Kratos Himself – A Town Called Imaginarium EP [Listen]

Kratos Himself - A Town Called Imaginarium

Toward the end of last month Kratos Himself dropped his new EP A Town Called Imaginarium. Days later I stumble upon it on another enlightening bandcamp weekly and before I know it, it’s found a permanent place on my computers hard drive.

Satisfying my eardrums immensely for the last week, the Dutch downtempo wizard has released a fine slice of electronic music which encompasses a slight world music vibe, warm bass, chilled beats and some organic and delicate production. It’s by the numbers, but when the numbers sound this good there’s nothing to complain about. Kratos Himself, or Jethro Hopmans as he is otherwise known, has caught my attention and has me positively salivating for a full length of this calibre.

You can pick up A Town Called Imaginarium for ‘buy now or name your price’ over at bandcamp.

1. Imaginarium (03:57)
2. Remember (04:54)
3. Ayahuasca (04:38)
4. Lucid (05:31)
5. This Town (04:08)
6. Don’t Call Me (06:02)
7. Till We Meet Again (05:16)

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Gold Panda – Trust EP [Listen]

Gold Panda

2013 is off to a good start with album announcements left, right and centre. It seems we’re in for an excellent year in electronic music, in particular with Emancipator and Bonobo having announced new albums and free singles to accompany press releases. After a scattering of 12 and 7″ releases, Gold Panda is joining them and making a return after 2010’s joyous debut Lucky Shiner with his Trust EP, the first new material released since last May.

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Catching Flies – The Stars EP / Mt. Wolf – Life Size Ghosts EP [Listen]

Today I have two electronic EP’s from London based musicians linked here by a remix from which I followed the trail back to the source, in turn discovering two bright relatively new acts myself.

So without further ado, first up (if you’re not already familiar with him) let me introduce you to London based producer Catching Flies. Continue reading

Jasper Byrne – Hotline Miami EP [Listen]

I’ve been dabbling in the seedy 80’s neon criminal underworld of Dennaton Games’ superb top down, 2D, PC killathon Hotline Miami for the last couple of weeks and along with being essentially the playable version of the motel/lift scene from Drive, it also has a killer soundtrack that’s more than a nod to Nicolas Winding Refns slick thriller. There are more than a few artists involved with the soundtrack including a wide range of styles and genres, however the title track from Jasper Byrne is one of the best. The Hotline Miami EP is, although sadly a little on the short side, a fantastic slice of electro with deep bass and 80’s style synths that moves between sounding upbeat and almost positive to menacing and grimy. Check it out! Definitely for fans of the 80’s revival we’ve been hearing the last couple of years.

The Hotline Miami EP can be grabbed for $4 over on bandcamp

The Revival Hour – Pyre / Clusterchord EP [Listen/News]

After the superb debut tracks from The Revival Hour released late last year (see my writeup from back in April), the band finally have some news to share with the announcement of the duos debut EP Clusterchord which will be releasing 5th of November on Antiphon; a prelude to the bands debut album which will follow early 2013.

In the meantime however we’ve been treated to Pyre, a sample if you will from the Clusterchord EP. It’s nice to hear The Revival Hour’s sound back and with all the grandeur of the previous two tasters, although dialled back from the simply epic Hold Back, it’s still a big sound. This time maybe slightly mellower, more reflective and a little less overdramatic in its entirety, but definitely The Revival Hours sound through and through. Pyre is a great teaser for what’s to come. November seems too far away…

On another note, The Revival Hour are embarking on their first tour of the UK, dates are below.

Tuesday 20 November – MANCHESTER – Band On The Wall (£9)
Wednesday 21 November – LEEDS – Brudenell (£10)
Thursday 22 November – LIVERPOOL – Parr St Studio 2 (£9)
Friday 23 November – NORWICH – Arts Centre (£9 adv/ £11 door)
Monday 26 November – BRIGHTON – Komedia (£10)
Tuesday 27 November – BRISTOL – Louisiana (£10)
Wednesday 28 November – EXETER – Phoenix (£9)
Thursday 29 November – LONDON – Village Underground (£10)  
Friday 30 November – OXFORD – Jericho (£9)

The Antlers – Undersea EP [Review]

“Undersea is the feeling of suspension – memories suspended in time and space, energy suspended in the air around us.”

It’s finally come ashore, The Antlers‘ latest EP named Undersea has been teasing fans with sneak previews and imagery for weeks.

People were somewhat surprised when the Brooklyn based band announced they were going to release a new EP in the summer since they had recently released their second album Burst Apart (2011). It seems lead singer Peter Silberman isn’t wasting any time.

Their first release was Hospice (2009), a critically acclaimed concept album that sent shivers down your spine. The Antlers launched into the music scene with haunting melodies combined with beautifully fine-tuned lyrics which started a tidal wave of excitment amonst the eclectic listeners around the world.

Undersea went on release in the US yesterday, and is to be officially released in the UK on the 30th of July. It’s another concept piece with a principle theme of the watery underworld. This is their most experimental and also uniform release. The 4 track EP has a constant chilled tone of swelling instruments and rippled beats. The distinct vocals of Silberman are what create the Antlers atmospheric sound which proves to be very successful in this EP.

It would be hard to not listen to the EP in one go, each track blends into the next creating a feeling of submersion. The opening track, Drift Drive eases you into the EP so well, it’s possibly my favorite track of the EP, the pacing sets the tempo for the rest of the tracks which as I mentioned – harmoniously drift through your ears.

Since yesterdays release, the EP has received mixed reviews, which in my mind can’t quite be justified yet, it’s a concept album, and it’s going to need time and a few listens to really understand what it’s all about. I personally find it thoroughly enjoyable, it would be hard for Antlers to go wrong with their current setup.

The Antlers are currently on tour, and will be making a stop in the UK on September 1st for the glorious End of the Road Festival. I saw them play live there 2 years ago and had the pleasure of taking Peter’s portrait (photo at top). Hopefully i’ll squeeze the rest of the band in the frame this year.

Undersea tracklisting:

  1.  Drift Drive
  2.  Endless Ladder
  3.  Crest
  4.  Zelda

Check out the first track Drift Drive which they released a few weeks back.

Poor Moon – Illusion [Listen]

Whilst the Fleet Foxes ponder what to do next after last years frankly outstanding Helplessness Blues, Christian Wargo (Fleet Foxes, Crystal Skulls) Casey Wescott (Fleet Foxes, Cystal Skulls) and brothers Ian and Peter Murray (The Christmas Cards) have been busy signing to Sub Pop Records and preparing the freshly released EP Illusion under the monicker Poor Moon.

While it’s clear there are elements of the Fleet Foxes woven through the EP, equally it would be naive to think they’re simply a carbon copy of the band. Any Place is the perfect slow burning dirge which brings to mind not only the Fleet Foxes more mellow numbers but also Midlake. There are shades of The Flaming Lips – most audible on the superb upbeat People In Her Mind and it’s easy to draw Simon & Garfunkel comparisons on the hushed finale Widow. It’s a wonderful blend that really brings this EP to life. Production on the EP is handled with care and varies from spacious light reverb soaked acoustic guitar, to a more electric and full bodied sound that wouldn’t sound out of place back in the 70’s. There’s a lot of variation between tracks but all five sit together gracefully, it builds before dropping down again and as a complete piece it satisfies immensely.

While I’m not familiar with The Christmas Cards music this is without a doubt an EP that fans of the Fleet Foxes can pick up in confidence. For others who might be curious it’s definitely worth a look as a solid debut EP which can slide easily into the Indie Folk genre tag. I look forward to hearing a full length from Poor Moon if this is anything to go by.

Sub Pop have the entire EP up for stream and if you can spare fifteen minutes of your day it gets my recommendation wholeheartedly.

Illusion is out now on Sub Pop Records.

Tracklisting

1) Illusion
2) Any Place
3) People In Her Mind
4) Once Before
5) Widow

Bandcamp Find of the Week – Pickwick

So I suppose my Bandcamp Find of the Week series should technically be renamed Bandcamp Find of the Season. We’ll gloss over the lack of follow ups since that January article, here’s the latest one. I present to you Pickwick.

There’s scant information across the internet on these guys so this is what I do know; there’s six of them, they’re from Seattle, they have a penchant for vintage gear and they love vinyl (men after my own heart there). But what I can tell you from listening to their debut record Myths, interestingly split into three EP’s and released over a period of months, is that they are a great blend of Soul, R&B and Indie rock with shades of blues and the songwriting skills to boot. It’s raw stuff, don’t expect lavish production here. That’s not to say it’s badly produced however, far from it, there’s perfect clarity and it does nothing but accentuate the bands sound, giving each member’s instrument room to breathe and stand out – there are some infectiously catchy melodies here. Most importantly however, it sounds like the band are having fun and this bleeds into their sound freely at all opportunities. Across the record (or three EP’s depending on how you buy it) Pickwick display great skill in creating meaningful songs full of soul. It’s also worth mentioning the interesting presentation and method of releasing three EPs as a full length. The band clearly have a vision and it’s great to see them experimenting with the way they release their music. Each EP comes with it’s own artwork, all stylistically created to compliment each other, it’s a nice idea well executed.

Have a listen over on the Pickwick bandcamp. Note if you want to grab Myths as a complete piece rather than the three EPs via bandcamp, you can purchase it digitally for $8 (USD) or physically for $10 (USD) on their kungfustore here. Highlights include the superb Hacienda Motel (live version below, well worth the watch!) and The Round.

Tracklisting as follows:

Volume 1
1) Hacienda Motel
2) When Rosa Speaks

Volume 2
1) The Round
2) Staged Names

Volume 3
1) Limelight
2) Blackout

Burial – Kindred EP [Listen]

The long awaited Burial EP Kindred is finally with us and is now available over on the Hyperdub store to stream and purchase. What’s evident from a quick spin of the three tracks is the evolution of Bevan’s sound from his previous works. This could be attributed to collaborations with both Four Tet & Thom York, and Massive Attack last year, whose influences creep into the new tunes. It’s a thicker, polished and darker sounding EP with more presence than previous Burial tracks which have tended to verge more on the laid back side despite being full of tension and atmosphere. The latter is still present but this bolder edge works well and the latter two tracks, Loner and Ashtray Wasp stand out in particular against previous Burial tracks. It’ll be interesting to see where Will Bevan takes this sound for a full length follow up, it’s clear he’s not afraid to evolve and embrace other genres of electronic music, it’s been a long time since the brilliant Untrue and hopefully we wont be waiting too much longer…

Stream and Grab the EP over at the Hyperdub store.

Hidden Orchestra – Flight Mixtape [Mix]

Joe Acheson of Hidden Orchestra has thrown out this rather wonderful mixtape to celebrate the release of the new Flight EP on Tru Thoughts. It’s an extensive collection and expertly woven with some of my favourite artists cropping up through it’s 86 minute run time. It’s also FREE courtesy of Paris DJs (which, by the way, is well worth a regular visit!).

Head here to Paris Djs to download the mix in it’s entirety. Tracklisting is as follows;

[00:00] 01. Hidden Orchestra – Flight
[00:01] 02. Shake Keane – One a Week with Water (excerpt from poetry recital)
[02:44] 03. Hamalais-Osakunnan Laulajat – Prelude – Kesa (by Matthew Whittall)
[02:48] 04. Origamibiro – Dissect Ephemeral
[02:51] 05. (interview) – Marke’s favourite sound pt.1
[05:19] 06. Hidden Orchestra – The Windfall (Drums-Only version)
[05:42] 07. Hidden Orchestra – Out of Nowhere (No-Drums version)
[06:01] 08. Björk – Hidden Place (acapella)
[07:03] 09. Hidden Orchestra – Stammer (Drums-Only version)
[08:06] 10. Hidden Orchestra feat. Julia Biel – Footsteps (Lost Twin Remix)
[11:40] 11. Nils Frahm & Anne Muller – Long Enough
[11:53] 12. Jeru the Damaja – War (acapella)
[13:51] 13. Origamibiro – Womb Duvet
[14:20] 14. Phuong Dung – Do Ai (Riddles)
[15:36] 15. Joe Acheson – Riddles
[16:59] 16. Long Arm – After 4am
[18:13] 17. The Pharcyde – Runnin’ (acapella)
[19:20] 18. DJ Cam – Free Your Turntable And Your Scratch Will Follow
[20:41] 19. Lewis Parker – Shadows of Autumn (acapella)
[23:40] 20. Guru – The Revolutionist (acapella)
[23:41] 21. Madlib – Distant Land
[27:34] 22. Linton Kwesi Johnson – Reggae fi Dada (live poetry recital)
[27:37] 23. Boards of Canada – Everything you do is a Balloon
[27:38] 24. Gorodisch – Omaha
[30:08] 25. Madlib – Episode VI
[31:16] 26. Billie Holiday – One, Two Buckle my Shoe
[31:25] 27. Madlib – Slim’s Return
[31:31] 28. Björk – 107 steps (acapella)
[34:02] 29. Madlib – Episode XI
[34:40] 30. Ol’ Dirty Bastard – Shimmy (acapella)
[35:03] 31. Quasimoto – Put a Curse on You (acapella)
[35:04] 32. Controller 7 – Untitled Demo 2
[35:44] 33. Mu-ziq – Hasty Boom Alert
[37:16] 34. Hidden Orchestra – Dust (Drums-Only version)
[37:28] 35. M.O.P. – Pounds Up (acapella)
[40:13] 36. Hidden Orchestra – Dust (Floex Remix)
[43:08] 37. Street Smartz feat. O.C. and Pharoahe Monch – Metal Thangz (acapella)
[45:51] 38. Jaga Jazzist – Real Racecars have Doors
[47:42] 39. Chali 2na – Comin Thru (acapella)
[49:54] 40. Madlib – Static Invazion
[50:22] 41. Talib Kweli – Some Kind of Wonderful (acapella)
[50:39] 42. Controller 7 – Untitled Demo 1
[51:10] 43. Thelonius Monk – Caravan
[52:21] 44. Radiohead – Paperbag Writer
[52:21] 45. Four Tet – Cload
[55:00] 46. Wu-Tang Clan – Chessboxin’ (acapella)
[56:25] 47. Peruvian Marching Band – Memphis Soul Stewed
[56:42] 48. Elvis Presley – Suspicious Minds (acapella)
[58:22] 49. Madlib – Funky Blue Note
[59:52] 50. Kuljit Bhamra & Orlando Consort – Tabla Talum
[62:38] 51. Origamibiro – Remnants
[62:48] 52. (interview) – Marke’s favourite sound pt.2
[63:39] 53. Xploding Plastix – Kissed by a Kisser
[66:11] 54. Dizzy Gillespie – Jambo
[68:36] 55. Radiohead – These Are My Twisted Words
[70:03] 56. Shake Keane – Poetry and Jazz (excerpt from interview)
[72:04] 57. Amon Tobin – The Killer’s Vanilla
[73:03] 58. DJ Shadow – Going Nowhere
[74:39] 59. Shankles – Branches
[75:00] 60. Nils Frahm & Anne Muller – Reminds to Teeth
[75:16] 61. Shake Keane – Soufriere (poetry recital and flugal horn solo)
[78:32] 62. (radio documentary excerpt) – Angel Horn – produced by Matt Thompson
[78:44] 63. Hidden Orchestra – Flight (Drums-Only Version)
[78:58] 64. Igor Boxx – Last Party in Breslau
[80:26] 65. Nils Frahm & Anne Muller – 7fingers
[80:57] 66. Profisee – Welcome (acapella)
[83:56] 67. Four Tet – The Butterfly Effect
[86:12] 68. Hidden Orchestra – Flight (No-Drums Version)

Hidden Orchestra’s Flight EP is out now on Tru Thoughts and if you’ve never heard their stellar debut Night Walks, I implore you to check it out.