Archive for January, 2010

Four Tet – There is Love in You (Domino)

January 23, 2010


Leftfield electronic producer Kieran Hebden returns this year with his true follow-up to breakout record “Rounds” with “There is Love in You”, the first great album of 2010.

The abstract organic melodies meshed with beats, noise, and weird samples that made “Rounds” so compelling have returned in full flourish. I kinda lost interest with Hebden after “Rounds”, but he returned bright and glowing on my radar last year with his fabulous collabaration with Burial (their track “Moth” being my favourite single of 2009), and so I felt it was time to give him another try. I’m glad I did because as soon as “There is Love in You” begins with the beautiful stuttering female vocals on “Angel Echoes” I was immediately pulled in. What a great opener, and it just gets better from there. The driving two-step beat of the nine-minute “Love Cry”, will have you up and shaking booty in your living room, as the track builds to a fractured 4/4 tempo and female vocals purr the song’s title over and over. It’s hypnotic and beautifully produced and will no doubt be subject to many a remix. A definite hitter of a track.

The album fluctuates from beat-oriented tracks like “Sing” and the awesome “Plastic People” to more esoteric compositions like “This Unfolds” and “Circling”, which build on loops of sound and guitar, and could end up sounding jarring in the hands of one less skilled in his craft. Closing track “She Just Likes To Fight” is the album’s most accessible, an almost poppy, guitar-based song reminiscent of The Sea and Cake that ends the album quite nicely.

Kieran Hebden has released one hell of a satisfying recording, and he’s set an excellent standard for electronic music in 2010.

Bring it. Love it.

Check out a live version of “Angel Echoes” from a session done with the BBC’s Radio One…

Rachel Grimes – Book of Leaves

January 11, 2010

Neo-classical pianist Rachel Grimes of Louisville, Kentucky ensemble Rachel’s has finally released her first album of solo piano pieces, “Body of Leaves”, courtesy of Karate Body Records. It’s a refined collection of expressive and wistful vignettes reminiscent of her work with Jason Noble and Christian Frederickson in their Rachel’s outfit, yet Grimes’ own compositions are more somber and intimate – as if we’ve been invited to her Louisville farmhouse for a private performance in the living room, with occasional sounds of the outside world blowing through the window to join in her sparse arrangements.

I had always been partial to classical music while growing up, but it wasn’t until I first heard Rachel’s “Music for Egon Schiele” in 1996 that I realized it could also be so cool. “Egon Schiele” and “The Sea and the Bells” were watershed albums in the world of indie and post-rock, taking the beauty of classical composition and smashing it together with the lo-fi aesthetic of indie to create some of the most innovative rock/chamber music of the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Now ten years later, modern classical and ambient albums based around piano are released almost daily, but the avant-garde Rachel’s band were the definitive forerunners . . . and so a proper solo album from Grimes was a long time coming, and even though it has none of the sweeping grandeur of Rachel’s multi-instrumentation, Grimes’ subtle yet plaintive piano work will not dissapoint.

As I write this, it is lightly snowing outside the window, and the absorbing track “Bloodroot” is playing on my stereo. “Book of Leaves” was released in the fall of last year and totally has an autumnal feel to it, but it’s also proving to be the perfect soundtrack to a calm and snowy night in January. Check it.


OMAR-S (FXHE Records)

January 4, 2010

Born and raised in the Motor City, Alex Omar Smith has been releasing some of the finest techno to come out of Detroit since the demise of Drexciya in 2002.

Following in the footsteps of Detroit producers like Carl Craig, Jeff Mills, Derrick May, and Theo Parrish, Omar-S started his own label and has put out all his music, save for 2009’s Fabric Mix, on his FXHE imprint. It’s a DIY label dedicated to staying underground and keeping record prices cheap. Omar’s sound is dirty, minimal, and melodic all at once, and he mixes techno, dub, disco, and house together to fantastic effect.

Here is a snippet of his newest and just released “Here with Me” EP that I cannot get enough of. That is my kind of techno and Omar-S is one of my favourite electronic producers. If you haven’t heard him, check him out, and read an amazing and candid interview from Resident Advisor right here. Peace.

Even better: sample the whole track and read Little White Earbuds glowing review right HERE. Awesome.