Thursday, 12 December 2019

Kwali Kumara & Pete Ardron 'Let It Go' Review


Kwali Kumara & Pete Ardron


Let It Go


Pink Hampster Recordings


13th December

Following on from the albums ‘Exalted’ and ‘Estastic’ where performance artist, dancer and Kundalini Yoga instructor Kwail Lox teams up with Orchid-Stars Pete Ardron to produce music designed for Kundalini Yoga mediations but also stand in their own right as music to listen or dance to.

This elongated sixteen minutes of melodic and pleasing to the ear musical production, bears all the distinctive trademarks of the style fans will instantly associate to Pete. Add the three simple words (that are the title of the piece) in a rolling mantra with echo fx and your mind can float away on a blissful journey.

Reviewed by Woodzee


Saturday, 7 December 2019

Albums of Interest 2019

What has resulted from a combination of sheer volume of releases and my own listening habits. Where I found myself slowly gravitating last year to more beat orientated music (I’ve probably brought and listened to more techno than dub and chill at periods this year) in all honesty I haven’t come across as many stand out albums in 2019.

So you may well view this list and think why didn’t X or Y make it? On the other hand there may well be artists or albums you missed that appeal. For a more in-depth look at this years releases I’d recommend hitting this link for a whopping 60 album reviews of 2019 ... 

1) Pitch Black – Third Light (Dubmission Records)

On the top of their game Pitch Black dive into deeper and mellower tracks and deliver wonderfully at times. However, there is still plenty of the techno and drum and bass infused dub they have crafted over the decades.

2) Pure Love: Pure Chill Out Vol 1 (Altar Records)

A collection from the back catalogue of Argus and friends which also featured six teasers from the ‘Invisible Sun’ album which followed. Simply an amazing collection of beautiful music.

3) Reverend John Chester – The Tibetan Book of Dub (Mutantra)

Initially pre-released last year under the title ‘Nature Never Lies’ a selection of spaced out eastern dubs with plenty of robotic vocoder. The full release including the more up-tempo re-mixes recently saw the light of day.

4) The Human Experience – Things Are Changing

A selection of tracks by Gone Gone Beyond an Americana/folk/electronica collective put together by the Human Experience. This album was on constant rotation for months on my daily commute.

5) The Human Experience – Stillness in Motion

A fantastic follow up later in the year chock full of Amerianca and world music collaborations.

6) Sven Laux and Daniela Orvin – The Writings (Dronavrivm)

Daniela's piano enhances Sven’s ambient drones and electronica into somewhat of a masterpiece in modern classical fusion

7) Hollie Kenniff – The Gathering Dawn (n5MD)

I’ve been following with interest the teasers pre-cursing this album and suspect now that Hollie has stepped out of the shadow of her husband Keith (Helios, Goldmund) and taken the plunge with this debut album, she will be one to watch out for in her own right.

8) Eguana – Destiny (Cosmicleaf Records)

A wonderfully textured journey of space ambient music that sets the mind adrift.

9) Suns of Arqa – Heart of the Suns :1979 - 2019 (Interchill Records)

If like myself you have only dipped into their vast back catalogue this is a worthy selection compiled by Andrew Interchill that features a few elongated ambient versions.

10) 100th Monkey – Space Dubs and Other Miscellany 1992 – 2017 (Disco Gecko Recordings)

Another back catalogue collection of an artist I knew relatively little about. Due to the time frame some of the tracks do sound retro but I’ve found this album is growing and growing on me.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

MCTHFG 'Korean Dub Vol II' Review

Artist: MCTHFG

Title: Korean Dub Volume II

Label: Dubmission Records

Released: 6th December

In the second instalment of this series places the spotlight on some of the female artists, who are part of Seouls growing underground scene of alternative dj’s and producers.

The first to make an appearance is Itta of Pan-Asian psychedelic drone duo Tennger. In this instance it’s a re-working of ‘Only’a vocal and fx recording (originally released on cassette) re-entitled ‘Deeply alone with everyone dub’. Christopher takes a subtle approach with bleeps and overly familiar loops, that slowly build behind the ethereal vocals to somewhat of a percussive crescendo.

Next up is TheSojuQueen described as a producer, singer and visual artist. Here he re-works a version of ‘Pond’, Re-entitled ‘Empty Pond (your true reflection dub)’. Apparently the original combined a ukelule riff with haunting vocals and from what I can gather he puts the brakes on. To be honest if I hadn’t been informed of the ukelule, then I would have assumed the strings were of an oriental instrument. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there is something about this tune that draws me in.

The final track is by Yetsuby a producer whose work ranges from ambient to groovy electronic and experimental weirdness. Here Christopher takes her ambient piece ‘The Dolphin Song’, re-entitled ‘Dolphin Song (from the depths of lazers dub)’ and weaves her vocal through echo fx whilst applying a deeper bass for a slow chugging dub alternative.


Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Kick Bong 'Take Me Away'

Artist: Kick Bong

Title: Take Me Away

Label: Cosmicleaf

Released: 20th Nov 

This latest single from Paris based multi-instrumentalist Franck Jousselin A.K.A. Kick Bong commences with a deep rumbling synthbass, before lighter synth voices rise through the sound. The track then settles into a groovy downtempo piece of electronica with subtle melodic vocals float away from the accompanying synth. Whilst the tail end of the piece adds a bit more squelchy grit to see us out.

The flip side ‘Lost in Time’ isn’t a million miles away from the A-Side to say the least, although there are looped sequences that catch your attention and drag your mind along the track. It’s also a piece that in many respects reminds me of tunes from yesteryear but retains a modern touch.

Reviewed by Woodzee

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Dr Trippy 'All Cows Eat Grass' Review

Artist: Dr Trippy

Title: All Cows Eat Grass

Label: Disco Gecko Records

Released: 22nd November

Dr Trippy releases another five tracks of his unique mash up of bhangra, dub reggae and breaks that he calls Punjabi Swamp. On this occasion he strays even further incorporating elements of progressive chill, balkan beats, Russian rapping and Industrial percussion.

The intro to the opening track ‘Kali Hari’ sounds like an early voyage into experimental electronics. However, it doesn’t take long before a dose of eastern flavoured synth is prescribed, alongside gated vocal fx and raggamuffin verses. Whilst the intro to ‘Delysid Dub’ sounds more progressive those familiar reggae keys soon ascend and there’s plenty of dancehall vocal snippets and dub fx peppered throughout.

The reggae vocal sample kicks off ‘Willow’ he then throws in the Indian female vocal amidst a shufflin ska rhythm, horns and eastern flavoured passages. This is followed by ‘Ragga Reel’ where I found myself drawn to the concoction of acid, reggae, Balkan volin and Indian vocal snippets. Last but not least is ‘Swamp Life’ where the intro is more elongated and dark. However, it eventually leads to bamboo flutes, a touch more acid and those expected vocal snippets.

Reviewed by Woodzee


Tuesday, 19 November 2019

The Russian Linesman 'Monomyth - The Departure' Review

Artist: The Russian Linesman

Title: Monomyth I – The Departure

Label: Loki Recordings

Released: 8th November

This E.P. in this series takes you on a journey through field recordings, ambient electronica and vocals, dipping into a myriad of sub genres whilst weaving storytellers talk about their beginnings with tape to tape, thought processes of job rejections, jazz teachings and mis-spent youth. This really is one of those occasions where the story behind the project, will tell you far more about the project than I can and if you find that intriguing enough, then you may as well dip in and take a listen.

One of the electronic scene’s true mavericks returns to unveil the first in a remarkable new six part series of EPs, focused on the art of storytelling. As with his previous 2017 project (‘The Eysenck Suites I-IV) this “modern day composer” has been inspired by psychological theory in the creation of his latest enthralling musical collages. 

Joseph Campbell’s ‘A Hero with a Thousand Faces’ is an analysis of centuries of human storytelling, based around the anthropological theories of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, and this fascinating book provided the blueprint for the new Russian Linesman project – an artistic abstraction of the concept of the ‘Monomyth’ – a formula we are all familiar with in modern day films and books.

In narratology and comparative mythology, the ‘Monomyth’, or the Hero's Journey, is the common template of a broad category of storytelling that involves a hero who goes on an adventure, and in a decisive crisis wins a victory, then comes home changed or transformed.

Each song within the Russian Linesman’s ‘Monomyth’ episodes (the project will be released in its entirety over the next year at bi-monthly intervals) is named after the relevant part of the hero’s journey and has been accompanied by unique, complex compositions that combine a multitude of diverse collected instrumentation and field recordings to fit the mood of the storytelling. Most storytellers remain anonymous, retaining an abstract element to the process and allowing the listener’s curiosity to be uniquely aroused and be drawn into each different story as it unfolds.

This project quickly developed a life of its own and all the individual stories twisted into a patchwork of yarns that tell an even greater story than I could have ever told on my own. In ‘Star Wars’, the droids make all the space opera weirdness accessible. My droids are my storytellers, my narrators. Placing some of the stranger musical moments within reach of the more casual listener. A hero is only as great as their villain. This project is a proper human interest story.” Russian Linesman


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Monday, 18 November 2019

Liquid Bloom, Porangui & Spice Trader 'Ayé Yewo' Review

Artist: Liquid Bloom, Porangui & Spice Trader

Title: Ayé Yewo

Label: Desert Trax

Released: 22nd November

Liquid Bloom is a project formed by Amani Friend (Desert Dwellers) which places focus on inner growth through ancient and spiritual soundscapes, whether paired with meditation, yoga, bodywork, dance or artistic creation.

This single incorporates vocals and instrumentation from Porangui, with additional instrumentation and production from Spice Trader to form a blend of African music and deep house. Which is paired alongside an ethereal mix from neo-western producer Tone Ranger.

The single shuffles along nicely with an acoustic loop, vocal chants and tribal rhythms before adopting an afro-beat feel with the added horns. It slows down a tad and employs delay before the vocal verses takes hold. Whilst the Tone Ranger version initially seems to accentuate the drums overall it’s a smoother mellower take on the original piece.

Reviewed by Woodzee