Albums

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£7.99

Electro - Released May 27, 2013 | Warp Records

Hi-Res Distinctions 5/6 de Magic
With their 2010 debut Crooks & Lovers being a near perfect, small wonder of post-dubstep bliss, British electronic music duo Mount Kimbie tackle the difficult sophomore release with the usually dire move of "add more vocals," but the results aren't dire at all. Quite the contrary, the opening "Home Recording" is the wonderfully foggy, yet somehow crisp, experience offered on their debut with far-off vocals coming from Kimbie member Kai Campos, whose style here is somewhere between James Blake and Ben Gibbard without aping either. The lyrics are a bit more free-form than traditional singer/songwriter material, and when a horn section break in the middle offers a prickly and rewarding bridge, it's like a transmission from the Portishead side of trip-hop where modern composition, The Wire magazine, and all things artistic are held dear. Still, that approachable, connectable Kimbie are well represented with rock-solid hooks taking form out of shards of sampled music ("Blood and Form"), while familiar sounds from the past mix with the interesting off-world sounds of the future (the space hippie jam "So Many Times, So Many Ways" could either be from 1969 or 2069). Rapper King Krule fills "You Took Your Time" ("You up the ladder, made from the latter/Made even sadder being born to an adder") and "Meter, Pale, Tone" ("See me don't exist/What gwan?") with his odd words and weird delivery (he might actually be melting) and the dancing shoes come out twice, once for the broken beat, breakdancing industrial number "Slow" and once for "Made to Stray," which sounds like Detroit techno legend Derrick May dreaming about the Tokyo skyline in the night rain. Package it all together in an album that's sensibly sized and runs smooth as silk, and the evolving and growing Mount Kimbie remain a keeper. ~ David Jeffries
£8.49

Electro - Released May 6, 2013 | Play It Again Sam

Distinctions 5/6 de Magic
£12.49

Electro - Released February 25, 2013 | XL Recordings

Distinctions 3F de Télérama - 5/6 de Magic
Thom Yorke's Atoms for Peace involves longtime Radiohead engineer/producer Nigel Godrich (Ultraísta) and bassist Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), as well as two session veterans in drummer Joey Waronker (R.E.M., Ultraísta) and percussionist Mauro Refosco (Forro in the Dark). For their first public performance, back in 2009, they performed Yorke's Godrich-assisted 2006 album The Eraser in its entirety, as well as some fresh material. Over three years later, they've come up with this, a product of jam sessions formed -- by Yorke and Godrich -- into a uniform nine-track album. It sounds more like a fleshier successor to Yorke's first solo album than it does a first step, and it's presented that way, from Stanley Donwood's woodcut illustrations to the band's name -- the same as a track title on The Eraser. Due to the nature of the recording process, the material is more about sounds -- rippling rhythms, more specifically -- than songs. Attempting to discern the organic from the mutated and the processed is a fool's errand yet part of the appeal. Listeners will be either unnerved or fascinated by the use of Flea's low-throbbing lines, which add warmth, rarely propel, and are sometimes obscured beneath piles of shifting percussion. Given all the thick layering of sounds, Yorke's words -- normally enunciated and mixed in such a way to enable transcription with only a slight headache as a reward -- tend to act as another element rather than as a focal point. The lyrics probably weren't written at the bassist's house after some drunken pool playing. They're in typical Yorke character, consisting of vaguely conveyed altercations and conflicts: "You got me into this mess," "I couldn't care less," "But it's eating me up," "They try to jump me," "Go back to where you came from," "I'm like the wind and my anger will disperse." In other words, this is another Thom Yorke solo album, and it sounds really nice on decent headphones. ~ Andy Kellman
£7.99

Electro - Released May 14, 2012 | Warp Records

Distinctions 5/6 de Magic
Verified electronic music legend Tom Jenkinson has been a pivotal force in his field as Squarepusher since the mid-'90s. Taking constant risks and shifting styles dramatically without batting an eyelash has panned out for him more often than not and has resulted in some of the most definitive moments in the evolution of IDM and electronic music as a whole. It hasn't all been unquestionable genius, though. Ufabulum follows a string of disappointing missteps in the Squarepusher story, namely 2008's fusion-funk meltdown Just a Souvenir; 2009's Solo Electric Bass 1, a collection of unaccompanied bass noodling/soloing; and 2010's half-baked experiment Shobaleader One: d’Demonstrator. Even the best moments of early albums were shelved between multiple phoned-in tracks or clearly less-inspired variations on the same theme. Ufabulum rises out of the muddle of curious decisions on the several albums before it, offering a true-to-form Squarepusher experience more diverse and ornate than almost any before it. Lead track "4001" sets the bar high (as do the first tracks on most Squarepusher albums) with a typically hard beat and bass-stab pattern that abruptly explodes into an army of synths scoring waves of cinematic countermelodies. A post-apocalyptic soundtrack feel runs through much of the album, as tense synth lines are interrupted by glitchy reverb twitches and the occasional dubsteppy bass wobble. "Red in Blue" represents a slight respite, borrowing from the ambient side of David Bowie's Low with its icy, understated electronic paddings. "303 Scopem Hard" incorporates caustic noise and grating bowed metal scraping sounds into its typically breakneck tempo and gurgling acid bassline. The most striking aspect of Ufabulum is the sense that Jenkinson is building on top of foundations he laid himself. Where early Squarepusher records were notable for their innovative work with beat programming or infusion of organic instruments with electronic mayhem, the songs here seem to begin with that template of jittery beats and grow into dense compositions. Glowing mini-symphonies like "Unreal Square" take Jenkinson's signature playfulness and disregard for any musical rules and expand them into complexly layered opuses, mind-numbingly intricate without becoming impenetrable or losing any of their joy. If Ufabulum indicates anything, it's that there might be a deeper sophistication to come from this already groundbreaking superhero of electronic music. ~ Fred Thomas
£7.49

Electro - Released October 1, 2013 | Mute

Distinctions 5/6 de Magic - Sélection Les Inrocks
When accomplished electronic music producers speak of making proper songs instead of tracks -- most ominously, there’s the one-two punch of “Dance music bores me now” and “I’m getting a band together” -- it’s usually a good time to tune out. While Sascha Ring is guilty of all three and has backed it up with The Devil’s Walk, an album completely divorced from the dancefloor and glitch/IDM, the shift has been gradual, not abrupt, and he happens to be composing some of the most evocative, finely detailed music of his decade-long career. No need to think back to the most organic song on 2007’s Walls, the sapless and malformed “Over and Over,” and prepare for more of the same; these songs, sometimes built on little more than strings, soft keyboard tones, and supple textures, are sturdy and fully developed. All the vocalists fall into place with solemn yet expressive performances, enhancing productions that straddle heartache and ecstasy. It’s the type of album that can be enjoyed on the surface, as pleasant background listening, or as a deeply immersive experience. Anyone who enjoys it should seek the output of Ring collaborator Joshua Eustis' Telefon Tel Aviv, especially 2009’s Immolate Yourself. ~ Andy Kellman
£12.49

Electro - Released September 27, 2010 | True Panther Sounds

Distinctions 5/6 de Magic - Sélection Les Inrocks
It isn't always a compliment to call something watery, but in the case of Glasser's full-length debut Ring, it's a glowing one. Virtually every aspect of Cameron Mesirow's music evokes H2O, from her clear, smooth vocals, to beats that thump and wobble like striking an overflowing bucket, to the way each song flows into the next. Thanks to the help of co-producers Ariel Rechtshaid and Van Rivers and The Subliminal Kid, Ring is much fuller and more polished than the GarageBand demos that made up Glasser's singles and EPs. Yet there’s still something very primal and direct in the album’s mix of synthetic fantasy textures and old-world, even ancient, melodies, structures, and instruments. Previously released tracks like the tribal invocation “Tremel” and “Apply,” which kicks off the album with menacing fuzz bass and vocals that alternate between a soft croon and a whoop that’s equal parts mating and distress call, are still highlights, reaffirming that comparisons to the futuristic mysticism of Fever Ray, Björk, My Brightest Diamond, and Bat for Lashes are well-founded. However, Mesirow is a little more approachable than some of her influences and contemporaries without sacrificing any of her uniqueness, and the rest of Ring shows just how expansive, yet focused, her vision is. Circular imagery pops up everywhere, whether it’s “Home”'s wedding rings or “Glad”'s marching in a circle. Mesirow circles the globe with Ring's music, spanning the sweetly African-infused “Plane Temp” to “Treasury of We”'s gamelan pop; with the seductive “T” and “Mirrorage”'s icy fury, Glasser circles the emotional spectrum, as well. By the time Ring's final track “Clamour” ends with the beats that lead into “Apply” -- in effect starting the album over again -- Mesirow has taken listeners through a complete cycle of moods and sounds. Not only is Ring one of the few albums to feature the Nepalese stringed instrument the sarangi and a structure inspired by Homer’s The Odyssey, it’s also a fresh, creative debut that more than fulfills Glasser's potential. ~ Heather Phares
£11.49

Chill-out - Released September 20, 2010 | IAmSound

Distinctions 5/6 de Magic - Sélection Les Inrocks - 3 étoiles Technikart
A dark mystique has surrounded Salem since the trio released its debut EP, Yes I Smoke Crack, in 2008. The ominous imagery of their album artwork, the tales of John Holland's teenage prostitution and drug use and their place among the creators of the witch house/drag style gave the band something of a mythic quality even before their first full-length, King Night, was released. Over the course of their prolific singles and EPs, Holland, John Donoghue and Heather Marlatt shaped a sound that was as distinctive as it was improbable, fusing beats descended from juke and Southern hip-hop, electronics with a goth bent and shoegazing guitars into something deeply weird and trippy but also surprisingly natural, as if those elements had just been waiting to be combined. On the surface, goth and hip-hop may not have much in common, but they often share a bleak romanticism that Salem has in spades. King Night's title track blends choral vocals, suffocating synths and a tinny beat that is so obviously, proudly mechanical that it adds extra coldness while nodding to hip-hop. “Killer” boasts guitars so heavy they could have come from a Sunn 0))) album, while “Traxx” uses a sample of rattling chains as percussion. Thanks to having three writers and vocalists, the band is also good at adding depth and variety to a style that could seem like a novelty. Marlatt sounds like a fallen angel, adding credence to Salem's goth undercurrents with darkly ethereal tones that evoke the Cocteau Twins and This Mortal Coil on “Frost” and the beautiful “Redlights,” one of the band’s earliest and most definitive songs. Any small rays of hope raised by her songs are dashed by Donoghue's tracks, which very well may be the heart of Salem's unsettling darkness. He brings the trio’s hip-hop roots to the fore, rapping with a roll so slow he sounds like a zombie drinking sizzurp mixed with laudanum. His tracks are lulling and filled with dread at the same time, as on “Trapdoor,” where he intones “I can’t feel shit” over a looped sample of a car crash, or on “Sick,” where the refrain might as well be “six six six”. Meanwhile, Holland's tracks are somewhere in the middle, with his voice blurred into another wisp of Salem's fog. He emphasizes texture on “Release da Boar,” where echo-locating reverb and delay are piled on top of dead-of-night shoegaze with a sluggish pulse, and on “Hound,” where bongos take the song in an unexpected direction. Throughout all of King Night, the feeling of a séance being held or a spell being cast is palpable, but Salem's ability to be affecting and menacing at the same time is pure alchemy. ~ Heather Phares
£13.99

Dance - Released March 1, 2010 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions 5/6 de Magic
£6.39

Techno - Released October 17, 2009 | Believe

Distinctions 5/6 de Magic