Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Andrew Heath 'The Silent Cartographer' Review

Artist: Andrew Heath

Title: The Silent Cartographer

Label: Disco Gecko

Released: 300 cd's available to pre-order on bandcamp release around the 18th of August. Available on general download in October.

The 2nd non-Banco release from Disco Gecko showcases Andrew's journey into beatless ambient terrains comprising synth, piano and field recordings. I find I have to be in the mood for these type of compositions, usually quiet reflective times in my own company. Now although this isn't Andrew's first album. I've not come across his work before. Having a look at his web-site 'Aqueous Arts' I found it minimal and to the point and I liked the cut of his jib with this passage 'I remember as a small boy, watching a film about an artist who had made a sculptural piece of work that involved hanging large pieces of metal and wood inside an old barn. When one piece was moved it made contact with another until ever so gradually, the whole building was filled with random motion and sounds. I was fascinated by the serendipitous nature of this creation'. So I find myself trusting in Toby's judgement and hoping that I'm transported into a content and relaxed state, somewhat akin to floating in water on a hot, sunny day.

I began with 'In Search of Eden' and although the sound of the materials differs from the instruments. I could easily draw a comparision to the statement of the passage above. Andrew utilises sparse piano and synth layered over birdsong maintaining a minimal beauty and managed to keep my interest without the need of multiple complex loops diverting from the main theme of the piece.

The next track 'Kleine Blume Irgendwo (a homage to Joachim)' an epic 18 minute piece, which refers to Hans Joachim Roedelius (an experimental synth player at the forefront of the 70's Krautrock scene). In some ways it's similar to the first track but with a far more elongated synth passage and stereotypical field recordings such as waves lapping on the beach, door creaks etc that's not to say it's a bad piece, in fact it's great and I enjoyed it all the more for those inclusions.

The album continues with tracks of variable lengths and although keeping to the same format they all have little traits and personalities of their own I particularly liked the overall sounds of 'Shoreline (found object)' for example and the eeire and less stereotypical field recordings of the title track against the melodic piano and krautrock like synths.

I would recommend this to fans of Krautrock artists such as Klaus Schulze and the ambient compositions of Keith Keniff (Helios/Goldmund) or simply those looking to relax.

Review by Woodzee


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Desert Dwellers 'The Gathering Remixes' Review

Artist: Desert Dwellers

Title: The Gathering Remixes

Label: Desert Trax

Released: 14th July 2014

Once again the Desert Dwellers have selected some smoking hot producers to do their magic on some classic DD tracks, the original tracks were compositions co-produced with Shamen's Dream as part of a series of yoga DVD's. Now although, this e.p. has fewer tracks than some of the releases earlier in the year, quality rather than quantity is probably what your after anyway.

Up first is Living Light weaving her magic on 'Kumbh Mela'. Now, I've been listening to L.L. a fair bit recently and I'm definitely partial to her distinctive sound of reggae keys, bamboo flutes and summery uplifting chill with a dubby psychedelic underbelly. This re-mix is no exception to the rule and what a way to start the e.p.

Next up is Quade's re-mix of 'Ras Mandala', now I only remember Quade for the excellent low bass frequency re-mix of 'Tala Odyssey' which I personally hammered alongside Drumspyder's more tribal edged re-work. Maybe it's a grower but this didn't grab me instantly. It's a slow plodding number which blends eastern horns, darbukas and vocals with the industry standard wub, wub, computer game like sequences and sweeping synths that seem to build to no drop.

Finishing off the e.p. is Soulacybin with an alternative take of 'Kumbh Mela'. Now although the original is easily recognisable he's really gone to town on the fx producing a psy-dub version with more loops than a cotton mill. I'd hazard a guess that they are probably more prominent with headphones for a full panning experience.

Review by Woodzee

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Mislead Convoy 'Tickling The Dragon's Tail' Review

Artist: Mislead Convoy

Title: Tickling The Dragon's Tail

Label: Dubmission Records

Released: 14th July 2014

It's been a fair while since Pitch Black burst on to the worldwide scene, While other acts such as Fat Freddies Drop and Salmonella Dub who put New Zealand on the map when it comes to reggae, they were more digital. Paddy Free's solo project focused on indidgious Māori music, while Mike Hodgson under the Mislead Convoy moniker has retained elements of the Pitch Black vibe delving even deeper into the relationship between dub and electronica.

The album opens up with an elongated ambient intro on 'It's In Here' which contains a sample of the album's name. When the beat did kick in I found myself transported into a world of slo-mo spacey dub whose atmosphere I was happy to float in for some time. Next up is 'Critical Mass' a twelve minute piece of two parts the first a bass heavy dub that takes you to the very edge of sonic compression while the latter has a more chilled atmosphere with more piano keys.

This flavour continues throughout the album and although in many ways the tracks bear similarities, they also have their own characteristics for example 'Ring Wraith' contains a lovely incomprehensible sample while 'No Ganja Required' a collaboration with Vlastur Dub combines hauntingly spacey synths with some fantastic digital drum patterns.

Well if all this isn't enough the vibe continues with a 55 minute bonus track 'Long Into The Embers'. My advice to fans of Pitch Black … join the convoy and get ready to be mislead through the realms of space-themed synths and digi-dub I doubt you will regret it.

Review by Woodzee