Friday, 28 November 2014

Deya Dova 'Symbiotic Re-mixes' Review

Artist: Deya Dova

Title: Symbiotic Re-mixes

Label: Desert Trax

Released: 24th November

"Hailing from the expansive Nullarbor desert in Australia and currently based in the Byron Bay area, it is like Singer Producer DEYA DOVA fell out of the stars on an ancient piece of space rock. One of the few female electronic producers and a ground breaking vocalist recording live at sacred sites, Deya Dova fuses the earthy human-ness and sensual power of her voice with the cutting edge futurism of Global Bass music Synthesizing ancient Songlines / Tribal voices and evocative Story telling with Cinematic soundscapes, Whomping bass, textural Glitch and Totemic beats, Deya Dova invokes a mythic temple vibe and brings euphoric tribalism to the dance floor."

I first came across the name on the Desert Dwellers 'Night Visions' compilation and having no concept of sex or nationality decided to dig a little deeper. Eventually, 'Symbiotic' was released and the track that caught my attention was 'Footsteps in the Stars'. Now make what you will of the media press release above. I for one couldn't deny the powerful and at times alluring vocal that sprang out of the native American indian like chants.

This release begins with Temple Step Project & Dakini's re-mix of said track. They certainly produce a grittier version with a deep and dirty bass that would shake any sound system speakers. I like this version but feel it suits that environment more as it slightly distracts from the vocal compared to the original for a laid back chill.

Next up is fellow Australian 'Whitebear' with his take on 'Skyroarer' where the vocals although still tribal take a more melodic and mantra like twist. Once the beat kicks in it skips along like a kangaroo encouraged by a musical accompaniment of Aborigines. Which provides a lovely soundscape when the vocals return.

Now I wasn't as taken with the original of 'Symbiotic' as I was with 'Footsteps in the Stars' and was slightly bemused it was the title track of the single. However, San Fran based Scott Sterling a.k.a. Drumspyder has injected some new life into it with his brand of Darbuka fuelled electronica and it blends together so perfectly I have a new found love for this track.

Now I haven't really paid much attention to the Trap scene so I'm not really in a postion to compare the Dancing Tiger Tribal Trap re-mix of 'Bone Dance' to other tracks of that genre. What I can say is the drum pounds and the voice is vocodered and there's a lot of changes between stabby bass notes, panning synths and toying with the vocals it's not really to my taste but that's probably me showing my age.

The e.p. finishes with another producer from down under Kalya Scintalla on the re-mix duties. This piece begins in a light and airy fashion but once he gets his grip on things the intricate drum rhythms behind inject a tribal dance passage or two to help out the toe tappers and rump shakers amongst us.

Reviewed by Woodzee

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Interchill's 'Waypoint' Compilation Review

Artist: Various

Title: Waypoint

Label: Interchill

Released: 19th November

On previous compilations whichever stance Interchill's head honcho Andrew Ross Collins took on a compilation, whether it's reggae and dub, chilled electronica or global bass you could be rest assured that Andrew's selection of hand picked artists which may or may not be familiar to you, would be a blend of the tried and tested with some new discoveries and the result would usually come up trumps.

There's a slightly different approach to this compilation all the artists have previously appeared on Interchill's releases (an Interchill's underground All-Stars if you like) and focuses on creating a sonic journey of contrast within the spectrum of chill out music rather than the similarities.

The journey begins with the Hibernation re-mix of 'Indifference' by New Zealand's psychedelic dance producer Grouch. Which entices you in with an atmosphere of lush synthetic eastern infused electronica transcending into the realms of psychedelic bass music and back. This is followed by Drift's 'Invisible Spirit' which is a contrast within it's self drifting (excuse the pun) between laid back, sun soaked acoustics of a Mediterranean vibe and darker electronic bass notes.

Although from his name Guru Shishya may appear like he's going to offer a Turkish number with 'Rich In Loss' appearances truly are deceiving as the piece is more orchestral chill with a gentle choir and a crescendo of drums and synths towards the end. Next up is Gaudi who manipulation of vintage hardware and modern techniques have firmly placed him as a latter day master of dub. There's no guest mc or theramin scratches in this piece it's a blend of traditional reggae dub with some ambient breakdown's and a touch of Indian percussion in the form of tablas.

The journey turns another corner with Seb Taylor re-mixing one of his previous releases under his Kaya Project moniker 'Dust Devil' under his glitchy ambient moniker Hibernation and spinning rather than turning expectations on their face with a stroke of genius and more than a touch of jazz. Variant Field a collaboration of Amani Friend of Desert Dwellers fame and Alex DeYoung offer a crisp and crunchy piece of chill with a spring in it's step and some nice melodic breakdowns as the title 'Dulcet Dalliance' suggests.

When I first heard the throwback dub of Another Fine Day's 'Walk Tall' as a teaser for this compilation I commented it was so laid back it was almost horizontal and this piece of jazzy piano lounge truly epitomises lazy Sundays. While Austero layer a blanket of Mediterranean beach chill over a surface of IDM beats and Latin vocal samples with 'Fuerza Brutal'.

The album then flows through a trio of contrasting Swedish artists initiated by ambient composer Fredrik Ohr who projects the compilation into the upper atmosphere with his piece 'In Orbit' combining melodic synths, crunchy bass and elongated panned passages. While my favourite dub-step artist Liquid Stranger (although now based in the United States a Swede by birth) continues in the slow deep and bass heavy vein of previous Interchill releases with 'Flipside'. This trio concludes with Sinepearl whose sound is inspired by nature and the forest parties of Sweden and takes a deep melodic trip with 'Cosmic Centre' resulting in a tribal like Tangerine Dream sound.

The journey winds down with a couple of UK based artists Spiral Systems 'Mondays' is a laid back melodic number injected with a sprinkling of Brazilian flavours and acoustic guitar. While Alucidnation gently drops you at your destination with a dreamy melodic piece of chill leaving you content with the memories of your excursion through 'Waypoint' and grateful for Andrew's wonderful selections.

Reviewed by Woodzee

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Secret Circuit Interview

1) Firstly thank you for taking the time out from your busy schedule to complete this interview. Could you tell us a little about yourself and how you started your musical career?

Hi there you all! I've been making music for a long time. I started out by being in noise bands and making home recordings in high school and art school. It was all about fun really but I was obsessed. Eventually, I joined a shoegaze band called Medicine and we got signed to Creation records, we toured around the US and Europe so that was my first exposure to making music seriously.

2) Could you run us through your studio set up and do you have any particular pieces of hardware or plug in's that you use again and again?

I would say that I have a fairly decent collection of analog synths and classic drum machines. As for the equipment I use the most, that would probably be the ARP 2600, the Pro One, the Juno 60, the Jupiter 6, the Korg MS20, the 808, 909, and 303. These would be mostly for the studio. I don't really feel comfortable dragging those things around anymore for live shows so I use samplers and newer synths and drum machines for that scenario.

3) You have a new album 'Cosmic Vibrations' released on Emotional Response due out on the 17th of November. What can listeners expect from the new material?

This collection was put together by Emotional Response as a companion to 'Tropical Psychedelics'. Where the concept once again was compiling from older recordings. I'm making music all of the time so there is so much music back there to go through. Even going back one year is daunting. I feel this new one works really well. It's a good listen and I might say its a tad darker in tone. At the same time it feels easy like you can listen to it multiple times and it won't drive you crazy. There's melody to grab but also mood and there's also some deep sections for diving.

4) You released a number of albums under your own steam before your debut release 'Tropical Psychedelics' on Emotional Response in 2012. Was this a compilation of your previous work?

Yes. We had talked about doing that record for a long time before it actually happened. It came together perfectly and Emotional Response has kept delivering other great music so it's a really nice label to be involved with.

5) This was followed a year later by 'Tactile Galactics' on the Beats In Space label. Does this material differ in any way, shape or form to the Emotional Response releases?

'Tactile Galactics' comes all from a same headspace mode. All the tracks were done in a fairly small block of time and I was really into this concept of the tracks being blended in different ways in a DJ setting so they are almost all the same tempo. I was working in a house music template but my own version of that. I was trying to infuse human touch in there yet still be a drum machine lined excursion. As if a psych prog band were jamming over some house rhythms. Actually that's kind of what it sounds like to me...

6) There's a growing number of vinyl enthusiasts straying away from the digital media. Between 2009 and 2012 you released a trio of mix compilations Cosmic Capers, Cosmic Vapours and Cosmic Papers on another retro format … cassette. What was the thought process behind that?

That's true, but at the same time I was a very early adapter of bandcamp. I remember when there were only like 100 bands on there so I was definitely on that early on. I found it perfect to put up all these experiments and older unreleased things and I love the immediacy of it. I might put a new record up there tonight! I think it did a lot for me at a certain time because people anywhere could access my music. It was great to do.

That said, I would also say that vinyl is my favorite medium. It looks, feels, and sounds the best of all. As far as the tapes, a few years back, my friend Cali Dewitt asked me to put out a tape on his label Teenage Teardrops. He told me that all the kids were listening to tapes again and I said let's do it. Turned out to be ahead of the curve there too. I was really modeling those off the Baldelli Cosmic tapes from Italy. Those things were doing my head in at the time and it was a perfect medium for that exploration, a non stop DJ mix through the cosmic filter.

7) You've done a fair few re-mixes in recent years. Do you have any particular favourites and are there anymore in the pipeline?

I'm not sure if it's my favorite but the Peter Tosh 'Legalize it' remix was a crazy one to do. I felt like I had to really add my own flavor to it without totally destroying the original. It's almost blasphemy to remix that track but I wasn't going to say no! I felt that I also had to get the studio really cloudy for that one. I was thinking to myself, "what if Lee Perry had an 808? What would that sound like?" and that was my way of diving in... The Museum Of Love remix I'm also very proud of, but in reality I really dig them all. I get really into remixing because of the collage element involved.

8) Do you take the Secret Ciruit show on the road? If so where can people catch a show?

I mostly play in LA but I do get out there. I just played some shows in Europe with Panda Bear and that felt really good to do. When I play live I really like to blend everything together in a kind of collage kind of like the cosmic cassettes. I look at it as if I'm remixing my stuff live on stage and blending them to make this sort of soup based music. Like adding a bit of parsley from one track and Onion from another. The rhythm would be the meat and potatoes. Sometimes I like to just stretch the drums out or take some kind of drum solo and I can equate that to dropping a bag of potatoes down a long flight of stairs. Add some synths and vocals and voila!!!


Sunday, 9 November 2014

Subaqueous 'Tides of Twilight' Review

Artist: Subaqueous

Title: Tides of Twilight

Label: Merkaba Music

Released: 11th November

This is the fourth album release from Seattle producer Issac Cotec a.k.a. Subaqueous, along with various e.p.'s and re-mixes and live performances with the likes of Bluetech and more recently Living Light.

This release is part of a wider multi-media experience through Epoch Legends working in tandem with associated images by Ryan Johnson and Dave Peixoto and a story penned by Elise Barrett.

The album opens up with 'Insistent Shades' featuring Kalpatura Tree it switches between psy-dub and world music creating a wonderful dream-like ambience. 'Depth of Field' leans more towards IDM but retains the soothing ambience and eastern instruments that provide the illusion of a band.

The title track which features George Sadak and Guda delves into the world of the Indian Raga's with tablas and bamboo flutes layered over an ethereal background. It sounds pleasant enough, although initially I was puzzled as to why this was selected as the title track. Well at least until the sax kicked in and transformed the piece into a laid back jazz fusion.

The album continues in a similar fashion and although it retains the eastern elements of previous releases there's a more gentle approach with touches of a wider musical influence entering the fold. 'Glimmers' featuring Michael Maricle for example has no catchy hook and the dirty low frequency bass is an infrequent background to the light airy chimes and classical piano. In contrast 'Stillness Dawns' featuring Desi has an almost shoegaze quality to it, a feeling enhanced admittedly by the vocal.

The album also contains a couple of bonus tracks. The first 'Ethereal Being' featuring Kelly Castel Scott and Soham which vocally reminds me somewhat of an old Smith & Mighty track but doesn't quite hit the spot. While Moon Frog re-works 'Glimmers', it's a soothing alternative with a classical feel, which provides suitable armchair music for a Sunday afternoon.

Reviewed by Woodzee

Links …

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Gus Till 'Ghosts of the Earth E.P.' Review

Artist: Gus Till

Title: Ghosts of the Earth E.P.

Label: Interchill

Released: 27th of October

The first single from Gus's recent album release features re-mixes by System 7 and their chill-out alter-ego Mirror System (no great surprise there considering Steve's guitar work on the album), Zen Lemonade (again no surprise as Zen Lemonade consist of Gus and his wife 'Supercozi') although Seb Taylor could of re-mixed any of the tracks under a variety of his projects it under his down-tempo Hiberanation monkier on this release.

First up is the System 7 re-mix of 'Angelfright' a bouncy techno number which has the System 7 stamp all over it with subtle synths and guitar that won't disappoint fans. Steve and Miquette then take a fresh approach on the same track as Mirror System diving in with lush elongated sequences before it drops an orchestral stab used by Planet Patrol on 'Planet Rock' and gets into some damn squelchy gating, add to this the utilisation of the tribalish vocals hook this really works for me … Love it!

Zen Lemonade take a fresh look at 'Recovery' the track begins somewhat like Kraftwerk's 'Kling-Klang' bubblin' away in a dub laboratory with the lush synths and eastern vocals nestled snuggly inbetween to create an atmosphere where the gritty and dirty works in tandam with harmonious beauty. The last track of the E.P. is Hiberation's take on the first track of the album 'We Advance Masked', where the guitar chords slowly entice you into a glitchy down-tempo affair with quite frankly a lot going on. Not to mention some wonderfully intricate drum patterns.

All in all this is a suitable accompaniment to the album which I imagine would appeal to fans of the re-mixers as much as the fans of Gus. Even if every track isn't to your taste you have to admire the skill and production behind this release.

For an interesting insight into the ideas and musicians behind the album here's a video with the man himself

Reviewed by Woodzee