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Net Decks 20

img  Tobias
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reviews

Despite all of its flaws, I really like the way MySpace is increasing the spontaneity between musicians and listeners. „I love your morning! it's my morningwoo...mood!!!“ DJ Lana writes on Gorje Hewek's site, complimenting the Moscovite on his track „At that Cafe“. If this short tune is already capable of arousing the musically sensitive, then it would be interesting to find out about her sentiments with regards to Hewek's complete recent release, the „Sur-Dramatic Nature“ EP on Fragment Music, from which said „At that Cafe“ was taken. Right from the very few bars, it is apparent that this is no regular chill-out dream nor a collection of crackling ambient wallpaper. In fact, this is clear even before any note has been played, as Gorje has asked Galina Primakova to introduce his sounds with a poem, entitled „Beam“, which shows the interest of the producer in lyricism and contential depth behind his pieces. „Sur-Dramatic Nature“ relies on flimsy layers of dust, minuscule impurities and quiet snappings and clickings, but it is by no means an abstract work. Hewek uses these cut-up particles to delicately add a wickedness and jazz-noir feel to his style, which he further emphasises by grounding them with the warm slaps of an upright bass and whispered voices, which hint at secret conversations at a midnight bar. The aforementioned two-minute miniature ouverture and the closing track „That in it“ are the most obvious examples, while the magnetic ghost vision „Sudden Care“ is more trancey, tantilizing and intangible. Digital bell chimes twinkle and flicker like ones and zeros on a Scifi Spacecraft Monitor, the beats roll gently and a sad string melody descends into an abyss of desolation. An acoustic bourbon which ripens witch each listen.
www.fragmentmusic.net

Sven Laux has been a regular guest on these pages and he is bound to remain so for quite some time. Not so much because of his unfettered productivity (McDonalds keeps churning out the greasy stuff as well, after all), but mainly because few other contemporary producers have understood the principle of the EP as well as him. Laux approaches his releases from a sound-conceptual and  structural perspective, filling in the music as he goes along. This ensures that all tracks are interrelated, mutually complementing each other and continually defining and deepening a particular mood. „Languish“ is the most recent addition to his discography and already his sixth publication this year (!). Again, Sven finds the hidden gap between abstraction and physicality, between soundscapes and chilled-out club-tracks. Sluggishly, even spartanically, the beats roll forward, developping on a microperceptional basis. Of course, there are plenty of snippeted cuts and clicks to be found, but the real movement happens within the extremely rationed, but ever-so-effective dub stabs and reverbed echoes. „Anguish“ and „Languish“ tend more towards the experimental and textural, while „Languid Air“ and „Spanglish“ are danceable in a bonedry, funky kind of way. Out of the blue and seemingly aimless, this gluey and sticky mystery quickly turns irresistible. If Sven Laux keeps going like this, he will be a regular guests at your record store as well soon.
www.spontan-musik.de

Talking about record stores, that's where Björn Stolpmann has arrived after years of raving, partying, learning, DJing and producing. His hometown of Stuttgart (where I coincidentally spent the past few days, catching a cold in  the process) has always enjoyed a sparkling and inspiring scene, which may have suffered just slightly from the bigger shadows of Frankfurt, Cologne and Berlin, while just a step too late to be counted as a pioneering city like Münster. Stolpmann is set to change that, though. He has released a string of extremely stylish-looking12'' on labels like Onitor (man, I'd like one of those!) and Kailash and only recently signed with one of the groundbreaking companies of the entire genre, hardhouse. For him, in fact, „Falling Awake“ is his first excursion into netlabel territory (if I'm not mistaken) and it is a great one. There are plenty of wonderful details to be found in this music: The proficiency in playing forwards and backwards sounds against each other, of creating stellar grooves with the most minimal of means and the subtle, almost casual hints at melodies shimmering in the background. But what impressed me most was Stolpmann's coolness and souvereignity in awarding his tracks just the necessary ingredients and relying on them with absolute certainty and trust. It's been some time since an album which really sounded like a true techno album got me snapping my fingers and nodding my head like this one without ever giving up its inner centre. Rather than building from silence to a storm, these compositions draw their juice from the continous variations of its elements and from riding the wave of rhythm in all its inexplicable magic. Three tracks of slowly simmering majesty and an addendum of a spheric organ-jam in flowerpower colours.
www.tropic-netlabel.de

Last week, we prominently featured Off the Sky's „Form Creek“ as great example of how sweetness and haunting, collage-like experimental work could make for a touching, transitionless trip through time. The companion to that release is Steve Roden's „Amnesia (Live in Berlin)“, again on Term (the online sister to 12K). On the face of things, there are not all too many similarities between these two digital EPs, not are there obvious points of intersection in the oeuvre of Jason Corder (Off the Sky) and Steve Roden. And still, I can see why Taylor Deupree decided to make the two publications available simultaneously. Just like „Form Creek“, „Amnesia“ is a romantic work in its heart of hearts, presented with the idiosyncratic expressiveness of an ever-inquisitive mind. Roden, who is a visual artist foremost, has a wonderfully open and occasionally naive style, in which musical events are born on the smallest of scales and reveal previously unimaginable secrets if only listened to long enough. I sometimes have the feeling that, consciously or unconsciously, it is one of his desires to transpose the rules of the Mandelbrot set to the world of sound: Everything repeats itself inside a world of constant changes, bigger structures collapse into miniature ones, both recognising their divided, yet identical nature. From the patting and scraping wood-noises at the beginning, a Buddhist bell wakes the ghosts, thick fogs rise and spaces open up, growing as the spectator shrinks to dwarf-like proportions. Steve Roden not only fuses sounds of very different origin (metallic rumblings and cosmic whispers), but also of starkly contrasting dimensions. This lends a bewildering intimacy to gargantuan tectonics and a threatening air to event which would usually leave an ant unimpressed. It is furthermore a piece which is serious in character, but comes with a humorous announcement – Roden confesses the reason for its title is his inability to remember, where exactly it was recorded.
www.12k.com/term

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