Music Round-up February 2008

Music Round-up February 2008

3rd Mar 2008

Justus Kohncke - Doppelleben

Doppelleben

In preparation for his forthcoming Safe and Sound album, I picked up this previous Justus Kohncke release and I'm pleased I did, it's great!

Having already been a fan of the earlier Justus release Was Ist Musik I kinda guessed what I was in for with Doppelleben, so it's no surprised it's been on regular rotation since, and no doubt will remain so because it's precisely the type of music I find best suits working on the computer to.

Lots of gentle melodies, made up of lovely synthy-electronic sounds and strings and a pleasing mix of German and English lyrics. Stand out tracks include Weiche Zäune, Schwabylon (with it's infectious refrain of 'I'll do it, as long as I can dance to it') and the compelling Carly Simon cover Coming Around Again - sung in German!

If you see the album for sale and wonder if you should buy it, the answer is yes!

10 listens | 10/10

Mlle Caro And Franck Garcia - Pain Disappears

Pain Disappears

Let it be known that I predict the soaring pop of Mlle Caro And Franck Garcia will top many best album end-of-year polls before the year's out. From start to finish it's a complete joy to behold! Pain Disappears continues nicely from break-through single Far Away (notably not present on the album) so if you liked that then there's plenty more of the same (e.g. the atmospheric No One). Listen to Far Away at the Mlle Caro myspace and then move onto the official Mlle Caro And Franck Garcia myspace for more from the album.

It's an album of pleasant surprises with a fine balance of gentle, strummy-sounding ditties like album opener Always You and Mon Ange and more upbeat numbers like Apologies and Lost. The combination of male and female vocals works well, their English lyrics prounounced with a touching French lilt. It's not all singing though, there's a few minimal techno tracks in there like Lost and No Name, which add balance to the proceedings and reminds us that this has been released on a record label (Buzzin' Fly) usually known for it's dance-oriented music.

I can see any of these tracks them being remixed or added to compilations at some point soon.

25+ listens | 10/10

Nathan Fake - allez-allez mix

Allez-Allez mix

Oh, I love this mix by Border Community artist Nathan Fake. And the good news is it's free to download from allez-allez.

It works because it's really well mixed and sequenced with a fine pace from start to finish... and all in under an hour!

It starts slowly with Daft Punk (Oh Yeah) and Luke Vibert (Synthax) and builds up with classic cuts from Aphex Twin (Windowlicker) and Radiohead (Packt Like Sardines) to a frenzied climax around 29 minutes with the likes of Ceephax Acid Crew (Marshmellow) and Milanese (Billy Hologram) before gently returning to earth with Four Tet (Sleep Eat Food Have Visions), Clouddead (The Keen Teen Skip) and 70i (Bah). A perfect pick-me-up!

11 listens | 10/10

Let's Go Outside - A Picnic With The Hunters

A Picnic With The Hunters

A Picnic With The Hunters, the debut album from SOMA artist Let's Go Outside (aka Steve Schieberl) was a bit difficult to get into for the first few listens, but as I always say, this is often a good indicator of an album's quality. So, after seven listens I can say it's definitely growing on me.

It's pretty lo-fi, sleazy music made up atmospheric sounds, crackly, repetitive beats and pulses, manipulated vocals and subtle melodies. Stand-out tracks include I'll Lick Your Spine (with guest vocals from Christina Broussard), My First Time and I'm Sitting Alone.

Album closer My Friend with it's R&B-like vocals from Cotton Jenny feels a bit out-of-place, almost like it was tacked on the end as a last minute thought. Might have been better as a stand-alone single or B-side.

7 listens | 7/10

Sascha Funke - Mango

Mango

A surprising album in it's intricate melodies, clever song structures and overall cohesion. And like so many electronic albums these days, there's a bit of guitar in there (like the excellent Chemin des Figons) which helps define it's time and position in dance music today.

Opening track Mango grows with a simple ascending quality yet manages to combine it's many elements effortlessly. Similarly, second track We Are Facing The Sun, with it's electronic piano-led refrain follows suit with another seven minutes of layered instrumentation and a cool trancey-sounding bassline (reminiscent of Michael Mayer). And apart from album-closer The Fortune Cookie Symphony every track pretty much fits into this template. So, like Justus Kohncke, it proves to be an easy listening effort with just enough reward (so far anyway) to keep me interested.

The Fortune Cookie Symphony stands out but not in the clumsy manner of the Let's Go Outside album described above. Yes, it feels a bit like it's tacked on at the end because it breaks the mould slightly but as it's actually really good it just seems to work! It's vocal-led, like Double Checked, yet it's not a song... more of a prophecy! An album well worth checking out.

6 listens | 7/10

Other stuff I'm listening to

I'm still enjoying Burial, the JD Twitch (Optimo) RA Podcast and the Andy Stott and Claro Intelecto RA Podcast. I've also been digging some older stuff like Gonzales' Presidential Suite and Miss Kittin's double album from Sonar 2006.

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