Monday, October 31, 2011

EIC'S10Q'S w/ Plaid

" acoustics, minimal haunting atmospheres, classical tones, and sparse "post contemporary" beats.."

Cultivation Via Mechanism

Plaid Bio:
Although Plaid preexisted the association, the duo's Ed Handley and Andy Turner spent most of their early recording years with Ken Downie as the dance floor-confounding Black Dog Productions. Meshing well with Downie's vision of heavily hybridized post-techno and obscurantist thematics, the pair brought several nascent Plaid tracks to the Black Dog table on the group's debut, Bytes, a collection of tracks recorded by various iterations of the three members. The group recorded several albums and EPs throughout the early and mid-'90s, helping to forge a style of dance music one step removed from the 12" considerations of the average faceless techno act; Handley and Turner's mutual love for early hip-hop contributed BDP's more bawdy, street-level grit.

The pair split from Downie in 1995, and began re-channeling their efforts full-time with an EP on the Neo-Electro Clear label before signing to Warp. (The pair also recorded an album with European techno figure Mark Broom under the pseudonym Repeat, two tracks of which also made it onto the South of Market EP, released on Jonah Sharp's similarly located Reflective imprint.) Both of Plaid's first two full-lengths, 1998's Not for Threes and the following year's Rest Proof Clockwork, were issued in the U.S. through Nothing. Once Warp set up a home on American shores, however, Plaid made the natural switch with the long-awaited collection Trainer, a retrospective including much of their early, pre-BDP work. The proper third album, Double Figure, followed in spring 2001, and the handy Plaid remix collection Parts in the Post was issued in 2003 by Peacefrog. The end of the year brought the duo's fourth proper LP, Spokes. Plaid were quiet on the recording front for several years, returning finally in mid-2006 with Greedy Baby, a mini-album that found the pair co-billed with visual artist Bob Jaroc. Two years later, they made the small leap to soundtracking an official film, Heaven's Door, a Japanese film directed by Michael Arias. In 2011, they returned with 'Scintilli', released on Warp.

Hello, how are you?
We are well, a little weary but happily so.

What are you currently listening to?
Earth, Wind & Fire, its been too long. So lovely.

How does it feel to be back?
Back releasing an album? It is actually pretty exciting after such a break from it. We have been contentedly busy in between but it is good to be doing something with Warp again.

What, if any, is the theme behind this 'Scintilli' album?
Vaguely, the idea of sparks, internally and externally.

Are you looking forward to touring?
A mixture of anticipation and dread. Once we get going its a lot of fun but the idea of it can be intimidating. Its the front line and demands commitment and energy, the adrenaline really helps.

I LOVE the soundtrack you did for the anime Tekkonkinkreet, when/where were you approached by the director to do this?

We received an e-mail from him in 2005. He had seen us play in Tokyo a few years before and thankfully remembered us when it came time for the soundtrack. We hope to work with him again soon.

Got any new side projects on the horizon?
We will probably do some more things with Felix Machines and hopefully record the south bank Gamelan collaboration at some point. There are also some game related things bubbling.

If you guys could collaborate with any artist of your choosing whom would you choose and why?
The Santoor player, Shivkumar Sharma because it's a beautiful instrument, he plays it so well and it could possibly work well with electronics.

You can only keep/listen to ONE album for the rest of your life ..which album would it be?

Impossible to choose, no single album is varied enough. Today it would be Satie's 'Piano Works' but probably not tomorrow.

Are you living your dream?

Yes but only when we sleep.

Thanx Josh, Ed & Andy!

Plaid are currently wrapping up a European tour with a lengthy US tour to follow right after (check for dates HERE)...

REVIEW: Plaid - Scintilli

6.75 out of 10

We all know Warp Records is home to most (if not all) the blazing IDM pioneers and being that one of those "pioneers" is Plaid I'm always excited to hear when they have something new under their belt. 'Scintilli' is the duo's 5th proper release (unless you count various side projects/soundtrack work), and their first since 2003's 'Spokes' (which was a great album btw). Much likes it predecessor 'Scintilli' picks up where it that one left off. A nice stylistic meshing of organic acoustics, minimal haunting atmospheres, classical tones, and sparse "post contemporary" beats. So how does 'Scintilli' compare to the rest of their catalogue?

'Scintill' means "I am many sparks", I'm not exactly sure what that means, but I like the sound of it. I like the many definitions/meanings those words could have when describing an album. When the album begins I am not only reminded of 'Spokes', but the awesome (highly underrated) soundtrack they did for the (also underrated) anime 'Tekkonkinkreet' (I've mentioned this album before, I'm sure of it). Beautiful piano, possibly toy piano, arrangements are accompanied by slow moving bass lines, mellow/drowned out percussions and a hum that sounds more synthetic than it does human. As the album progresses it carries on in the traditional "Plaid sense", calming yet upbeat, intelligent yet precocious. If you heard Plaid (who hasn't by now) you know exactly what I mean. If you like Classical music (possibly Far East influenced) and you like Electronic music you're truly missing out by skipping on this band.

OK, so overall 'Scintilli' is a great album, Plaid are still a step above most producers. I would definitely recommend it, but it's not my favorite Plaid release. The second half is definitely more "strong" than the first. I wish it was all just a little bit "louder" and possibly abrasive, not "too abrasive" though just a little more toe tapping involved on my end ..oh! and possibly somehow more melodramatic. Still though, this is a pretty damn good album and I don't see why any fan of Electronic music wouldn't be able to pick out moments that they enjoy/appreciate.

Standout Tracks: Thank, Craft Nine (sounds like something out of a retro sounding sci-fi film ..if there was a ballroom scene in it), Sömnl, 35 Summers (just as gorgeous as..), African Woods (this track.)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cool Video Funtime #279 - Down

Check into (x2) DenMother & The Chambermaids..

DenMother - T-Rex

The Chambermaids - China Blue

DenMother is Sab, she is from Toronto Canada. She wrote music as Orphan prior to going through a life changing experience after reading Rousseau's 'Second Discourse n Inequality'. 'T-Rex' is on a recent split she did with Coyote Clean Up, which can be purchased via Ihadanaccident. The Chambermaids are a Shoegaze act from Minneapolis, they are currently putting the final touches on an EP (or LP perhaps) that should be coming out soon. Neither of these bands have anything to do with one another, other than they're both pretty terrific and you should probably introduce yourselves ..Have a happy Saturday:D

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New Glass Vaults on the way..!

Glass Vaults' 'Into Clear' comes out October 31st via the young and impressive Jukbboxr.

Stream the first single 'Gold Star' below:

I h♥ve so much respect for what GV does with atmospheres.

EIC Premiere: David Shane Smith - Shampoo (Official Video)

Taken from David's recent 'Shampoo EP' (which is FREE btw)

..a clue perhaps?

QualitySpooky Halloween Mixtape find..

Fright Night Club - Monster Mash-Up

Lo♥♥♥e this time of the year! I also really love the song "Living Dead Ghoul" (track #6), it may be the best version I'll ever hear of this (massivley overplayed) song. Thanks for sharing Colin!

Check into (x2) Polinski & Steve Hauschildt..

Polinski - Stitches (Feat. Big Black Delta)

Steve Hauschildt - Batteries May Drain

Mr. Big Black Delta shared Polinski with me and Mr. Kranky shared Steve Hauschildt (aka 1/3 of Emeralds). I think you can hear/see why I would share them with you..

Monday, October 24, 2011

EIC'S10Q'S w/The Field

"..simplicity" stretched out & remolded into something so much more beautiful than what could it be if there was only one of it.."

The Field
Recurring Dream Sequence

The Field Bio:
What is it that makes an artist fit a label? Is it their sound? Their sense of shared perspective? In the case of The Field and Kompakt it’s all of that and something more intangible too, an unexplained but real connection that transcends all the more obvious signposts. For Kompakt, their reputation as purveyors of laudable minimal techno and microhouse had already been cemented in 2005, seven years into the Cologne-based label’s existence – not least owing to the releases created by their founders, techno producers Michael Mayer and Jurgen Paape and, of course, Wolfgang Voigt. Finding Axel Willner, more commonly known as The Field, was different though; the Swedish artist certainly matched the label’s mould, rekindling something of Voigt’s late 90s project Gas by marrying heavily reverberating 4/4 techno rhythms - the sort that evoke the lost thud of a distant club - with the vast expanse and translucent territories of ambient music. Yet listening even as far back as ‘Things Keep Falling Down’ - The Field’s debut EP on Kompakt – it was clear there was something more, a veiled restlessness bubbling under the loops and layers, as though Willner had set himself boundaries but then tired and sought to break them; it’s this subtle tension in all his albums that heightens them from their otherwise dreamlike state.

But first, let’s go back to the beginning, to Stockholm in Sweden where Willner grew up; for to understand The Field you need to understand that everything he’s experienced from an early age and up through to the present has influenced him in his music and will continue to do so. Those same childhood and teen memories that he imprinted on his very early demos – attempted on desktop computers when the internet was but a microcosm of what it is today – through early incarnation Speed Wax has informed everything he’s done since.

His beginnings saw an early love of pop, like a generation of Swedes his first musical memory was “probably Abba.” That’s stayed in his repertoire, from the samples on LP From Here We Go To Sublime’s ‘A Paw In My Face’ to a glossy cover of 1980 hit ‘Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime’ on Yesterday & Today. Other formative experiences in music were more conflicting though. On the one hand Axel professes a teenage love of punk, citing The Misfits in particular, on the other though – as he reached late adolescence – he found himself under the strict restrictions and discipline of a music school. Perhaps unsurprisingly it wasn’t for him. “I was in this school that had people nationwide who’d applied because of the quality of their music courses, so I had all these top of the line musicians round me - but I found it dull!” Laughs Axel. “But,” he rations, “it all felt really forced, there were all these students and it seemed like they were all in a niche so it was hard to break out of it.”

Thankfully Stockholm as a city provided far more musical nutrition and fuelled Willner’s move towards electronic music. It coincided with the beginnings of a small club scene in the Swedish capital that started building up during the late 90s; “they were fun days,” he recalls, “I was in a duo called Speed Wax and the places we played were all really into Techno and Warp Records; it was cool, people helped each other out, the vibes were good; it started out just doing nights to 20 people and then it just grew and grew.”

The Field as an entity sprung up around 2003, the back catalogue of Gas at this point having a strong influence on Axel, and he took to Buzz – a software program he still uses to make music today – to construct his first forays into ambient techno, a move away from the guitar-based drone that encapsulated Speed Wax.

He was picked up by Kompakt just a year later in 2004, a demo that stood out amongst pile, though at the time he wasn’t “really aware of any buzz.” Yet in his first release for them – the aforementioned ‘Things Keep Falling Down’ in February 2005 – there already lurked potential within its two tracks. Both ‘Love vs. Distance’ and ‘Thoughts vs. Action’ soared beyond the 10 minute mark; the latter a crackling jump-and-stop minimal effort, to listen to it now is to listen to The Field stripped away of the scale he has since brought to his work. It was ‘Love vs. Distance’ that provided the template for what would follow; based on a stoic motorik and a perpetually rotating hook, it provided an early demonstration of how the Swede could take just four bars of sound and deftly deconstruct, alter and rebuild them to create a constantly changing canvas.

That, alongside follow up 2006 EP ‘Sun & Ice,’ made it clear that his match with the label made perfect sense. Kompakt’s other releases around this time included ambient house legends The Orb’s first release on the imprint, as well as the mellowed out soft-focus bliss of German producer Superpitcher’s ‘Today’ mix featuring other Kompakt members DJ Koze and Triola among others. In ‘Sun & Ice’ The Field imbued a sense of wandering expanse, yet where his contemporaries were happy to submerge themselves in ambient fog, he cut through with more pronounced percussion and purpose, tracks like ‘Over The Ice’ skipping along like skimmed stones over water.

It all came together in 2007 on the phenomenal success of debut LP From Here We Go Sublime; its accolades are numerous – a 9.0 and a place inside the Top 200 records of the decade by Pitchfork, highly regarded by the NME and the BBC and receiving the best aggregate score on review compiler Metacritic to name a few – it came out at a time when electronic meant brash, obvious, loud. Electro was its most swollen. Drum n’ bass was well in the throes of eating itself. In comparison The Field came across like fading noises of the night, the beats still driving but the sun coming up, that transition between the club and journey home and down. It was never more evident than on ‘Good Things End,’ which at one thundered and also fawned, industrial rhythms overlapped with lost sounding vocal samples and blurring, faded-pale drones. For Willner the success of the album surprised him, “I was flattered! I didn’t think there’d be much interest; it’s a record that’s still important to me though. I’d had a lot of the tracks for it a while, there’s a lot of old memories on the album, a lot of good times connected to it.”

With the success of the album came the inevitable demands to tour, The Field taking to American shores - including the 2007 Pitchfork Music Festival - and in 2008’s summer calling in at the pick of Europe’s festivals including the UK’s ATP, Sonar in Spain and Norway’s Oya. Still solo at this point, Willner found the experience restricting, touring the globe armed with just a laptop. He was also lonely – playing with others was something he’d loved since his teenage punk obsession, being stripped of that was difficult; “it was the hardest thing, without other people it got weary and dull,” he comments, “I felt that I couldn’t take out the chance as much as I wanted to as if I had people I could play with or against.”

That meant that come May 2009’s follow up Yesterday & Today, the approach and perceptions about what Willner wanted The Field to be had changed and, by the time of its completion, he’d been joined by two live musicians, an old friend called Dan Enqvist on bass, and – after a couple of personnel alterations – Jesper Skarin on drums. “They’re good people who I can also trust as musicians,” Axel ruminates, “I don’t feel like I’m just by myself anymore; with them I find we play both with and towards each other, seeing how far we can push each other.”

It’s this belief in the communal nature of music that’s always imbued itself within The Field; there’s always a human heart beating among the electronics and samples. On Yesterday & Today that became more explicit as live instruments were worked in with Willner’s laptop experiments – never more so than with the cameo of John Stanier, drummer of respected American math-rockers Battles, on the title track. Linking back to a distant past again, pop was revisited with a cover of The Korgis ‘Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime,’ and overall the album felt more pointed, with rhythms and synths gaining harder edges. Another critical success, it saw The Field back on the road, including a first ever UK headlining circuit in the Autumn of 2009, a US tour support with DFA label mainstays The Juan Maclean and festival slots at Bestival, Roskilde and Poland’s OFF Festival.

It was around this time Axel also switched countries, a romantic interest resulting in him leaving Stockholm as a home for the first time since childhood, and moving to Berlin. One of the most famous clubbing cities in the world, for the artist its hedonism is something he shuns when not playing – “it’s like going to your office,” he says simply, adding credence to the notion that The Field’s work is music meant for a myriad of situations – not just late night basements and warehouses - but for fading afternoons, early morning sunrises a feeling of expanse that’s always existed.

So to 2011 and the release of third album Looping State Of Mind, a record that in many ways recalls his previous work but also pushes on in new directions. “It’s been evolving and it will keep on doing so,” says its creator, “people come and go, adding their things to it, you change as well and so will the sound.” A release that comes across as Axel’s most accomplished to date; it feels like a culmination of sorts in that it could be a compilation of both its protagonists work and, indeed, life to date. “All the old influences are still there,” he admits, “but we’ve made a real attempt to grow the sound;’ this involved the most prominent use of live instruments yet, bass jutting through opening track ‘Is This The Power’ and wandering piano keys slinking in and out of view of the albums landscape.

As ever though The Field transcend their mere components, Looping State Of Mind could almost be a manifesto for them. Certainly for Axel there is no beginning and end to the impact of what he sees and experiences in every day life, things will always come back around; the challenge for him is to adapt and alter them when they do in order to create something that understands and re-defines them in a new way each time. For Kompakt, meanwhile, it’s a record that plays on their long held principals of progression through emotion and recollection, married with an openness of mind. It’s the most definitive answer yet as to what makes they and The Field fit so well, providing as it does some of the best work the label’s ever released. Only through past experiences can one move forward; it’s something that, in 2011’s turbulent times, many could do with remembering.

Hello, how are you?
I'm pretty good thanks!

What are you currently listening to?
Right now I'm listening to Jürgen Müller's 'Science Of The Sea'.

Was Philip Glass an inspiration at all when it comes to your minimalist sound?

I like Philip Glass a lot but I find Steve Reich more inspiring.

Is there a story behind the band name?
It's "the field" of music where I get my samples and ideas from. And also its a good name.

What is the theme, if any on your newest album?

The theme if any is probably the fusion between the first and second album. The mixture of acoustic and electronic instruments.

If you weren't "The Field" and you wanted to write music that was completely different what kind of genre would you attack?
I might go back to Punk but it would be fun to play Grind Core!

The best time & place to listen to The Field is..?

Late night driving..

Pardon, my ignorance..have you ever done or thought of doing a cover song?
We made a cover of the Korgis 'Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime'. Maybe we´ll try it again at another point.

You can only keep/listen to ONE album for the rest of your life ..which album would it be?

Might be 'Königsforst' by Gas

Are you living your dream?
Hehe, not sure about that.

Thanx Axel & Fallon!

The Field is currently touring Europe, hopefully the US shortly after as I would LOVE to hear him live...

REVIEW: The Field - Looping State Of Mind

7 out of 10

Not really sure what I can say about The Field that hasn't been said by now. I guess I can begin by describing the sound real quick (for those of you that live underneath an internet-less rock); take equal parts Trance (ala Glass and/or Reich) add a dose of Modern-Minimal Berlin sounding Techno, a few acoustic sprinkles and there you have it. Each song has it's own repetitious loop layered intensely throughout that evolves into a thick pool of dense psychedelic euphoria. C'mon, you've had to come across The Field by now right?

I figured you had, you're just curious about my opinion at this point. 'Looping State Of Mind' is Mr. Field's (Axel Willner) 3rd proper release. On the first release The Field was slightly more ambient/acoustic, on his second release (my favorite) the sound was more fast paced/dancey & electronic, and on this one he combines the those two concepts (its the kind of evolution that only makes sense). I've already seen a few critics out there calling "Looping State.." his most accomplished album to date, I can't exactly say I agree with them though. I like this album a lot, it's a very "forward thinking" album (as usual with The Field), but I wish the synths were turned up and the acoustics down (just a little). Don't get me wrong, it's still a solid experience from beginning to end, it's very neatly/tightly produced and well polished. "Looping State.." is even a little more complex/less repetitive than his previous work, but honestly, that's what I loved about his music so much. I'm a huge Philip Glass fan, so hearing that form of delicious repetition transcribed into dance music always does wonders for my ears. Still though, this is The Field doing what he does best, which is taking "simplicity" and stretching it out and remolding it into something so much more beautiful than what it could be if there was only one of it.

A great/"must own" electronic album for fans of Trancey upbeat bliss and/or the night scene.

Standout Tracks: It's Up There (don't stop. ...), Burned Out, Arpeggiated Love (past the 5:00 mark is when you really start feeling "it"), Looping State Of Mind (perfect song)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

EverythingIsChemical Virtual 7" No. 13 - Drifting In Silence

Like any good astronaut knows, a great soundtrack is your best co-pilot...

Next release comes out November 20th.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Good (free) music laying around the interwebs.. Pt. 2

Good (free) music laying around the interwebs.. Pt. 3

Good (free) music laying around the interwebs.. Pt. 1

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

REVIEW: Dream Boat - Widow

8.75 out of 10

I (everybody actually) talk(s) a lot about Witch House/Drag/Ominous Electronic Atmospheric artists these days, recently I was thinking about why this genre is so perfectly engineered for me.. My adolescent beginnings with music were a bit more aggro/angsty mixed with (always) dark & weird. I maintained my love for the dark and weird part, but I've since then mellowed out a lot (quite a bit actually). Probably my teen years exiting my body while my grumpy/tired old man years enter..(you kids stay off my lawn!) ::ahem:: soo Witch House/Drag just makes sense, being that most of it is indeed "dark and weird" but also mostly mellow and hallucinogenic. One of my favorite artists of all time (probably mentioned about once a week around these parts:) is Coil, and to me this ever growing "Drag circuit" is a product of them specifically. That's going on a whim I know, there are a lot more "Experimental Electronic Dark bands" before Coil, yes but there were none that did it better. And now, because of Coil's ginormous impact on my life, music's life, and many more (I'm sure of it) today's Arcane Atmospheres are tomorrows adored nostalgia morphed into something all its own..

I'm not gonna pretend like I know a lot about the enigma that is Dream Boat, all I can tell you is that this band (two people; Lucy & Sina) were indeed "built" for my ears. Up until this point Dream Boat have only released a handful of (mostly FREE) EP's. I was intrigued by said albums, but it wasn't until 'Widow' that I knew how much potential this group truly has. 'Widow' is more than just one of the best Drag album's of all time, it's transcending another universal platform through Gothic parallels. As dark as you leave your earthly realm is as dark as you will voyage into a surreal ambient (sort of) bleak vortex.

This is one of those albums where the artwork speaks miles for the music. Witch House coven have been soaking this one in for a bit now, now it's your turn. 'Widow' is hands down one of the best albums of 2011.

Standout Tracks: Widow, Poppies, Imissu, Southern Down (sounds like a "Gothic Grouper" (kind of)), What You Saw

EIC'S10Q'S w/Dream Boat

"..transcending another universal platform through Gothic parallels.."

(Photo/Art credit: Andre Herrero)

Dream Boat
Occult Chimera

Dream Boat Bio:
I guess this band is pretty mysterious, as I could not find a bio anywhere.. Here's what Insound has to say; "Widow" is the newest record from Providence, Rhode Island's Dream Boat. "After causing a stir with acidic and assaultive early 2010 EP "Fevers", Rhode Island based artist Sina Sohrab AKA Dream Boat was suddenly on everyone's mind. Everyone was surprised by Visions, the dancey monster than Dream Boat unleashed this past December. If you feel like getting your groove on while also being sort of afraid that something bad is going to happen, then you've come to the right place."

Hello, how are you?

Lucy & Sina: Really great.

What are you currently listening to?

L: The Cocteau Twins.
S: Make Up.. and a little Vive La Fête.

At what age did you begin writing music, was it always as dark and bleak as it is now?
L: Birth.
S: When I was six I think.

LOVE the new album, seriously congrats! Is there a theme and/or story behind it?
L: Each song came out of it's own distinct process.
S: It's all really held together because of the time frame we made them in.

What's your favorite track from said album and why?
L: Widow, because I recorded the vocal samples, and when I got it back from Sina it was the most exciting to hear back.
S: Definitely Widow.

Got any side/upcoming projects coming up?
L: I've started improvising some stuff with our friend Xavier (ARC)
S: We'll see.

In your opinion whom would be apart of your ideal world tour (you + 4 other bands)?
L: Just us and Shooby Taylor.
S: And t.A.t.U... and Psychic TV

The best time to listen to Dream Boat is ?

L: All the time or not at all.
S: In prison.

You can only keep/listen to ONE album for the rest of your life ..which album would it be?
L: Now 6
S: Lipa Kodi Ya City Council.

Are you living your dream?
L: Yes, always.
S: Not yet.

Thanx Lucy & Sina!

Dream Boat is currently touring, make sure to check them out live if they stop by your town...