Friday, 24 July 2015

Daheen 'Purple Chillies' Review

Artist: Daheen

Title: Purple Chillies

Label: Regan Records

Released: 5th of July

I'd not come across Australian artist David Le Breton (Daheen) before he submitted this album for review but he's released a couple of albums since 1998 and upon listening I found it certainly fits the ethos of this blog. I can't tell too much about David other than he enjoys creating chill out and psy-trance and performing live with his lap-top, keyboard guitar in an array of theatrical masks and costumes. This album is a collection of his down-beat tracks amassed over several years and features the vocals of Karolina Kulczynaska-Le Breton and Dom Edwards on Digeridoo.

The aptly titled 'Rising Sun' is a lovely introduction to the album with gentle acoustics layered over mellow keys and a down-tempo didgeridoo creating an overall laid back and summery atmosphere. Next up is 'Vibratones' which maintains the acoustic elements and laid back attitude, additionally features ethereal feminine vocals and has a slightly Eastern feel to it. 'Anthropcene' on the other hand employs ecological scientific samples you would expect in a psy-dub track, however, this is a more gentle and acoustic affair more akin to 90's trip-hop and lounge.

The album changes direction with 'Tinkling' which as the title suggests begins with some classical piano but slowly evolves into a more twisted psychedelic dub, employing a number of clever tactics from dropping back to the piano adding acoustics and the ethereal vocals into the body and ambient breakdowns. Now the album gets dirtier, darker and dubbier with Australian newsreel samples on
A widely unpopular issue with 'Frackin' Hell which to me is very much in the vein of tracks such as Coldcut's 'Revolution'. Following on in a similar fashion with global issues that concern the planet reeled over a psy-dub with hard-hitting low frequency bass on 'Mass Extinction' shows the versatility of the album.

The next track 'Symphing' reverts back to the classical piano, this time accompanied by strings, brass and ethereal vocals before the dubby bass-line is featured. While 'Hope' is a psy-fused reggae dub containing vocal samples on 'Materialism' issues. The Purple Chillies mix of 'Hummingbird' begins with an African storyteller slowly introducing a gentle ambience before dropping a throbbing low frequency bass-line, hypnotic synths and acoustics. The album closes with 'Remembering' a gentle and atmospheric piece again featuring the ethereal vocals and sparse deep bass notes.

To summarise, I can't see this being the soundtrack to everyone's summer but then who wants to follow the crowd? Personally, I like this album for the elements it employs at times gentle and heavenly at others dark and dirty, at times retro sounding and others far more recent. Ultimately it serves the purpose he's set out to achieve.


Thursday, 16 July 2015

Various Artists 'The Underground Sound of Ibiza Vol 2' Review




The Underground 

Sound of Ibiza Vol 2




17th of July

Following on from the success of last years compilation this release compiled and mixed by progressive house pioneer John Digweed covers different points of the evening over 3 CD's. Here I'm going to focus on the 3rd CD '8 AM' which is aimed at post-club after party listening.

The journey unfolds with the deep and dreamy 'First Light' by Greek house DJ/producer Stelios Vassiloudis which leads into the reprise of 'Taking Over' by an another progressive house pioneer Quivver containing a stereotypical elongated lush progressive drop full to the brim with piano, chimes and vocals. While Mark Romboy takes it seriously deep and atmospheric with part 2 of his chunky new house release 'Counting Comets'.

The journey continues in a similar fashion with the beatless version of 'Sad Robot' by another veteran of the U.K. scene Nick Warren this time teaming up with Tel Aviv's Guy Mantzur. Which leads nicely into part 1 of 'Backslider' by C-Jay a slightly darker down-tempo atmospheric affair with lighter key sequences overlapping. Where as 'Wake Up Later' by Charlie May leans back to the past with Vangelis like elements evident in his piece.

The bass comes in slow and low not a million miles away from dub-step with the down-tempo version of 'Sizzles' by Brad Wilder balanced nicely with dubbed out mellow keys and spooky synths. Following on in a slightly similar fashion bass wise is 'Eagles and Butterflies' by Life in Reverse who also offer the occasional tribal drum roll, bubbling synth fx, indistinct vocal samples and distorted keys.

Then it's over to Omid 16B's underwater mix of 'Heart of Silence' with dark rumblings set amidst a lighter atmospheric backdrop. It may not be a classic like 'Escape (Driving To Heaven) but it certainly slot's into this compilation well with it's own qualities. Then the album comes to a close with 'Just Waiting' by Robert Babicz who provides a dreamy fusion with some wonderful laid-back jazzy piano keys.

To conclude as always fans of Bedrock know what to expect and this compilation won't disappoint and is available to pre-order now.

Review by Woodzee.


Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Exclusive interview with Evan Fraser of Dirtwire

Dirtwire is a collaboration of David Satori (Beats Antique) and Evan Fraser (Hamsa Lila, Stellamara) which places emphasis on the fusion of Americana live instrumentation and electronic sounds. They recently released their second album 'Riptide' which shot straight into the itunes world music chart at No# 1 and the Billboard world music charts at No#13 we caught up with Evan to discuss their project and their recent success.

1) You are both members of world fusion acts I imagine Dirtwire is the polar opposite focusing on the home-grown so to speak. Could you explain the Americana scene for those who like me don't really know anything about it other than it sounds like a melting pot of country, bluegrass and blues.

It doesn't feel like we're super in touch with the current Americana scene either other than what we've been exposed to at Bluegrass and folk festivals like Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival and High Sierra Music Festival. We also really enjoy the music of Rising Appalachia who are good friends of ours. As far as our sound, we're drawing from so many sources including African, Latin, Indian, Blues, Country, Folk, R & B, and the different Electronica genres. We have our feet in all these worlds at the same time. Global Swamptronica sums it up pretty well I think.

2) How does the Dirtwire sound differ from other Americana artists?

Dirtwire's sound is different from other Americana – if you want to call it that, because we're blending in the sounds and instruments of the planet as well as having a firm footing in an electronic music production aesthetic. We love the juxtaposition of roots and electro together. Purists may have a hard time getting behind this but we believe it can be done tastefully. It's really how you go about it as you create the recipe, getting the ingredients to a point where you're happy with it.

3) Your recent album release 'Riptide' shot straight in at No# 1 on the itunes and No#13 on the Billboard World Charts. Did you anticipate such a rapid response to the release and with such a response do you see Dirtwire as an on-going project?

We're very happy to have charted at #13 on Billboard and #1 on iTunes. It's a pat on the back and makes us feel like we're doing something right. The response from all our fans has been incredible. We're really thrilled! Dirtwire will continue to make albums and perform as long as we're able. We love it so much and it feels like that’s what we're built for.

4) You both play a vast array of instruments on the album, how do you amalgamate this in the studio and you are playing at Sonic Bloom festival in Colorado how would this work as a live show?

Both of us have a large collection of instruments in our sound pallet. In the studio we might start with a melody, loop or a beat to get our creativity flowing then we start layering, editing, overdubbing, editing some more, etc. It's a fun and long process and we take a lot of care doing it.

On stage, since there are only two of us at this point, we are essentially performing our music compositions with an emphasis on melody to our own custom backing tracks that we build with all our organic, electric, and electronic sounds. Sometimes we do live looping as well.

5) Are there any plans to take Dirtwire to the international stage in the future?

YES! We are currently in the process of seeking an international booking agent. We want to plan tours to Europe, Central and South America. But first we're going to head back east and down south this July and August.


Monday, 22 June 2015

Various Artists 'Subtextures' Review

Artist: Various

Title: Subtextures

Label: Interchill

Released: 15th June

Following on from their 2013 compilation 'Depth Charge' Interchill's Naasko compiles a selection deep & atmospheric hybrids from the U.K., Canada, U.S.A. and Australia featuring elements of dub-step, dub-tech , jazz and electronica with one thing in common … bass! What appeals to me about this compilation is that it reaches into areas I personally felt had run their course and is a healthy reminder that by doing so I'm missing out on some really good music.

The release begins with 'Atonement' by Biome where the soulful vocal stabs and deep synth sounds bring early LTJ Bukem to mind, although the drumwork is far slower. The next track 'Pacific' by Geode is almost the opposite of Bukem with rapid sequences and vocal stabs over deep speaker shaking bass. While Jafu's 'All Clear' could also draw comparision to a slower form of drum & bass but with more laid back Jazz elements.

HxdB vs Daega Sound's 'Spheroid' continues with the trend of Jazz fusion with a repeated funky male vocal hook and atmospheric touches. After which Daega Sound fly solo with an alluring pitter-patter drum loop intro slowly introducing bleeps, glitches, reverb and vocal samples in a series of crescendo's and drops with effective results. While IMRSV's 'Zenote' is a deeply atmospheric piece with some lovely tribal drum rolls.

Dubsworth's 'Circular Reason' moves away from the previous tracks more into the direction of dub in terms of both the vocal samples and musical production bringing elements of the past right into the present with no injustice what-so-ever. Trashbat's 'Tibet' as the title suggests fuses the soothing flutes and guzheng (Chinese harp) of the orient with soulful vocal samples and a dubby bassline. The mood then switches back to a slow jazzy feel with summery acoustics and a contrasting slow and deep bass on Gyu's 'Cabasa'.

There's a classical feel and haunting mood to the synth intro of Sepia's 'Shakra' before the low growling bass is employed. While Congi's 'Pieces of' contrasts melodic keys and soulful vocals with deep distorted bass. Whereas ROwL's 'Aikido' takes a distinctively dubby journey with a lot of focus on the drum patterns behind the synth and vocal voices.

Matt Deco continues the dubby trend with his deeply atmospheric 'Boom Bap' and Commit brings the album to a close with an elongated and quiet intro before dropping the lush dub-tech main body of 'Atlantis'.

Review by Woodzee.

Links …

Friday, 19 June 2015

DF Tram 'Illegal Lingo' Review

Artist: DF Tram

Title: Illegal Lingo

Label: Subatomic UK

Released: 10th July

The début album from San Francisco DJ/producer DF Tram is a quirky and fun slice of chill out which draws on a palette of psychedelics, electronic pop, film samples, spoken word, trip-hop, world music, Krautrock and sunset Balearica. Rather than a roller-coaster through the genres it's a more gentle ride more akin to a merry-go-round.

An accumulation of a 20 year music journey based on music he would listen to at home, in the car, on headphones around the town or at a club. At times I found myself drawing comparisons to Lemon Jelly, The Normal-ites and Royksopp.  In places it can leave you feeling it's bordering on cheesy and at others leaving you astounded at the production. 

The second track 'The Hands of Time' for example is a quality chill out number, where the layering of spoken samples is superb nestled amongst the  cuckoo clocks and voice of Coppe Sweetice, 'Sunflower Jam' on the other hand is a summery jazzy number brimming with samples, lovely acoustics and horns, while the spoken word on 'Grand Finale' layered over uber chilled synths is absolutely lush.

This is a nice little package for the summer months and I can see why Steve Miller (Afterlife) has drafted him on board as there is a certain similarity at times with his own music and with Mixmaster Morris having picked up on 'Soul Exchange' it might help this easy listening album reach a fair few ears.

Reviewed by Woodzee.


Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Various Artists 'Vajra Mind: Meditative Soundscapes' Review

Artist: Various

Title: Vajra Mind:

Meditative Soundscapes

Label: Desert Trax

Released: 3rd June

Compiled and mixed by Amani (one half of the Desert Dwellers) this release exhibits the ambient side of the Desert Dwellers, Liquid Bloom, Variant Field, Rara Avis, Bluetech and Shamans Dream. Collated from the Desert Trax catalog from 2001 to 2015 and featuring some exclusive tracks and remixes aimed specifically at relaxation and artistic creativity over a 2 hour duration.

As soon as you press play you will discover that Amani dives deep fusing atmospheric synths, field recordings, flutes and Arabic instruments with some choice selections from the Desert Dwellers mystical arsenal spanning the first half an hour. At this point the artist selection is interuptted with a collaboration by Bluetech and Shaman's Dream. However, unless your concentrating on the tracklist you would never notice as the piece maintains a perfect harmony and doesn't interupt the flow.

The rest of the album flows in a similar vein with subtle changes of atmospherics, tanpuras and sound fx where the occasional loop, didgeridoo or snake charmers flute awakens you from a dream like slumber to set you adrift again. It's very easy to lose track of where you are on this journey, even if you're already familiar with a number of the tracks and there's an ever present danger of falling asleep. Personally, I like this direction it's more of a return to the original Desert Dwellers vibe and there's definitely a time and place for this in my life. Amani without a doubt achieves the calm to help unwind after a stressful day.

Reviewed by Woodzee.


Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Terra Nine vs Squazoid 'Karuna E.P.' Review

Artist: Terra Nine 

vs Squazoid

Title: Karuna E.P.

Label: Altar Records

Released: 13th June

A collaboration that almost spans to the opposite side of the globe. Auckland based Mike Westcott electric voila fused ambient trance joins forces with Parisian global psy-chill producer Jeremy Bringué. The seed of this track was planted after an impromptu jam at a party in Jeremy's studio in 2013 where Mike played a few notes on the voila which grew into a few more and the basis of the piece was born add some bass, cello and more strings and they had found a piece that emotionally moved them to tears. They played the piece to some select artists who were interested in re-mixing the track and this is the long awaited result.

The E.P. begins with the original piece with an orchestral intro of hauntingly beautiful strings, while the electronics slowly and delicately gain volume and harmonic voices are added. Although they have their moments to shine they never overpower the orchestral spine of the piece.

Moving onto the re-mixes not surprisingly the first contender is Pete Ardron who often employs a classical underbelly in his own productions. In places his input is subtle with a little added ethnic percussion and at others he takes it up a notch some housey piano, wonderful key loops and panned reverb. The result is a lovely enhancement on an already heavenly piece.

The E.P. moves on with fellow Parisian Franck Jousselin (Kick Bong) who unexpectedly adds guitar to the strings and in places his own synth flavours that rest above the underlying sounds of the original but never entirely block it out. An interesting alternative that I wouldn't dismiss.

Unknown Reality (who previously were unknown to me) add a progressive trance vibe to the piece but maintain a strong orchestral emotion with their version. Once again I'm impressed with the result you can really fly into a dream with this one.

Next to imprint their take on the track is Terra Nine's label mate Astropilot who shifts the emphasis to the dancefloor with a rolling underbelly of a bassline, while still maintaining the heavenly voices and strings as you would come to expect with his own productions.

Another new face (or new sound even) for me is Cloower Wooma who utilise all the elements of the original strings and harmonic voices fooling me to believe this would be an atmospheric ambient take, where infact it they employ an elongated intro before stamping down the bassline.

Finally seeing out the E.P. is Suduaya who adds some dreamy piano and reverb to the voices with this blissful adaptation the term sofa sinking couldn't be more apt in this case. An absolutely superb slice of chill out.

Some may argue that 7 versions of one track is a bit too much. But in cases like this when you have such a lovely piece of music and a pallette of sounds from artists who know how to draw on the emotion and at times enhance aspects of it. I for one am glad there is.

Review by Woodzee