Today’s producers, with their neat-arrangements, crisp sounds and perfectly mastered levels, have an obsessive perfectionism that seems to go hand in hand with laptop music production. It wasn’t until the reissue of MBV’s golden era records that I realised electronic music has gotten all… metro-sexual. Kevin Shields didn’t give a fuck if it was too messy, a bit rough round the edges, it was the overall impression that was important and Christian Fennesz embraced this concept. He embraced it all too well. Discovering Endless Summer was a great moment; it’s messy manipulation of guitar feedback, the pop-like compositions, quite obviously inherited from the Beach Boys, built on his emphasis of melody over clarity, all seemed to add up to a record I’ve been missing for a long time. Some bloody good IDM – sort of.
tl;dr: Poppy, experimental, ambient multi-layered homage to dem Beach Boys.
SO YEAH. I’ll get back on it. Starting with this blatant Swede. Axel Willner aka. The Field has just stumbled into my proximity of listening and, yeah, it’s on pitchfork, but it’s verging on the best album i’ve heard in a while. “Looping State of Mind” is exactly what it sounds like, a repetition of simple loops that give you an insight into his oldest record collection; you’ve got his minimal-techno side shining through in the structure of his music alongside a shoe-gaze/punk feel from the samples. It’s brilliant – seriously.
There’s a few stand out tracks that are worth a mention, especially the opener “Is this Power” which has these delicious synths glazing an endless post-punk bass line. Trinkets and mastery the lot of it.
I was in Reykjavik recently and as I was walking down the street I spotted three members of Sigur Ros casually strolling a few paces ahead of me. Jonsi then turned round, made eye contact with me, and walked out of sight. I went into shock, turned white, fled to the hotel and rethought my life. I decided that the best action was to post some fucking victory rose on das blog. So here it is, three pieces of work from the demi-gods that are overlooked far too often. Ranging from some of the earliest work to atmospheric Icelandic chanting.
This guy has been everywhere in all senses. First he was all over the blogs with CMYK and then he came second in BBC Sound of 2011 poll now he’s released an album that is many people’s best of the year so far. All this while keeping his music as abstract and interesting as he was in the beginning. Pretty much James Blake is one of the brightest artists music has seen for a while and he is rightly getting praised for it.
Pantha du Prince is a minimal-tech producer who’s migrated to the more hipster side of things with ‘Black Noise’. Not only the lure of Noah Lennox, no.1 hipster, and Tyler Pope, LCD Soundsystems bass hipster, brought me to this album but the intrigue of where he would head after his previous album “This Bliss”, which was deemed as a masterpiece. “Black Noise” is an album littered with chimes, bells and pretty noises along with percolating micro-percussive clicks and pops. It presents itself as being very accessible, possibly helped by the change from Hamburg’s Dial Records for the hipster haven of Rough Trade, and would recommend this to anyone with ears.
The first track takes a couple of minutes for the beat to drop, which is an eargasm:
If you were to walk up to me holding this album and exclaim that it effortlessly blends the tenderness of ambient music and the droning wall of shoegaze I’d laugh at you. My cheeky guffaws would develop into a volley of mocking remarks as you continued to convey that they are a two-piece from New Zealand, Wellington, and that they season their style with electronic big beat. The fact is that all this is true and, remarkably, the music that the album gently pours out the speakers is phenomenal. It isn’t shy to create a beautiful, introspective atmosphere which passes by before you can note down the name of the album.
I find it upsetting that in recent years it’s been known for artists to try and hide the mood or motives behind cryptic lyrics, unecessary tempo changes and just being a little bit too pretentious. Don’t get met wrong, I love a slice of arrogance served with my own eclectic music cocktail. The reason for this is to call the music we listen to our own, not to boast on how impenetrable it is and that if you don’t like it, you obviously don’t get it. Glass Vaults make it clear what they have created; it’s an album which would seperate you from your surroundings, making even the most mundane train journey seem meaningful.
Have a gander.
The band themselves are on bandcamp and you are able to download the full EP, Glass EP, for free. There’s also a recently posted remix up of Secret Knives track ‘Black Hole’. It’s all worth a listen/download.