November 24, 2010

Teebs - Ardour Review

Teebs, a popular artist on the Brainfeeder record label started by Flying Lotus, releases his debut album and blows all other producers out of the water! His multi-textured compositions come to life in Ardour, arguably one of the best beat albums of 2010. His soft beats and melodic chimes have a fulfilling presence, and I cannot stress it enough that his work bears a therapeutic, healing power for any avid headphones junkie. From the very start, “You’ve Changed” comes in among fluttering flutes and a soft beat. Songs like “Moments,” “Wind Loop,” and “Gordon” are a few of the many standouts in this album, and they all offer something different to listeners looking for something fresh and new. “Long Distance,” the only track Teebs decided to allow vocals on, shows the incredible potential his music has for lyrics, even though every song really speaks for itself. The music he produces works really well as background music, and is even more of a treat for those who choose to actively listen to it, considering the very specific attention to detail. For the most part, it is hard to put into words the feelings that flow out of Ardour. A complex series of thoughts and emotions are captured here, and it is certainly a beautiful experience that shines all throughout. Try to throw on this album and not get lost.

Note: Teebs is also a visual artist, and does all of the artwork that’s attached to his musical releases. You can check out some of his artwork here.

Rating: 9.2/10

Recommended Tracks: Wind Loop, Gordon, Why Like This

MiM0SA - Silver Lining Review

Just two months after his late-night dubstep EP Your Love, MiM0SA comes out with another stunner, his super melodic, big bass release, Silver Lining. This new album, layered with bright melodies and atmospheric textures, sounds like a bright, sunny morning. Airy and vibrant is the feeling that is captured on most of these tracks. “The Higher Consciousness,” a short opener, carries the feel of the album pretty well, as it soars over the spacious skyline of your mind. Some of the middle tracks, such as the title track and “Drippin,” make a heavy, yet emotionally melodic mark on your ears, while some of his later tracks, such as his drum and bass-y “Detour” and “Pushing Little Daisies” drop in to screech electronic bursts of intensity, before settling back down into the final track, “Sideways,” an appropriate finish to a stellar album. Check out Silver Lining if you have not already, and prepare for a beautiful, inspiring musical journey.

Rating: 8.4/10

Recommended Tracks: Silver Lining, Drippin', Pushing Little Daisies

October 15, 2010

Flying Lotus – Pattern+Grid World Review

Brace yourself for a new breed of FlyLo, with a new EP just months after his third full-length space opera, videogame drama, Cosmogramma. There’s more to be heard here, as Steven Ellison, the man behind the mask, takes you somewhere completely different once again. Pattern+Grid World tastes like a whole other dimension, with the otherworldly sounds and patterns that make an indistinguishable texture and quality, and we have to wonder if Ellison is really human. “Clay,” the opening track of Pattern+Grid World, sounds alien to our ears, but takes us to a time and place where music was reinvented, and had taken its own course in synth droning beats. If music really is universal, this EP might as well belong in a whole other universe (did I mention enough space imagery already?). “Kill Your Co-Workers” makes FlyLo’s drum and bass debut, with more arcade elements, as you can hear Ellison shooting for another high score. Although his beats are frenetic, and his synths get hazy, his melody sticks with you. His next track, “Pieface,” starts off with an abstract snare and cymbal, which inevitably builds into another 8-bit crescendo. Whether you are listening to his gurgling space jam, “Time Vampires,” or his synth-driven “Camera Day,” Ellison has something vastly different for your ears. At just over 18 minutes, this EP is short and sweet, and although it may feel like an acquired taste, it is still a welcome addition for any Flying Lotus fan.

Rating: 7.7/10

Recommended Tracks: Time Vampires, Jurassic Notion/M Theory, Camera Day

October 4, 2010

Bassnectar - Timestretch EP Review

For an EP with four new tracks and a presence that will dominate your sound system, Timestretch, a release by dubstep producer Bassnectar, makes no compromises. The explosive opener, “Here We Go,” a popular live track, takes you straight into the mind of Lorin Ashton, the mastermind behind Bassnectar, as the sliced up vocals and sirens build into an eruption of bass beats and roaring synthesizers. If you liked the monstrous build, do not fret, because Ashton brings it back later in the second half of the song. Each track has something different to offer, as “Bass Head” proves to rock your brain back and forth, with its robotic vocals, hip-hop build and timpani hits that drop into your consciousness, where they will probably stay long after hearing the song. Knowing Bassnectar and his insanely loud production, you better get ready for the next track, because there is no time to rest when listening to Timestretch. “Blast Off” crashes right into your ears from the very start, and instantly takes off with a bass that sweeps and resonates through the beat. It builds and keeps going until the epic halfway marker, where a breakdown gives way to the largest part of the song. A crowd of people can be heard counting down to one, where the song will literally “blast off,” through your speakers and your eardrums. The ecstatic moment of this release is pure adrenaline, and the song keeps up the pace as it slowly fades out. This leads listeners to the title track, which is arguably the calmest song on the EP, but don’t let that fool you. Maybe calm is not exactly the right word, because for the dubstep prodigy that Bassnectar is, calm is a relative term. Still, “Timestretch” gives listeners a few minutes to breathe, as the medium tempo hip-hop beat and bass become a little more reserved. Nothing particularly crazy happens during these beats, except for a very solid groove that is still just as addicting as the previous tracks mentioned. Besides these four new original tracks, Ashton is generous with his EP, including four new remixes to take over the second half (two “Bass Head” remixes, a “Timestretch” remix, and a remix of the non-EP song, “Maximum”). The second half echoes the first pretty well, while still offering new sounds to the mix. Check out Bassnectar’s Timestretch EP, and stay tuned for his upcoming EP Wildstyle, due out October 19th.

Rating: 9.0/10

Recommended Tracks: Basshead, Blast Off, Timestretch

September 19, 2010

Omar Rodriguez Lopez – Tychozorente Review

For one of the most experimental and explosive songwriters to appear over the past couple decades, multi-instrumentalist Omar Rodriguez Lopez has clearly made a name for himself in this generation of music. From his early start in the hardcore/alternative rock group At The Drive-In, to his departure with musical partner Cedric Bixler-Zavala to explore the musical realms of psychedelic and progressive rock with The Mars Volta and beyond, Rodriguez Lopez has made an impressive track record, which will now include, his seventeenth solo album, Tychozorente.

Tychozorente makes such a departure from any of Rodriguez Lopez’s previous music projects by the fact that this is his first release without any guitars whatsoever. In addition to this, it is also a first for his girlfriend, Ximena Sarinana Rivera, to sing in English. Her vocals are still as beautiful as ever in the electronic, synth-programmed tracks that appear on Tychozorente. The eight tracks are shared equally, as they go from Ximena songs (in English as well as Spanish) to Rodriguez Lopez's spoken word Spanish compositions, and back again. There are some very eerie frequencies that resonate through some songs, while others take on an exceptionally melodic and upbeat tone when compared to some of Rodriguez Lopez’s previous output as a songwriter and producer. Every song has a steady rhythm since this album focuses more on produced electronic beats than the standard music group that Rodriguez Lopez assembles for his many different projects. Overall, at just over a half hour, this new release by Rodriguez Productions is a very enjoyable, and mellow, musical journey. The cover art is compelling and as weird as usual, echoing the wash of sound that is to be heard when listening to Omar’s work.

Check Tychozorente out, and stay tuned for more Rodriguez Lopez in the very near future, because two more albums will be dropping before the end of the year. Cheers!

Tychozorente - 7.6/10

September 12, 2010

Mount Kimbie - Crooks and Lovers Review

To make my blog more exciting, I decided that I am now going to start doing album reviews of music that I have enjoyed enough to feature in my radio show Adrift In The Airwaves.

For my first album review, I decided to take a look at Mount Kimbie's debut full-length, Crooks & Lovers.

Released on July 19th of this year, Mount Kimbie's album, Crooks & Lovers is the first full-length from the electronic duo. Most of their music takes on an experimental, minimalistic vibe, that verges into the realms of dubstep and ambient music. Personally, I haven’t known of Mount Kimbie for long, but after developing a huge crush on their song “Maybes” remixed by one of their fellow contemporaries James Blake (who is also highly recommended), I had to check out their first album to hear more of what these guys were up to.

Crooks and Lovers is something best to be played through your headphones, as the atmospheric synth and guitar textures make a rewarding contrast with the wobble of the bass that can be found in most of their songs. From the very start, the album picks up with “Tunnelvision,” a short prelude echoing with vocals that sound like a distant memory. There is no time wasted on this LP, when songs like “Would Know” and “Before I Move Off” follow close by. Mount Kimbie’s reserved blend of ambient, minimal, and dubstep elements, when mixed with cut up samples and phrases of soulful vocals, makes for a very enjoyable listen. Nearly every song starts off as a simple beat, slowly building with added melodic textures. “Carbonated” is a great example of this, as a simple, empty beat slowly reverberates over time and fills your ears with sound. The peak and release of songs like “Carbonated” and “Field” are perfectly timed. Most songs are about three to four minutes long, clocking their debut album at just under forty minutes, making Crooks and Lovers a very soft but compelling musical journey. Every track is finely crafted, made for listening while relaxing, with the bass turned up. The best way to describe this group and their debut release would have to be minimalist, ambient, dubstep. As for the dubstep element, there is nothing abrasive about the sounds in this album. Every note hits your ears softly, but the overall effect is a beautiful mix of atmospheric textures, powerful beats, and moving vocals. Check out Crooks and Lovers, and try not to fall in love.

Rating: 8.3/10

Recommended Tracks: Tunnelvision, Would Know, Carbonated