Sunday, 9 June 2019

Gregory Paul Mineeff 'Grind' Review









Artist: Gregory Paul Mineeff



Album: Grind



Label: Cosmicleaf Records



Released: 29th May 2019









Grind is the debut album from multi-instrumentalist, composer Gregory Paul Mineeff. The album is a collection of minimalist piano pieces performed on an electric tine piano accompanied by analog synthesizers. Gregory says the intent was to produce an album based around simple, minimalist piano pieces, but with a synthesized atmosphere.


The album begins with an intro ‘Nearing the end’. Initially I thought this was a bizzare title. However, as it sounded somewhat like a church organ enveloped in an atmospheric drone, then perhaps it’s a more morbid end it implies? This is followed by the more aptly titled ‘Two’ where Gregory creates a sense of engaging beauty in slow motion.


Moving through the album although it maintained a chilled ambience, I found the next couple of tracks became less engaging and more background music, but slowly track by track by the time I’d reached the 8th track ‘If there was time’ my attention was pulled back to the music. I’ve listened to this a few times now and the result has been pretty much the same. Gregory certainly achieves an ambient mood with these pieces and for those who are solely seeking relaxation, that’s probably enough.


Reviewed by Woodzee


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Monday, 27 May 2019

Chronos 'Israeli Connection 33' Review





Artist: Chronos



Title: Israeli Connection 33



Label: Cosmicleaf Records




Released: 22nd May 2019










The inspiration for this album began for Nick Klimenko (Chronos) at the chill out event Shiwaya Sound System in Tel Aviv. Not only collaborating with artists from across the world but implementing his and their voices and organic instruments to the recordings.


The album begins with ‘Sea Front In’ a classical style piece that I imagine is representing a seaside organ accompanied by a field recording in that environment. However, a music box is springing to mind in my case. This is followed by ‘One Chronology’ a collaboration with Shivanam where angelic synth voices meld with guitar slowly building to the inevitable drop. The overall feel is not a million miles away from some of the summery trance of the late 90’s, just slowed down a tad in places. Next up is ‘Cells In Harmony’ a collaboration with label mates Zero Cult, which begins in an aboriginal style accompanied by haunting synths which builds and drops into a more ambient passage employing the Japanese Nagoya Harp played by Nick himself.


Moving on with ‘Even Devil once an Angel (Part 2) which commences with a dark brooding almost industrial atmosphere and slow heavy bass juxtaposed with lighter harmonic synths. Next in line is the Nagoya remix of ‘Erbium’ which again follows a similar pattern with perhaps a more IDM atmosphere rather than industrial.


The pace moves up a notch on ‘Relict’ a collaboration with Okolosna, a more groove orientated psy piece with a chilled out oriental breakdown. The next two pieces maintain the more groove orientated approach with label mates Essence Project and Earth Connect. The Essence Project differs as the tail end re-explores the acoustic beach vibe encountered earlier in the album, While Earth Connect employs piano notes.


The album takes a more eastern approach on ‘Svara’ a collaboration with Yestegan Chay, who plays the Bulbul (a stringed instrument played on the lap, also known as the Indian banjo). This is followed by the ambient mix of ‘Cells in Harmony’ which takes a lighter approach with eerie synths, bubbling fx, eastern voices alongside the guitar. Finally, we finish on ‘Sea Front Out’ which maintains the same feel just splitting the field recording to come in after the music.


Reviewed by Woodzee

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Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Kick Bong 'Watch The Mirror E.P.' Review







Artist: Kick Bong



Title: Watch The Mirror E.P.



Label: Cosmicleaf Records



Released: 15th May 2019











The lastest E.P. from Parisian producer Franck Jousellin ‘Watch The Mirror’ is a further exploration of electronica that at times touches upon melodic techno and trance, but is always juxtaposed with more chilled atmospheres and a downtempo underbelly. Which over the last few years has become a sound he has continued to perfect.


First up is the title track which begins in a dark brooding manner with electronic beeps and a plodding kick drum in a techno fashion. The looping bleeps are joined by sweeping melodic synths that build somewhat and eventually drop, whilst the last section hits a bit harder and includes some dubbed out spoken word samples.


Next on the agenda is ‘The Sky Light’ which again begins in a melancholic brooding manner but with a touch more pace than it’s predecessor. The dark fx and bass notes are perfectly counterbalanced with the lighter melodic tones and I’m really sold with this track.


Last but not least is ‘I Love It’ and keeping in fashion to the rest of the E.P. it begins with dark growling synths and bass notes before the lighter melodic synths and loops are employed. For me this is reminiscent of early 90’s techno and as the track develops it only strengthens that feeling for me. Once again I’m sold or you could say ‘I Love It’.


Reviewed by Woodzee


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Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Pete Ardron & Psibindi 'Lilaya E.P.' Review







Artist: Pete Ardron & Psibindi



Title: Lilaya E.P.



Label: Altar Records



Released: 1st May 2019










Whilst Pete Ardron’s classical background adds to the uniqueness of his compositions, he has often drawn on eastern flavours and included live instrumentation and vocalists alongside the electronic sounds. He seems to have a knack at discovering suitably competent vocalists and it was evident from their first collaboration ‘Mera Dil’ on his ‘Unexpected Pleasures’ album that this was a pairing that deserved further exploration.


Until the aforementioned track I knew nothing about Psibindi (whose real name is Rena) and aside from these releases she’s still somewhat of an enigma. What I can say from the press release for those who wish to delve deeper is aside from being a classically trained Indian singer, she DJ’s on the Psytrance scene as Psibindi, is the founder of the Psy-Sisters collective and label and produces and releases music in that field.


This particular release is also little different from the progressive ambient or space music released by Altar Records which only goes to show they were impressed enough to add them to their catalogue.


Moving on to the E.P. it’s self, the opening track ‘First Light’ begins with bamboo flutes, digeridoo and gongs immediately delivering a spiritual feeling before the beat commences and the sitar takes over. There’s somewhat of a teasing suspense before the vocal drops but it’s well worth the wait as it’s a joy to hear amidst this lovely piece of ethic chill out. This is followed by ‘Rookah Surfar’ which drifts seamlessly between Indian flavoured dnb (which I’ve always felt is a heavenly match) and vocal chill out. I half expected the pace to pick up at the tail end of the piece but it doesn’t.


Next up is the Equinox re-mix of ‘Mera Dil’ which I found to be a more laid back take, obviously it still retains the beautiful vocal and is an interesting enough alternative. However, for me I still prefer the original. Moving on to ‘Time Stands Still’ where atmospheric synths are introduced alongside a xylophone intro, which is soon replaced by a more groovy percussion and the vocal is implemented before the bamboo flute takes centre stage in the instrumental breaks. The final track ‘Shokhee’ moves up the gears with a harsher looped synthetic intro and dnb percussion that is counterbalanced with the exquisite vocal harmonies and joined by rhythmic vocal talas.


Review by Woodzee


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Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Spatialize 'Skulldubbery' Review





Artist: Spatialize



Title: Skulldubbery E.P.



Label: Self Released



Released: 13th of April 2019













I’m a tad behind on this review. However, on the off chance it passed you by I’ll let you know my thoughts. In comparison to his recent album release ‘Beyond the Radar’, that placed the focus mostly in a fusion of electronica and space rock, this places the spotlight (as the title suggests) on dub. So now we’ve established the genre of the E.P. the burning question is it any good? In my humble opinion, yes it is!


The first of the four available tracks ‘Dub Skullery’ begins with ethereal synths and industrial elements, that you would expect from an experimental drone track. The beat slowly rises and soon after we are fully immersed in a catchy dub track peppered with delayed spacey fx and short passages of lead guitar. Following on ‘Shimmering Pink’ is more laid back and melodic, with somewhat of an Ozric’s feel to it, while Neil continues to maintain the quality and appeal of it’s predecessor.


The third piece ‘Frabjous Day’ is more of a slow burner, however, it eventually reaches a similar Ozric’s feel to the dub, with more of a rhythmic mid section and female harmonies at the tail end. The E.P. finishes with ‘Doodlebug’ where electronic fx lead you through some lovely laid back synths, chimes, spoken word samples and guitar.



Reviewed by Woodzee


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Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Suns of Arqa 'Hearts of the Sun 1979  2019' Review



Artist: 

Suns of Arqa


Title: 

Hearts of the Sun 1979 2019


Label: 

Interchill Records


Released: 

17th of May 2019








Formed by Michael Wadada in 1979 the Suns of Arqa have blended Indian Classical and Celtic sounds with a constantly changing line up that over fourty years has astoundingly featured over 200 musicians. They have also worked with artists such as Prince Far-I, 808 State, Youth and Astralasia broadening the sonic pallet into fusions of Dub and Drum & Bass.


The Suns of Arqa will always hold a special place in my heart, as I utilised them for the first track of my first ever DJ gig and they also featured on the first mix of mine uploaded online. My first experience of their output came rather late considering, picking up their L.P. ‘Kokoromochi’ in 1992 and have dipped in here and there over the years ever since. Therefore, some of the tracks featured on this compilation were already familiar to me and I was also eager to hear those that were not.


Not surprisingly considering the longevity of the Suns of Arqa there have been a fair few compilations to whet the appetite and entice listeners into their back catalogue and future releases. So naturally the question of anyone standing on the precipice and intrigued to venture into their world, would surely be ‘Why this one?’. Now this isn’t the first compilation for me and the previous one is a treasured part of my music collection. What stands out about the tracks selected here, is that Andrew has obviously put a lot of thought with his extensive knowledge to include multifarious examples of their back catalogue, without being obvious. From the bamboo flutes, harmonium and other instruments that form the sound of the Indian Sub-Continent and their Ragas, to the electronic ambient re-mixes, dub reggae fusions and beyond. Which I found to be an intriguing and satisfying journey that takes the mind from the beaches of Goa to the river Ganges, from Spiritual ceremonies to Hindu Temples.


Reviewed by Woodzee


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Monday, 22 April 2019

Toby Marks and Andrew Heath 'Motion' Review

Artists:

Toby Marks & 

Andrew Heath


Release:

Motion


Label:

Disco Gecko Recordings


Released:

10th May 2019








Motion is an innovative new album by sound artists Toby Marks and Andrew Heath. Although the pair have collaborated on individual tracks and shows before, this is the first album they have worked on together.


Toby and Andrew started making extensive field recordings on trips to the four corners of Britain during 2018. They went deep into Llechwedd Slate Caverns in Wales, explored Suttle Stone Quarries in Bournemouth, hopped on the Swanage Ferry to Poole Harbour, took to the air with the Yorkshire Gliding Club, floated down the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and rode the Bure Valley Railway in Norfolk.
By the end they had a staggering hundred hours of audio in total, which they processed and transformed, blending piano, guitars and electronics, to produce a deeply meditative, endlessly unfolding collection.


Sometimes evoking images of machinery, sometimes of nature, these pieces flow and twist, at all times maintaining a humanity and sense of personal experience at their core. At times intense, sometimes barely even present in the mix, the music enthrals and entices, drawing the listener into a world both seemingly familiar and weirdly unknown – a quite alien, and yet still organic, space, which is of this world and yet ultimately of Marks and Heath’s own invention.



The first track of the album ‘For Stone (West)’ sets the ambience with an ethereal quality drifting through choral voices, delayed guitars, melancholic piano, creaking floorboards and machinery. This is followed by ‘With Iron (South)’ which beginnings with footsteps and flowing water, subtle piano and guitar nestled amongst eeire synths, which sets me in mind of Pink Floyds ‘Signs of Life’ from their album ‘A Momentary Lapse of Reason’.


Next up is ‘In Air on Water (North)' where the intro of buzzing insects, birdsong, boat engines and church bell chimes leads into passages of piano, indistinct vocal samples and guitar licks that once again have a Floyd’esque quality to them. The final piece of the journey ‘By Fire (East)’ initially layers a shuffling train beneath brooding synths before the guitar strings bring a gentle ambience to the piece.


To Summarise this collection comes across as a natural pairing of Toby and Andrew creating this ambient sound collage, which is probably more closer linked to Libary Music and Musique concrète than Toby’s more dancefloor inspired Banco de Gaia releases.


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To celebrate the release, Toby and Andrew are touring the UK, playing in Stroud on May 10, Sheffield on May 11, Kingskerswell on May 17, Frome on May 18, London on June 14 and Birmingham on June 15.