Albums

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Ambient - Released July 4, 2011 | Warp Records

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Drums Between the Bells is a collaboration by producer Brian Eno and poet Rick Holland. It was recorded just after Eno finished work on 2010's Small Craft on a Milk Sea, his debut for Warp, and it followed on the release schedule less than a year later. In that sense, the timing was good for such a risky project. Music and poetry are often difficult companions, and combining them is best left to experts; fortunately, Eno is just such an expert. Although Holland is an obscure poet, he first came to Eno’s notice back in the late ‘90s (through a university project), and his poetry is very good. Although his words and thoughts are impressionistic, his themes are easier to peg: urban living, science, and the intersection of philosophy and biology. The music is almost entirely Eno’s own, with only a few tracks featuring guest credits -- much less so than his previous album. While scattered moments here prove that percussion is still not his strong suit, the production is inviting, innovative, and a larger contributor to the general excellence of the record than the poetry. Eno draws mostly on ambient music for these productions, and only occasionally processes the vocals. One other characteristic, aside from Eno and Holland, makes this an unlikely success: there are a total of nine voices heard here (Holland only recites on one track). The decision to vary the speaking participants helps distinguish each piece, and gives the album just the hint of variety it needs. ~ John Bush
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Electro - Released January 1, 1996 | Universal Music Division Decca Records France

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Electro - Released May 19, 2014 | Ninja Tune

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Narrowing up the sound spectrum and cutting down on the clutter, Manchester native Andy Carthy, aka Mr. Scruff, is a leaner, meaner kind of funky on his 2014 effort Friendly Bacteria, an album that sits well with Cameo's Word Up!, George Clinton's Computer Games, and early Mr. Oizo releases. The twerpy, funky, nighttime bassline of the opening "Stereo Breath" sets the tone with vocalist Denis Jones making the first of his four contributions, all of them lazy, melancholic, and perfectly suited to Scruff's stony type of soul. The tipsy and downtown number "Render Me" is the best of the Jones and Scruff team-ups as jazzy piano and broken beats suggest getting drunk in a tasteful, urbanite loft; then there's the late album lift-off "Catch Sound," which bubbles and bounces as standup bass and Burial-style beats come together in a small, cheery tune. All these deep tones suit veteran house music vocalist Robert Owens, who speaks truth to the downtrodden, downtempo crowd on "He Don't." Vanessa Freeman is elegant and intoxicating on "Come Find Me," where Kraftwerk-like bleeps skillfully worm their way through DJ Zinc-like beats. Instrumental tracks give Scruff's keyboards room to wander into jazz and funk territory, and while some stick more than others, the great "What" sounds like saxophone robots competing in an angry blowin' session while "Feel Free" is a dreamy drive down a winding road as string quartets and Miles Davis flit past the windows. Groovy things still happen when Mr. Scruff downsizes, so write "less samples, more music" on the back of this one and reach for it often. ~ David Jeffries
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Ambient - Released May 5, 2014 | InFiné

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Electro - Released April 21, 2014 | Aparté

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Electro - Released April 14, 2014 | Ninja Tune

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Ambient - Released April 14, 2014 | BATAILLE

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Electro - Released April 7, 2014 | Olsen Records

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After a decade of releasing singles, remixes, and edits to large amounts of acclaim among in-the-know dance music fans, Norwegian whiz kid Todd Terje finally made an album of his own in 2014. It's Album Time is a pretty self-explanatory title, though it could have been called "I Love Many Different Styles of Dance Music and Will Proceed to Put My Warped Spin on All of Them." Well, that one would have been a mouthful, but it does sort of explain what was in Terje's head as he whips from one style to the next over the course of the record's 12 tracks. Stylish neo-disco is what he's best known for, and if any one style dominates, it's that. Bouncy dancefloor fillers like "Strandbar," "Inspector Norse," "Swing Star, Pt. 2," and the light-as-a-feather "Oh Joy" set the dials for the heart of the disco ball and form the shiny center of the album. Terje's unerring grooves and the sophisticated and melodic sounds he lays over the beat make them the easiest tracks to love. He's less successful when heading off the floor and into the chillout lounge ("Leisure Suit Preben"), the tiki room ("Preben Goes to Acapulco"), or whatever strange place the impossible-to-describe (or listen to more than once) "Svensk Sås" resides, though he does get lucky with a guitar-strumming electro '80s style ("Delorean Dynamite") that begs to have some vocoder vocals over the top. The sweeping, ice-colored synths get the job done fine anyway, and it seems like a path Terje would be wise to follow on future releases. The same can't be said for the one vocal feature on the record that finds a sepulchral Bryan Ferry croaking a version of Robert Palmer's "Johnny and Mary" that Terje decides to take at "Chariots of Fire" tempo and with the same level of portentous drama. It's a huge misstep that threatens to derail the album and wipe away all the good that exists. Take it out, along with a couple of filler-y tracks, and It's Album Time is a solid debut. As it stands, it's a hard album to get your head around and it's a hard album to fully embrace. Terje should set aside the experiments and just focus on making sleek and shiny electro-disco tracks; the rest only gets in the way of a good time. ~ Tim Sendra
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Electro - Released April 7, 2014 | 4AD

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House - Released April 7, 2014 | InFiné

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"The record is Downliners Sekt's most sonically uniform statement to date, a steady-handed execution of a specific sound -- that is, garage-leaning rhythms coated in aromatic vocal samples and drizzled in rain -- that suggests a newfound confidence..."
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House - Released April 7, 2014 | InFiné

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Electro - Released March 31, 2014 | SWARM PROD

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House - Released March 24, 2014 | Record Makers

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House - Released March 24, 2014 | Diskotopia

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Electro - Released March 19, 2014 | Lentonia

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Electro - Released March 10, 2014 | Because Music Ltd.

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Electro - Released February 24, 2014 | Police Records

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House - Released February 24, 2014 | Secure Recordings

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Electro - Released February 17, 2014 | Leonizer Records

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Electro - Released February 11, 2014 | Glass Air

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Los Angeles-based three-piece the Glitch Mob drift even further from their name on Love Death Immortality, an album that suggests they be renamed the EDM Mob, the Big Room Mob, the Bass Drop Mob, or maybe the Totally Accessible Yet Utterly Awesome Mob. Whatever they decide upon, it's doubtful fans will be able to hear the announcement over this sophomore release, as the more reserved and calm bits of their debut, 2010's Drink the Sea, have given way to moments more meaty and beaty. The opening "Mind of a Beast" lives up to its title with a ridiculously punchy bassline, a chaotic set of sequencer melodies, and one of those high-pitched, screamy synth lines the Mob adore. It's a style that returns on "Our Demons," where Nico Vega vocalist Aja Volkman barks out the beautiful "No one ever asked you to dig deeper/No wonder you got demons," and suddenly, tough love therapy gets turned up to 11. Dark wave and dubstep wrestle their way down the hill on the starting-and-stopping highlight "Becoming Harmonious," featuring the enchanting guest vocalist Metal Mother, and with Sister Crayon vocalist Terra Lopez elevating the somewhat serene "Beauty of the Unhidden Heart" to an angelic level, that's plenty of evidence that the Mob certainly know how to pick their sirens. Still, the boomiest bomb of them all is the instrumental "Can't Kill Us," which creeps, groans, and grows as if it were built for a thriller soundtrack, but then comes the break, which twists and turns before shooting this dubstep-influenced mood piece into the sky like a firework. Even if the Glitch Mob are more crowd-pleasers than innovators, these are well-crafted floor-fillers created with great care, plus the album feels inspired the whole way through, banging from one song to the next with no bummers or filler to skip. ~ David Jeffries