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


Links





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


Links






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.


Links






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.


Monday, 15 April 2019

Nango Manchay 'Under Our Sun' Review






Artist: Nango Manchay



Title: Under Our Sun



Label: Desert Trax




Released: 5th April











Using original recordings from the mountains of Nepal, the deserts of India and the jungles of Australia and Central America, Nango Manchey has learned and incorporated instruments from all corners of the earth to create an album that spans borders and traditional genres.


Under Our Sun is a tribute to the unification of humanity and the common goals of peace and understanding that is an underlying part of what makes us all human” he notes “We are all under the same sun, we share this planet together and this album represents many cultures uniting to create music of beauty that reflects the awe and grandeur of nature, our shared home and the depths of our own consciousness.”


The album starts with ‘Varnassi Flame’ an eastern flavoured slow-burner with deep harmonies both vocal and synthetic laid between the organic strings. This is followed by ‘Nepali Dawn’ which begins with a violin and flutes strengthening the eastern vibe, before being joined vocally I’m assuming by the women of Chote Chour village in Nepal mentioned in the footnotes. Additionally, there are passages within the piece that bring the electronics come to the forefront before subsiding back to the organic once more.


The album continues in both a listenable and pleasing fashion, however, even the title track doesn’t reach the same heights as ‘Nepali Dawn’. That is until the last track ‘Diambura’ a sitar flavoured piece with suitably accompanying vocals and rhythmic percussion, which I found to be just as appealing in it’s own way.



Review by Woodzee


Links





Thursday, 11 April 2019

Exclusive interview with Liquid Sound Design





Liquid Sound Design is hosting a special event the 19th April on Good Friday at London hot spot Mau-Mau Bar on Portobello Road. The event comprises conscious talks, art, a pop-up shop selling classic L.S.D. & Dragonfly Records vinyl, cd’s, and label paraphernalia.

You can also hear Dj sets from Youth, Gaudi, Dr. Alex Paterson/The Orb, Mixmaster Morris, Robin Triskele & Liquidyne.

I took a little time leading up to the event to prise L.S.D. label manager Robin Triskele away from her busy schedule to talk about the event, recent releases and what the future holds in store for fans of the label.






1) What does it mean personally to you managing an iconic underground label as Liquid Sound Design?

I have been listening to L.S.D. releases since the labels inception in the 90s and for sure some of my very favourite early psychedelic dub albums would be from Liquid Sound Design. Being in the scene in various manners since the 90s, I have always had a deep respect for Youth as he is renowned for launching the first Goatrance label with Dragonfly Records and of course soon to follow was the first ‘psydub’ label with L.S.D. These early releases defined these genres throughout the world by putting them to vinyl & CD.

When I was asked by Youth to manage the relaunch of the label in early 2015 I was quite honoured. Through running a music and event management consulting agency with Triskele Management, I have had the chance to work most of the scenes artists and labels over the last 15 years but to be given the opportunity to help bring such a seminal label back to life has been a wonderful opportunity.

Having already been friends with or connected to the labels artists and much of the other leading downtempo electronica artists, has helped considerably in making the label grow and bring new sounds and styles into the fold. Everyone fully got behind the label with such amazing releases and remixes and this has led the label to be quite prolific. I am blessed to have such legends weaving our labels history again, including Youth, Mixmaster Morris, Gaudi, Saafi Brothers, The Orb, Kuba, DF Tram, Suns Of Arqa for example. Most of us have been involved in the music industry for decades, we all share a strong family vibe and the artists have a very dedicated approach to the music we are releasing. The best part is it feels like we are just getting started!

2) I tend to think of Liquid Sound Design as a psychedelic dub/dub reggae off-shoot to Dragonfly Records. More recently it’s much more diverse for example Abraham Carmona’s ‘Ibiza’ focused on a far more laid back Mediterranean sound. What did you feel this release brought to the label?

The one thing that we are consistently doing within the label is trying to find new talented artists and music that is fresh and cutting edge. Music that is different to the norm with an open mind and slightly left field approach to the genre profile we were defined by in the earlier days of L.S.D. While psydub/psychill is still very much prevalent in our label, we have been exploring a wider variety of new styles. Over recent years we have seen the chill out scene become much more diverse and artists are exploring and experimenting more with sound. We see chill stages at music festivals and events are now offering more eclectic line ups and the music scene seems to be widening its scope of what is considered chill out. We want to be sure to embrace this change in L.S.D. as well now and you will continue to see us dipping our toes into different genres and scenes more and more with releases to come.

Abraham Carmona recorded his traditional flamenco album ‘Homage to Catalonia’ (Suriya Recordings) with Youth at his legendary Space Mountain Studios in Spain. After finishing the traditional album, they decided to explore a new sound, combining beats, samples, electronics, and merging them with Abraham’s unique style of infusing jazz techniques with a flamenco aesthetic. The result was ‘Ibiza’.

This album goes to show how the labels idea of downtempo electronica is not wrapped up in just one sound. It also shows how well different styles and genres can morph together to create something new and exciting and shows our fans we are always there with something unpredictable. At L.S.D. all artists & DJs involved with our label are truly passionate about all types of downtempo electronica and sharing good music! We are pleased to have the platform to share what we consider to be ground breaking music and to be able to introduce these new sounds through our releases.

3) Another example is DF Tram whose previous album release was on Afterlife’s Subatomic UK label which again focuses on the sunset Balearic sound. What inspired you to bring him over to the dub side so to speak?

Personally, even before I came to re-launch L.S.D. in 2015, DF Tram had been on my peripheral radar. Being from the US originally, I visited San Francisco several times and was familiar with the underground chill scene from the early 2000s. Dylan has been involved in the North American underground scene for over two decades and is known for his eclectic and thought provoking multi-media collages combining music and video. He has also visited the UK several times playing Big Chill Festival.

DF Tram came to know Mixmaster Morris almost 20 years ago from bringing him to play a weekly club night in San Francisco he was organizing and has also has worked with him on some early The Irresistible Force productions, but his original connections to the LSD family came through Alex Paterson/The Orb. Alex sampled one of his tracks many years back and this led to him playing shows with both The Orb and Thomas Fehlmann, they have remained friends since, so much that he has been opening for The Orb on their 30 yr anniversary tour stateside. Dylan passed ‘Serenitay Infinitay’ on to Alex Paterson, who passed it on to Youth and the rest is history!


L.S.D. Label night : YOUTH & GAUDI ‘ Astronaut Alchemists’ launch party video



Video by Gem Rey / rockumentary.london


4) The tail end of last year you put together an album launch at Bloc in London for Youth and Gaudi’s ‘Astronaut Alchemists’. Whilst this Easter weekend in conjunction with Dragonfly Records, you’re promoting an afternoon of talks followed by an evening of Liquid Sound Design D.J. sets at London’s Mau Mau Bar. Could you tell the readers a little more about these events?

Being in event production and management for over 20 yrs, I’m involved at any given time with several ongoing festivals and events globally, but I have really been wanting to do something new and interesting locally within UK. For the last couple of years I’ve been flirting with the idea to do L.S.D. label events but have been waiting for the perfect opportunity. It seems the stars aligned when the Youth & Gaudi album dropped and thus came the first in a series of bespoke nights that would be tailored to appeal to the new generation, whilst still enticing to the music aficionados from days of L.S.D. past. I was clear on the vibe I wanted to create and the visual image I wanted to present, something that would leave an impression with people and an image that would remain consistent throughout the future events.

When Youth launched the label in 1998, his intention was ‘to create an outlet for more experimental and down-tempo music as well as satisfying the demand for the post club chill out sounds.’ So I wanted to create this vibe along with top notch visuals and deco that bring a reminiscence of the 60’s psychedelic consciousness and art. I wanted to somehow keep in mind and honour Youths vision and his ideals from early days of the label.



I invite you to read the press notes from our release Society Of Inner Light compiled by Youth
:

‘Youth started the Society For Ancient Enchantment in 1999, with the intention of combining ritual, music performance, spoken word and DJ's to be able to dive deeper into the mystery and meditation of the music. This created some legendary early L.S.D. events and recordings and is directly connected to this Society of Inner Light album and future events. The inspiration behind this compilation goes back to the 1930's and "Dion Fortunes Order Of Inner Light ". Some of her rituals in Bloomsbury were said to have ushered in the 1960's flower power era ... Our intention here is to facilitate that same intention and free the spirit of those times for our present and future tribal, dance floor, chill out gatherings and facilitate and create an esoteric counter culture that communicates to mind, body and spirit.’

With the Mau Mau takeover we are opening the scope and bringing it to the community by hosting a day out for people to come along to have a chat, hear enlightening talks with Gregory Sams, Lee Harris & Youth, share some wicked music and be immersed in art in a more laid back vibe. It’s a great opportunity for us to see our music family in a more social setting and be able to share new ideas and dream new concepts into creation, invite people to embrace and co-create the esoteric counter culture Youth speaks of. We will also be hosting our first Dragonfly & L.S.D. pop-up shop to bring the label to people personally and connect. We’re really looking forward to a chilled Good Friday with good folks and good music at this legendary Portobello Road spot.




5) What else is in the pipeline for Liquid Sound Design this year?

We have started the year off with a bit of a much needed break after dropping 8 releases in 2018!
So far this year we’ve mostly been busy arranging some really exciting artist collaborations whilst stepping into and tickling many different genres. We are curating remix albums for Youth & Gaudi – Astronaut Alchemists, The Irresistible Force – Kira Kira, the Saafi Brothers seminal debut album Mystic Cigarettes (originally released on Blue Room in 1996). We are really excited to be bringing Bluetech into the LSD family fold with ‘Liquid Geometries in Dub’, with a collection of rather eclectic artist remixes from his recent ambient and fully modular release on DiN Records. We also have a new album soon to be delivered by psydub maestro KUBA, the next release in the Future Horizons series and EPs from both Pan Electric and DF Tram.

On the flipside…. We are super excited to be on the precipice of a re-launch of the legendary Dragonfly Records! The label has been resting far too long and we think it's time to bring it back to life. We have been collecting demos and seeking new talent to join us alongside some of the original Dragonfly family for the next instalment of the well-loved ‘Order Odonata’ series, coming this autumn! The label will also see a new psy trance album from label head YOUTH, the first in almost 15 years.

So as you can see, we are full steam ahead!