro, sometimes begging, the album gets a little eclectic at times, and this variety is seen as early as the first two tracks.

So what makes it a special album? On a personal level, apart from being the album that introduced me to the world of ‘dark’ jazz, it is purely the fact that it is more than just jazz. The album WANTS you to question the boundaries in music, which as a music fan it is easy to see that the lines mean much less than they used to. Sometimes the album wants to be a jazz album – Other times it wants to be an electronic album – other times it wants to be an ambient album. Whichever way you want to look at it, the result is one of greatness from my perspective. Unlike Bohren, it is easy to get swept up in once the album gets its rhythm. For those interested, they have another recent release in ‘Here Be Dragon’s but it simply did not have the same effect on me as their self titled did. Same goes for The mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation for that matter.


Lobby (Live)
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Old 11-15-2009, 09:18 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Dark Jazz Cont.

3) Macelleria Mobile Di Mezzanotte – Black Rubber Exotica (2005)


Hey, I’ve talked about this fella before haven’t I? Yep, here it is. Wait, didn’t I ‘only’ give it 7.7 in that thread? Well, yes I did give it that score. However, it when comes to albums like these, it’s not about the numbers. I used to see this as a power electronics album first and foremost. Eventually it got to the point where I simply asked myself, ‘Who the hell cares?’, and that is how it came to belong in this thread. I doubt it will be the most popular album of the group – It is certainly a most harsh combination of electronics and jazz, and more often than not, the jazz comes second fiddle. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t hold a significant value in the scheme of things. So what is the album all about? It’s about being as abrasive as possible to create as dark a tone as possible. This is probably why it fits into the ‘dark jazz’ genre so well. Although it isn’t completed in a similar way whatsoever, the base aesthetic values remain the same. With a more forceful approach than either of the other two albums so far with Sexxxy, it would be fair to say you don’t think you are listening to a dark jazz album.

The album swings all over the place really, but where it truly shines out is the comparative nature of the albums three sides. The ridiculously abrasive power electronics, the seedy and throbbing dark jazz moments, and the moments of near quiet. I couldn’t quite suggest you ‘endure’ the album for the great dark jazz moments if you can’t sit through the other parts. Although they are nice, this album is a puzzle, one that is difficult to find meaning without all the pieces. Heck, even with all the pieces you don’t know what the **** you are doing. All I can suggest is that you give it a try, and that My Sweet Betty is ****ing amazing.


My Sweet Betty

4) Zdzisław Piernik And Piotr Zabrodzki – Namanga (2008)


Now this is the apex of inaccessible music for those who don’t like this sort of music. There is a minimal chance that you will like this album unless you have a taste for free jazz or avant garde music at least. That said, it is still probably a-top a list of great 2008 albums (Which looking back on was an amazing year in all actuality). Using a menagerie instruments and sounds to create an entangling web whose threads sometimes lead to nowhere, this album is yet another than falls into my perspective of dark jazz, and my perspective alone. The Polish duo creates an album that is full of whimsy and wonder, yet throughout a fair amount of the album, it carries a sense of loneliness and isolation. It has its violent moments, but everything seems to be working in its singularity rather than as one.

As for the actual music, it is about creating as much depth with as little help as possible. Filled with short and sharp songs, most of the time failing to reach two minutes in length, the time constraints lend themselves well to this idea.
Some of the sounds from Piernik’s tuba are simply awesome, and fits into the genre perfectly. Other times he summons up Brotzmann’s spirit with a tuba, which is an amazing feat. There’s not too much more to say. This is an album that has to be listened to even be attempted to be comprehended. To be honest, sometimes I can make neither high nor low of the album. Once again, it falls outside the restrictions of what many would consider to be dark jazz, but it has its more ‘classic’ dark jazz moments. Still, it is one of the best albums from 2008, especially when it comes to jazz.


Milkrototal

5) Kreng - L'Autopsie Phenomenale De Dieu (2009)


Well, for the final suggestion is an album that is probably more fitting for the dark jazz name. Yet once again, it can be chucked into a whole bunch of different genres depending on interpretation. As I said at the start of this post, that is probably the best thing about the genre. Much of the time it is up to interpretation rather than any set guidelines. Rather than a specific sound, the genre is based upon a mood. This album is an absolute beauty from the 2009 line up. One of the more sample-based dark jazz albums I have come across, it uses vocal samples and such assortments of noises to great effect to create a disposition, sometimes based on antagonism, other times based on ambiguity.

As it is with many dark jazz projects, the music is about expressing a cinematic experience into the world of sound rather than through visuals. It does this amazingly well, with sounds such as Kollosus using a build up of layers and samples to create a sense of fear and foreboding doom. The screams and crying are legitimately distressing to the listener. The album, whilst containing a lot of tracks, has a fair balance between lengthy songs and short songs, which in this context, is quite fitting. Sometimes it can get into a little modern classical mode, but this isn’t a problem at all. In fact, it enhances the atmosphere of the album, perhaps better than if the album was purely a dark jazz album. This is essential listening in my books any day of the week. Apologies for the youtube video that features a song not from the album – Windows Movie Maker is being a bitch so I can’t upload my own as of yet.


Kolossus

So that’s my side of the story. Although it follows a different path than many would expect, I still think that the collective thoughts on the genre speak for themselves. Its increase in popularity over time is only a good thing for the music scene in my opinion, and although I think I have introduced a fair few new names to people, this is only scratching the surface.

Other bands of interest:
Mushroom’s Patience/Roma, Wien. – Definitely has its jazzier moments, if not all the time.
Triosk/1+3+1 – Not bad stuff at all, perhaps not really dark in a sense
Tomasz Stańko Quartet/Suspended Nights – Again, not really dark, but has its moments
Dale Cooper Quartet and the Dictaphones

Last edited by Zarko; 11-16-2009 at 10:54 AM.
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