Basic//Complex is a surprise, not to discredit Polytype whatsoever, but this is a deep and rewarding album that manages to pluck ideas from various genres and meld a wonderful, warm yet precise sound that works so well you might not have seen it coming and may be left in your playlist for weeks to come. Continue reading →
I first learned about the Icelandic band Sigur Rós in 2008. It had just stopped raining and I was sitting outside my tent at the Lowlands Festival waiting for some sun. My tent was located close to one of the stages and I could hear this music coming from there that suited the weather and festival feeling perfectly. And if it wasn’t the music, I would at least have noticed the crowd which exploded in a deafening applause every 15 minutes or so. Even though I was as close to the stage as the bird flies, actually getting there would have cost me at least 45 minutes, so I decided to stay. And that is how I enjoyed the music of Sigur Rós at what would later be known as the most legendary concert at Lowlands ever. Continue reading →
Random Access Memories (RAM) is the fourth studio album from Daft Punk and was released following an intensive promotional campaign, including teaser commercials on SNL. The campaign lead to much anticipation and hype and now we can finally listen to the result of five years of development.
Daft Punk has always been trying out new directions and have been at the forefront of EDM since their first record. This time they lead us both back, as well as forward in time. With funky songs that remind you of old disco classics and music from the seventies and eighties they try to – as one of their songs is called – “Give Live Back To Music”. They are definitely trying to make a statement with this album; by hardly using any samples and heavy use of real instruments they have tried to find a new form of dance music, maybe reflecting David Grohl’s words on the lack of a human element in EDM. One way they did this is by collaborating with many artists who have inspired them over the years. To name a few: Pharrell Williams, Nile Rodgers, Paul Williams and Panda Bear are featured in one way or another during the trip that is this album. The song “Giorgio by Moroder” features a short interview with Giorgio Moroder and that serves as a great example to show the amount of detail that was put into the production of the record. From using the best available studios and equipment, to the tiniest details nobody will notice. For example 3 different microphones were used in the recording of the interview with Giorgio Moroder. One from the sixties, one from the seventies and a modern one. The one used is linked to the different time period he was talking about.
This sort of detail won’t be noticed by most of the (casual) listeners and that may be the only problem with RAM. This is more a listeners record than a club album and people who were fans mostly for the electronic part of or their portfolio might feel a little left out. But make no mistake, this is still a Daft Punk album. A lot of the recognizable elements are there including the synthesized robotic voices and funky danceable beats. Also the record closes with the song “Contact” (stemming from a 2002 performance) that is more in line with the previous work, like the TRON soundtrack. It’s just that RAM is so much more than that, what makes this the best Daft Punk album for me. I originally wanted to write that the album is very good, but not worth the full hype. But it just might be. It keeps growing on me the more I listen to it, which has been pretty much non stop the last week.
Unfortunately Daft Punk have announced they will not tour in 2013, but the album is out now and available from iTunes.
I was first introduced to the music of Woodkid on a trailer for the video game Assassin’s Creed Revelations; the sound was a perfect mix of polished pop, fused with a sophisticated orchestral sound. The Golden Age, Woodkid’s debut album follows a similar theme – creating a wholly cinematic experience.
It is no wonder that the music is so visual; the french musician behind the pseudonym Woodkid – Yoann Lemoine’s own path to music was first through graphic design then directing music videos for artists including Moby, Mystery Jets, Katy Perry, Lana Del Rey, Drake and Rihanna. After being given a banjo by guitarist Richie Havens during a shoot the classically trained Lemoine decided to move in to making music full time and Woodkid was born. Continue reading →
It doesn’t feel too long ago now that Black Sands (March 2010) released to a wonderful reception from fans and critics alike and pushed Bonobo even further to success supported by a truly brilliant live set and extensive touring. Now just three years later Simon Green returns with another step forward for his sound and what will in all likelihood be one of the best releases in downtempo electronic music this year. Continue reading →
After last week’s speculation, the new album from My Bloody Valentine not only exists, it’s available right now! The long awaited follow up to 1991s Loveless, is named simply mbv, the album was launched at midnight on Saturday 2nd February. The album is exclusively available through the band’s website – after initially crashing, due to load, the site is now back up and running.
Much time has passed since the release of the critically hailed Loveless, rumours of whole albums worth of material that have been recorded then subsequently scrapped by the band have surfaced over the years. Continue reading →
So here we are with the final four albums of our twelve that make up the Universal Wax top 12 of ’12. This time it’s Toms selection which is as broad as ever and features some really fantastic records. I couldn’t agree more with the inclusion of the Journey OST which has been one of the most beautiful scores I’ve heard for a long time and as any long time readers may recall we’re already big Andrew Bird fans here at Universal Wax. This will be our final post of 2012, however we’ll be following this one up in the new year with our notable mentions (those that didn’t quite make our top twelve) and some upcoming artists to look out for in 2013. In the meantime, from all at Universal Wax, we hope you have had a wonderful Christmas and are about to have a fantastic New Year, enjoy our now complete Universal Wax Top 12 of ’12 and let us know what you think in the comments below! – Sam
As part of the extensive reissuing of The Smashing Pumpkins back catalogue, we now come to the 4th album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. This follows Gish (1991) and Siamese Dream (1993) last year and Pisces Iscariot (1994) reissued during the summer. As per the previous reissues, the release of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness has been remastered from the original studio tapes and has a wealth of additional material bundled with it. Continue reading →
Poppy Ackroyd has had a busy year it would seem. Many will know her as the talented violinist and pianist of the Hidden Orchestra whose superb second album launched in September to a positive review from us, however there appears to be a lot more to her than that. The classically trained Edinburgh based musician is now close to the release of her debut solo effort Escapement (due December 2012). A heartbreakingly beautiful record of intricate and very delicate compositions made exclusively, bar the odd field recording here and there, using the piano and the violin. It’s a wonderful idea and is executed to perfection to the point if you weren’t aware this was the case you probably wouldn’t question it. Continue reading →
Andrew Bird’s distinct sound is the reason why I remember first listening to his track A Nervous Tic back when I was 18. Earlier this year his much anticipated album Break it Yourself valiantly galloped its way through music stores and blogs leaving dust clouds of positive reviews. Click here to check out Sam’s review of it.
Andrew Bird has been touring through the summer, and due to the highly positive response to his performances, he decided to record a mixture of reprises from Break it Yourself, along with a few classic Americana folk songs that he had performed. The result is Hands of Glory, another satisfying hit of Andrew Bird goodness.
From the age of 4, he’s been plucking and playing the violin, and so without making obvious comment to the beauty of it in his previous work; getting to hear him cover classic folks songs – especially, If I Needed You makes this compilation extra special. The rendition of Orpheo is another favorite, it’s completely stripped and played so slow that every word and creak of the bow lends itself to producing a more delicate and soothing song.
You can listen to the whole album on the Guardian website here. It’s a great collection of songs that make the perfect soundtrack to your Autumn walks. My only criticism is that I wish at least one track had him whistling!