Wednesday, 3 June 2020

The Young Gods ‎– T.V. Sky (1992)

Style: Industrial, Experimental
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Play It Again Sam Records, Interscope Records

Tracklist:
1.   Our House
2.   Gasoline Man
3.   T.V. Sky
4.   Skinflowers
5.   Dame Chance
6.   The Night Dance
7.   She Rains
8.   Summer Eyes

Credits:
Mastered By – Howie Weinberg
Music By – Mosiman, The Young Gods
Band – Al Mono, Franz Reise, Üse Drums
Producer – Roli Mosimann

In a conscious shift of aesthetics, the very European Gods turned their eyes on America with the band's fourth album, producing its most 'rock' record to date, a consistently strong smash. Opening with "Our House," it all seems (powerful) business as usual - odd sonic loops, rhythm patterns suddenly exploding into mass drum/riff combinations. But the difference here lies with the lyrics - discounting earlier covers, Treichler for the first time sings in English here and throughout, a conscious audience targeting which he addressed in contemporaneous interviews. "Gasoline Man" turns out to be the big shift, revamping what sounds like an old ZZ Top riff into as classic an American rock song as any - blues lyrical structure, loving the road and the motor - yet with the Gods' unique sonic signature present, revamping and restitching the past into a cleaner, newer form that avoids sounding just like another bar band. Underground hit single "Skinflowers" marries a powerful pulse and razor-sharp feedback stabs with a perversely catchy lyric; other tracks like "TV Sky" and the wickedly Guns n' Roses-quoting "The Night Dance" pile on the sound and space in equally gripping measure. "Summer Eyes," an intentional Doors tribute done after numerous Jim Morrison/Treichler comparisons in the past, even has a mid-song Manzarek-style organ break, but ends the album on a disturbing note, slow riff trudge samples fading out under Treichler's dark, sly take on America. In sum, a wonderful album that never got its proper due.
Ned Raggett / AllMusic

Radiohead ‎– Amnesiac (2001)

Style: Alternative Rock, Experimental
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Capitol Records, EMI, Parlophone

Tracklist:
01.   Packt Like Sardines In A Crushd Tin Box
02.   Pyramid Song
03.   Pulk / Pull Revolving Doors
04.   You And Whose Army?
05.   I Might Be Wrong
06.   Knives Out
07.   Morning Bell / Amnesiac
08.   Dollars And Cents
09.   Hunting Bears
10.   Like Spinning Plates
11.   Life In A Glasshouse

Credits
Arranged By – Jonny Greenwood
Clarinet – Jimmy Hastings
Conductor – John Lubbock
Double Bass – Paul Bridge
Drums – Adrian Macintosh
Orchestra – The Orchestra Of St. John's
Trombone – Pete Strange
Trumpet Leader – Humphrey Lyttelton
Written-By – Radiohead
Produced By – Nigel Godrich, Radiohead

Amnesiac was recorded at the same sessions as the expectation-defying (read: not many tunes) Kid A. This fifth album from the Oxford boys came out nine months later and, at the time of its release, Thom Yorke spouted a lot of nonsense about gnosticism and the fact that it was, like, an explanation of Kid A's voguish electronica-as-misanthropy. The fact was: this was the offcuts and the stuff that didn't quite fit. Lucky for us that it was still bloody marvellous. 
Amnesiac is a simpler album than Kid A. Understandably, being less worried over, the pieces are easier to digest. The self-loathing and general railing about modern existence is still there, but at times the band relax enough to let in some exquisite tunes. Pyramid Song's jazzy slouch backed by strings-to-swoon-by is the album's rightful centrepiece, but the delights are many. There's edgy urban paranoia. ("I'm a reasonable man, get off my case" mutters Yorke on Packt Like Sardines In A Crushd Tin Box), political pugnaciousness (You And Whose Army?) and sheer post rock misery (Knives Out). 
There's a good case to argue that Amnesiac and Kid A - born out of the same writer's block and new methodology - should never have been separated. Much as Beatles fans will tell you that the White Album has the kernel of one classic at its heart, so do these twins. Of course there's a whole other school that revel in the less comfortable chunks of this sonic feast. To them this melange of dissonance, clicks and backwards voices only adds to the mystique, the dislocation and the overall sense that somehow Radiohead UNDERSTAND what's going on more than us poor sheep. 
The truth, one suspects, lies somewhere in between. Yorke's anger and confusion has weathered well. These slices of prog electronica created dismay amongst the critics at the time. Now, in the light of civilisation's continual decline, they seem like the reasonable musings of someone perfectly sane. "Cut the kids in half", indeed...
Chris Jones / BBC Review

Eno | Moebius | Roedelius ‎– After The Heat (1978)

Style: Krautrock, Prog Rock, Ambient
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Sky Records, Platz, Water, 4 Men With Beards

Tracklist:
A1.   Oil
A2.   Foreign Affairs
A3.   Luftschloss
A4.   The Shade
A5.   Old Land
B1.   Base & Apex
B2.   Light Arms
B3.   Broken Head
B4.   The Belldog
B5.   Tzima N'Arki

The second collaboration between Brian Eno and Cluster (here credited as constituents Hans Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius) arrived only a year after the trio’s first collaboration, Cluster & Eno. By the time of their first meeting, Eno had released his first proper ambient album, Discreet Music, as well as a handful of pioneering pop records. Cluster had steadily moved away from the free-form ambient style marking their debut, Cluster ’71, to the slowly shifting, pulsating krautrock on landmark releases Zuckerzeit and Musik Von Harmonia (with Neu!’s Michael Rother). After hearing these releases, Brian Eno was eager to collaborate with Moebius and Roedelius. 
Although krautrock legend Conny Plank co-produced After The Heat with the artists, Eno seems to have had the biggest impact on its creation. Even more so than its predecessor, the album essentially sounds like a Brian Eno solo record. Considering the personnel order, the prevalent atmospheres and textures, and even the almost entirely English tracklist (compared to the mostly German Cluster & Eno), it’s hard to imagine Moebius and Roedelius adding much to the proceedings. There are hints of motorik repetition in the static bass lines of “Oil” and the pulsing piano of “Tzima N’ark” (a track featuring fellow krautrock luminary and Can bassist Holger Czukay), but Eno’s ideas most often take the spotlight. 
The evidence abounds. The lush synths of “Old Land” recall Another Green World, and the bass line's major fourths and fifths in “Foreign Affairs” seem due in part to Eno’s obsession with tribal and “world” music, materializing in more realized form in his first collaboration with David Byrne. “The Belldog” also sounds like another Eno solo track, while “T’Zima N’ark” even includes a reversed vocal track from Before and After Science. More than anything else, though, Eno's vocals on After the Heat’s final three tracks cement his lasting mark on the album. 
Although certainly progressive at its time, some unfortunate sonic choices -- the artificial wind sound and synthesized strings of “Base & Apex” -- betray After the Heat's era, making it sound rather dated. It’s an album worth investigating, though, as it shows Eno at a transitional point in his musical career. References to the past abound, but there are several hints at future endeavors (“The Shade,” in particular, sounds similar to the successive Ambient 2, a collaboration with pianist Harold Budd). While Heat is a solid entry in Eno’s expansive catalogue, it’s surprising these three innovators didn’t challenge each other more.
Lukas Suveg / Tiny Mix Tapes

VA ‎– Unchartered Territories Jungle Jazz 2 (1997)

Style: Drum n Bass, Jungle
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Beechwood Music, Street Sounds

Tracklist:
01.   DJ Pulse & The Cartel - Streetplayer
02.   Foul Play - Karma 2
03.   Kushti - Stromboli
04.   Nightmares On Wax - Stars (N.O.W Mix)
05.   Larceny - Who Are You (Aquasky Mix)
06.   St Germain - Alabama Blues (Wax Doctor Mix)
07.   Galliano - Freefall
08.   Raw Deal - Time Is Running Out
09.   Shogun - Nautilus
10.   Wayward Mind - Homeland
11.   Project 23 - The Pleasure & The Pain
12.   Abstract Truth - Get Another Plan (Extended Mix)

Credits:
Compiled By – Bruce & Jake